Jeffrey Combs is one of the most versatile actors in the Star Trek universe. Though he was never included in the main cast of a Star Trek series, he played two major recurring characters in the franchise. He also appeared several times in smaller guest roles. In total, Combs played eight different characters in three different Star Trek series. Twice, he even played two characters in a single episode!
Here’s a look at all the different faces, alien and human, of the incomparable Combs.
Combs’ first appearance in the Star Trek universe was in the third season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9). In the episode “Meridian,” Combs played an alien named Tiron, one of Quark’s recurring customers. He was so wealthy that he could afford to commission a custom holosuite program from Quark. Tiron requested that the main character in the program, the love interest, be a hologram of Kira Nerys, a Bajoran colonel aboard Deep Space Nine.
Tiron attempted to court Nerys in real life, but after she brushed him off, he decided to live out his fantasies in the holosuite. When Nerys found out about Tiron’s plans, she secretly edited the holoprogram to get back at him. He was quite upset when his fantasy program included a hologram of Quark’s head on Nerys’ body.
Later that season, Combs was back on the set of DS9, portraying a brand new character, the Ferengi auditor Brunt. The character became Combs’ first recurring role in the series. He went on to portray Brunt in seven more episodes of DS9.
The character first appeared in the third season episode, “Family Business.” Quark and Rom traveled to the Ferengi homeworld to see their mother. While there, they discovered that she was running a business, which was strictly forbidden by Ferengi law. Brunt was the auditor assigned to investigate their mother’s illegal commercial activities.
Brunt was later sent to DS9 several times to investigate Quark’s business dealings. He held a major grudge against Quark’s family for their unconventional ways and their insider status with the Grand Nagus, the head of the Ferengi empire. At one point, Brunt became acting Grand Nagus himself, only to be dethroned by Quark’s family.
Combs’ first major role in the Star Trek universe was Weyoun, the Vorta representative for The Dominion. For most Star Trek fans, this is Combs’ most recognizable role, as it was his largest in the franchise. He played Weyoun in 24 episodes of DS9.
Weyoun’s species, the Vorta, were genetically engineered clones created by the changeling species known as the Founders. The Vorta’s sole purpose was to serve the Founders and the organization they created. Each Vorta individual was actually a clone made from a genetic model, so there were multiple copies of each Vorta individual. There were at least eight copies of Weyoun, and the crew of Deep Space Nine interacted with four of the clones.
The fifth Weyoun clone was a major player in the Dominion. He commanded all the Dominion’s operations in the Alpha Quadrant. He was also the liaison to the Cardassian government, which meant that he interacted with the key players on both sides of the Dominion War regularly. Weyoun 5 helped Gul Dukat rise to power in the Cardassian government and controlled the Dominion’s affairs on Deep Space Nine when it was retaken by the Cardassians.
Later Weyoun clones were major players in the Dominion War as well. However, one clone, Weyoun 6, took a very different path. Due to an unforeseen genetic defect, he developed the free will to defy the Dominion and he defected.
The final Weyoun clone in DS9 was killed by Garak when the Dominion’s headquarters were invaded.
Officer Kevin Mulkahey
Star Trek fans got to see Combs out of his makeup for the first time ever in the DS9 episode “Far Beyond the Stars.” In that episode, DS9’s Captain Benjamin Sisko had an immersive vision in which he and the core people in his life were living in the 1950s. Sisko and the bridge crew of DS9 were all writers for a science-fiction magazine. Other characters from the show appeared in his vision as well, including Gul Dukat and Weyoun.
The DS9 villains were villains in the vision as well. The pair played racist cops from the New York City police department who repeatedly hassled Sisko’s character in the vision, Benny Russell. Toward the end of the vision, Mulkahey and his partner attacked Russell at a crime scene, brutally beating him.
Patron in Vic’s Las Vegas Lounge
In the very last episode of DS9, Combs made a quick out of makeup appearance as a patron at Vic’s Las Vegas Lounge. The holosuite program was a favorite of the DS9 crew, and they often visited to live out their wildest dreams.
In the series finale, “What You Leave Behind,” Vic put together a special performance for the crew to celebrate the end of the Dominion War. This was one of the last times the entire crew gathered together as they were all headed off to different assignments.
Sharp-eyed fans can catch a glimpse of Combs sitting at one of the tables in the background of the scene. This role was uncredited, though, so many don’t consider it one of Combs’ official Star Trek credits.
Combs only made one appearance in Star Trek: Voyager. In the episode “Tsunkatse,” he played Penk, the organizer of an alien fight club. When Seven of Nine and Tuvok were captured during an away mission, Seven was forced to fight in a gladiatorial competition.
Penk told Seven that he wouldn’t give Tuvok lifesaving medical care unless she agreed to fight, so she did. Her opponent happened to be an alien played by none other than WWE wrestling star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Combs came back to the Star Trek universe for his second-biggest role in the first season of Star Trek: Enterprise. The seventh episode of the season, “The Andorian Incident,” introduced fans to General Thy’lek Shran, a commander in the Andorian Imperial Guard.
During the time period of Enterprise, the Andorians were an aggressively xenophobic species. They were always on the edge of all-out war with the Vulcans and the Tellarites, and they avoided other species whenever they could.
However, when Captain Jonathan Archer helped expose a secret operation by the Vulcans to surveil the Andorians, the crew of the Enterprise became dubious allies of Shran’s. The alliance was betrayed a few times by either side, but eventually, Shran and Archer became friends.
Their friendship led to better relations between Earth and the Andorians, which led Andoria to become a founding member of the Federation.
Combs made one non-Shran appearance in Enterprise. In the episode “Acquisition,” Combs played a Ferengi named Krem, the cousin of another Ferengi named Ulis. The Ferengi crew boarded the Enterprise to loot the ship, a common Ferengi practice. Technically, this is the first time that the Ferengi had contact with humans, but that fact was carefully avoided in the episode. The official “first contact” between the Federation and Ferengis was in Star Trek: The Next Generation, which was set centuries after Enterprise.
Krem was viewed by his crewmates as the weakest link, and Archer used this fact to manipulate him. He convinced Krem to stand up to his cousin and try to take over the heist of the Enterprise. Unfortunately, Krem lost his nerve.
Once Archer, Tucker and T’Pol succeeded in disabling all of the Ferengi except Krem, Archer told Krem he could now command his cousin’s vessel. He made Krem promise never to come back to that sector of space, essentially explaining why it took the Federation so long to encounter the Ferengi again.
Combs’ considerable talent made him an integral part of both DS9 and Enterprise, a fact that has made him a fan-favorite Star Trek actor for many years.