Michelle Dessler on Day 4
|Portrayed by||Reiko Aylesworth|
|Seasons||2, 3, 4, 5|
|First appearance||Day 2: 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM|
|Last appearance||Day 5: 7:00 AM – 8:00 AM|
Michelle Dessler was a federal agent who worked for CTU: Los Angeles. She married fellow CTU agent Tony Almeida sometime between Day 2 and Day 3. After Tony was released from jail for committing treason, she left him. They later reunited during the events of Day 4 and got back together; they decided to leave CTU after that day. Michelle was killed by a car bomb in the first hour of Day 5, due to being one of the people who aided in faking Jack Bauer's death at the end of Day 4.
Michelle Dessler graduated from the University of California with a Bachelor Degree in Computer Science. She worked at DARPA's High Confidence Systems Working Group and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the Computer Security Division before coming to the CTU: Los Angeles Domestic Agent.
 Day 2
We first meet Michelle at the beginning of Day 2 working as an Internet Protocol Manager. She works closely with Tony Almeida, with whom she casually flirts, to help stop the nuclear terrorist threat throughout the entire day. Michelle helps comfort Paula Schaeffer, who is afraid of the nuclear bomb threat. Ironically, a bomb goes off inside CTU and eventually kills Paula, but not until she helps Michelle decrypt data about the nuclear bomb that was sent to the NSA. Tony, who wanted to save Paula's life, is comforted by Michelle. Soon after the bomb at CTU, George Mason tells Michelle to escort Jack Bauer out of CTU. Michelle knows that Jack won't leave. Jack convinces Michelle that Mason is ill and wants her to help him find out what he has been doing.
After Jack catches Nina Myers, Michelle helps to give Jack a description of Nina's surroundings when she is connected to a wire and talking to a man called Faheen. Michelle helps to translate their conversation. Nina kills Faheen, but not before Michelle hears the name Marko Khatami and connects him to terrorist Syed Ali. Soon after this experience, Tony comforts Michelle as the events of the day begin to take at toll on her.
When the CTU jet crashes, Michelle shows Mason that it was taken down by a ground-to-air missile. During their discussion, Mason's nose starts to bleed. She tells Tony that she found out Mason was exposed to radiation and doesn't have much longer to live. She questions his ability to run CTU. Tony tells Michelle that Mason is competent enough to run CTU. Later, Michelle tells Mason that she is sorry about the radiation poisoning. Mason tells her that he regrets the profession that he chose, and he urges Michelle to find something that truly makes her happy. This gives her the courage to ask Tony if he would like to start dating her. Although Tony is hesitant because of his relationship with Nina Myers, he agrees that he is attracted to Michelle and would like to start a relationship. Eventually, George Mason is sent home by Division and Tony is put in charge.
Later, Carrie Turner is brought into CTU to replace Paula Schaeffer. Carrie had been Michelle's boss when they worked together at Division. There is strong tension between them. Michelle makes sure that Carrie knows she is now her boss. Carrie begins to think that Michelle doesn't trust her when she takes work that Tony told Michelle to assign to other people.
While working on Syed Ali's computer, Michelle finds a recording that implicates three Middle Eastern countries being behind the nuclear threat. She proceeds to prove that it is legitimate by using voice print authentication. Soon after this, Michelle learns that Jack parachuted out of the plane with the nuclear bomb, and it was piloted by George Mason in the desert.
Michelle is surprised when the the voice print authentication proves that the recording from Syed Ali's computer was not altered. Michelle asks Syed Ali about the conversation. He tells her that the conversation never took place and that he wasn't in Cyprus during the conversation. Since Syed believes his son is dead and is a broken man, Michelle believes that he is telling the truth. She presents this information to Tony, but he tells her that the recording was proved to be real. Michelle wants more research to be done to validate the recording, but CTU's verdict is already being sent to the White House. Knowing that she is running out of time, Michelle tells Jack Bauer about her concerns. Jack agrees to help Michelle if she will locate his daughter, Kim. Michelle also enlist the help of Yusaf Auda, a man sent by an Arab country to assist in the investigation.
