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The Battle of Tommy Giordano

Original Air Date: February 20, 1989
Episode #75


MacGyver and a little dark-haired boy are entertaining themselves by playing with a remote-controlled robot near a city fountain. In a voice-over, MacGyver explains that he has known the boy, Tommy Giordano, since he was born; Mac had met Tommy's mom, Mary Ruth, at the Phoenix Foundation. Mac explains in the voice over that Mary Ruth is a lab technician at Phoenix and she had recently been through a painful divorce from Richard, a surgeon. On this particular day, Mac and Tommy were outside a courthouse where the parents were involved in a custody battle for Tommy.

As Mac's voiceover ends, Tommy suddenly stops the robot and looks at the courthouse. Tommy expresses his fear that whichever parent he lives with, the other parent will think he doesn't love them anymore. Mac assures him that isn't the case; Tommy has to live somewhere.

Mary Ruth exits the building with her lawyer. Tommy notices and he and Mac go over to her. Mary Ruth announces, "You're going to live with me, Tommy." Tommy's father, Richard, also exits the courthouse with his lawyer; he complains that despite all the money he's given the lawyer, he couldn't even get visitation rights. The lawyer retorts that since Richard verbally abused his wife for nine years he didn't have much to work with. Richard starts toward Mary Ruth; the lawyer warns him not to make trouble.

Richard joins the others. He says MacGyver's name as a greeting to him, then turns his attention to Mary Ruth, who is looking a bit nervous. "Let's call a truce," Richard suggests amicably. Mary Ruth breathes a little sigh of relief and says that she'd like that, and she knows Tommy would, too. Richard wants to speak to Tommy alone - "to say goodbye." When they're a few steps from Mac and Mary Ruth, Richard instructs Tommy to call him if his mom gets hysterical and can't handle things. Tommy mentions that MacGyver is taking him and his mother to the aquarium that afternoon, and Richard tells him as they part that he'll see him soon. As the others leave, Richard's lawyer joins him, telling him that he did the right thing. Richard scoffs and tells him to go back to law school.

Cut to an office where an old man named Joe Catano is discussing Crime Family business with his associate Paul. Their conversation reveals that the new head of their rivals, the Vacarro family, is trouble. Richard arrives, asking to speak to "Uncle Joe" privately. Richard says he needs help; he tells Joe that Mary Ruth lied about him in court and they've taken his son from him. When Richard comments that he and Joe are family, Joe remarks skeptically that Richard has always tried to manipulate people and that he only wants the old man around when he needs help. Richard turns to leave, but Joe announces that he will arrange something - he just wanted Richard to know that he was wise to his ways.

Cut to the aquarium where Tommy is awed by one of the fish. He asks MacGyver what the fish is called and Mac tells him, then Tommy rambles on how if he was a fish, that's the one he'd be. That or perhaps a shark. He asks if there are sharks at the aquarium. They're around the corner and after receiving his mother's permission to go see them, he tears off. As Mac and Mary Ruth walk after him, Mary Ruth reveals that she's scared of everything. Richard always told her that she couldn't do anything. "After a while," she says, "you start to believe it." MacGyver replies that it's time she starts believing in herself.

Mary Ruth asks if Mac sees Tommy; just as Mac and Mary Ruth catch sight of the boy up ahead, two men in trenchcoats grab the child. They run for an exit; Mac takes off after them. He catches up as they make it outside, but they hand Tommy off to his dad. Mac punches one of the henchmen, but the other hits him then sends him into the wall. The henchmen get into the car with Tommy and Richard and it drives off as Mary Ruth runs out, screaming Tommy's name.

Later in an office at the aquarium, Mac and Mary Ruth are meeting with two police officers. The cops are of little help; they remark that it's a civil matter at this point and there's nothing they can do.

At one of Uncle Joe's estates, Richard tells Tommy that as part of the divorce, he gets to take a trip with Tommy. Tommy asks what his mom will do, and Richard replies that she'll probably be with MacGyver. Uncle Joe appears and is introduced to Tommy. They get along well, as Uncle Joe describes the horses and such at his ranch in Canada.

At the Phoenix Foundation, Pete explains that Richard's uncle is the head of the Catano crime family. The Foundation did a background search on Richard as well when they hired Mary Ruth, but since Richard had "broke with" the family, he wasn't considered a security risk. As Mary Ruth remarks that Richard only took Tommy because he can't stand losing, Pete's secretary announces that there's a call for Mary Ruth - from Tommy. On the phone Tommy says that they're leaving and he just wanted to say goodbye. Mary Ruth asks where they're going, but Richard joins Tommy and hangs up.

Richard tells Tommy that they have to go. As they're about to get in the car, Joe introduces them to his associate, Paul. Joe praises Paul's efficiency but adds as an afterthought that nobody's perfect. As Joe's car leaves with Tommy and Richard, Paul goes to the car that's waiting for him. Inside, he makes a call - to Mr. Vacarro! He remarks that everything is set for tomorrow.

