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The Human Factor

Original Air Date: September 22, 1986
Episode #023

MacGyver and Pete Thornton arrive at the new facility for STRADA, the Strategic Research and Development Administration, where Mac has agreed to test the security system by trying to break in. Colonel Woodward, Pete's old acquaintance, greets them, confident that the system will pass the test and win the approval of the Phoenix Foundation. The Colonel shows them around to give Mac the advantage that an insider would have. In one of the labs, Mac finds Jill Ludlum, the computer expert who designed the place. Jill's plan is for the system to provide security and eliminate unnecessary mistakes caused by human guards. Jill introduces SANDY, the computer. SANDY recognizes Jill's voice and complies with her request for information. Later that night, Mac succeeds in breaking in, but Jill isn't surprised; basically he proved her point that the one weak spot in the system is at the gate. Mac says that he wants a re-match. Jill tells SANDY that the game is over, but SANDY repeats her warning about an unidentified voice pattern. As Jill and Mac head for the exit, a barrier appears, sealing them in. Jill says that SANDY has initiated containment; in thirty minutes, all of the air will be withdrawn from the complex. When a terminal explodes after Jill tries to override the system, she realizes that SANDY is true artificial intelligence, thinking of ways to defend herself. Outside, Pete and Col. Woodward work to free Mac and Jill, but SANDY thwarts their efforts. Pete learns that the two possibilities for escape - the maintenance shaft and the exhaust outlet - are lined outside with explosives, and there is no time to disarm both of them. After reaching the control room proves futile, Mac and Jill climb into the ventilation system. They reach the exhaust fans, but SANDY notes their arrival and slides a barrier over the exit route. With the air supply rapidly diminishing, Mac manages to shut the computer down by overloading a control panel. He then moves to manually open the door, but Jill reminds him about the explosives. Mac says he has a feeling and turns the crank. From beyond the fans, Pete calls to him. The next day, Jill asks how Pete chose which escape route Mac would take. Pete recalls another adventure where Mac broke out of a burning building via the exhaust outlet. Mac corrects him that he used the elevator shaft that time.


MacGyver: When James Bond gets an assignment, it's on the Riviera, up to his double-o seven in bikinis. Me, I end up eighty miles past nowhere courtesy of my good buddy, Pete Thornton, new operations director of the Phoenix Foundation.

"This is the, uh, acid test I promised you." Pete, to Colonel Woodward about Mac

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: Heat seekers. They zero in on your body temperature.
MacGyver: Do they bite?
Jill: Thirty thousand watts of laser. It's a whole lot more than a peck on the cheek.
MacGyver (to the robots): Good dogs ...

Jill: MacGyver. Some time consultant for the Phoenix Foundation. Alleged hockey player. Camel smuggler. Jack of all trades.
MacGyver: Jill Melissa Ludlum. Born in London. PhD, System Design, Oxford University, 1980. 1980-82, designed the Ludlum cybernetic circuit. 82-83 ... took a year off, for personal reasons. 83-86, immersed in the STRADA project. Hasn't come up for air yet. Reported to be a premiere technicrat.

Jill: Let's just say that my, uh, faith in machines has created a fifth-generation computer. It's just a blink away from artificial intelligence.

"Are you here to certify this place or to open up old wounds?" Col. Woodward to Pete

Colonel Woodward: We were beginning to wonder what was keeping him.
Jill: MacGyver ran into my security patrol.
MacGyver: Nice guys. Little short, but nice.

Colonel Woodward: Dr. Ludlum has decided to go without guards once the system is on-line.
Jill: That's right. We've completely eliminated the human factor.
MacGyver: Now why would you want to do that?
Jill: Ninety percent of security breaches are due to human error. Machines don't make mistakes.
MacGyver: Come on, Doctor. No machine is invincible.
Jill: This one is. *I* built it.
MacGyver: Right.
Jill: A quarter says she is.
Pete (to Mac): I think the gauntlet just got thrown.
MacGyver: Wouldn't want to take the lady's money, Pete.
SANDY: The bet is for twenty-five cents, Mr. MacGyver.
Jill: And you wouldn't be taking it. You'd have to come get it.

MacGyver: Man against machine - how cozy.
Jill (with a note of sarcasm): We're depending on your . . . human factor, Mr. MacGyver.

"It took the human race three million years to invent the telescope. I figured I had about thirty-five seconds." Mac, working on a plan

MacGyver: Little problem here. I'd forgotten to bring along a key card. But you can't let something like that throw you, just because of a . . . laser trap.

