The Star Trek: Voyager episode “Mortal Coil” put Neelix through quite a bit of trauma, but it wasn’t originally about him.
In the fourth season episode, “Mortal Coil,” the series tackled the topic of death and the afterlife with Neelix being killed on an away mission. He’s brought back to life with help from Seven of Nine, but after nineteen hours of being dead, he’s devastated that he didn’t go to the Afterlife Talaxians believed in.
While this was a powerful episode for Neelix and tackled heavy topics, including attempted suicide, originally the pitch for this episode, from freelancer Kathy Hankinson, involved a death fetishist who tricks the Doctor into constantly killing and reviving them throughout the episode. That idea was nixed, but Rick Berman and his team were intrigued with the idea of exploring a death episode, according to Whatculture. So a different story was devised.
Star Trek: Voyager almost put little Naomi Wildman in peril…from her own mother.
The creative minds put their heads together and came up with the death of Ensign Samantha Wildman. She would be killed on an away mission, and the Borg technology eventually used by Seven of Nine for Neelix would be used to bring back Ensign Wildman. But her revival is much more frightful than Neelix’s.
In the premise, Ensign Wildman was a much darker version of herself, being more connected to death, which basically meant she wasn’t fit to be alive. Her daughter, Naomi, was her only connection to life, but that didn’t please the ensign. Instead, she tried to kill her, essentially to extinguish even the tiniest bit of light. The writers were excited about the idea. Rick Berman and the studio weren’t as they had reservations about a mother trying to kill her child. So, after a few more bumps along the way, the story went to Neelix.
While I understand Berman not wanting to focus on Ensign Wildman trying to kill her daughter, I think if they’d turned Wildman’s focus onto another member of the ship, this could have been a powerful episode as well. Wildman wasn’t a main character, and there could have been many follow-up stories, especially if Neelix had taken over as Naomi’s guardian. That could have possibly given him some better storylines as well.