Reiko Aylesworth

Reiko M. Aylesworth (born December 9, 1972) is an American film, television and stage actress, best known for her role on the television series 24 as Michelle Dessler.

Reiko Aylesworth
Aylesworth at the 55th Primetime Emmy Awards
Reiko M. Aylesworth[1]

(1972-12-09) December 9, 1972
ResidenceNew York City, New York
Years active1993–present
Spouse(s)Rob Clare

Early life, career start

Aylesworth was born in Evanston, Illinois,[2][3] and is of Dutch, Welsh, and Japanese ancestry. Her given name Reiko (礼子) is Japanese; her surname Aylesworth is Anglo-Saxon. [4] She lived in Springfield, Illinois, from 1987 to 1988, where she first became interested in acting. After understudying in several productions at the Springfield Theatre Centre, Aylesworth was cast in the role of Consuelo in West Side Story, while her family was preparing to move to Seattle, Washington. When her family left for Seattle, she remained in Springfield with family friends for the duration of the play's run.[5]

After joining her family in Seattle, Aylesworth attended the University of Washington and studied neuroscience. While attending the University of Washington, Aylesworth participated in several local theatre productions including Invisible Friends at the Seattle Children's Theatre[6] and the Intiman Theatre Company's production of Peter Pan where she played Wendy.[7]

Aylesworth's performance in Peter Pan brought her to the attention of talent scouts at ABC, leading to the beginning of her television and film career as Rebecca Lewis on the soap opera One Life to Live.[8] After her character was written out of One Life to Live, she appeared in the independent film Childhood's End and the final episode of the HBO series Lifestories: Families in Crisis. During this time Aylesworth also appeared in at least three Off Broadway productions.

Following a guest appearance on Law & Order and a supporting role in the miniseries A Will of Their Own, Aylesworth had minor appearances in the movies Random Hearts and You've Got Mail followed by a guest star role in the CBS series Now and Again. Soon after NBC cast Aylesworth as Becca Coltrane in the pilot for the series Sherman's March, however, it was not picked up and aired as a standalone television movie.

Aylesworth continued her work on television with guest appearances in The West Wing, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Ed[9] as well as being cast in a lead role in the supernatural hospital drama All Souls. When All Souls was cancelled after its sixth episode, Aylesworth joined the cast of the new series The American Embassy, which was quickly cancelled after its fourth episode.



Following the cancellation of The American Embassy, Aylesworth auditioned for the part of Nina Myers on Fox Network's 24 but the role went to Sarah Clarke. When casting began for 24's second season, Aylesworth again auditioned, this time for the part of Kate Warner, but the role went to Sarah Wynter. However, the producers were impressed with her and asked her to join the cast for a ten episode recurring role as Michelle Dessler, a CTU agent.[10] Despite being credited as a guest star for the entire season, she appeared in all 24 episodes.[11]

Director Jon Cassar quickly noticed the "chemistry" between Aylesworth and her costar Carlos Bernard, in the role of Tony Almeida. which led to a decision to develop the characters' onscreen relationship.[12] The relationship between Michelle and Tony quickly became popular with fans[13] and later would resurface as one of the driving forces in 24's seventh season.

While on hiatus from 24 after season two, Aylesworth filmed an episode for the second season of The Dead Zone, playing a love interest for Anthony Michael Hall's Johnny Smith.[14] By 24's third season (2003–2004), Aylesworth had become a main cast member with Tony and Michelle now married and holding leadership positions at CTU. However, when the season concluded, the writers announced that most of the characters were being dropped, with those actors not being retained for season 4.[15] Upon being released from 24, Aylesworth was cast as Chandra Moore, a DNA analyst, in the fifth season of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation; while the role was intended to be recurring, it was dropped after the September 2004 season opener.[16]

As season 4 of 24 progressed, some of the characters from previous seasons returned mid-season, including Aylesworth as Michelle Dessler. The character returns in the twelfth episode, now a high level bureaucrat within the CTU hierarchy, serving as CTU Director for the remainder of the season. Her character resigns at the end in order to remarry Tony Almeida,[17] then is killed by a car bomb in the opening episode of season 5.[18]

