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About MacGyver

All about the show and the man.


Series Synopsis

MacGyver is an American action-adventure television series that ran for seven seasons (1985-1992) on ABC.

The show's title character - Angus MacGyver (portrayed by Richard Dean Anderson) - is a secret agent with a difference. He is quiet, mild mannered, deeply principled and refuses to carry a gun on his missions. Fortunately, the last detail is unimportant when compared to his astounding mind. Drawing on a vast practical knowledge of science, MacGyver is able to make use of any mundane materials around him to create unorthodox solutions to any problem he faces. A former Special Forces agent, MacGyver works for the Phoenix Foundation, a "think tank" dedicated to righting wrongs and defeating bad guys around the world.

For more details about the character, read Mac's bio in The MacGyver F.A.Q.

For brief episode descriptions, select a season below:
» Season 1 » Season 2 » Season 3 » Season 4 » Season 5 » Season 6 » Season 7 »

Complete recaps and quotes from each episode can be found in the Episode Guide.

For even more about MacGyver, select a topic in the menu at the left.


The Simpsons Explain MacGyver

This is from the April 9, 2006 episode of The Simpsons, in which RDA "appears."

Bart: What's a MacGyver, and why does it have a convention?
Patty: MacGyver was a show about a secret agent who used inventions made of everyday objects to defeat bad guys.
Selma: And he was played by the three greatest names in the history of television. Richard. Dean. Anderson.


MacGyver (and others) Explain MacGyver

"Actually, I do much better without them, thanks." MacGyver after a man offers the use of his gun

"Mostly I like to see how the world works. Meet people. Learn how they're different - and the same." MacGyver, on why he moves around so much

MacGyver: I've found from past experience that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something... unpredictable.

MacGyver: That's when I usually get a call: when somebody's in trouble and needs some rescuing.

Terry: MacGyver, what do you do, by profession?
MacGyver: I, uh, move around.

Bill: You've always got an answer.
MacGyver: It doesn't always work.

Frank: You don't look like a hotshot expert on personal security.
MacGyver: Well, I don't feel like one either.

MacGyver: I like to take care of my own messes.

"You always did like to talk." Harry, about MacGyver

"The first time I met this fellow, he pulled me out of the quicksand in the... deep desert. Then he put me on a camel and gave it this gigantic swat..." Pete, about Mac

Quayle: Ah, yes, that's the handyman side of MacGyver; he likes to make clever little things out of odd bits.

MacGyver: I took physics because it was interesting, and it excited me - not to buy myself a job.

Amy: You always carried a pocketful of junk.
MacGyver: Yeah.
Amy: And you always fixed everything...

MacGyver: I had this contract with Pete Thornton's outfit that says I take only those jobs I wanna take. Now, you'd think I'd say "no" once in a while...

MacGyver: When you think about it, I take on a lot of jobs nobody else'd want. The question is, why do I want 'em? I find myself asking these questions more and more, and rationalizing answers with stuff like flexible hours, nice scenery, all expense paid vacations in colorful eastern European luxury resorts. But the bottom line is, I like it. I actually like getting into stuff that makes the old adrenalin pump. And I get to meet some... interesting people who've made some interesting career choices themselves.

[Bannister feigns being shocked at Mac wearing a tuxedo.]
Ingrid: Will either of you please tell me what is so amazing?
Bannister: MacGyver. I mean, this man's idea of black tie is a dirty shoelace. Definitely not into formality.
Ingrid: Then the answer is simple: a woman.
MacGyver: No, the answer is Pete put the arm on me.

"You know Mac. He can't let a puzzle alone." Bannister, to Ingrid

Penny: Are you really a spy?
MacGyver: I'm just... doing a favor for a friend.

Stephan: Are you crazy?
MacGyver: It's been rumored.

Professor Willis: Good ones like Kate, they are rare. Then there's MacGyvers who have to have their brains rattled every now and then to make sure they're still in tune.

"You have one of the finest minds I have ever encountered." Professor Willis, to Mac

MacGyver: Friendship is something I don't take lightly. It's too hard to come by.