Jill: You came in with the truck, didn't you.
MacGyver: Under it.
Jill: Perfect. I've been arguing with Col. Woodward about installing a scanner outside the cave. Now he'll have to spring for it.
MacGyver: Wait a minute . . . you mean to tell me that this was a set-up? You let me win to prove a point?
Jill: Let's call it a draw.

Jill: I don't believe this. SANDY has initiated containment - a Stage 1 Alert.
MacGyver: What does that mean?
SANDY (announcing over the intercom): You have thirty minutes until air supply is withdrawn.
Jill: Does that answer your question?

Jill: She was never programmed to do that.
MacGyver: Maybe she doesn't like to be touched.

Jill: I did it! True artificial intelligence. SANDY's not just executing commands anymore; she's . . . she's actually thinking! She's deciding how to defend herself.
MacGyver: Wait a minute - hold it. You mean to tell me she's trying to think up ways to get rid of us?

[Jill and Mac escaped from a robot in a garbage shoot.]
Jill: This was a bad idea.
MacGyver: Why is that?
Jill: Excess waste is automatically dumped into an acid bath. How much do you weigh?
MacGyver: 175.
Jill: This is programmed to 280.
MacGyver: So if you weigh more than 105, we're in trouble.
Jill: I think we're okay.
[The floor starts to open.]
Jill: I lied . . . 108!

Jill: Why are you taking your pants off?
MacGyver: You got a better idea?
Jill: I'm still trying to figure out what yours is!

Jill: How strong are your pants?
MacGyver: Stronger than your pipe . . .

MacGyver: Old SANDY sure has a mind of her own, doesn't she.
Jill: Yes, but she thinks like me. So, I should be able to think it through and find her pattern, logically and rationally.
MacGyver: Without the emotion, right?
Jill: That's what gives her the edge; people and emotion can't get in her way.
MacGyver: Look. I say we trust our instincts, go with our gut. You can't program that. That's our edge.

"Ten minutes of oxygen remaining. Thank you." SANDY, polite as ever with her announcements

Pete: We don't "roll the dice," we make a calculated choice. It's time we tried to think like MacGyver. His mind doesn't work like yours - or mine. We've got to put our gut to work--
Colonel Woodward: Instinct doesn't cut it, Pete. We've got plans.

[Mac is about to take a chance and open the door to the exhaust fans.]
MacGyver: Come on, Pete. Be there.
Jill: No, MacGyver, it's mined. If it's not disarmed, it'll explode.
MacGyver: I've got a feeling ...

Jill: It's going to take me a while to get the kinks out of the system.
MacGyver: Well, just don't leave the people out of the system, alright?

Jill: You're alright for a camel smuggler.
MacGyver: I returned that camel.

The Eraser

Original Air Date: September 29, 1986
Episode #024

As a bonus, MacGyver plays hockey with the L.A. Squires; Pete approaches and asks him to find a man named Simmons who has been selling the country's security information to East Germans. Elsewhere "Papa Chuck" Banning asks a hitman named Jimmy to take Simmons out. Jimmy has spent the past ten years in prison, and he says he doesn't have the heart to return to his old job. When Papa Chuck threatens to call in Jimmy's markers, Jimmy reluctantly agrees to take the job. Looking for leads, Mac visits a bar that Simmons has invested in. Jimmy overhears Mac's inquiry, and soon Mac catches Jimmy following him. Jimmy says that he's Simmons' estranged father. Mac agrees to call if he finds anything. Clues at Simmons' office lead Mac to a girlfriend and then to his target. Mac calls Jimmy to report that he's found Simmons, but as they wait, Simmons insists that his father died six years ago. Jimmy arrives with one of Papa Chuck's men, and Simmons realizes that it's a hit. He and Mac flee into a nearby abandoned building, but Jimmy finds them. Mac stands in front of Simmons, recalling how Jimmy said that he wants "no more excitement." Jimmy relents and lets Mac take Simmons into custody. However, Papa Chuck's thug overhears and reports to his boss that Jimmy didn't complete the job. Papa Chuck sends the thug to kill Simmons - and Jimmy. Realizing that bad guys will come after Jimmy, Mac finds him watching children play baseball. Jimmy insists that there's nowhere to run, but when Papa Chuck's men enter the ball field, Mac and Jimmy flee. They find themselves in a balloon factory, and the shiny plastic gives Mac an idea. Using mirrors, he makes it look as if the thugs have shot Jimmy. Upon learning that Jimmy is dead, Papa Chuck seems almost sad, and he orders a nice floral arrangement to be sent. At the "funeral," Pete reports that the favor Mac wanted has been arranged: Jimmy is in Florida, where Mac found a job for Jimmy - under his new identity - with a baseball team.