Initial post-24 roles

Following her departure from 24, Aylesworth has remained active in both television and movies as well as theatre. Her first leading role in a feature film was in the independent, romantic drama Crazylove where she worked alongside Bruno Campos and former 24 costar Paul Schulze. Crazylove tells the story of Letty Mayer, a school teacher who suffers a nervous breakdown and while institutionalized, meets Michael (Campos) and the two begin a dangerous and unpredictable romance.[19] She partnered with her former 24 costar Xander Berkeley in the Sci Fi Channel made-for-television movie, Magma: Volcanic Disaster.[20] In a guest start role on the short-lived series Conviction, she played a renowned attorney who killed her husband and then defended herself at the murder trial.[21] When the cast was selected for the series 3 lbs, Aylesworth was chosen for the role of Dr. Adrienne Holland, but the pilot was rejected by CBS.[22] The following season, CBS decided to buy the series for a late fall 2006 premiere, but the lead roles were recast, including Aylesworth's. It is unknown whether she declined the 3 lbs role or she was not offered it again.

Soon after the conclusion of 24's fifth season, Aylesworth and her 24 costar D. B. Woodside filmed the short, First which was also written, produced, and directed by Woodside. Aylesworth's character, Angelina Marveau, was "a fallen French nun" who was fighting to choose between her religious beliefs and first love, a nihilistic, American professor, who was portrayed by Woodside.[23]


In 2006, Aylesworth filmed roles for two feature movie along with an independent production. In the Kevin Costner movie, Mr. Brooks, Aylesworth portrayed a divorce lawyer, Sheila, who was representing the husband of Demi Moore's character, Detective Tracy Atwood. Departing from her previous type of characters, Aylesworth played the femme fatale Audrey Levine in the Gideon Raff independent thriller, The Killing Floor.[24]

Aylesworth played one of the two lead roles in Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007).[25] Her character, Kelly O'Brien, an Army pilot and soldier returning home after being deployed overseas, arrives in Gunnison, Colorado the day before the Aliens and Predator invade the town.

In January 2007, Aylesworth had a guest role in two episodes of the ABC comedy, The Knights of Prosperity, where she played the head of Mick Jagger's security company, Simone Cashwell. The Knights attempt to seduce her character in order to obtain the necessary security codes to access Mick Jagger's apartment and later trick Simone in order to get her thumbprint which is also needed to open the door.[26] Soon after she filmed a supporting role in Hannah Davis and David Conolly's The Understudy where she played Police Chief Kinsky. While it has appeared at numerous film festivals, a DVD release date for The Understudy has not been announced.[27]

Aylesworth continued her work in independent productions, filming a small part for Steven Kampmann's independent movie, Buzzkill.[28] It was given a limited release in January 2012. In April 2008, Aylesworth was cast in a recurring role on ER, playing hospital chaplain Julia Dupree. Originally, Dupree was to appear in 5 episodes[29] with the purpose of attracting the lecherous attention of Dr. Gates (John Stamos). Her role was extended for two additional episodes, but concluded due to the suspension of filming resulting from the 2007-2008 WGA Strike. A month later Aylesworth filmed a supporting role in the Steve Morris independent comedy The Assistants,[30] which tells the story of a group of Hollywood assistants who are scheming to have their script turned into a feature film. Aylesworth has often said independent productions like these and past films such as No Deposit, No Return, are her preferred types of film.[31]

Cancelled roles

Aylesworth's bad luck on shortened or cancelled roles continued into 2009 and 2010. After filming The Assistants, Aylesworth was hired for a recurring role on the ABC series Lost, during the 2009 season. The character, Amy Goodspeed, was originally to appear in at least four episodes,[32] but Aylesworth's role was written out after three episodes.

