Star Trek fans will likely recognize Michelle Forbes as Ensign (and later Lieutenant) Ro Laren from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The character first appeared in Season 5’s Ensign Ro, in which the crew of the Enterprise are tasked with capturing a Bajoran terrorist responsible for an attack on the Federation. As a Bajoran, Ro is assigned to the Enterprise to help the crew capture the terrorist named Orta.
Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) is initially reluctant to take Ro on board. She was previously court-martialled and sentenced to prison for her conduct during an away mission – her actions resulting in the deaths of her teammates. However, Ro quickly proves himself to Picard and becomes a valuable member of the Enterprise crew. That’s why Picard takes it so personally when she decides to leave Starfleet to join the Maquis, a rebel group fighting the Cardassian occupation. It’s a cause close to her heart, though she expresses regret for betraying Picard’s trust.
Forbes was supposed to be involved with the next Star Trek series, Deep Space Nine, but she declined to return. “If I had done ‘DS9,’ I might not have had the diversity that I’ve had in my career,” she told TV Zone magazine (via TrekToday). “That’s not to say I wasn’t grateful for the opportunity; I really was. However, I had to make a decision that felt right to me, which was a difficult one.”