Ms. Collins: How come you're not scared?
MacGyver: Well, you know that old saying "Lord, give me the strength to deal with what I can and endure what I can't"? Well, I'm enduring.
Ms. Collins: You know, in a weird way, you're a comfort.

Dr. Grant: MacGyver, you have a remarkable flair for junk art.

MacGyver: You didn't even say goodbye to me.
Pete: So you just naturally had to follow me?
MacGyver: Pete, we're friends. If you got troubles, I got troubles.

Colonel Woodward: So this is your main guy? What makes him so special? He doesn't even have any gear.
Pete: That's what makes him so special.

Jill: MacGyver. Some time consultant for the Phoenix Foundation. Alleged hockey player. Camel smuggler. Jack of all trades.

Joanne: Oh, I've heard about you! You're the one that does the whatchamacallits. You know, MacGyver-isms. Turns one thing into another?
MacGyver: "MacGyver-isms"?

MacGyver: I used to love museums when I was a kid. You never knew what you'd find inside... I liked mysteries, back then.

Pete: We've really extended the funds on this, so there's very little money involved. I mean, like none.
MacGyver: Pete, when has that ever stopped me?

Debra: I've never been able to figure out how your mind works. How do you think of these things?
MacGyver: Well, if it comes down to me against the situation, I don't like the situation to win.

MacGyver: When you're hang-gliding, you feel like you're part of the sky... Maybe that's why I can fly hundreds of feet off the ground without the sweaty palms I get when I look down from a stepladder.

MacGyver: Sometimes I get into some very bizarre situations - even for me.

"That man has no sense of military discipline whatsoever." General Makepeace, about Mac

MacGyver: I learned something a long time ago: never laugh at what you don't know.

MacGyver: A paper clip can be a wondrous thing. More times than I can remember, one of these has gotten me out of a tight spot.

Victoria: MacGyver is the best man that the Phoenix Foundation has. If he's dead, it'll help your cause.

Harry: Things like this happen to you often?
MacGyver: Yeah, as a matter of fact, they do.

Victoria: Don't be modest. Everybody knows MacGyver's MacGyver.

Pete: We heard an explosion, that's all. MacGyver is damn hard to kill.

Elaine: You really think this is going to work?
MacGyver: I think if you try hard enough and make the best of a situation, the situation won't get the best of you.

Barbara: Yes, I know the Phoenix Foundation, of course, but I don't know exactly what you do, Mr. MacGyver.
MacGyver: Just MacGyver. I just kind of fix things around the place, that's all.

"You know, you guys are missin' out on a great deal, if you kill me. I can help you. See, I'm kind of an expert with just about everything... " Mac, rambling to buy time

Pete: Now don't be a hero; just get the girl if you can and come on back.
MacGyver: Pete, you know me. Soon as I get the girl, I run like crazy.

Pete: Don't you ever dust this place?
MacGyver: Twice a year, like clockwork.

Leland: You know, friendship is a wonderful thing. That's how I know MacGyver is going to show up.
Pete (flatly): We're not that close.
Leland: Hey, you broke your leg to get him out of an avalanche. That's close enough for me.

Pete: Dalton? That clown? Are you telling me he got us out here on a wild goose chase?
MacGyver: Yeah, sure. It's his kind of practical joke. He was part of it seven years ago when you and I first met; you remember that?

MacGyver: Do you remember what happened seven years ago today?
Pete: Yeah. You and I first met.
MacGyver: Yeah. Chasing Murdoc.

Pete: What's that?
MacGyver: Duct tape. Real handy stuff. Carry it with me all the time.

Pete: You are a do-gooder, MacGyver. Ninety percent of the people in the world are smart: they see trouble coming, and they duck and run. Ten percent are like you. Can't resist cleaning up the mess.

Pete: Listen, MacGyver. Anybody who can use a paper clip, a pair of shoelaces, and a rusty monkey wrench to take out two bazookas could be very useful in taking Murdoc. Help me.

