|Sibling(s):||Danny Dessler (brother)|
|Residence(s):||Los Angeles, California|
|Education:||B.S. Computer Science, UC Davis|
|Affiliation:||Counter Terrorist Unit|
|Profession:||Director, CTU LA|
Assoc. Special Agent in Charge, Division
Worked at CTU Seattle
Chief of Staff, CTU LA
Internet Protocol Manager, CTU LA
Intelligence agent, Division
High Confidence Systems Working Group, DARPA
Computer Security Division, NIST
|Spouse(s):||Tony Almeida (divorced then remarried)|
|Died:||Day 5: 7:15am|
Car bomb explosion by Conrad Haas
|Played by:||Reiko Aylesworth|
|Season(s):||2, 3, 4, 5|
|First episode:||"Day 2: 8:00am-9:00am"|
|Last episode:||"Day 5: 7:00am-8:00am"|
|Also in:||24: The Game|
- "I don’t want to look back on today and realize I could have helped."
- — Michelle Dessler, "Day 5: 7:00am-8:00am"
Michelle Dessler was a high ranking federal agent who worked for CTU and Division. She joined CTU in the interval separating Days 1 and 2, and was crucial in foiling the terrorist plots during the national crises of Days 2, 3, and 4. After Day 2, she married Tony Almeida and later divorced him following Day 3; however, they reconciled during the events of Day 4. The couple decided to move away from CTU and start a new life, which they successfully had managed by Day 5, by which point Michelle was pregnant. Tony and Michelle worked in private security.
During the first hour of Day 5, Michelle was killed by Conrad Haas, an assassin working under the Sentox nerve gas conspiracy. Michelle and Tony were being targeted due to their knowledge of Jack Bauer's faked death, in an attempt to frame him for the murder of David Palmer. Also involved in her death were Graem Bauer, Christopher Henderson, then-President Charles Logan, and Alan Wilson; the latter's complicity and Tony's desire for revenge was what drove many of the events of Day 7.
Before Day 2
- Read more about Michelle Dessler on Day 2
Michelle helped gather intelligence and follow leads throughout Day 2. She was not severely harmed in the attack upon the building by Eddie Grant and his group. When former colleague Carrie Turner came to work at CTU, the two had some issues, escalated by the fact that Michelle's brother Danny (who left his wife and children for Carrie who subsequently left him) turned up at the government building. Frightened from the recent nuclear explosion, Danny showed up at the CTU to see Michelle, only to discover that Carrie was working there. He attacked her, as he was angry that she did not return his calls. This led to security detaining him and Michelle becoming emotional. Tony comforted her and the two shared an intimate moment.
When Jack later found evidence proving that the Cyprus recording that was going to launch the US into war was forged, Michelle helped Jack in proving its illegitimacy. However, Tony (whom Michelle was close with) initially did not approve of her and Jack averting their orders. Initially, he, along with Carrie, tried to stop her from proving its illegitimacy but eventually began to help her. At the end of the day the two acknowledged their love for one another.
After Day 2
During the events of The Game, Michelle worked at CTU Los Angeles as CTU Chief of Staff where she assisted Jack Bauer with the threat. Throughout the day, Michelle helped give logistical information to field agents as well as help to re-boot the CTU computer after the attack.
When CTU was attacked by Peter Madsen and his men, Dessler and Kim Bauer were in Tech 1. They were two of a few CTU agents not captured or killed during the attack. Michelle helped get Kim to the CTU panic room although she herself was captured. Sean Walker was killed during the attack, an intern of Michelle's.
- Read more about Michelle Dessler on Day 3
Michelle once again assisted with the threats that CTU faced, this time dealing with an attack of a virus. The virus was released at Chandler Plaza Hotel whilst Michelle was present, but she soon found out that she was in fact immune to the virus, unlike her unfortunate colleague, Gael Ortega who died.
Later, Michelle was captured and used as bait by Stephen Saunders to coerce Tony into allowing him to walk free. Tony went through with the deal but also managed to capture Saunders in the process. Tony and Michelle were reunited, but before long Tony was taken away to prison.
After Day 3
Both President Palmer and Jack Bauer testified on behalf of Tony during his trial, but he was still sentenced to a maximum security prison. After Tony served seven months, he was released under a Presidential pardon. Tony lost his position at CTU and he remained unemployed. Due to the stress he suffered while in prison and his unemployment situation, Tony turned to alcohol and this ultimately caused him to push Michelle away. Michelle filed for divorce and Tony began to live with a female bartender, Jen Slater.
