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Farrell the `Trill' sheds `Star Trek'

by Allan Johnson
Chicago Tribune

Thousands of "Star Trek" fans will be in mourning -- one of their heroes is leaving the enduring science-fiction franchise's universe.

But don't shed any tears for Terry Farrell of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine." She's not.
Farrell plays Jadzia Dax, the alien "Trill" whose female body is the host for a wormlike "symbiont" that has lived for 300 years and carries the essence of all of its previous hosts -- including the last, a male. So Farrell basically played a woman whose immediate past life was lived as a man. That made for some gender-bending moments during her six seasons on the Federation space station Deep Space Nine.

Farrell's last episode on "Deep Space Nine" will air in Philadelphia at 10 tonight and again at 8 Sunday evening on Channel 57. We don't want to give away what happens on the season finale. Let's just say Dax gets the short end of an encounter with an intruder.

It didn't take Farrell long to find another job, however. She has a co-starring role in "Becker," a CBS series starring Ted Danson ("Cheers") as a crusty but brilliant doctor. The show is tabbed as a midseason replacement series. Farrell plays the owner of a diner Becker frequents.
Farrell decided before the 1997-98 season began that she would depart "Deep Space Nine" after her contract was up..

"I needed to do something different after six years," Farrell says.

Farrell will miss the crew and cast, especially good friend Michael Dorn, who played Dax's husband Worf, the Klingon Starfleet officer and former "Star Trek: The Next Generation" character.

"I loved that there was this love story between these two people that you'd never think in a million years really belong together," Farrell says.

Farrell also will miss some of the intelligent storylines she's been in, including one where her previous male incarnation encountered his ex-wife, resulting in a controversial kiss between Farrell and actress Susanna Thompson.

"It was nice having something that I thought was a positive social message about love and same sex," she says, "and how it matters who you are and what you're about, rather than what you look like and what other people think of you."

"I'm 34 years old and honestly, women don't have as long of a career in this industry as men do. If I don't take the chance to make it so that I have a career, rather than just being a working actress, if I don't take that shot now, when is it going to happen?"

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