Here are all the characters Jeffrey Combs has played in the Star Trek franchise. Decades after first boldly going where no man had gone before, Star Trek is still very much a coveted gig for actors. Whether launching the career of Chris Pine (as Kirk) on the big screen or elevating Sonequa Martin-Green (as Michael Burnham) from a supporting figure on The Walking Dead to a bona fide leading star, Star Trek retains a certain allure among the acting fraternity, and the chance to play a heroic Starfleet officer or a scheming villain caked in makeup is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Unless your name is Jeffrey Combs, that is.
Born in California in 1954, Combs’ diverse acting career has encompassed cult horror classics such as Re-Animator, superhero voice performances on both the Marvel and DC sides of the tracks, and science fiction standards such as Babylon 5 and The Twilight Zone. But it’s his eclectic catalog of Star Trek roles for which Combs is arguably best known, portraying 10 separate official characters across several TV shows and licensed video games.
Somewhat of a cult figure among the Star Trek faithful, Combs can usually be found playing an alien under heavy make-up. As such, the actor’s recurring presence in 1990s Star Trek isn’t always obvious to the naked eye, especially since two of Combs’ characters don’t appear in live-action at all. Oftentimes Star Trek fans will recognize Combs by his distinctive voice, even if his face isn’t visible. These are the ten Star Trek personas of Jeffrey Combs so far, a list that continues to grow for seemingly as long as Star Trek plans to continue.
Combs’ first Star Trek role came in 1994 during the Deep Space Nine season 3 episode “Meridian.” A wealthy Serilian and an associate of the wily Quark, Tiron quickly takes a shine to Kira Nerys. Kira manages to spurn Tiron’s advances by pretending that Constable Odo is her lover, however, an undaunted Tiron explains to Quark that what he really wants is a holosuite program with Kira as the main attraction. Grim. Fan-favorite Ferengi swindler Quark gets to work on that request for the usual exorbitant price, but fortunately for all involved, Kira uncovers the plan and changes the program. When Tiron activates the holosuite, he is presented with Kira’s body, but her head and voice have been replaced by Quark’s. This doesn’t quite do it for Tiron who angrily departs, threatening to destroy Quark’s reputation. Despite this character proving that Star Trek‘s 24th century setting still isn’t rid of lecherous rich men, Tiron is the role that earned Combs his place in the world of Star Trek.
After debuting as the seedy Tiron, Combs’ first proper recurring role in Deep Space Nine was a Ferengi by the name of Brunt. This character debuts shortly after Tiron in season 3’s “Family Business” and continues to pop up all the way through to season 7. Brunt was a Liquidator for the Ferengi Commerce Authority – a tax man, in other words. Like most in his profession, Brunt was not popular among other Ferengi and especially with Quark, with whom he took a particular interest. Attracting the attention of a Liquidator forced a Ferengi to face their worst fear – a loss of profits.
Initially arriving to investigate Quark’s mother, Ishka, Brunt returned at regular intervals to plague the bar owner, but the Liquidator’s main aim was to become Grand Nagus, forming a nefarious plan to depose the current ruler. This scheme was foiled and Brunt was fired, but he did enjoy a brief stint as Nagus before returning to his old Liquidator job. Combs claimed that he viewed Brunt as a stubborn, right-wing Ferengi who lacked the redeeming features of Quark.
Adding a second recurring role to Deep Space Nine, his as a high spot of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Combs debuted as Weyoun in season 4’s “To the Death,” and the Vorta continued to feature until series finale, “What You Leave Behind.” Some of the darker parts of Deep Space Nine were met with resistance by fans, but Combs’ recurring Weyoun role was always regarded as a strength to the series. Like all of his species, Weyoun was a clone, and served Deep Space Nine‘s big bads, the Dominion. As a field supervisor, Weyoun often commanded the Jem’Hadar, genetically engineered Dominion soldiers. Although Weyoun was cloned multiple times, only versions four to eight actually appear, and when one clone died, the successor automatically took over. Weyoun four was killed by his own troops. Careless. Weyoun five died in a “transporter accident.” Very careless. Weyoun six killed himself via a brain implant and seven got his neck snapped after foolishly ticking off Worf. Finally, Weyoun eight was shot by Garak but by that point, the Dominion’s clone factory had been destroyed, making eight the final Weyoun.
Combs has recognized Weyoun as his favorite Star Trek personality to play and the character was specifically created with Combs in mind, with the actor having significant input into his development. Combs believes that Weyoun isn’t a typically evil villain, and this shows in his performance, with Weyoun six beginning to question his part in the Dominion war. It’s a testament to Combs’ skill in projecting human qualities onto alien characters that each version of Weyoun is slightly different, despite essentially being one and the same.
Officer Kevin Mulkahey
If eight Weyouns weren’t enough, Combs played the Vorta’s human counterpart in the renowned Deep Space Nine season 6 episode “Far Beyond the Stars,” where Sisko imagines himself as science fiction writer Benny Russell. As one would expect given Weyoun’s history and relationship with the Federation and its utopian ideals, Officer Mulkahey was not a pleasant man. A plainclothes cop, Mulkahey first meets Benny in the Harlem district and starts needlessly mocking the writer. Later, Mulkahey and his partner shoot and kill a street kid called Jimmy, who Benny had befriended and Sisko was using as an analog for his own son. When Benny runs to Jimmy in the wake of the shooting, the two officers proceed to assault Sisko’s own counterpart. The captain soon wakes up and finds the entire experience was caused by his neural patterns going haywire, but the stinging real-life parallels remain for the viewer.