At the Phoenix Foundation, Pete gives Mac and Mary Ruth Mr. Catano's local address and sends them over there, telling them that George Caplan, the FBI Crime Family Specialist, will meet them there. They meet Mr. Caplan in the driveway where Tommy and Richard were in the previous scene; the house is empty. When asked if Richard can be arrested in Canada for kidnapping, Mr. Caplan explains that it's now an international matter that could take a while to be worked out; he also reveals that there's a price on Joe Catano's head, so he's gone into hiding. MacGyver asks if he can go to Canada and retrieve the child, but Mr. Caplan replies that then Mac would be the one arrested for kidnapping, since it takes a parent or legal guardian to take the child across the international border. So, Mary Ruth would have to go too. Mac warns her that they'd be walking into a messy situation. She says that she knew her ex-husband was mean and manipulative, but she never thought he'd put Tommy in danger. She's in.

At the ranch (in Alberta, Canada) it's snowy and armed guards patrol the grounds. As Tommy and Uncle Joe stroll outside, Tommy asks why the men have guns. Uncle Joe explains simply that some people work hard for all their life to have things, but other people work all their life to steal what others have worked for. He then asks Tommy to not go outside of the gate, and Tommy agrees that he won't. From a wooded area outside the gate, Mac and Mary Ruth are watching. Mary Ruth asks if he can get in; he replies that it'll be easier at night. Scanning the area with the binoculars, Mary Ruth shows Mac two men who are outside the gate also spying on Mr. Catano. Realizing who the other men are, Mac says that he and Mary Ruth should follow the others as they drive away, so that the hit men don't act before they do.

Inside the ranch, Uncle Joe walks as Tommy rides a horse that's being led by an assistant. Uncle Joe asks Tommy about his mother. Tommy gushes that his mom's funny, but when his dad's around she cries "a lot." Tommy thinks his mom is smart, but his dad doesn't think so. He says that his dad makes her nervous. With a smile, Uncle Joe remarks that he thinks he'd like Tommy's mother.

Mac and Mary Ruth have followed the hitmen to a motel. As the guys enter their room, they mention that they're supposed to wait for a phone call. Mac observes that since the guys are in room nine, they'll take the room next door. Mac tells Mary Ruth that whatever happens in there (at the check-in desk) she should back him up. Mac walks into the motel's small reception area and tells the man behind the counter that they want room number ten. The man replies that all the rooms are the same, but Mac insists upon room ten. He tells the man that it's numerology and any number that isn't divisible by two and five puts them into a cosmic tailspin. With a glance at Mary Ruth, he asks, "Right, babe?" A bit nervously, she agrees, "The wrong number really messes with my polarity." Looking at them, the man asks if they're from California. Mac puts his sunglasses on and replies, "For sure."

At the ranch, Uncle Joe is cooking as Tommy looks on. Tommy goes into the next room where his dad is on the phone. Tommy asks if he can call his mother; Richard replies peevishly that he's on the phone. Tommy reminds him that he was promised that he could call her when they arrived. Annoyed, Richard asks the person on the phone to hold for a minute. Richard says that he's brought Tommy on that trip and given him horses to ride, but it doesn't seem to be enough. He then tells the boy to stop whining about his mother and Tommy sadly walks off. Uncle Joe, who was watching from the kitchen, walks in, takes the phone from Richard and hangs up. Richard says that he was negotiating for a partnership in Vienna. Uncle Joe expresses concern for Tommy. He asks Richard why he wanted Tommy, and Richard replies, "Because he's mine!"

At the hotel, MacGyver works to patch into the phone in the bad guys' room. He does what he can from their side, but he tells Mary Ruth to get the guys out of the way for a few minutes so he can complete the task in their room. She freaks out a little, saying that she can't do it. MacGyver replies that she has to. She heads out the door to try, but at the same time, she sees the hitmen leaving, discussing where to go get something to eat. Mary Ruth goes back to tell MacGyver, and he quickly breaks into room number nine.

At the ranch Paul remarks that the groceries they ordered should have arrived and he says that he's going to call the store about the delay. Tommy has another remote-controlled robot-thing. Uncle Joe joins him in the floor commenting on the bot as it rolls around. Suddenly, Tommy stops it, looking sad. Uncle Joe asks if Tommy would like it if he put the boy on a plane back to his mother the next day. Tommy cheers up. Joe asks if it would be all right if he called Tommy sometime "to shoot the breeze." Tommy agrees to that, and Joe asks him to make the robot go again.

