|Star Trek character|
|First appearance||"Emissary" (1993)|
|Last appearance||Star Trek Online (2018)|
|Portrayed by||Nana Visitor|
|Posting||Deep Space Nine|
Second Officer USS Defiant
|Rank||Colonel (Bajoran Militia)|
Major (Bajoran Militia)
|Partner||Bareil Antos, Shakaar Edon, Odo|
Per Bajoran custom, her family name, Kira, precedes her given name, Nerys. She has two brothers (Kira Reon and Kira Pohl), and her parents' names are Kira Taban (played by Thomas Kopache throughout the series) and Kira Meru (played by Leslie Hope in "Wrongs Darker than Death or Night").
The backstory of the character states that Kira Nerys was born 2343, in Dakhur province, Bajor, during the 50-year Cardassian occupation of the planet. She was raised in a labor camp. Her family were members of the artisan caste, namely sculptors of clay, or potters. At age 13, Kira was recruited into the Shakaar resistance cell, part of an underground movement which carried out guerrilla attacks against Cardassian military and civilians with the ultimate goal of ending the occupation.
Kira is assigned as the senior Bajoran Militia officer aboard Deep Space Nine, acting as the station's executive officer under the Starfleet commander Benjamin Sisko, who commands the facility. In the early episodes of the series after Cardassia's withdrawal from Bajor, the recently ranked Major Kira, now age 26, becomes an influential figure in Bajor's reconstruction and the politics of the region, due to her assignment to Deep Space Nine, and her closeness to Benjamin Sisko, whom the Bajorans believe to be an emissary from the Bajoran Prophets.
Initially, Kira is opposed to the Federation presence on DS9, feeling that the Bajoran people should have nothing to do with the Federation as Bajor has just endured a 50-year occupation by the Cardassians and Bajor needs to be able to stand on its own two feet. Over time, her sentiments change and she becomes one of the strongest supporters of Bajor joining the Federation and an essential ally to Benjamin Sisko. Kira also grapples with increasingly nuanced religious belief; she must balance a strong faith in the Prophets with her contempt for the treacherous, opportunistic, and arrogant Bajoran religious leader Winn Adami.
As a member of the Bajoran Militia, Kira is an invaluable help to Starfleet in its mission on DS9. She often commands Starfleet personnel directly through her authority as DS9's executive officer. In the third season of the show, she also serves as the first officer of the Defiant, a Starfleet warship based at DS9, until Lt. Commander Worf assumes the role in the fourth season. When the Dominion recaptures Deep Space Nine at the start of the Dominion War, at the end of the fifth season, Kira remains aboard the station as liaison officer, as a result of Bajor's non-aggression pact with the Dominion. Her role allows her to organize a resistance cell whose actions are instrumental in allowing Starfleet to retake Deep Space Nine.
During the seventh and final season, Kira is promoted to Colonel within the Bajoran Militia and temporarily commissioned as a Commander by Starfleet. She plays a significant role in helping the Cardassian Resistance wage a war of independence against the Dominion, infiltrating Cardassia itself to teach Damar the tactics of organizing a resistance movement with a decentralized command. At the conclusion of the war (and the end of the series), Kira takes command of DS9 after the disappearance of Sisko.
Kira becomes romantically involved with Bareil Antos, a prominent Bajoran vedek (cleric). Following his death, she later becomes involved with Shakaar Edon, a former resistance leader during the Cardassian occupation, who later becomes Bajor's First Minister. After a couple of years, the couple decide to end their relationship. Kira then forms a romantic relationship with the shapeshifter Odo, who had pined after her for years, though this too ends when Odo rejoins his people in the Gamma Quadrant at the conclusion of the series.
Kira also becomes the surrogate mother to Kirayoshi O'Brien, the then-unborn child of Chief Engineer Miles O'Brien and his wife Keiko. When the pregnant Keiko was injured in a shuttle accident, Dr Julian Bashir saves the fetus by transporting it into Kira's womb. Kira continues to carry the fetus until birth, essentially becoming a part of the O'Brien family.
In the licensed Star Trek novels (which are not considered canonical by Paramount), following the conclusion of the television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Kira Nerys takes charge of the Deep Space Nine space station as its permanent commanding officer. With the conclusion of the first wave of Deep Space Nine novels in Unity, Bajor finally joins the Federation, and Kira is given the Starfleet rank of Captain. Kira opens every Bajoran Orb simultaneously in a sacred place in order to defeat a monstrous enemy. This also causes the return of Benjamin Sisko from the Celestial Temple to the corporeal world.
In the 2019 documentary What We Left Behind, former showrunner Ira Steven Behr and several former writers of the series participated in a "what-if" planning session for an eighth season, where Kira has resigned from Starfleet and the Bajoran Militia and is a vedek in the Bajoran religious order.
