- Reveal character
- Advance the Plot
I'm halfway through the last season of Voyager, and I know the following things about Chakotay, the second in command:
- Native American
- Used to resent his Native American-ness, but now embraces it just enough to be silly
- Used to be a boxer, briefly.
- He was in the Maquis (A resistance group that opposed both Star Fleet and the Cardassian Empire)
Note, I have no idea why he was a boxer, or why he joined the Maquis, or what made him change his mind about being Native American.
For a well fleshed out character, you could imagine what he would do if he was in a new situation. All I can imagine Chakotay doing is standing around waiting for input from another character. I've heard that the actor playing Chakotay was unsatisfied with his character, and did a lazy job because he didn't care. This is entirely possible, but even if he acted his heart out, you can't do anything with a character that's less fleshed out than Checkov.
PS. I only got the idea for this after watching some clips of DS9 again. Now there's a show with character! Quark, a character who almost never is driving the central plot of an episode, is far better fleshed out than anyone on Voyager.