Michelle was temporarily posted at the Seattle branch of the Counter Terrorist Unit. There she met Bill Buchanan and they became close. Both of them shared feelings for each other and started a relationship. However, Bill realized that Michelle was still in love with Tony and they decided to end it before it got too serious. Michelle then earned a position as the Associate Special Agent in Charge of Division in Los Angeles. Bill was also transferred there as the Regional Director, the former position of Ryan Chappelle.
- Read more about Michelle Dessler on Day 4
After Maya Driscoll committed suicide at CTU Los Angeles, Erin Driscoll wasn't able to focus on her work and Secretary of Defense James Heller advised her to step down. Tony Almeida, who was reinstated several hours earlier, held the position of CTU Director until the replacement from Division arrived. Tony was shocked when he learned that Michelle was the replacement.
The two managed to work together, but Tony found things difficult for a while when he found out about her and Buchanan's relationship. They later rekindled their love for one another in a situation that arose from an old foe. They both assisted in faking Jack's death to ensure that he would not be killed by a US operative to prevent him from being imprisoned and tortured by the Chinese.
After Day 4
After Michelle helped David Palmer, Chloe O'Brian, and Tony Almeida stage the death of Jack Bauer, she left CTU Los Angeles and Division with Tony. Eventually the two re-married and they started their own private security technology company. Michelle was pregnant with the couple's first child at the onset of Day 5. (Fox.com profile, "Day 7: 7:00am-8:00am")
Tony and Michelle were preparing for an anticipated business meeting with Rick Rosen, when they learned that David Palmer was assassinated in his brother's apartment. Since the assassination took place in Los Angeles, Michelle knew that CTU LA would lead the investigation. She tried to convince Tony to go back to CTU to help, but Tony argued that they weren't working there anymore and that CTU could handle it. However, Michelle insisted, saying they had more experience and had previously worked during two assassination attempts on Palmer.
Although Tony tried to stop her, Michelle decided to leave. As she went to her car and opened it, there was an explosion. After Tony heard the explosion, he ran outside and grabbed her, but another explosion went off engulfing them both. Though Tony managed to survive the blast and was transported to CTU medical for surgery, Michelle died from her injuries.
She had massive contusions to the chest and face, with third degree burns over 93 percent of her body.
After Tony awoke, Bill Buchanan told Tony that Michelle didn't die, as Doctor Besson felt that any emotional trauma would endanger Tony's heart health. Eventually Tony learned the truth and that Christopher Henderson ordered her murder. This led to Tony's apparent death as Tony tried to kill him, relented, but was himself attacked by Henderson and almost died.
Graem Bauer played a pivotal role in the assassinations, having paid the killers and set the timetable to lure Jack out of hiding; additionally, the original mastermind of the conspiracy was private military executive Alan Wilson. President Charles Logan was complicit in the murder of Michelle as well as Palmer and the attempts on Almeida and O'Brian. The heartbreak caused by her murder — as well as the unborn son she was carrying — spurred Tony to seek revenge at any cost on Wilson in Day 7.
In Solitary, Tony mentions to the head of the prison that every night he wakes up in a cold sweat re-living the moment Michelle was killed in the car bomb blast. He mentions that his wife would never have approved of the actions he took to get to Alan Wilson, and if he could save even one life he would feel worthy of her love again. However, the meeting to be released to general prison population was just a play to get schematics to an escape route from Vanessa Diaz. It is therefore difficult to determine if Tony feels any regret of his actions.
Background information and notes
- Michelle's surname is misspelled as "Dressler" in the Spanish dub of the series in every season she appears or is mentioned.
- Reiko Aylesworth, Michelle's actress, is the only performer besides Gregory Itzin (Charles Logan) to have been credited in 3 of the 5 billings available. In Season 2 she was credited as guest star, in Season 3 she was credited as a main cast member, and in Seasons 4 and 5 she was credited as a special guest star.
- Michelle is the sixth character portrayed by a main cast member to die in 24. For the others, see here.
- Michelle is the eighth longest running character on 24, appearing in 62 episodes total, including the entirety of seasons 2 and 3.
- Michelle and Tony have the most appearances as a married couple, appearing in 25 episodes together.
- In the second season of the Indian version of 24, Michelle's counterpart is Shibani Mallick.
- Michelle is one of five female CTU Directors seen on the show. The other characters are Alberta Green, Erin Driscoll, Nadia Yassir and Chloe O'Brian.
|CTU Los Angeles Chief of Staff||Succeeded by:|
CTU Los Angeles