The character of Kira Nerys also exists in the Mirror Universe. In the DS9 episode "Crossover", Kira encounters her mirror self, who is the cruel, powerful Intendant of the station (still called Terok Nor), with Elim Garak as her first officer. Kira convinces the mirror-Sisko to rebel against the Intendant-Kira and start the Terran Resistance. This group is later successful in taking command of Terok Nor and capturing the Intendant, but she manages to escape with the help of mirror-Nog. Eventually, the escaped Intendant convinces the alternate universe's Bareil Antos to travel to the regular universe in order to obtain an Orb of the Prophets. The mirror Kira falls in love with her double from the other universe. At the time, Nana Visitor dismissed the idea of her character being bisexual, saying that she intended to portray this as "total narcissism on her part. It had nothing to do with sexuality". However, later episodes continued to show her surrounded by a mixed-gender harem, and eventually depicted her being in a romantic relationship with her universe's version of Ezri Tigan.
In the early stages of planning Deep Space Nine, the series' creators wanted to bring in the Bajoran character Ensign Ro Laren, who was a recurring character in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Michelle Forbes, who had portrayed Ensign Ro, turned down the offer, so a new Bajoran character was created instead. Nana Visitor had just given birth to a baby boy mere months before she was called to audition for the role of Kira Nerys, and her becoming a mother actually shaped her decision process for accepting or turning down roles. With the character of Kira Nerys, Visitor felt "completely engaged on every level by the part".
Visitor almost turned down the role, as her manager told her "you will kill your career if you do this job." Visitor said, "By the end of the call, he had convinced me that I did want to be a part of it whether it impacted the rest of my career or not. When I read the script, I thought, ‘That's a man's role. That's not for me.' Yet it was all I wanted to do. I hated every part that I had to play where I was chastising a husband or getting upset about the carpet. And I did a lot of those. Any time I could get my teeth into something, that was my flow state. That's why I was an actor. Major Kira was like Disneyland for an actor."
An article in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis finds the character of Kira "emotionally difficult". In Star Trek and Sacred Ground: Explorations of Star Trek, Religion, and American Culture, it is noted that Kira was not shown worshipping privately until the 1997 episode "Ties of Blood and Water". On the 25th anniversary of DS9 in 2018, Daniel Holloway and Joe Otterson discussed the character at length saying, "Fan reception to the character, and to the show as a whole, ran hot and cold. Previous female "Star Trek" characters had been helpmates—a switchboard operator (Lt. Uhura in the original series), a therapist (Counselor Troi in Next Generation), a healer (Dr. Crusher in The Next Generation). None had been a war veteran with emotional skeletons. Visitor said, "Some people in the ‘Star Trek' world were like, 'That's not what a woman in "Star Trek" should be. That's the wrong thing to be teaching. But what I saw her as was a woman of appetite and gray area—lots of gray area. Very fallible, but growing and trying. And that's all over television now." Holloway and Otterson suggested the character was a precursor to Michael Burnham on Star Trek: Discovery.
In 2016, ScreenRant rated Kira Nerys as the fourth-best character in Star Trek overall. In 2018, TheWrap rated Kira as the tenth-best character of Star Trek overall, noting her role in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The Hollywood Reporter noted the character's role in the season one episode "Duet" which they ranked as the 7th-best episode of series; Nana Visitor, who played Kira, praised the episode's writing.
In 2009, IGN ranked Kira as the 11th-best character of Star Trek overall. In 2018, CBR ranked Kira as the 11th-best Starfleet character of Star Trek. They elaborate that Kira in the show is not actually part of Starfleet until the last episode, in that brief time she has a big impact on the Dominion war. In 2018, TheWrap placed Kira as 10th out 39 in a ranking of main cast characters of the Star Trek franchise prior to Star Trek: Discovery.
- Reeves-Stevens, Judith & Reeves-Stevens, Garfield (1994). The Making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Pocket Books. p. 105. ISBN 0-671-87430-6.
- Shapiro, Marc (September 1995). "Mother with a Mission". Star Trek Monthly. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved August 31, 2007.
- Holloway, Daniel (January 3, 2018). "'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' at 25: Through the Wormhole With the Cast and Creators". Variety.
- Forest, David V. (2005). "Consulting to Star Trek: To Boldly Go Into Dynamic Neuropsychiatry". Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis. 33 (1): 71–82. ISSN 0090-3604.
- Porter, Jennifer E. & McLaren, Darcee L., eds. (1999). Star Trek and Sacred Ground: Explorations of Star Trek, Religion, and American Culture. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. ISBN 9780585291901.
- "Top 25 Star Trek Characters". IGN. 2009-05-08. Retrieved 2019-03-20.
- "Star Trek: The 25 Best Members Of Starfleet, Ranked". CBR. 2018-10-27. Retrieved 2019-06-20.
- "All 39 'Star Trek' Main Characters Ranked". TheWrap. 2018-03-21. Retrieved 2019-06-22.[verification needed]
- McMillan, Graeme (2016-09-05). "Star Trek's 100 Most Important Crew Members, Ranked". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2019-03-20.