Elyssa Davalos Joins ‘MacGyver’ Team

Despite the perils they throw at their hero, the producers of MacGyver know they can’t keep a good man down . . . and they’ve learned they can’t keep a good actress down, either.

Now in its third season, the ABC adventure series welcomes a new regular in Monday’s episode — and if she looks familiar, that’s for a good reason. Lively, attractive Elyssa Davalos has worked quite steadily in made-for-TV movies and series guest roles for the past 13 years, and she appeared in the two-part episode that opened MacGyver’s current season. She played a Soviet agent who was killed at the end of the story. Because this is TV, though, not to worry: The show’s creative forces — including co-executive producer Henry Winkler — were impressed and asked her back on a continuing basis.

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Davalos on-set with co-MDB and RDA

Davalos will be seen as a new character named Nikki Carpenter, whose brother’s murder sets Monday’s plot in motion. The victim happens to have been a close friend of MacGyver, who enters into a reluctant alliance with Nikki — who is determined to solve the slaying herself.

”I like to show as much variety in a character as possible. We all have our days when were very strong, then others that we just can’t handle. Nikki has had FBI training, but I want her to have sides that show she doesn’t always have it together,” said Davalos.

”It’s a little tough, because the series is being filmed in Vancouver British Columbia and I have a young daughter. She’s already in school here in Los Angeles, I’m very happily married, and I like to be home.”

Davalos — the daughter of actor Richard Davalos, who appeared in East of Eden and Cool Hand Luke — adds that the MacGyver production team has been very accommodating: ”They’ve been dear enough to arrange the schedule so that I’m up there to do an episode, then I can come home while they’re doing the next.”

Jay Bobbin. Tribune TV Log October 24, 1987