“24” Michelle Dessler
Starting acting on theater at age 15, Reiko Aylesworth was familiar among TV audiences as CTU agent Michelle Dessler (2002-2006) on Fox's hit drama “24.” The actress who first appeared on screen on the ABC soap “One Life to Live” has appeared on such TV shows as “Law and Order,” “The West Wing,” “Ed,” “The Dead Zone” and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” On the big screen, she could be seen in You've Got Mail (1998), Random Hearts (1999) and Mr. Brooks (2007). She will star in the upcoming sequel to 2004's Alien vs. Predator film, Alien vs. Predator: AVP2.
On stage, the New York-based actress has performed in the off-Broadway plays “Kissing Christine/Missing Marisa” for director John Patrick Shanley and “Robbers” for director Marshall Mason.
Child of Thankfulness
Childhood and Family:
Dutch, Welsh and Japanese descendant Reiko Aylesworth was born December 9, 1972 in Chicago, Illinois, in the same hospital as her future “24” co-star and on-screen husband, Carlos Bernard. Her first name is pronounced “Ray-co,” which means “child of thankfulness.”
At age 13, Reiko and her family relocated to Seattle, Washington. She later attended the University of Washington.
On Stage and On Screen
“I didn't know a soul when I got to New York and I felt really displaced. The first week I was euphoric, and then I realized how isolating the city can be.” Reiko Aylesworth.
At age 15, Reiko Aylesworth has started acting on theater. She played Consuelo in the Springfield Theatre Centre's production of "West Side Story" in Springfield, Illinois, and later played Wendy (1992-1993) in "Peter Pan" at the Intiman Theatre Company in Seattle, Washington. After winning an ABC talent search, she dropped her college to make a move to the Big Apple. In the new destination, she landed roles in the play "The Gut Girls" and "One Hundred Gates." Meanwhile, she also made her first appearance on television, as Rebecca Lewis (1993-1994), on the ABC soap “One Life To Live.”
During 1996 and 1997 Reiko continued working on stage, she played the “Server” in the Primary Stages Theatre's presentation of John Patrick Shanley's "Kissing Christine" and portrayed Meg Van Dyle in the Philadelphia Festival Theater and George Street Playhouse's presentation of Bruce Graham's "Cheap Sentiment." She also played Lucinda in the American Place Theatre's presentation of Lyle Kessler's "Robbers."
Back on screen, Reiko was spotted as a guest in an April 1997 episode of NBC's long-running police procedural and legal drama "Law & Order" and was seen on the TV commercial for Scope (1998). She also appeared on the big screen, in the films You've Got Mail (1998) alongside Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, and Random Hearts (1999) opposite Harrison Ford.
In the new millennium, Reiko guest-starred in an episode of NBC serial drama "The West Wing" and NBC's cop drama "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." She was also part of the failed series “All Souls” (2001) and “American Embassy” (2002).
Meanwhile, Reiko auditioned for the role of Nina Myers on Fox's hit series “24” in 2001, but it eventually went to Sarah Clarke. She then auditioned for the part of Kate Warner in the following season, but lost the part again, this time to Sarah Wynter. However, she has attracted the attention of the producers who finally gave her the part of Michelle Dessler (2002-2006), the tough-yet-sensitive CTU agent who was Jack Bauer's (played by Kiefer Sutherland) closest and most trusted female ally and wife of Tony Almeida (played by Carlos Bernard). She became the main cast during the show's second and third seasons, and was a recurring during the fourth and fifth seasons, where her character was killed by a car bomb.
During her four-year stint in “24,” Reiko guest starred on NBC's dramedy “Ed,” USA Network's sci-fi/suspense series based on characters from Stephen King's 1979 novel "The Dead Zone," CBS' popular, Emmy-winning crime/cop drama "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and the short-lived court room drama “Conviction.” She also starred in writer-director Mikey Jackson's comedy movie Shooting Vegetarians (2005), as the girlfriend of a punk rock vegetarian (played by Guillermo Díaz), and Ellie Kanner's romantic drama comedy movie Crazylove (2005), playing the lead role of an institutionalized woman with a nervous breakdown. She also teamed with Marc Blucas and Shiri Appleby in Gideon Raff's independent thriller, The Killing Floor (2006).
Meanwhile, on stage, she could be seen as Spoon in Eric Bogosian's play "Humpty Dumpty" (2002) at the McCarter Theater Center in Princeton, New Jersey, and as Lady Nijo/Win in the Caryl Churchill play “Top Girls” (2005) at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Williamstown, Massachusetts. She also appeared in Etan Frankel's "The Fearless," playing Meg at the 2006 Summer Play Festival in New York, New York, and played Karina in The New Group's "Expats" (2007) at The Acorn in New York City.
After “24,” Reiko starred in Nick Sivakumaran and D.B. Woodside's short film First. (2007) and supported Kevin Costner, Demi Moore, William Hurt and Dane Cook in Bruce A. Evans' thriller film, Mr. Brooks (2007). She will soon complete her upcoming film, Alien vs. Predator: AVP2, a sequel to 2004's Alien vs. Predator film by the Brothers Strause, in which she was cast as Kelly O'Brien, a pilot and soldier.