Michelle goes behind Tony's back and sneaks around in order to help Jack. She even helps Jack kidnap Kate Warner from CTU. Later, Michelle helps give Jack satellite pictures of an area. Carrie, who has been watching Michelle the whole time, reports her to Tony. Tony learns of the shootout that Jack was involved in and controls Michelle again. Michelle calls Jack on her cell phone and hands it Tony. Michelle expects to be relieved of her duties, but Tony sends her back to work and informs the President that the Cyprus recording may be false. However, Tony and Michelle are working against the entire government who believe that the Cyprus recording is true.
Carrie picks a fight with Michelle. We find out that Carrie ruined her brother Danny's life. Michelle tells Tony that it won't interfere with her work. However, when Danny shows up at CTU he attacks Carrie and security has to pull him away. Tony comforts Michelle and their relationship is revealed to Carrie. Michelle is afraid that she will use this information against them.
While trying to find the man who may have created the fake Cyprus recording, Carrie confronts Michelle about what she is working on. Michelle lies to Carrie. Carrie tells Ryan Chappelle, the representative from Division, about Tony and Michelle working in secret. Chappelle reassigns Tony and stops their investigation. Michelle leads Ryan into a holding cell where Tony knocks Ryan out. Michelle then orders a helicopter to be sent to pick up Jack and the Cyprus fabricator. Michelle leaves the building and works from a CTU van. She helps Jack walk through the voice fabrication software. Just as she finishes, guard surround the van and she is taken back into custody with Tony. While in holding, Michelle assures Tony that she won't let him take the fall for her actions. Chappelle asks for Tony and Michelle's assistance in contacting Jack. They agree to do this, only if they are promised full acquittal. Chappelle gives in. After talking to Jack, Chappelle agrees to help them find out if the recording is false.
Michelle authenticates the voices of Sherry Palmer and Peter Kingsley during a meeting that proves that the Cyprus recording was false. At the end of Day 2, Tony tells her that he admires her for sticking to her intuition, even though she had to work against him.
 Day 3
In Day 3, Michelle is now married to Tony Almeida. She has taken over his job as Associate Special Agent in Charge. Tony receives a job offer from Langley, and Michelle says that she will accompany him whether or not she can find a job for herself. Tony says that he won't leave CTU unless she can have a job with him. Then, the virus disaster strikes. While investigating the whereabouts of Kyle Singer, Michelle's husband is shot. Although she is terrified at losing Tony, she takes control of CTU. While at CTU, she watches a video feed of her husband being operated on. While leading CTU, she is able to retrieve Kyle Singer. Eventually, Ryan Chappelle takes over command because he believes Michelle is too emotional to carry on. Michelle tries to leave to go to the hospital but is stopped multiple times. Right before she is about to leave, she catches Gael Ortega after he kidnapped Kim Bauer. She places him into interrogation.
While at the hospital, Tony becomes upset when Michelle tells him about Gael. They rush back to CTU and it is revealed that Gael, Tony and Jack Bauer were apart of a sting operation in order to secure the virus. Tony assumes command despite Michelle's concerns that he might not be well enough. Tony then blames a delay on Michelle. Tension between them is at its height when Chappelle places Michelle on a team that will go to a hotel to investigate a possible virus outbreak. Tony is reluctant to let Michelle go but she knows she has enough experience to handle herself.
Michelle is supposed to wait for a biohazard suit before entering the hotel, but they receive information that they may be too late. She orders the team in and tracks down Marcus Alvers. She gets him to reveal that the virus is located in a ventilation duct. She sends Gael to retrieve the virus but he is too late. The virus is released and Gael becomes infected. Michelle quickly has the team isolate the virus. She shows extraordinary talents when controlling the situation. When a bell hop tries to escape, Michelle is able to convince him not to endanger the rest of the population. After the hotel crowd becomes uneasy, she warns them that she will be forced to shoot them if they try to escape. One man breaks a glass door and tries to escape proclaiming that Michelle won't shoot him. She does. A friend of the man cries that she was supposed to protect him.
As Gael is slowly dying, Michelle offers him her gun to let it end quickly. He refuses because of his religious beliefs. Many people in the hotel begin to show symptoms. Knowing there is a slim chance they will survive and that the process is very painful, Michelle asks Tony if they would be able to supply them with suicide capsules.
