7 user 2 critic

Hard Time 

O'Brien tries to re-integrate to life on the station after serving 20 years in a virtual prison.



(based upon "Star Trek" created by), (created by) | 4 more credits »

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Episode cast overview:
... Captain Sisko
... Odo
... Lt. Commander Worf
... Lt. Commander Dax
... Jake Sisko
... Chief O'Brien
... Quark
... Doctor Bashir
... Major Kira
... Keiko O'Brien
... Rinn
... Molly O'Brien
... Muñiz
... Ee'char


O'Brien has been accused by the Argrathi of espionage and has already been sentenced: twenty years jail time in a artificial reality. While O'Brien felt like he was twenty years in a cell, only a couple of hours has passed. But the memories sure feel real for the chief. The crew of Deep Space Nine do their utter best to let O'Brien re-adjust to the 'new' situation, but it is clear the happening has had a major impact on him. He gets increasingly more violent to even his closest friends and refuses to go to a psychiatrist. O'Brien even purposely tells he was alone in his cell, while this clearly isn't true. Something about his cell-mate Ee'Char is bothering him immensely. The fact that a hallucinative Ee'Char hunts him is driving him mad. Written by Arnoud Tiele (imdb@tiele.nl)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

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Release Date:

15 April 1996 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


F. J. Rio's character, Enrique Muniz, is the first character in the Star Trek franchise to speak Spanish (in the DS9 episode "The Ship"). See more »


Dr. Julian Bashir: I wasn't there with you, I didn't see what they did to you. But I do know you suffered, and that you're still suffering now, and I'm trying to help.
Chief Miles Edward O'Brien: I never asked for your help.
Dr. Julian Bashir: You didn't need to ask. I'm your doctor, and your friend.
See more »


Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Main Title
Written by Dennis McCarthy
Performed by Dennis McCarthy
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User Reviews

typical 90s "mental health" episode
17 September 2017 | by See all my reviews

Rich with a creative sci-fi plot element, but showcases the worst in traditionalist mental health models. No one on the ship (not even the "counselor") is able to help a traumatized person recover from torture. Maybe it was meant to be a cautionary tale, but we see the victim's allies fail to offer real support, and instead just offer varying flavors of tough love and mounting levels of even more punishment. Lots of missed opportunities to address punitive vs restorative justice systems and post-traumatic stress disorder recovery tools.

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