MacGyver (1985 TV series, season 1)

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Season 1
MacGyver season 1 DVD.png
"Always Prepared for Adventure"
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes22
Original networkABC
Original releaseSeptember 29, 1985 (1985-09-29) –
May 7, 1986 (1986-05-07)
Season chronology
Next →
Season 2
List of episodes

The first season of the American television series MacGyver, consisting of 22 episodes, began on September 29, 1985, and ended on May 7, 1986, and aired on the ABC network. The region 1 DVD was released on January 25, 2005.[1]


In this season, the show introduces MacGyver, described as "an action hero who practiced non-violent methods and fought with his mind instead of his hands or weapons." It follows MacGyver and his friend Pete, as they use tools and cleverness to deal with difficult and often dangerous situations.[2]


No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"Pilot"Jerrold Freedman (as Alan Smithee)Thackary PallorSeptember 29, 1985 (1985-09-29)

On top of a vertical rock face encampment, MacGyver rescues a captured Air Force pilot and reacquires a component from a top secret missile in Central Asia from the armed captors. Although MacGyver doesn't believe in using guns, he carries one (a Valmet rifle disguised as an AKM) in order to appear like one of the guards and later rigs it to fire off as a distraction in the opening gambit of the pilot episode. Extremely out-of-character for later MacGyver episodes he also shoots twice at the guards pursuing them, then hands the weapon over to the Air Force pilot he is rescuing while he prepares their escape.

After coming home, he is called in to rescue a group of scientists trapped in an underground New Mexico laboratory after a major explosion. The explosion causes a sulfuric acid leak that puts MacGyver in a rush with time before the acid leaks into the aquifer. It turns out that this explosion was not an accident; it was planned by one of the trapped scientists to prevent his ozone research from getting turned into a doomsday weapon. MacGyver survival techniques include using chocolate bars to plug the sulfuric acid leak (the sugar forms a sticky paste when it reacts with the acid) and making an alkali metal (sodium in a cold pill) and water bomb to blow a hole in a wall.

Note: Dana Elcar appears in this episode as a guest star playing Andy Colson, not as his later regular role of MacGyver's boss Peter Thornton.
22"The Golden Triangle"Donald Petrie (opening gambit)
Paul Stanley
Terry Nation (opening gambit)
Dennis Foley
October 6, 1985 (1985-10-06)

MacGyver is in a junkyard trying to stop the transaction of top secret missile launch codes by corrupt Pentagon officials.

MacGyver has 24 hours to get in and out of Burma to retrieve a canister of deadly toxin from a crashed American jet. However, during his mission, he gets captured by a local opium drug lord, Truang, who mistakes him for a narcotics agent. Truang and his General, Narai, have the local villagers enslaved to produce the drug harvest. MacGyver escapes and then completes his initial mission by returning the poison canister to his escape helicopter. However, instead of fleeing, MacGyver decides to stay in Burma to help the villagers fight the drug lords and their henchmen. Survival techniques include creating a choking gas by igniting fire ash and alcohol inside bamboo and creating a diversion using foliage in the road that looks so phony, the enemy takes a detour route, leading them into the real trap: a dug out pit that incapacitates their vehicles.
33"Thief of Budapest"Lee H. Katzin (opening gambit)
John Patterson
Terry Nation & Stephen Downing (opening gambit)
Joe Viola
October 13, 1985 (1985-10-13)

MacGyver's mission is to retrieve a very valuable horse from Arabian tribesmen who stole it. After a wild horse chase along a beach, a helicopter airlifts him and the horse away to safety.

MacGyver goes to Hungary to meet with his Russian double-agent friend Grotsky. Grotsky has valuable intelligence information about Soviet spies infiltrating the US hidden inside his pocket watch. However, before MacGyver can obtain possession of it, the watch was pick-pocketed by a little Gypsy girl named Jana. MacGyver's new mission now is to retrieve the stolen watch from the girl before Soviet agents, who want to reacquire the information, do.

