When magic came to Storybrooke at the conclusion of Once Upon a Time's freshman season, there were high hopes for wolf-shifting Ruby (a.k.a. Little Red Riding Hood) and the troubled character's portrayer, Meghan Ory. The Canadian actress was upgraded to series regular for Season 2 and Ruby's back story was the focus of a November episode. Who knew that would turn out to be the character's last significant onscreen appearance? Certainly not Ory, who ultimately got her happily ever after by bolting from Storybrooke to co-star opposite Josh Holloway and Marg Helgenberger in CBS's new sci-fi fall drama, Intelligence.
TV Guide Magazine: Meghan, this sudden show change-a-roo comes as quite a shock to fans, but I suspected something was up when Ruby was missing completely from Once's finale.
Meghan Ory: Yes, I think most people were a little taken aback by this little secret surprise.
TV Guide Magazine: How did it come about?
Ory: It was all very crazy and serendipitous. I was under contract for Once, but there have been so many new characters this year that the storyline [executive producers] Eddy [Kitsis] and Adam [Horowitz] wanted to do with Ruby ended up not being able to happen because they decided to take the show in a different way. They are so brilliant, so when they were inspired they had to follow their amazing idea for what they wanted to do with Neverland. I hadn't been in a few episodes — my last was when everyone came back from New York — so I talked to the boys and asked them, 'What's going on? Is everything okay?' And they said, 'We love you, but we have this story that's so huge we don't know where we're going to put you at this moment.' So I said, 'Maybe I should look elsewhere?'
TV Guide Magazine: At the start of the season, it seemed as though Ruby in wolf form was going to end up as either a pawn of the Queen or Mr. Gold.
Ory: I think that may have been an idea at one point, but the [Neverland] story took on a life of its own, and you can only tell so many stories. Originally, Josh [Dallas, who plays David] and I were going to be together longer in Storybrooke, but I think they decided to bring the girls back sooner from Fairytale Land.
TV Guide Magazine: So how did Intelligence come about?
Ory: My agents spoke with the [Once] producers, who said, 'If she wants to go look for something, that's fine.' My team told me about this pilot that was shooting in Vancouver, but I was at my grandmother's funeral so I couldn't go test for it. I couldn't leave my family, so I said no. They ended up testing me at the cast table read with Josh [Holloway] and everyone. Afterwards, I waited outside and they said, 'So you want to do the show?' We started shooting three days later. I ended up calling Eddy and Adam to tell them how thankful I was for the huge opportunity they gave me, and they were thrilled for me. Eddy said, 'You've gone from protecting Snow White to protecting Josh.'
TV Guide Magazine: And ABC was cool with you going over to CBS?
Ory: Intelligence is on CBS but it's from ABC Studios, so they were happy to have me under another banner at ABC. And I still may possibly be doing more episodes of Once Upon A Time.
TV Guide Magazine: Describe your new Intelligence character.
Ory: Her name is Riley Neal. She's super smart and was a Secret Service Agent, the youngest to ever be on the President's detail. Marg Helgenberger's character recruits her to come work with her unit and protect Josh's character, who is the most expensive weapon ever made [an agent implanted with a microchip]. Josh's character and I like each other, but butt heads. His character is married, but there could be some sexual tension. And sort of like it was on Once, there are no damsels in distress. The damsels rescue themselves! It's going to be very fun to go back and forth between these two different shows.
TV Guide Magazine: So we may have not seen the last of Ruby?
Ory: I'm a series regular on Intelligence, so we'll see what happens. And who knows what's happening with Once? I think everything is changing over there.
TV Guide Magazine: Indeed. It seems as though we won't be seeing much of the supporting players who were left behind in Storybrooke while all the leads headed off to Neverland. Keegan Connor Tracy, who plays the Blue Fairy/Mother Superior, has wisely crossed over to Bates Motel, where she's playing Norman's teacher. Who have you spoken with in the cast?
Ory: Everyone has been super supportive. I talked to Beverley Elliott [Granny], who was very upset and worried when she learned that I wasn't going to be in the finale. She emailed me to ask if I was okay.
TV Guide Magazine: Was it strange for you to watch the finale and see Ruby already absent?
Ory: It was. I love Ruby and was wondering if they might CGI a wolf in the background. In my mind she has her own life happening somewhere.
TV Guide Magazine: And is hopefully living happily ever after.
Ory: I'm definitely going to miss being there every day, but it's for a good reason. I think Once is going to go for many seasons and I would love to guest star maybe once a year just to see what Ruby's up to.