"A man once said he went to a fight and a hockey game broke out." Mac, pondering the game

"Put twelve guys carrying sticks in an enclosed area and sooner or later, men will be boys." Mac, right before he is sentenced to the penalty box

MacGyver: You promised. No assignments for a week, at least. Right?
Pete (wounded): Mac, I came down here to watch you play...

"With protection like this, I'm lucky to be alive, huh?" Papa Chuck, after Jimmy gets past the guards

MacGyver: I thought you gave up your cloak-and-dagger when you joined the Phoenix Foundation.
Pete: Yeah, you and me both.

Jimmy: I'm not the same guy I was; I don't have the heart for it anymore. My knees are shot. My left eye clouds up on me ...
Papa Chuck: You're the Eraser. Bad knees and one eye, you're still the best hitter since Dimaggio.

Jimmy: Take my advice: stay young.
MacGyver: I'll try.

MacGyver: I guess there are a lot of reasons why a man would sell his country's secrets. But the most common is also the hardest to understand - simple greed.

MacGyver: Some people give at the office. Simmons took from it.

MacGyver: Pete didn't want to alert the people at Vetrocon Systems in case Simmons wasn't the company's only bad apple. Which is why I found myself hanging around an elevator shaft in total violation of every instinct I own.

"You can tell a lot about someone by the things he keeps on his desk. Provided you can get to his desk." Mac, standing outside Simmons' locked office

MacGyver: My mom used to tell me, "When you visit some place, make sure you leave it the same way you found it."

Jimmy: I lived by the beach when I was a kid in Jersey City. Well, it really wasn't a beach, it was a drainage ditch. But my mother said it was a beach, and I believed.

Jimmy: When I was your age, I used to have the itch to keep moving all the time, always looking for that next piece of excitement. Know what I mean?

"You dreamed of making it to the pros, didn't you." Jimmy, after Mac beats him at table hockey

Jimmy: Dreams are important, otherwise sleep is just eight hours of nothin'.

"I like alfalfa sprouts for two reasons: lots of minerals and they don't stain your clothes." Mac, picking sprouts off of his lap

Jimmy (to Ralph): Let me suggest this. Keep your mouth shut before your brains spill out all over the floor.

MacGyver: Whenever I see a car phone, I can't help wondering whether the person who owns it is important . . . or wants everyone else to think he's important. Simmons obviously fell into the latter category.

"I want a twelve-inch pizza? Run it through the garden, hold the 'chovies." Mac, after calling Simmons' phone

MacGyver: Linda, sweetheart, the car will go now. I suggest you go with it.

MacGyver: If this works, it'll keep us from getting caught.
Simmons: If it doesn't?
MacGyver: It'll keep us from getting old.

"You know, I've been wrong about a lot of people, but I have never been this wrong." Mac, to Jimmy, who is pointing a gun

MacGyver: Office hours are over, Pete; loosen your tie and grab a yogurt.

Jimmy: I appreciate your concern, but it's not your worry.
MacGyver: Well, I'm funny that way.

"It won't work. I don't know what you're doing, but it won't work." Jimmy, proving he doesn't know Mac all that well

Jimmy: Ralph is so dumb, he'd study for a blood test.

Jimmy: I owe you, MacGyver.
MacGyver: How can you owe a friend?

Ralph (laughing): Jimmy the Eraser got rubbed out.
Papa Chuck (not amused): If I'd wanted a comedian, I'd have hired one.

Ballplayer: Hey, Louie, I need oil for my glove.
Jimmy: You don't need oil, you need glue.