The car chase from this episode, featuring three Mini Coopers, was taken from the British caper film The Italian Job, which was filmed in Turin in 1969.
44"The Gauntlet"Lee H. KatzinJudy Burns (opening gambit)
Stephen Kandel
October 20, 1985 (1985-10-20)

MacGyver's mission is to sneak into a compound in a Middle Eastern country and retrieve a planning map that reveals target locations marked by terrorists. He is spotted when he tries to escape and uses the map in various resourceful ways to aid in his escape, eventually eluding his pursuers by lifting off in a hot air balloon.

When he returns, he is sent to Central America on a mission to bring an American journalist, Kate Connolly, back home. Kate agrees to go home but only when she completes her big story which is an American criminal with a personal grudge against MacGyver named Dave Reyerson and a military general named Vasquez negotiating a deal over weapons with evidence of a brewing coup d'état. After Kate photographs her incriminating evidence, MacGyver and she must now escape from Vasquez men by fleeing to the Mexican border.
55"The Heist"Alan SmitheeStory by : Larry Alexander & James Schmerer
Teleplay by : James Schmerer
November 3, 1985 (1985-11-03)
MacGyver helps a politician's daughter steal back $60 million in diamonds that were stolen by a ex-militia leader casino owner. Both this episode and the pilot credit Alan Smithee as director. Alan Smithee is a pseudonym directors use when their work is taken away from them and heavily cut against their wishes. It is also an anagram of "The Alias Men".
66"Trumbo's World"Lee H. Katzin (opening gambit)
Donald Petrie
Stephen KandelNovember 10, 1985 (1985-11-10)

MacGyver must rescue a kidnapped scientist from foreign mercenaries.

MacGyver and a wildlife photographer friend must uncover the reason for the strange happenings in the Amazon rainforest. Then, in a story based on Leiningen Versus the Ants, MacGyver helps a man in the Amazon jungle defend his plantation against billions of ants. Some footage from the 1954 film The Naked Jungle was used in this episode.
77"Last Stand"John FloreaJudy BurnsNovember 17, 1985 (1985-11-17)
Armed thieves take MacGyver and a small group hostage at a rural airport. He has to figure out how to defeat the thieves and free the hostages, including himself.
88"Hellfire"Richard CollaStory by : Douglas Brooks West
Teleplay by : Stephen Kandel & James Schmerer & Douglas Brooks West
November 24, 1985 (1985-11-24)
MacGyver's friends, Bill and Laura, are drilling for oil in a remote area when the oil well catches fire. MacGyver suggests calling for help but Bill says that they don't have enough time to wait because their lease expires in two weeks. MacGyver says that he will help put it out. The two of them travel to an old abandoned mine to look for dynamite. Their hope is that by dropping explosives into the oil well shaft, it will explode and consume all of the surrounding oxygen, thereby extinguishing the fire. They manage to find some crates of dynamite in the mine and return with it. To get close enough to drop the explosives, they fashion a rail system using an old car and a refrigerator that acts as a heat shield. After a collection of team work, the fire is finally extinguished. MacGyver offers his assistance to rebuild the rig and help them drill.
99"The Prodigal"Alexander SingerStory by : David Abramowitz & Paul Savage
Teleplay by : David Abramowitz
December 8, 1985 (1985-12-08)
MacGyver meets up with Frank Bennett, a man who is considering testifying in Federal Court against his mobster brother, Joey. When Mac leaves for a moment, a black car drives up and two men grab Frank. The two men take him to Joey, who knows that Frank has been talking to Federal Agents. Frank wants Joey to shut down his drug business. Joey says that will not happen and is on the verge of killing him when MacGyver sets up a diversion, and helps Frank escape. Frank goes to Federal Marshal Wylie's office to give a statement, after asking MacGyver to visit his mother in the hospital. MacGyver learns that Frank's mother is dying and wishes to see her son one last time. The Feds disapprove of this because it is too risky for their key witness. However, MacGyver needs to keep his promise to Frank's mother and so he frees Frank from Wylie's men. They later discover that Joey moved Mrs. Bennett to her home. MacGyver warns Frank that it's a trap, but Frank insists on seeing her. Frank is allowed to visit his mother, who then passes away. MacGyver must then extract themselves from the house before Joey and his mob crew can kill them.
1010"Target MacGyver"Lee H. Katzin (opening gambit)
Ernest Pintoff
Terry Nation (opening gambit)
Story by : Mike Marvin
Teleplay by : Stephen Kandel & Mike Marvin & James Schmerer
December 22, 1985 (1985-12-22)

MacGyver rescues a kidnapped female General.

