Star Trek: Picard’s Most Wasted Character Is In Season 3, But You Probably Don’t Remember

Orla Brady's Laris is the most underutilized character in the entire run of Star Trek: Picard.

By Michileen Martin | Updated

star trek picard laris

There are few who would disagree that Star Trek: Picard has been wildly uneven in terms of quality, and perhaps the biggest downside of the wild peaks and valleys is that certain elements of the previous season that were actually good have been forgotten. Case in point: of all the characters introduced in the first two seasons of Star Trek: Picard, few have proven as intriguing as Orla Brady’s Laris. From start to finish, she has been and will remain the most wasted character in the series.

When the Star Trek: Picard series premiere introduces us to Laris and her husband Zhaban (Jamie McShane), it’s as the titular admiral’s housekeepers. It’s immediately apparent — before we know anything about the supernova or the doomed Romulan exodus — that these two aren’t just expatriates who needed jobs. Brady, in particular, commands a powerful presence as Laris, and both appear to be capable of much more than cleaning Picard’s dishes and making his appointments.

Laris and Zhaban, we learn, are former Tal Shiar — the feared covert agency of the Romulan Empire. The pair of them met Picard before Starfleet ended the relocation of Romulus, creating a powerful bond with the former Enterprise captain. They are both fiercely protective of their employer and friend, particularly Laris.

star trek picard laris
Jamie McShane as Zhaban and Orla Brady as Laris in Star Trek: Picard

So let’s review: Star Trek: Picard gives us Laris, a former secret agent in what is traditionally portrayed in Trek as one of the most merciless covert organizations in the galaxy. Not only that, but she’s a Romulan, and Romulans aren’t known for their warm and fuzzy feelings toward the Federation in general and humans in particular.

In spite of this, this Romulan Tal Shiar agent — who, if things had worked out differently, could very well have found herself torturing Picard or someone working for him for information — dedicates her life to working as a servant for a high-ranking legend from the military organization she had once been sworn to oppose.

And you don’t give us more? Everything about this character, including the actress who plays her, is bursting with potential, but she’s only in three episodes of the first season, two episodes of the second, and so far a single episode in the final season. She’s shoved to the side in favor of a bunch of characters so compelling that the second season seemed designed mainly to get rid of them all.

Between the first two seasons of Star Trek: Picard, Zhaban dies off-screen; opening up the possibility of a romance between Laris and Picard. Season 2 brings Picard and his allies to the 21st century where Orla Brady (The Foreigner) is waiting for them, but not as Laris. Instead, she plays Tallinn, a Supervisor from the Travelers who are charged with guarding the integrity of the timeline.

star trek picard laris
Orla Brady as Tallinn in Star Trek: Picard

So, finally Brady gets a significant amount of time in the series, but as a completely different and much less interesting character who doesn’t survive the season.

By the beginning of the current season of Star Trek: Picard, the romance between Laris and Picard is in full bloom, with the pair planning to move together to Chaltok IV before the admiral receives Beverly Crusher’s (Gates McFadden) plea for help. That was in the Season 3 premiere, she hasn’t been seen since, and if she’s seen again it likely won’t be until the season finale.

Why couldn’t Star Trek: Picard bring Laris along on the titular hero’s final adventure? Sure, the TNG crew want their time on screen, but it isn’t as if they aren’t being forced to share time with brand new characters like Todd Stashwick‘s Captain Shaw and Ed Speleers’ Jack Crusher. I’d be willing to settle for fewer flirtations between Jack and Sydney La Forge (Ashleigh Sharpe Chestnut) if it meant getting more Laris.

Hell, even though I’m one of the many fans pledging their loyalty to Captain “Dipsh-t From Chicago” Shaw, I’d be willing to sacrifice a few of his cherry insults if it meant more Star Trek: Picard time for Laris.

Well, it’s just crying over spilled Romulan Ale at this point. Whatever time we have left with this underused character, it will come over the next two weeks on Paramount+.

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