Twice Stung

Original Air Date: October 6, 1986
Episode #025

MacGyver arrives in LA early to attend a birthday party for his friend Kelly; however, the others accidentally "surprise" Mac when the guest of honor is uncharacteristically late. After receiving Kelly's prized cue stick as a gift, Mac realizes that something is wrong. He hurries to Kelly's apartment - and smells gas coming from inside. He breaks in and thwarts Kelly's attempt at suicide. Back at Mac's loft, Mac demands to know what happened, and Kelly finally confesses that he lost his life savings by buying into a land development scam. At the Phoenix Foundation, Mac and Pete Thornton discuss the swindler, a criminal named James Crowe. Pete introduces Mac to Joanne Remmings. Having researched various scams, Joanne suggests that they con the con man to get back the money he took from Kelly and others. The guys find Crowe at a horse race and put on a show for him, acting as if Pete is a crooked cop and Mac is a thief who is cheating him. Crowe approaches Mac asking about the "deal of a lifetime" that Pete mentioned. Mac agrees to meet Crowe in the stables for further discussion, but Mac finds Joanne following him. She insists that she can help, and Crowe arrives leaving Mac no choice but to introduce Joanne. Joanne plays along, saying that she can talk Pete into sharing the wealth. Kelly joins the fun, and the four set Crowe up to see a phony drug deal gone wrong. The next day, Pete shares a plan to use Crowe's money - $400,000 - as part of a switch to obtain $2 million stored in the police property room. Crowe cautiously agrees. Sent home by Pete, Joanne is furious; Mac arrives with a peace offering. However Crowe and his men arrive, and Crowe takes Joanne as insurance until he gets the money. This twist gives Mac an idea. The next day, Mac and Pete act as if they don't care about Joanne, and Crowe becomes suspicious. He insists on entering the police station with them; Pete pretends to have a gun and forces Crowe out the back door. Kelly arrives in a van, and the guys put Crowe in a trunk. Mac and Pete take the trunk into the property cage. They fill the trunk with merchandise and leave Crowe in the cage. The Property Room Manager returns and sound an alarm. A swarm of cops rushes outside and catches Crowe's men with the trunk full of stolen goods. Mac frees Joanne from a nearby camper, and they board the van with Kelly and Pete and leave.


MacGyver: I don't care what anybody says: birthdays are important. So when a good friend is turning sixty and I'm returning from another government mission, there isn't a much faster way to get home than to catch a ride on a T38 Ace flight.

Pete: Mac, it's good to see you, but you're a day early. What are you doing here?
MacGyver: Well it's for Kelly; I wouldn't miss it. But to tell the truth I'd show up anywhere to see you wearing that hat.
[At that, Pete removes the birthday party hat he's wearing.]

MacGyver (reading a letter): "Dear Mac, if anything will improve your game, this will. Kelly."
Pete: Well, your game could stand a little improving.

"Happy Birthday, Kelly." Mac, after he thwarted Kelly's attempt at suicide

Kelly: I don't like goin' to people with my problem.
MacGyver: You don't go to "people" with your problems, you come to your friends!

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"?

"Maybe it takes a con to beat a con." Joanne, setting up the plot

"All we got to do is get back four hundred thousand." Mac, trying to sell Pete on the idea

Pete: How do I look?
MacGyver: You look good.
[Mac removes Pete's sunglasses and turns his backward cap around.]
MacGyver: Now you look great.

"When I'm hot, I'm hot." Mac, pretending to be lucky (and speaking the truth ;)

Pete: I'm going to cut you in on the deal of your life - if you don't mind getting a little dirty.
MacGyver: Little dirt never hurt anybody.

Crowe: I don't mind getting a little dirty either, especially if I have the protection of a tarnished badge in my pocket.

Joanne: Look, I want to be where the action is.
[Crowe and his men drag a horse trainer into the stable.]
MacGyver: Looks like you just got your wish.

"I may be dead, but I'm not deaf." Kelly, after Mac yells his name

Pete: I can't be responsible for you out there if anything goes wrong.
Joanne: I'm not asking you to be!
Pete: No good. You're out of it. My decision.

Joanne: I always photograph strange things when I'm angry.
MacGyver: You must get angry a lot.

MacGyver: What if I say no to your deal?
Crowe: Well then, she's dead.
Joanne: MacGyver!
MacGyver: It's a deal. She's yours.

Crowe: What about the girl? You didn't ask about her.
MacGyver: How is she?
Crowe: She's fine; she's watching us right now with a gun pointed at her head!

"Gee, you're all tied up. Maybe I should come back a little later..." Mac, rescuing Joanne

Joanne: So what do you think, Kelly?
Kelly: After helping you guys pull this off, I feel like I can do anything.

