Chicago Tribune
January 3, 2000
By Allan Johnson 
Tribune Television Writer
Kate Mulgrew looks pretty happy in the picture accompanying this column, doesn't she?

"That's what married life has done to me," she says. "It's freed me."

The star of UPN's "Star Trek: Voyager" married Cleveland politician Tim Hagan last April, and as a result, "I find myself in a state of bewildered joy."

Mulgrew experienced so much joy that almost a year ago she considered not returning to "Voyager" as starship captain Kathryn Janeway.

Obviously that did not happen, and the 44-year-old native of Dubuque now says "there was never any question that I would come back this season." Mulgrew says it was the seventh and final year that was in question; her contract was for six seasons.

But Mulgrew, an actor for close to 30 years, says she'll sit in that big chair on the bridge of the Federation starship Voyager in season seven "with bells on."

"We all get weary sometimes," Mulgrew explains of her brief desire to quit. "Indeed, I was missing my (teenage) children, and feeling a rather intense pull about my marriage. But you know, when you connect to something like this, and when you're in the driver's seat -- and I'm the captain -- it's got to be seen through. It's got to be fully realized, or I simply will not have done the job well.

"And if there's one thing I'm damned determined to do, it's to put in these seven years and walk away from that soundstage saying my allegiance was complete to this woman and this idea. So we'll all go home together . . . or wherever they have us going."

Where the crew of Voyager is hoping to go is back to Earth, an intriguing notion since the entire premise of "Voyager" is the crew's exploration of new life forms while searching for a way home, which is millions of light-years away.

Mulgrew says if the crew finally makes it back to Earth at the end of this season "it could open up so many opportunities" for the show's final year.

"What happens when they get back to the Federation? What happens to the Maquis (the crew members on board who represent a renegade faction of Starfleet)? What happens to somebody like Seven (of Nine, the half-Borg half-human played by Jeri Ryan)? And where does the captain find herself in the middle of all of this?"

But whether Voyager makes it back to the Alpha Quadrant at the end of this season or at the series' end, Mulgrew thinks that "sooner or later -- and this is both sentimental and also very genuine -- they should get home. It's been (Janeway's) M.O. from the beginning. I'd like to see that realized."