After MacGyver destroys a Middle-Eastern nuclear reactor, the operators sent a professional assassin team on him. Mac goes to visit his grandfather in order to lie low, but the assassins tracked him down.
1111"Nightmares"Cliff BoleJames SchmererJanuary 15, 1986 (1986-01-15)

MacGyver is poisoned with a hallucinogenic drug and he only has a short time to find and take the antidote before the poison kills him. A young girl he met is his only hope into acquiring the antidote and bringing in the criminal to justice.

Note: First appearance of Dana Elcar as Pete Thornton, Mac's friend and, from season 2 and onward, his boss.
1212"Deathlock"Cliff Bole (opening gambit)
Alexander Singer
Jerry Ludwig (opening gambit)
Stephen Kandel
January 22, 1986 (1986-01-22)

MacGyver must escape East Berlin in a coffin. Note: This was the last episode to feature an Opening Gambit.

When MacGyver is taken to a safe house following an operation, it turns out that the place has been booby trapped by an assassin MacGyver has encountered in the past.
1313"Flame's End"Bruce Seth GreenStory by : Hannah Louise Shearer
Teleplay by : Stephen Kandel
January 29, 1986 (1986-01-29)

An old girlfriend is in trouble and calls MacGyver when she discovers a plot to steal Uranium from the nuclear processing facility where she works.

Guest Star: Robert Englund
1414"Countdown"Stan JolleyTony DiMarco & David KetchumFebruary 5, 1986 (1986-02-05)
MacGyver teams up with an old buddy from 'Nam to defuse a time bomb aboard a cruise ship loaded with passengers and, identify and apprehend the bomber before he could escape. This episode was inspired by the British suspense film Juggernaut.
1515"The Enemy Within"Cliff BoleDavid AbramowitzFebruary 12, 1986 (1986-02-12)
MacGyver must discover the identity of a mole within the agency who is responsible for the deaths of four top agents.
1616"Every Time She Smiles"Charlie CorrellJames SchmererFebruary 19, 1986 (1986-02-19)

While trying to escape Bulgaria with secret microfilm, MacGyver meets an American actress who accidentally gets him caught by the secret police.

This episode features the first appearance of Teri Hatcher as Penny Parker.
1717"To Be a Man"Cliff BoleDon MankiewiczMarch 5, 1986 (1986-03-05)
Sent to Afghanistan to retrieve a downed satellite component, MacGyver is shot down and wounded. He is sheltered by a woman (played by Persis Khambatta) and her son and must rely on their help to escape the Red Army.
1818"Ugly Duckling"Charlie CorrellLarry GrossMarch 12, 1986 (1986-03-12)
MacGyver helps out a young genius computer hacker who gets kidnapped by arms dealers who need help with programing stolen missile targeting system.
1919"Slow Death"Don WeisStephen KandelApril 2, 1986 (1986-04-02)
MacGyver helps Afghan tribesmen who hijack a train in search for two con men who sold them poisons disguised as medicine.
2020"The Escape"Don ChaffeyStephen KandelApril 16, 1986 (1986-04-16)
MacGyver cooks up an elaborate plot to break a medical missionary (played by John de Lancie) out of a prison in French North Africa; once they escape, a big surprise awaits.
2121"A Prisoner of Conscience"Cliff BoleStephen KandelApril 30, 1986 (1986-04-30)
MacGyver must fake insanity so that he and Pete can assist a woman to break her political activist father from a secured Russian mental asylum.
2222"The Assassin"Charlie CorrellJames SchmererMay 7, 1986 (1986-05-07)
MacGyver succeeds in capturing a master-disguise/assassin and but now he must impersonate the assassin in order to unravel the latest assassination plot.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Season 1 DVD Information". 2005-01-25. Archived from the original on 2009-04-27. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
  2. ^ Lindsay, Cam (February 1, 2005). "MacGuyver: The Complete First Season [sic]". Exclaim!.

External links[edit]