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Can I give you a piece of advice? You got to learn how to protect yourself.
—Cleo Fox to Emma Swan src

Cleo Fox is a character on ABC's Once Upon a Time. She débuts, with her only appearance, in the twentieth episode of the fifth season and is portrayed by guest star Rya Kihlstedt.


During First Curse

As part of her job, Cleo follows Emma Swan to a diner in Maine to take her back to Arizona, where she is wanted for her crimes. She overhears Emma asking about a baby who was found near the restaurant as an infant, and as she reveals herself to the girl, she discovers that Emma is the baby. As Emma starts to leave, Cleo reveals she knows about Emma's robbery exploits in Phoenix, her arrest and eventual bail skipping. Emma takes off across the street to her car, but Cleo follows slowly, as she has already put a tire boot keeping Emma from leaving. Cleo takes the girl back to her hotel room, and handcuffs her to a bed, before taking a shower. Emma pick-locks the cuff, and when she pilfers money from Cleo's wallet, she sees a photo of a little girl whom she believes is Cleo's daughter. She prepares to leave, but decides to stay after spotting Cleo's laptop has a tracking website to search for courthouse documents. Emma promises to go quietly to Arizona if Cleo will help her find more information on her birth parents, and the latter reluctantly agrees. The next morning, at the courthouse, Cleo advises Emma to shield her emotions, explaining why she wears a leather coat as part of her "armor". After getting her file, which doesn't have the information she wants, Emma has a breakdown, causing Cleo to take her back to the hotel. During the night, Emma sneaks out and breaks into the courthouse. Cleo follows her and convinces her to give up, but before they can leave, the cops arrive. Cleo kicks the glass out of a window before jumping out of it, followed by Emma, and they take off running. Not long after, Cleo collapses, having been stabbed by a piece of broken glass earlier. Emma wants to turn herself in so the cops will save Cleo, but the latter encourages her to keep running and to start her life over. Cleo reveals that she once gave up her daughter, much like how Emma was given up, and this is all she hopes for her. As Cleo dies, Emma follows her advice. ("Firebird")

Shortly after Cleo's death, Emma becomes a bails bondsperson and meets Cleo's daughter, Tasha, and tells her about her deceased birth mother. At the clothing store where Tasha works, Emma also finds a red leather jacket similar to the one worn by Cleo and purchases it. Later on, Emma uses techniques nearly identical to the ones used on her by Cleo on Ryan. ("Pilot", "Firebird")



  • The name "Cleo" is a diminished form of "Cleopas"[1], which, in the New Testament, is a disciple who sees Jesus after his resurrection.[2] Interestingly, the show also contains many references of Emma and Jesus Christ.
    • Interestingly, her daughter, Tasha Morris' name is also a nod to Emma Swan and Jesus Christ.

Character Notes

  • According to Emma's file, Cleo Fox was declared dead on February 12, 2009, at 10:31 A.M. She was cremated at Ellsworth Crematory in Ellsworth, Maine.[3] ("Firebird")

Production Notes

  • The casting call describes her as "female. Late 40s - late 50s. A bail bonds enforcer and no-nonsense woman who has pulled herself out of a rough early life and trusts her instincts above all else. At the same time, she’s had enough exposure to the cold hard world to know that you can’t win them all. Her tough exterior hides a strong nurturing side that isn’t often given a chance to come out."[4]

Costume Notes



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