Playing Kevin Mulkahey offered two distinct challenges for Combs as an actor, the first of which being portraying a regular human for once. As Brunt or Weyoun, Combs had to endure wearing heavy makeup and prosthetics that heavily obscured his real face, whereas Mulkahey was just a regular, albeit entirely awful, New York cop. The second challenge was playing a character that was neither the true Weyoun, nor a 1950s version of Weyoun, but a 1950s Weyoun as viewed through the lens of Ben Sisko, perhaps the most central character in Deep Space Nine.
Combs’ only appearance in Star Trek: Voyager came in the season 6 episode “Tsunkatse,” predominantly known as the one where Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson ends up in a violent tussle with Seven of Nine. Penk is another totally reprehensible villain, this time working for the Norcadians as a coordinator for their popular combat sport, the titular Tsunkatse. Penk’s role entails kidnapping aliens of different races and forcing them to fight gladiatorial style on his very own starship, broadcasting the matches to millions of avid viewers like an intergalactic WWE. Penk’s starship proves more than a match for Voyager, but thanks to the assistance of Captain Janeway on the Delta Flyer, Tuvok and Seven are beamed to safety. Presumably, the event continued and Penk ended up in a feud with The Undertaker at Tsunkatsemania.
Following his passing visit to Voyager, Jeffrey Combs soon found his way into Star Trek: Enterprise via season 1’s “The Andorian Incident,” and would feature throughout the show’s entire run in a recurring part. Shran held the role of commander in the Andorian Imperial Guard, and his first meeting with Captain Archer wasn’t especially friendly, with Shran interrogating and torturing the Enterprise Commander. Amends were eventually made, with Shran and Archer forging keen respect for each other that went a long way towards establishing ties between Andor and Earth. Indeed the Andorians had been a famed species in Star Trek canon since the original 1960s series, but Shran marked the first instance one of their kind had been fully explored as a character.
Shran marked a changed of pace for Combs, as the Andorian developed into a more sympathetic figure as Star Trek: Enterprise progressed. If the series hadn’t been canceled, the character was even slated to become one of the regular crew. As a small consolation, Combs reprises the role of Shran for Star Trek Online.
Shran wasn’t Combs’ only appearance in Star Trek: Enterprise; the actor made a one-off guest turn in season 1’s “Acquisition.” Star Trek‘s riff on the Die Hard format, the Enterprise crew are incapacitated by Ferengi space pirates leaving Tucker, who was in a decontamination chamber at the time, in the Bruce Willis role. The Ferengi proceed to loot the Enterprise, and that includes the crew’s female complement. Combs’ Krem is one such pirate and tasked with guarding Captain Archer. Once he regains consciousness, it’s not long before the savvy Archer works out both the Ferengi lust for profit and Krem’s burning resentment of his cousin, another member of the pirate gang. Archer’s influence inspires Krem to make a stand. The ploy fails, but Krem gets a lobe tickling from T’pol and is allowed to go free by Archer, whilst his cousin and companions are detained.
His only original Star Trek video game character, and one of only two official Star Trek roles not in live-action, Combs’ Suldok makes his one and only appearance in the 2003 PC game Star Trek: Elite Force II. Set after the events of Star Trek: Voyager, Suldok is a Romulan Commander and part of the Empty Crown faction – anti-Federation extremists who believe that the Romulan empire is better off as a war-faring and dominant force than part of any galactic cooperation alliance. Suldok aims to take over the entire Romulan empire and is the main villainous presence of Elite Force II. Combs is in good company in the vocal booth, with the likes of Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard) and Tim Russ (Tuvok) both reprising their television roles for the game.
Agimus, The Evil Computer
Jeffrey Combs voices another animated Star Trek character in the series Star Trek: Lower Decks season 2 episode “Where Pleasant Fountains Lie,” as Agimus, an evil computer. As the episode begins, Agimus had enslaved an alien planet but was overthrown and the USS Cerritos is charged with transporting the evil computer to a computer prison at the Daystrom Institute of Advanced Robotics, a well-known location in Star Trek lore going back to Star Trek: The Next Generation and featured in Star Trek: Picard. Of course, the shuttle transporting Agimus crashes, and Combs gets the opportunity to share considerable screen time with main characters Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome) and Brad Boimler (Jack Quaid) as they are stranded on a hostile planet.
Although Combs is no stranger to the lighter side of Star Trek, the role of Agimus seems intentionally calculated to take best advantage of Jeffrey Combs’ comedic ability, and his recognizable fan appeal. Agimus was certainly designed to be the campier side of an evil computer in Star Trek. Visually, Agiums is little more than a common tower PC with a red eye-like light on its front. The humor of the episode comes from how the show leverages Combs’ fan-favorite status and recognizable voice, and offers ample campy lines of dialogue where Agimus threatens to take over the galaxy.
Evil computers have a history going back to Star Trek: The Original Series, and have remained popular in the franchise, one even cropping up once again as Control, the evil AI and main antagonist of season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery. Combs’ Agimus fits comfortably into the case of evil computers in Star Trek, and the ending of “Where Pleasant Fountains Lie” finds Agimus safely interned among many other evil computers at the Daystrom Institute facility, so it’s possible that Combs’ Agimus could return to Lower Decks again someday.
DS9 Holosuite Guest
Admittedly, “unnamed holosuite guest” isn’t going to be a highlight in Jeffrey Combs’ Star Trek career, but it’s still another character to add to the list. In the Deep Space Nine finale, “What We Leave Behind,” the main cast gather in the holosuite to hear the dulcet tones of Vic Fontaine one final time. Among the background faces visible in this scene is one Jeffrey Combs as an ordinary human. The unnamed character has no lines and no details are offered, suggesting the appearance was likely Deep Space Nine‘s way of honoring Combs’ contribution to Star Trek in the show’s swansong.
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