Who is Dr. Kovich in 'Star Trek: Discovery'? The mystery explained

Dr. Kovich, played by David Cronenberg, in Star Trek Discovery.
Dr. Kovich, played by David Cronenberg, in Star Trek: Discovery. (Image credit: Paramount)

With his trademark suit-and-tie an anomaly among the primary-coloured uniforms of the 32nd century, Dr. Kovich always looked like a man out of time. Played by legendary director David Cronenberg — who, like "Star Trek: Discovery" itself, hails from Toronto — Starfleet's biggest enigma has been an unknowable presence at Starfleet headquarters ever since the Disco crew landed in the distant future.

Now, thanks to a major revelation in series finale "Life, Itself", Kovich's true identity is no longer a mystery — in fact, we now know where we've seen him before, and that he's had a significant role to play in the history (and future) or Star Trek. Read on to find out about Kovich's history, but be warned — major spoilers lie ahead. (Check out our Star Trek streaming guide for how to watch nearly every series on Paramount Plus -- except Star Trek: Prodigy, which is on Netflix.)

Paramount+ Essential (ads): $5.99 /mo
Paramount+ with SHOWTIME (no ads): $11.99 /mo

Paramount+ Essential (ads): $5.99 /mo
Paramount+ with SHOWTIME (no ads):
$11.99 /mo

See the enigmatic Dr Kovich's story unfold in Star Trek: Discovery on Paramount+. As the home of Star Trek, signing up means you'll also get access to an enormous library of other Star Trek shows and movies.

Who is Dr. Kovich?

David Cronenberg as Dr. Kovich, a secretive Federation official with immense knowledge and clout. (Image credit: Paramount)

This has always been a mystery, but that appears to be the way he likes it. 

Kovich has been a presence at Federation HQ since the USS Discovery jumped forward to the 32nd century in season 3, yet his exact role in the chain of command has never been clear. So while Admiral Vance is top dog at Starfleet and President Rillak takes responsibility for the Federation as a whole, Kovich appears to follow his own agenda — albeit with the sort of sky-high security clearance that allows him to issue top-secret Red Directives from his very own Infinity Room.

Whatever his actual job description, Kovich's broad skill set takes in medicine, artificial intelligence, interrogation, and a variety of consultancy roles, including helping out at the resurrected Starfleet Academy, and working out how to communicate with the existential threat of Species 10-C. 

What's with the suit and tie?

Kovich is a snappy dresser in the 32nd century. (Image credit: Paramount)

The look may have been out of style in the Alpha Quadrant for centuries, but Kovich has always been a big advocate of 20th/21st century formalwear. The "Discovery" finale revealed, however, that his interest in nostalgia stretches way beyond fashion.

His office is stuffed with artefacts from Starfleet's past, including a bottle of wine from Jean-Luc Picard's vineyard, Geordi La Forge's VISOR, and a baseball which (we're assuming) is the one Captain Sisko kept on his desk in the Deep Space Nine ready room. 

Kovich has also been known to make notes on a 21st century legal pad, and has previously expressed an interest in the history of the Mirror Universe's Terran Empire.

But who is Kovich really?

(Image credit: Paramount)

During the series finale, Kovich tells Captain Burnham — in a typically cryptic manner — that "I've lived many years and many lives". It's all the invitation she needs to ask him outright: "Kovich is a codename, isn't it? Who are you really?"

"My real name is a bit of a Red Directive in and of itself," he admits, before the big reveal: "Agent Daniels, USS Enterprise … and other places. Nice to meet you."

Why is Agent Daniels important in 'Star Trek'?

Agent Daniels, played by Matt Winston, alongside Captain Archer in Star Trek: Enterprise. (Image credit: Paramount)

Daniels was an important character in "Star Trek: Enterprise," where he was played by Matt Winston. 

A temporal agent from the 31st century, Daniels went undercover as a crewman on Captain Jonathan Archer's Enterprise, a century or so before Kirk and Spock's famous five-year-mission. 

Daniels was a soldier in the so-called Temporal Cold War, protecting the timeline from sinister forces out to alter history. But, seeing as all time travel has been made illegal by the 32nd century, we're guessing that Kovich/Daniels prefers to keep the events of his past, present and future lives on a need-to-know basis.

Related: Kirk vs Picard: Who is the best Star Trek captain?

Every episode of 'Star Trek: Discovery' is now available to stream on Paramount Plus. To find out where you can watch all the other Trek shows and movies, head over to our Star Trek streaming guide. 

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

Richard Edwards
Space.com Contributor

Richard's love affair with outer space started when he saw the original "Star Wars" on TV aged four, and he spent much of the ’90s watching "Star Trek”, "Babylon 5” and “The X-Files" with his mum. After studying physics at university, he became a journalist, swapped science fact for science fiction, and hit the jackpot when he joined the team at SFX, the UK's biggest sci-fi and fantasy magazine. He liked it so much he stayed there for 12 years, four of them as editor. 

He's since gone freelance and passes his time writing about "Star Wars", "Star Trek" and superheroes for the likes of SFX, Total Film, TechRadar and GamesRadar+. He has met five Doctors, two Starfleet captains and one Luke Skywalker, and once sat in the cockpit of "Red Dwarf"'s Starbug.