As Mac finishes work on the phone it rings. It's Paul calling with instructions. Mary Ruth pounds on the wall, announcing from the room next door that the hit men are returning. Mac puts things back the way he found them and hurries to hide behind the bathroom door. One of the guys picks up the phone as Paul hangs up. Mary Ruth sets about messing up the room, turning a lamp over and generally putting the room into disarray. She starts screaming things like "NO! Get away from me!" and throws objects against the wall. The hit men hear; one asks what that could be. The other - who is about to enter the bathroom - suggests that it's either a fight or someone's *really* in love. Mary Ruth tousles her hair and half untucks her shirt before running out of her room and pounding on the guys' door. They open it and she says urgently, "You've gotta help me!" before explaining that her boyfriend has gone nuts. The guy at the door starts to say that it isn't their problem, but she brushes past him and grabs the arms of the other, again pleading for help. She sees Mac peeping out of the shower and says urgently, "He's hurt me before." The guy agrees to help and she pulls him toward the door. The other one follows and Mac is able to sneak out. Not finding anyone next door, Mary Ruth says that they must have scared him away. They offer advice, telling her to lock the door and not to let the guy in if he comes back. As they leave, she thanks them profusely, but as the door closes behind them, she sinks onto the floor, looking as if her deception left her completely exhausted.

She looks up with a start as Mac opens the door. He looks around the room then tells her, "Nice going, ace." The phone rings. They pick it up and learn that there's a delivery van in the parking lot; that will get the guys close enough to take out the gate guards. Mac tells Mary Ruth to find a phone - she can't call out from theirs - and call the police. He's going with the hitmen; he sneaks on top of the van as it backs up then pulls away.

Mary Ruth runs to the front desk; the man at the desk tells her that there are no police, but there's a Mounties' base an hour away. He asks if she's trying to pull a prank. She grabs his collar, demanding if it looks like a prank. She orders him to get the Mounties to the Catano ranch as fast as possible, and she runs out to her car to go there herself.

The delivery van is stopped at the gatehouse. They kill one of the guards and the other one joins them, according to the plan. As they drag the dead man's body away, MacGyver takes the opportunity to climb down and clog up the tailpipe. He sneaks in the fence as the killers return to the van and discover it won't start. One of them gets out to check under the hood as Mac makes his way to the house.

He enters through an unlocked set of double doors near the kitchen; he locks the door behind him and ties the handles with a nearby telephone cord in the hopes of slowing down the men outside. He sneaks by the guards in the kitchen as Paul secretly removes a gun from his briefcase. Outside, the hitmen get the van started and proceed to the house. Paul sends the guards to help with the delivery, but the guards notice that something isn't right. The hitmen throw down the groceries and shoot the guards, breaking the glass in the doors. Joe hears the commotion, and Paul says that it's a delivery from Mr. Vacarro as he points his gun at Joe. As Paul is about to shoot, saying that it's "just business" MacGyver thwarts him. He knocks out Paul, then explains to Joe - who now has Paul's gun - that he's come to take Tommy home. At this point, Richard and Tommy come downstairs. Richard's not thrilled to see Mac, but Joe tells them to get Tommy to safety. Richard says, "This is your war," and he starts to leave. Angry that he would leave without his son, Joe slugs him. Richard falls to the floor unconscious as two of the hitmen break through Mac's tied-up door.

Downstairs in the basement, Joe asks Tommy to stay quiet in one of the back rooms. Joining Mac in the main room, Joe has a gun, but Mac says that there's too many of them to shoot it out. Joe retorts by asking if Mac has a better idea. Mac sees the robot, and it's obvious that he is, indeed, working on a better plan. After a little searching he finds chemicals that he can use to make an explosion/smoke screen. He puts the chemicals into one of the compartments in the robot and sets two wires so that they'll spark (to detonate the chemicals) when he presses a button on the remote control. He sets the bot near the bottom of the stairs and he and Joe hide; Joe behind a counter and Mac behind the pool table, so he can see the robot.

As the bad guys reach the bottom of the stairs, one of them knocks the robot over. Mac presses the button, but nothing happens because the wires have been jolted apart. Mac uses the other controls to set the bot in motion. The hit men are startled by its sudden movement but they quickly turn their attention back to searching. Mac steers the robot into a solid object with sufficient force to put the wires back in the proper place. Mac hits the button and the chemicals explode and Mac and Joe rush to knock out the hitmen.

Outside, Mary Ruth arrives. She enters the house through the same doors that Mac - and everyone else - used, then she hides, observing the third hitman walking through the kitchen. When he is out of sight, her eyes rest on a large iron skillet.

Bad guy number three (Tony) finds Joe and Mac in the basement, where they were tying up the still unconscious bad guys one and two. As he gestures for Joe to give him the gun, Mary Ruth appears and knocks Tony in the head with the skillet. Tommy, who was watching from a cracked door, shouts, "Awesome, Mom!" and rushes onto the stairs and into her arms. Joe tells her to take Tommy home, and he'll make sure that her ex-husband doesn't bother them anymore.

At the Phoenix Foundation, MacGyver is driving another robot around Pete's desk. Pete is there - of course - as are Mary Ruth and Tommy. Mary Ruth thanks them, not just for getting Tommy back but for helping her do things she never dreamed she could. As the conversation continues, Mac and Pete get into a brief struggle for the robot's remote. Pete is the victor, but his victory is short-lived as he drives the bot into his coffee cup. Tommy takes the remote and says helpfully, "You better let *me* drive." The adults chuckle.


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