20 Star Trek Women You Should Know

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Suzie Plakson as K’ehleyr (Image via Paramount/CBS)

13. K’ehleyr (The Next Generation)

Picking K’ehleyr is, admittedly, a bit of a deep cut. It’s also a choice that goes a little against my intentions in assembling this list. Let me explain.

So, let’s just get the spoilers out of the way. K’ehleyr dies. Gruesomely. Specifically, she dies as a kind of plot device, a way for Worf (the grumpy Klingon security officer) to gain motivation. She gets fridged.

Now, normally, this would put a character off limits. Who wants to laud a female character that’s killed off only so a male character can find himself through tragedy? That said, while she was alive, K’ehleyr was too awesome not to include.

As played by Susie Plakson, K’ehleyr is intelligent, strong, and highly independent. The daughter of Klingon and Human parents, she feels caught between the two dramatically different cultures. As much as that might get to her, however, K’ehleyr doesn’t let that slow her down. When first introduced in The Next Generation, she’s a special emissary sent to the Enterprise to defuse a tense Klingon-Human confrontation. She also rekindles an old romance with security chief Worf. Despite the temptation to stay, she peaces out at the end of the episode of her own accord.

She returns later to arbitrate a succession crises within the Klingon Empire. She also reveals that she maybe-kind-of had a son with Worf that she never told him about. Admittedly, not a cool move. Still, she admits her wrongdoing and expresses a desire to get back with Worf. Cool, right? Except for the part where she gets fridged at the end of the episode.

Despite her lamely written end, K’ehleyr remains one of the most confident and interesting characters on this list. I only wish we had gotten more time with her.