(written from a Production point of view)
Michelle Forbes (born 8 January 1965; age 55) is an actress best known to Star Trek fans for her recurring role as Bajoran Starfleet officer Ro Laren on Star Trek: The Next Generation. She made her first appearance as Ro in the fifth season episode "Ensign Ro", having previously impressed the producers with her brief performance as Dara in the fourth season episode "Half a Life". She played Ro in an additional seven episodes, with the last being seventh season's "Preemptive Strike", in which her character defects to the Maquis.
Forbes filmed her scenes for the episode "Half a Life" on Friday 8 March 1991 on Paramount Stage 8. For her first appearance as Ro Laren in the fifth season episode "Ensign Ro", Forbes filmed her scenes between Monday 29 July 1991 and Tuesday 6 August 1991 on Paramount Stage 8, 9, and 16 and on location at Bronson Canyon. Her make up artist on this episode was June Abston Haymore. For the episode "Disaster", she filmed her scenes between Friday 23 August 1991 and Tuesday 27 August 1991 on Paramount Stage 8. For "Conundrum", Forbes filmed her scenes between Monday 18 November 1991 and Tuesday 26 November 1991 on Paramount Stage 8 and 9. For the following episode "Power Play", Forbes filmed her scenes between Wednesday 27 November 1991 and Wednesday 4 December 1991 and Tuesday 10 December 1991 and Wednesday 11 December 1991 on Paramount Stage 8 and 9. For "Cause and Effect" she was on Paramount Stage 8 on Monday 20 January 1992.
Forbes was later approached to reprise the character of Ro on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but she declined because she did not want a regular television role at the time; Nana Visitor's role of Kira Nerys was scripted as a replacement. Forbes was also offered the chance to return on Star Trek: Voyager, but again turned it down.
Appearances as Ro Laren
Life and career
Born in Austin, Texas, Forbes – originally hoping to become a ballet dancer – began receiving formal acting training at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston. While on vacation in New York City at the age of 16, she found herself auditioning for a film; although it did not pan out, she nevertheless signed with the William Morris Agency and began her professional career in the Big Apple.
In 1987, at the age of 22, she landed the dual roles of Solita Carrera and Sonni Carrera Lewis on the daytime soap opera Guiding Light. She remained with the show for two years, receiving a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for her performance in 1990. She went on to make guest appearances on a few other TV shows (including Father Dowling Mysteries with Natalia Nogulich and Tony Todd) before landing the role of Ensign Ro on Next Generation.
Rather than reprise the role of Ro for Deep Space Nine, Forbes decided to focus on a career in films. She received praise, as well as a Saturn Award nomination from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, for her performance as the victimized girlfriend of The X-Files star David Duchovny in the 1993 thriller Kalifornia. This was followed with the lead female role in the acclaimed 1994 black comedy Swimming with Sharks, as well as supporting roles in such films as The Road Killers (1994, co-starring Christopher McDonald), Just Looking (1995, working alongside Steven Weber), and John Carpenter's 1996 science fiction/action sequel Escape from L.A., the latter of which also featured fellow Trek alumni Shelly Desai and Leland Orser. She also starred with Charles Rocket and Vincent Schiavelli in a 1998 film called Dry Martini. She did continue making occasional appearances on television, however, with guest spots on Seinfeld (starring Jason Alexander) and The Outer Limits.
In 1996, she joined the cast of NBC's popular police drama Homicide: Life on the Street, playing chief medical examiner Julianna Cox. She remained with the show for two years, after which she was let go as part of a major cast overhaul (the series would be canceled after one more season). However, she would reprise the role in the 2000 TV special Homicide: The Movie (which also featured Ed Begley, Jr. and Reg E. Cathey). Also in 2000, Forbes became a regular on an ABC series called , but this show was pulled from the air after only two episodes (six completed episodes never aired).
Forbes was next seen in a recurring role on The District, a police drama whose regular cast includes Roger Aaron Brown. Forbes appeared in the first eight episodes of this series, airing throughout the fall of 2000, with her last episode also guest-starring original Trek series veteran Jeff Corey, with whom she had previously worked in a 1998 episode of Brimstone (along with Tim de Zarn, Lori Petty, and series regular John Glover). She was subsequently given roles in films such as 2001's Perfume (also featuring Paul Sorvino, Robert Joy, and Harris Yulin) and 2002's American Girl, as well as the 2001 British TV miniseries Messiah (for which she learned British Sign Language) and its sequels: Messiah 2: Vengeance is Mine in 2002 and Messiah III in 2003.
During the 2002-2003 TV season, Forbes played the recurring character of Lynne Kresge, the aide to the President of the United States David Palmer, on the second season (2002-2003) of the critically-acclaimed FOX thriller 24. Actor Dennis Haysbert, who played President Palmer, reportedly was a big Star Trek fan and excited to work with her given her history with the show. Her tenure on this program saw her working alongside fellow Trek actors Timothy Carhart, Jude Ciccolella, Penny Johnson, and Harris Yulin. Like Ro Laren, the fate of Forbes' 24 character also remains a mystery. She followed her role on 24 with a guest spot on J.J. Abrams' Alias.
She returned to science fiction in 2006, playing the strong but misguided admiral Helena Cain commanding the Battlestar Pegasus, in three episodes of Ronald D. Moore's re-imagining of the classic sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica on the Sci-Fi Channel. She reprised the role in the Battlestar Galactica TV movie Razor in 2007. For Cain's quarters aboard Pegasus, Moore has stated that he was inspired by the interior decoration of Admiral James T. Kirk's San Francisco apartment as seen in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, as he felt that both characters had a deep sense of history and tradition in common. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (Blu-ray) special feature, "audio commentary") Incidentally, in the original, classic 1978 version of Battlestar Galactica the character of Cain was played by Lloyd Bridges, who was approached by Gene Roddenberry to play the captain of USS Enterprise in what became "The Cage".
In addition, she appeared in the critically acclaimed film Dandelion and lends her voice to the character of Dr. Judith Mossman in the Half-Life 2 video games. More recently, she had a recurring role as Agent Samantha Brinker on the FOX drama Prison Break, working alongside Wade Williams, Rob Knepper, and former Star Trek: Enterprise star John Billingsley. And in December 2006, she became one of the many Star Trek alumni to guest star on Boston Legal, an ABC series starring William Shatner and, at the time, Rene Auberjonois.
In 2008 and 2009, Forbes starred in the HBO drama series In Treatment, portraying the wife (and later ex-wife) of the central character, a psychotherapist played by Gabriel Byrne. She was also seen in the fourth season finale of Lost, the hit ABC drama co-created by J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof. She appeared in the second season of the HBO series True Blood as a Maenad named Maryann; John Billingsley also had a role on this series. In 2010 she received a Saturn Award nomination for "Best Guest Starring Role on Television" for her part in True Blood,  which she lost to fellow Trek actor Leonard Nimoy.  Raymond Cruz was also nominated in this category.
In 2011 Forbes had a starring role as Mitch Larsen in the crime series The Killing along with Trek alumnus Billy Campbell. She also received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her work. She also voiced the character Circe in the video game DC Universe Online along with Wil Wheaton and Dwight Schultz and portrayed Billy Burke's screen wife Sylvia Howard in the comedy Highland Park (2011, with Bob Gunton and John Carroll Lynch). Most recently, she appeared as Lieutenant Jackson in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.
During the second season of NBC's Chicago Fire in 2013, Forbes played the recurring role of cutthroat financial consultant Gail McLeod. During her time on the series, she worked with Mike Starr beginning in "Defcon 1", followed by "A Power Move" and "Joyriding".