The Wish Child

Original Air Date: October 20, 1986
Episode #026

MacGyver is practicing karate with his friend Lisa Chan, when Lisa receives a call. She has to leave town suddenly and she asks Mac to pick up her brother Paul who is at a birthday party. Lisa warns that Paul has changed; Mac replies that if Paul still has a patch of white in his hair, he'll recognize him. Mac arrives in Chinatown and locates the address Lisa gave him, but a guard won't let Mac in. Sneaking past the guard, Mac finds Paul in a ceremonial robe and headdress. Mac observes several men in suits before he is knocked out by a guard. He wakes in a crate being loaded onto a freighter. He escapes from that and returns to Chinatown to find the building empty but he finds a clue: Chinese symbols on the floor. Mac's con artist friend Sammy explains that it's the symbol of the Wish Child, a legendary figure who can give a person immortality. Mac realizes that someone is using Paul as part of a scam. Sammy directs Mac to a restaurant belonging to a man named Stone. There, Mac overhears Stone telling his guard that a man named Mr. Lee is interested in the Wish Child, and Paul won't be coming back after their meeting. Mac gets Paul away from Stone's place to talk to him; Paul believes that Stone is his friend and they aren't doing anything wrong by letting people think he is the Wish Child. Stone's people arrive and Paul goes with them, insisting he knows what he's doing. Mac goes to a local museum looking for clues and he finds Dr. Chan, who was with Paul and Stone earlier. Mac convinces Dr. Chan to tell him who is after Paul, but Dr. Chan is shot suddenly by one of Stone's men. Before he dies, Dr. Chan tells where Mr. Lee will keep the boy. At the meeting with Mr. Lee and Stone, Paul passes Mr. Lee's tests. Believing that Paul is the Wish Child, Mr. Lee agrees to pay Stone and they leave, locking Paul in with Mr. Lee's collection of artifacts. After Stone agrees to the price, Mr. Lee has him killed. Mac arrives and sneaks onboard the ship. He gets past the guards and finds Paul in the room, as Dr. Chan said. Mr. Lee arrives, and he chases frantically after Paul and Mac. As Paul and Mac exit the gangplank onto the dock, Mr. Lee suddenly falls, clutching his chest. Back at Mac's place, Lisa returns. She asks about the party that Paul went to, and Mac replies that it was "outstanding."


MacGyver: I grew up in northern Minnesota. And I remember snow drifts that would bury whole parking lots, icicles longer than hockey sticks, and being stuck with three layers of clothing. My favorite, though, was when they announced exposed flesh warnings on the radio, to prevent frostbite. When I came to California, I found out it's really a small world. They had exposed flesh warnings too, called beach parties.

MacGyver: I remember the age when it was cool to be bad. Dumb age.

"Yep, I was right. Dumb age." Mac, after the guard falls for his distraction

MacGyver: Teenage party? Whatever happened to spin the bottle?

MacGyver: It's funny - gunpowder smells the same no matter how you write it.

"I'd either blow out ... or up." Mac, with the downside of using fireworks as a means of escape

"I changed my mind; I'm not taking that cruise." Mac, explaining why he just emerged from a crate

MacGyver: It'd just take me forever to get the police to believe a story about being shanghaied in . . . Chinatown.

Sammy: A lot of noise on the street about this kid doing the Wish Child Hustle. So . . . I'm currently offering these real, genuine copies of a certified replica in the Golden Era Museum.
MacGyver: You can't get more honest than that.

Sammy: A lot of people are fighting to put good money down on the kid. It's a great gig.
MacGyver: You mean, "hustle"?

Sammy: Then a bandit nabs him, recognizes him as the Wish Child, tries to sell him.
MacGyver: Sell him because he grants wishes.
Sammy: Better. Heavier. The legend says, you link your soul to his, you got immortality. Ah, if I could only bottle it, I'd be rich.
MacGyver: Sammy, I'm talking about a fourteen year-old kid from Santa Monica, not the mists of antiquity. Who's bottling him?
Sammy: Guy named Stone, half Chinese half sewer rat, out of Hong Kong.

Stone: How did you handle that MacGyver guy?
Muscle Guy: He shipped out to New Zealand.
Stone: Hmm, nice touch. No body, no cops, no noise. Diplomatic.

Paul: What are you sneakin' around like this for?
MacGyver: So your friends back there don't cream me again.
Paul: Stone? He wouldn't do that.
MacGyver: He would. He did, and he will again if I give him half a chance.

Paul: We're not hurting anybody! People really believe I'm this Wish Child and ... and it makes 'em happy. They even give me money.
MacGyver: It's a rip-off, Paul, and you know it.

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

Dr. Chan: He is the Wish Child.
MacGyver: He is a fourteen year-old kid from Santa Monica who's in a lot of trouble.

MacGyver: Dr. Chan. I have been slugged, dumped, shanghaied and shot at, and I think the reason is because of Paul. Now why? What does Mr. Lee want with him?

"Mr. Lee's boat ran about fifty thousand tons. Little bit smaller than Fort Knox, but about as hard to bust into." Mac, assessing the situation

"Old Minnesota wisdom: if you don't want to be touched, look downright untouchable." Mac, covered with grime to disguise himself as a ship mechanic

MacGyver: Maybe he believed in the legend too much.

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