"He's got honesty the way some people have diseases. Incurable." Jack, to Pete about Mac

MacGyver: Why are you smiling like that?
Pete: I know that look. I've never been able to figure out how your mind works, but I know when it works.

[Pete tries to hand Mac a gun.]
Pete: Here. Just for insurance.
MacGyver: Pete, you know how I feel about those things.
Pete: Yeah, I do, but you're defenseless out here.
MacGyver: No, just weaponless.

MacGyver: Sometimes I just hate it when I'm right.

Pete: What happened?
MacGyver: Eh, it doesn't matter now. What does matter is that the only reason I'm alive is luck; I had nothing to do with it.
Pete: Well, you always said you'd rather be lucky than good.

MacGyver: For the past seven years, I have done nothing but travel around the world getting shot up, locked up, blown up - and all I've got to show for it are a couple of empty rolls of duct tape.
Pete: Listen to me. There is no one else in the world like you. You're a cat. You've got nine lives.
MacGyver: I've already lived eight of 'em! I don't want to waste the last one.

"He's kind of tall, a little over six feet. He's got brown hair, long in back. Brown eyes. He's a nice guy. He doesn't dress like me. Kinda casual." Pete, describing Mac

Pete: His name is MacGyver; he can fix anything.

Diana: Do something.
MacGyver: What?
Diana: You're the one who picked the embassy lock with a light bulb filament and ground-up pencil lead. You're also the one who shorted an alarm system with a chewing gum wrapper and a half a lemon. Come on!

MacGyver: It's kinda interesting how you can put one thing with another and cook up the right formula for stayin' out of trouble. My old high school physics and chemistry classes come in real handy sometimes. Not to mention the fact that when you're in a squeeze, necessity always seems to come through as the true mother of invention.

MacGyver: Remember me? I like to stay loose, keep an open mind.
Diana: Whatever makes you happy.

Pete: MacGyver is kind of a... troubleshooter.

"Why can't you just knock or say hello like everybody else?" Jack, after Mac almost punches him

Pete: MacGyver, you're a genius.
Jack: That's a matter of opinion.

"MacGyver, you can't kill him with an ax." Jimmy, confident that Mac is okay

Joanna (about Mac): You sure have a lot of faith in this guy; what makes him so special?
Pete: You know, I've known him for eight years now, and I've never quite been able to put my finger on it. He just... always comes through, no matter what.

MacGyver: Math and science do prove useful.

Starkoss: You're a serious man, you're an intellectual man, you're a man of the mind... Why feel such guilt? It's alright. She understands. Your mother, she forgives you.
MacGyver: What?!
Starkoss: It's alright. She understands you could not go to the funeral. She forgives you; you do not forgive yourself. But she forgives you.

MacGyver: You use me! You lie to me! You suck me in! You... drive me up the wall!
Jack: What are friends for?

MacGyver: You're my best friend. Mike, we've always been there for each other; isn't that the most important thing?
Mike: All those women in your life and you never learned a thing, did you.

Nikki: How was he?
Pete: Not good at all. There was no life in him. Can you imagine MacGyver with no smile, no light behind the eyes?

Ryman: I continue to be a little disappointed; those who show a shred of promise flee the fold. There you are, MacGyver, in the physics hall of fame. But where are you, MacGyver?
MacGyver: Happy doing what I'm doing.
Ryman: Nonsense. You should've stayed with physics.

"Mr. MacGyver is a former student here - though, of course, not in your league. He was gifted." Professor Ryman, introducing Mac to his class

MacGyver: It's nothing personal here, mind you... but we do seem to work in different ways.
Pete: People--
Nikki: That's right. I'm a professional, and you make up stuff as you go along.
MacGyver: Whatever works!

MacGyver: You know, when something's broken, the easiest thing to do is just throw it away, go on, and forget about it... But if you just step back and take a look at what you've got, sometimes you find a totally different way of making it work.

MacGyver: When I was a kid, my grandpa gave me two things I'll never forget: a subscription to Popular Mechanics and a chemistry set.

MacGyver: When things get tough, sometimes I turn to a friend. Other times I just want to hide in the mountains.