Michelle struggles with the fact that she may be infected. She eventually learns that she is not infected and is immune to the virus. She calls and tells Tony the good news and that she is being transported to NHS just to be safe.
While she is being transported, she is kidnapped by Stephen Saunders. Saunders shows Tony video feed of Michelle. Saunders threatens to kill Michelle unless Tony helps him escape. Later, Michelle is able to convince a guard that she is infected with the virus. She overcomes him and manages to escape. She calls CTU. Jack tells her that the only way they will catch Stephen is if they can make an exchange for his daughter Jane. Michelle bravely lets herself be recaptured. CTU is able to successfully retrieve Michelle and capture Stephen Saunders.
Back at CTU, Michelle is upset when she can't see Tony. She learns that he is being charged with aiding terrorists. Michelle meets Gael's widow, Theresa. While Theresa is picking up Gael's things, Michelle lies and tells her that Gael died a quick, painless death. Theresa sees Stephen Saunders, who is trying to identify another terrorist. Using Gael's gun, she shoots Stephen.
Michelle is able to get Tony released to help Jack locate the rest of the virus containers. After the mission's over, he is taken back into custody. Michelle is deeply saddened when Tony has to go prison.
 Day 4
In Day 4, we learn that Tony was pardoned and released by President David Palmer. However, as Michelle's career at CTU soared, Tony was unemployed. He suffered a huge personality changed and became an alcoholic. Michelle dumped him and moved to CTU Seattle where she forged a relationship with Bill Buchanan. She then moved back to Los Angeles and became Associate Special Agent in Charge.
Later in Day 4, Michelle comes back to her old job to replace Erin Driscoll as Special Agent in Charge. She quickly fires Sarah Gavin for asking for a raise during a crisis. Michelle also demoted Tony (who was given higher access earlier that day when he helped Jack) because of his drinking problems. She also asks Chloe O'Brian to return to CTU after she had been fired earlier that day for helping Jack. Michelle guides CTU into catching Habib Marwan and also helps to recover the Nuclear Football.
Later, Tony asks Michelle if she is still involved with Bill and she doesn't answer. After that, Michelle tries to call Tony but instead hears his girlfriend, Jen. Tony assures her that he doesn't love Jen and Michelle lets Tony know that she never wanted them to divorce. Michelle agrees that she will quit her job at CTU and they will try to make things work.
Their reunion happiness is cut short when Tony is captured by Mandy. Mandy calls Michelle, just like Saunders called Tony, and asks her for help in escaping. Michelle is devastated but is able to regroup and make the right call. She won't negotiate with Mandy. When Mandy catches on to CTU's plan to catch her, she blows herself up in a car with Tony. Michelle goes into a deep depression after losing Tony. Jack then discovers that the explosion was a trick and that Tony is alive.
Michelle feels horrible that she put his life on the line and did not try to save him like he did with her. Tony assures her that she should not feel guilty. Michelle and Tony reunite once again and promise to not screw it up this time around.
Michelle and Tony learn that Jack is the target of a covert operation from the White House to kill Jack. They help him fake his death and escape from CTU. They reluctantly say goodbye.
 Day 5
At the beginning of Day 5, Michelle and Tony are running a private security company. It is the day of President Palmer's assassination and Michelle thinks that she and Tony will be useful at CTU. She tells him that she never regretted that they left CTU but that she doesn't want to look back and realize she could have helped. Tony attempts to get her to stay, but fails. Michelle kisses him on the cheek and walks out the door. Tony calls a business partner and tells him that Michelle won't be able to make it. He then tells him that he won't be able to make it either. At this moment, there is an explosion that knocks Tony to the ground. He runs to the yard and sees that Michelle's car has exploded. He removes the wreckage and finds Michelle's severely burnt body. He takes her pulse and presumes that she is dead. He starts crying and calling her name as the car explodes again and they are both consumed by the flames.
Reiko Aylesworth was a recurring guest star in Season 2, and appeared in every episode of that season. She was promoted to a main cast member in Season 3. She later returned in the middle of Season 4 as a recurring Special Guest Star. She was also a Special Guest Star in the Season 5 premiere, in which her character was killed.
- Michelle was the sixth main character to be killed in the series.