Soon after her role on Lost concluded, it was announced that Aylesworth had been hired as co-lead of Jerry Bruckheimer's new ABC crime drama, The Forgotten, to air in the 2009–2010 television season.[33][34] After the pilot was shot, with previews and promotional pictures released by ABC, Aylesworth and co-lead Rupert Penry-Jones were dropped and the pilot was not aired, with new actors brought in for their parts in the series.[35]

Ongoing television work

Aylesworth has continued with one-off guest roles on episodes of various television dramas. She has also appeared in recurring roles, including five episodes in season three of Damages,[36] as Dr. Malia Waincroft on seven episodes over three seasons of CBS's Hawaii Five-0, and nine episodes as Allie Jones over two seasons of Scorpion in 2016 and 2017.[37][38]

Theatre work

Aylesworth has appeared in off-Broadway productions. She performed in the 2006 production of Etan Frankel's The Fearless at the Summer Play Festival[39] and The New Group (naked)'s 2007 production of Heather Lynn MacDonald's Expats.[40]

Personal life

As of February 2007, Aylesworth had resided in New York City since 1993.[41] Aylesworth is married to Rob Clare, a scholar and expert on Shakespearean theatre.[42]


Film roles
Year Title Role Notes
1996Childhood's EndLaurie Cannon
1998You've Got MailThanksgiving Guest
1999Random HeartsMary Claire Clark
1999Man on the MoonMimi
2000No Deposit, No ReturnSue
2005Shooting VegetariansDaisyFilmed 1999–2000, released direct-to-video in 2005
2005CrazyloveLetty Mayer
2007The Killing FloorAudrey Levine
2007Mr. BrooksSheila
2007Aliens vs. Predator: RequiemKelly O'Brien
2008The UnderstudyChief Kinsky
2008The AssistantsCassie Levine
2012Bad ParentsLaurie
2017Oh Lucy!Kei
Television roles
Year Title Role Notes
1993–1994One Life to LiveRebecca Lewis[unknown episodes]
1996Lifestories: Families in CrisisRitaEpisode: "Someone Had to Be Benny"
1997Law & OrderTiffany ShermanEpisode: "We Like Mike"
1998A Will of Their OwnAnnie JermaineTelevision miniseries
1999Now and AgainDr. TaylorEpisode: "By the Light of the Moon"
2000Sherman's March' Becca ColtraneTelevision film
2000The West WingJanineEpisode: "Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics"
2000Law & Order: Special Victims UnitA.D.A. Erica AldenEpisodes: "Contact", "Remorse", and "Slaves"
2001All SoulsDr. Philomena CullenMain role
2002EdKate HarrisonEpisode: "Ends and Means"
2002The American EmbassyLiz ShoopMain role
2002–200624Michelle DesslerRecurring role (seasons 2, 4–5); main role (season 3); 62 episodes
2003The Dead ZoneNatalie ConnorEpisode: "Deja Voodoo"
2004CSI: Crime Scene InvestigationChandra MooreEpisode: "Viva Las Vegas"
2005Fathers and SonsBusiness WomanTelevision film
20063 lbsDr. Adrienne HollandUnaired television pilot
2006Magma: Volcanic DisasterNatalie SheppardTelevision film
200624: The GameMichelle DesslerVideo game voice-over
2006ConvictionJulie PhelpsEpisode: "Deliverance"
2007The Knights of ProsperitySimone CashwellEpisodes: "Operation: Seduce Simone", "Operation: Fighting Shape"
2007ERJulia DupreeRecurring role (season 14), 7 episodes
2009LostAmy Goodspeed Recurring role (season 5)[43][44]
2009The ForgottenLinda ManningUnaired television pilot[35][34]
2009–2010Stargate UniverseSharonEpisodes: "Home", "Sabotage", "Pathogen"
2010DamagesRachel TobinRecurring role (season 3), 5 episodes
2010The Good WifeNora VashleyEpisode: "On Tap"
2011–2014Hawaii Five-0Dr. Malia WaincroftRecurring role, 7 episodes
2011Lights OutJennifer3 episodes
2012ElementaryMiranda MolinariEpisode: "Flight Risk"
2012Person of InterestAgent VickersEpisode: "C.O.D."
2013King & MaxwellLiz AllenEpisode: "King's Ransom"
2013Drop Dead DivaJune FraizerEpisode: "Fool for Love"
2014RevolutionMarion Kelly4 episodes
2016NCISMrs. MarshallEpisode: "Homefront"
2016–17ScorpionAllie JonesRecurring role, 9 episodes
2017SEAL TeamDr. Julie KrugerEpisode: "Tip of the Spear"
2018The Good DoctorSam DeLeonEpisode: "Carrots"


