Gul Madred is a villainous Cardassian in the Star Trek universe. He appeared in the Star Trek: The Next Generation two-part episode "Chain of Command".
He was portrayed by David Warner, who also played Admiral Towlyn in the Wing Commander film.
As a child, Madred was a homeless and starving resident of the city of Lakat on Cardassia. Finding some taspar eggs, he starting eating the eggs before an older boy found him and took the eggs, breaking one of Madred's arms in the process. Later, Madred joined the Cardassian military and came to see them as the saviors of the Cardassian people since the military helped eliminate the rampant poverty on Cardassia.
In 2369, the Cardassian military decided to capture Captain Jean-Luc Picard in order to uncover Starfleet's plans regarding the defense of Minos Korva. They manufactured evidence that they were building a metagenic weapon capable of being transmitted via theta-band subspace carrier waves on Celtris III; the ruse was successful. As Picard was the only active Starfleet captain with experience in theta-band carrier waves, Starfleet sent him to Celtris III while putting Captain Edward Jelico in command of the USS Enterprise-D. Soon after arriving on Celtris III, Picard was captured by the Cardassians.
Madred then went to work on Picard. He had a device implanted in Picard that he could use to inflict pain on the captain, then used drugs to attempt to uncover the plans. Madred then used torture, utilizing methods designed to strip Picard of his individuality by denying him clothing and referring to Picard simply as "human." He then would shine four bright lights in Picard's face and tell Picard that there were five lights. Throughout the process, Picard refused to say that there were anything other than four lights, for which Madred inflicted pain on him. Madred even allowed his daughter Jil Orra to witness his work activities, mocking humans in her presence as being uncaring of their children.
The Enterprise crew figured out what the Cardassians were truly up to and were able to force the invasion force heading for Minos Kova to abandon their plans. Jellico demanded the return of Picard, to which the Cardassians agreed. Madred, however, attempted one final session with Picard to see if he could break his will. Again, he shined the four lights in Picard's face and tried to get Picard to say there were five lights. Picard hesitated when answering Madred's questions. Gul Lemec then came in and ordered Picard's immediate release. Before leaving Madred's presence, Picard yelled "THERE...ARE...FOUR LIGHTS!" at Madred.
An exhausted Picard was transported back to the Enterprise, resuming command of the ship. He admitted to Counselor Deanna Troi that, while Madred didn't break him, he had come close to doing so, and that, for a few seconds, he thought he actually saw five lights.
Afterwards the Central Command distanced itself from Madred, and he fell out of favor. Madred's daughter Jil Orra later turned against him for his torture of Picard and other individuals.
By 2409, Madred was a leader in the True Way movement, a Cardassian terrorist movement determined to return Cardassia to the old ways before the Dominion took over.