Nikki Carpenter was born Nicole Ann Barrett in 1959. Her brother, Daniel, was a close friend of MacGyver's. And shortly before MacGyver met Nikki, Danny was murdered by diamond smugglers.
MacGyver met Nikki when he tried to investigate Danny's murder. Nikki was investigating the same case. And from the very beginning, she and MacGyver clashed over several different issues including MacGyver's methods.
But, they learned to work together long enough to solve the case, and bring the people behind the murder of Nikki's brother to justice. As a result of her work on the case, Nikki was offered a position at the Phoenix Foundation by Peter Thornton, which she accepted.
This meant she was going to have to work with MacGyver. Something Mac was not looking forward to.
Nikki worked for the Phoenix Foundation for several months during 1987, and 1988. During this time she dated Matt Weber, a rogue agent who was temporarily placed in charge of the foundation after he framed Pete Thornton, making him appear to be burnt out and incompetent.
She also became closer with MacGyver, and by the time Nikki left the foundation, they had become close friends. Nikki helped MacGyver work through his grief after Mike Forrester died in a mountaineering accident.
Before coming to work for the Phoenix Foundation, Nikki worked as for a district attorney's office, but she never revealed where. She was married; something she revealed to MacGyver during her time at Phoenix. And her husband was murdered in a car bomb explosion. The car bomb had been meant for Nikki. And she carried this grief with her, blaming herself for her husband's death for several years.
MacGyver helped her to deal with this, just as she had helped him deal with Mike's death, which Mac had blamed himself for.
Shortly after coming to work for the Phoenix Foundation, friends gave Nikki a small dog to take care of, originally on a temporary basis. The dog's name was Bunky. Nikki seemed to take Bunky in on a permanent basis not long after. But, the dog was killed by a hired assassin called Deborah, who was targeting MacGyver.
Nikki left the Phoenix Foundation shortly after Deborah was apprehended, and unlike several of MacGyver's other close friends, she seemingly never reentered his life.
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