Year Theater/Festival Location Production Role
1988 Springfield Theatre Centre Springfield, Illinois West Side Story Consuelo[5]
1992 Seattle Children's Theatre Seattle Invisible Friends Lucy Baines[45]
1992–93 Intiman Theatre Company Seattle Peter Pan Wendy[46]
1993 Cucaracha Theater New York City The Gut Girls
1994 Jewish Theater of New York New York City One Hundred Gates
1996 Philadelphia Festival Theater
George Street Playhouse
New Brunswick, N.J.
Cheap Sentiment Meg Van Dyke[47]
1996 Primary Stages Theater New York City Missing / Kissing: Missing Marisa / Kissing Christine Server in "Kissing"[48]
1997 American Place Theatre New York City Robbers Lucinda[49]
2002 McCarter Theatre Center Princeton, N.J. Humpty Dumpty Spoon[50]
2005 Williamstown Theatre Festival Williamstown, Mass. Top Girls Lady Nijo/Win[51]
2006 Summer Play Festival New York City The Fearless Meg
2007 The New Group New York City Expats Karina[40]


  1. Genzlinger, Neil. "Reiko Aylesworth". The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  2. "Carlos Bernard: Biography". TV Guide. born in the same [Evanston] hospital as Reiko Aylesworth
  3. Dahl, Steve (May 24, 2005). "Episode: "May 24, 2005"". She was born in the same hospital as her "24" co-star Carlos Bernard
  4. Jonathan Reiner, "Reiko & Famous," Soap Opera Weekly, (June 21, 1994).
  5. Nick Rogers, "All in a Day's Work; '24' Actress Landed Her First Role in Springfield," State Journal-Register, February 6, 2003, Entertainment Section.
  6. Misha Berson, "Invisible Friends is All too Transparent," The Seattle Times, September 18, 1992, Tempo Section.
  7. Joe Adcock, Intiman Saves "Peter Pan" from Excessive Sweetness, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 13, 1992, What's Happening Section.
  8. Marla Hart, "Midwest Roots - Shows Subvert Values Even as They Maintain Them," Chicago Tribune, September 2, 1993, Tempo Section.
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  12. Tara Dilullo, 24: The Official Companion: Seasons 1 & 2, (London: Titan Books, 2006), 107.
  13. Reiko Aylesworth, "Meeting Michelle," Interview by Tara DuLullio, (Titan Magazines), 24: The Official Magazine, (January/February 2007), 49.
  14. "'Zone' Star Foresees Success". Daily News. New York. July 5, 2003.
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  18. Virginia Rohan, "More Shows Kill Off Prime-Time Players," The Free Lance-Star, May 5, 2006.
  19. Bucks County Courier Times, "Game Shows go for Big Money, " February 14, 2006, Sunday Life Section.
  20. USA Today, "The Attack of the Popular 'B' Horror Films, " April 20, 2005, Life Section.
  21. Gail Pennington, "Critic's Pick, " St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 5, 2006, Everyday Section.
  22. D. Mason, "Studio Backs ' 3 Lbs.' Creator", Ventura County Star, July 14, 2005, Life, Arts and Living Section.
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  27. Mansion Pictures. "Mansion Pictures". Retrieved October 25, 2012.
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  30. "The Assistants Wraps Principal Photography". Archived from the original on June 6, 2008. Retrieved October 12, 2008.
  31. Reiko Aylesworth, "An Evening with Reiko Aylesworth," (Hoogland Center for the Arts. Springfield, Illinois, February 4, 2007).
  32. "24" actress turns up in "Lost". Reuters. November 7, 2008.
  33. Andreeva, Nellie (March 17, 2009). "Flurry of castings for several pilots". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on March 21, 2009.
  34. "Breaking News - 2009 ABC Program Development Guide - Drama Series". April 29, 2010. Retrieved October 25, 2012.
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  45. Joe Adcock, "Invisible Friends Reveals Valuable Family Lesson," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, September 15, 1992, Entertainment Section.
  46. Steven Samuels, editor, Theatre Profiles 11: The Illustrated Guide to America's Nonprofit Professional Theatre, (New York: Theatre Communications Group, 1994), 73.
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