Star Trek: Deep Space Nine debuted Second Skin in October of 1994
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was well-known for its thought-provoking, deeply emotional storylines. When they got it right, they got it right, and writers did that with “Second Skin,” the fifth episode of the third season of the series. Major Kira (Nana Visitor) went through hell both before and after her time on the space station. This episode didn’t make things easier for her as she wakes up to discover her face has been surgically altered to appear as though she is a Cardassian.
Throughout the episode, Legate Tekeny Ghemor attempts to convince Kira that she is his daughter, Iliana, who was a sleeper agent embedded in Bajor for a long-term covert mission. Kira doesn’t buy it, and Ghemor plays the appropriately distraught father whose daughter doesn’t remember him.
Second Skin was originally going to leave Major Kira with a lingering question
According to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 3 DVD Special Features, the writer of this episode, Robert Hewitt Wolfe, originally wanted to leave Kira’s identity open-ended by having Dr. Bashir tell her that he couldn’t confirm or deny whether she was Cardassian. Wolfe thought it would be a great way to have Kira focus on who her identity is not who she was.
"“She has been Kira Nerys. She may be the real Kira Nerys, she may be a replacement, but she’s Kira Nerys now, and it doesn’t really matter. Your identity is who you are, it doesn’t matter how you get there, it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or a lie, if you’ve lived it long enough, it’s true.”"
Thankfully, this idea wasn’t carried through. Kira had been through quite enough without discovering she was a member of an alien race she only remembered hating. To subject her (and the viewers) through the additional torment of trying to come to terms with who and what she was would have been an extra dose of cruelty Kira didn’t deserve. In addition, this episode is one of the best of Deep Space Nine and stands quite well without that additional dose of angst.