MacGyver: Yeah, I wanted to be a ranger.
Karen: You wanted to be a ranger. You wanted to be a pilot. You wanted to go to Africa! And every time I agreed and tried to be part of it? You changed your mind.

MacGyver: Whatever's going on around here has got nothing to do with ghosts, or goblins, or the supernatural. There is a purely logical explanation for everything.
Penny: Really. Well, that would sound a lot more reassuring if you weren't holding a human skull.

MacGyver: The decisions we make shape our lives. When I was a kid, I made a bad decision about a gun, and my life was never the same.

MacGyver: We're doing great, Pete. We'll have you out of here in no time.
Pete: You never were a good liar.

"Not everyone is lucky enough to have a friend like you. I feel honored. I mean that." Pete, to Mac

Murdoc: So. Pete's dead. I knew you had it in you, MacGyver. Underneath it all, we're so much alike. I'm almost sorry to see it end.

MacGyver: I'm told kids like me once they get to know me.

"You've got to learn to look at all the angles, Ray." Mac, talking about pool - and life

Crystal: What do you do? What's your job?
MacGyver: Well... I guess you could call me a, uh, troubleshooter. I, uh... help people.
Crystal: Like, people in trouble?
MacGyver: Something like that.

Jennifer: You know, I finally got you figured out. Why you're always on the brink of disaster.
MacGyver: Yeah? What's the conclusion, doc?
Jennifer: Well, part of you is still trying to stop your dad and grandma from dying in that car accident. And another part of you is still trying to get home in time to say goodbye to your mom.

Zoe: Do you remember what Jack Dalton always used to say when we were kids in the neighborhood? "If you want MacGyver's help, first you have to get his full and undivided attention."

MacGyver: I really need your help.
Lisa: But what if I'm caught? What if they stop me?
MacGyver: Then at least you tried.

Murdoc: You know, MacGyver, that's why you're so hard to beat. Nobody knows what you're going to do next. Including you.

Baron: Sounds like you're against a free and democratic press.
MacGyver: No, Sir. Just people who abuse it. Like you, Mr. Baron.

MacGyver: The door was open.
Hines: I left it that way to see how bold you are.
MacGyver: Bold - and nosy. I'm famous for that.

Victor: I could kill you in your sleep.
MacGyver: I'm an insomniac... You don't want to kill me.
Victor: How can you be sure?
MacGyver: Human nature. I do something nice for you, you do something nice for me - like not kill me. Next thing you know, we're friends.

Maddox: I see. You're one of those.
MacGyver: Yeah, I'm one of those. I just can't help it, you know? I got this thing about innocent people being shot down in the streets or through the walls of their homes.

Maddox: Well, you know what they say: "Guns don't kill people. People do."
MacGyver: Is that anything like, "Hydrogen bombs don't kill people; it's the people who set them off"?

Phil: Tell me, Mr. MacGyver. Do you believe in flying saucers?
MacGyver: Well, as a matter of fact, I tend to chalk that stuff up to natural phenomena.

MacGyver: Why should we help you?
Von Leer: I know your kind, MacGyver. You're an optimist who believes wherever there is life, there is hope.

MacGyver: But I would like to know why you didn't tell me about the money.
Faith: Well, we thought you were such a goody two shoes that maybe you'd make us give Leo's money back.

Murdoc: MacGyver is terribly clever, but then so am I. You see, I do have one very definite advantage over him: he fights fair.

"Definitely Murdoc's handiwork. I could fix it if I only had some duct tape." Murdoc, being Mac

Abe (to Mac): Phillip had a friend in college named MacGyver; ever heard of him? Nice looking fellow. Tall, good-looking - never took a haircut - but what a sweetheart he was...

Major Snead: I don't like this, Mr. President. MacGyver's an environmentalist. You can't trust those people.

Murdoc: You're so predictable, MacGyver. Always trying to save everybody but yourself.

"MacGyver. You continue to be a thorn in my side." Prometheus, the arsonist

"With all your luck, you owe the spirits a goat." Mama Lorraine (the voodoo priestess), to Mac


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