MacGyver (2016 TV series)
Title card starting with the second season
by Lee David Zlotoff
|Developed by||Peter M. Lenkov|
|Theme music composer||Randy Edelman|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||79 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||43 minutes|
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original release||September 23, 2016 –|
|Related shows||MacGyver (1985)|
MacGyver is an American action-adventure television series developed by Peter M. Lenkov and starring Lucas Till as Angus "Mac" MacGyver, an undercover government agent who prefers to fight crime with ingenious feats of engineering rather than lethal force. It is a reboot of the ABC series of the same name created by Lee David Zlotoff, which aired from 1985 to 1992. The series premiered on September 23, 2016, on CBS, and concluded its fourth season on May 8, 2020. In May 2020, CBS renewed the series for a fifth season.
MacGyver takes place in the same fictional universe as two other series, both also developed by Lenkov and both also reboots of earlier police shows: Hawaii Five-0 and Magnum P.I. The three shows have been collectively referred to as the "Lenkov-verse".
Angus "Mac" MacGyver is an operative of a secret U.S. government organization where he uses his extraordinary talent for problem solving and his extensive knowledge of science to save lives. "With skills that are only limited by his creativity, Mac saves the day using paper clips instead of pistols, birthday candles instead of bombs, and gum instead of guns."
Cast and characters
|Angus MacGyver||Lucas Till||Main|
|Jack Dalton||George Eads||Main[a]||Does not appear|
|Patricia Thornton||Sandrine Holt||Main[b]||Does not appear|
|Riley Davis||Tristin Mays||Main|
|Wilt Bozer||Justin Hires||Main|
|Matilda "Matty" Webber||Meredith Eaton||Main[c]|
|Samantha Cage||Isabel Lucas||Does not appear||Main[d]||Does not appear|
|Desiree "Desi" Nguyen||Levy Tran||Does not appear||Recurring||Main|
|Russell "Russ/Rusty" Taylor||Henry Ian Cusick||Does not appear||Main|
- Episodes 1–14 of season 3 only.
- Episodes 1–12 of season 1 only.
- Episodes 13–17 of season 1, recurring; episodes 18–21, main.
- Episodes 1–11, 13 of season 2 only.
- Lucas Till as Angus "Mac" MacGyver: A highly intelligent and incredibly resourceful U.S. operative who works for the Phoenix Foundation, a covert agency operating under the guise of a think tank. Trained as an EOD technician for the Army, Mac prefers to use non-lethal means to stop his enemies; he is never without his trusty Swiss Army knife and has the uncanny ability to use anything in his environment to his advantage. At the end of Season 2, Mac leaves the Phoenix due to his lack of trust in its leadership, but eventually returns when he realises how much his skillset is needed.
- George Eads as Jack Dalton (seasons 1–3): Mac's partner in the field and a former Delta Force operator. Jack's history with Mac goes back to his days in the Army and unlike Mac, he is not afraid to use guns in the field. He also has history with Riley, because he was once in a relationship with her mother and had an altercation with her deadbeat father. While mostly easy-going and laid-back, Jack can get serious when the situation calls for it and often calls upon his special operations training to help the team get out of a tight spot. At the end of "Father + Bride + Betrayal", Jack leaves the Phoenix to track a terrorist thought to have been killed years earlier.
- Sandrine Holt as Patricia Thornton (season 1): Initial Director of Field Operations at the Phoenix Foundation and, in Mac's own words, the most successful clandestine operative in U.S. history. By the book and serious most of the time, Thornton regularly assigns the team their missions. In the 12th episode, "Screwdriver", she is discovered to be a mole working for the Organization and arrested.
- Tristin Mays as Riley Davis: A tough-as-nails, sarcastic hacker who is hired by the Phoenix Foundation as their cyber specialist. Riley was originally in prison for trying to hack the NSA in order to save her mother from a reclusive hacktivist group. She had a strained relationship with Jack because he vanished from her and her mother's lives after an altercation with her abusive father, but now views Jack as a father figure.
- Justin Hires as Wilt Bozer: Mac's best friend whom he has known since childhood. He is initially a struggling film director possessing several artistic talents. His ability to create lifelike masks and facial prosthetics gets him hired at the Phoenix Foundation. Bozer is a source of comic relief and often helps Riley in exchange for earning the digits to her phone number. When Bozer trains to be an agent at the Operative Training Center, he falls for fellow recruit Leanne Martin.
- Meredith Eaton as Matilda "Matty" Webber (season 1–present): Thornton's replacement as Director of Operations at Phoenix Foundation and Jack's ex-boss from the CIA. It's revealed in season 3's "Scavengers + Hard Drive + Dragonfly" that she is married, but has not worn a wedding ring since her husband went on a deep undercover assignment.
- Isabel Lucas as Samantha Cage (season 2), CIA officer and formerly of SASR 4th Squadron. After she is discharged from the CIA for her unsanctioned actions in the second season premiere, Matty recruits her into the Phoenix Foundation. In the episode "Bullet + Pen", she is ambushed and shot by the assassin Murdoc in her apartment, but survives, and returns home to her native Australia to recover.
- Levy Tran as Desiree "Desi" Nguyen (season 4, recurring season 3), Desi is a new recruit for the Phoenix Foundation who takes over for Jack after he leaves. Though she does things differently than Jack, she seems to be equally effective. She is skilled in six martial arts. The fourth season premiere reveals that Desi and Mac had a brief romantic relationship that ended badly.
- Henry Ian Cusick as Russell "Russ/Rusty" Taylor (season 4), Ex-MI6 Agent-Turned-Private Military Contractor described as a master manipulator and salesman, Russ is skilled in propaganda and lie detection, and boasts an extremely high emotional intelligence. He is also very wealthy, and thus is used to both getting his way and enjoying the spoils of war (including expensive suits, fast cars, private jets and a house in Monte Carlo). The events of the fourth season portray Russ as being obsessed with destroying CODEX, with him later revealing that CODEX killed many of his team members after he refused to join in their mission.
- Tracy Spiridakos as Nikki Carpenter (season 1), an undercover CIA operative who formerly worked as a hacker for DXS until she faked her own death. She is also Mac's ex-girlfriend.
- Amy Acker as Sarah Adler (season 1), a CIA operative and Jack's ex-girlfriend.
- David Dastmalchian as Murdoc (seasons 1–3), a brilliant assassin, also known as Suspect 218, and a frequent opponent of Mac. He is at first thought to have been sent by Nikki, but is later revealed to have been sent by Thornton.
- Kate Bond as Jill Morgan: A forensics expert at the Phoenix Foundation. The team members occasionally ask her for help on personal missions. She is seen leading a task force to help capture Murdoc in the third season premiere. Murdoc kills her at the end of the episode.
- Lauren Vélez as Cassandra Glover (season 2), a coordinator for Operative Training Center.
- Reign Edwards as Leanna Martin (seasons 2–3), a recruit at the Operative Training Center, Bozer meets and becomes good friends with Leanna, later leading to a romantic relationship that they try to keep secret. In the season 2 finale, Leanna is hired by the Phoenix Foundation.
- William Baldwin as Elwood Davis (seasons 2–3), Riley's estranged father.
- Lance Gross as Billy Colton (seasons 1–3), a member of the Colton bounty hunting family who becomes Riley's love interest.
- Sheryl Lee Ralph as Mama Colton (seasons 1–3), Billy's mother and the head of the Colton bounty hunting family.
- Emerson Brooks as Charlie Robinson (seasons 1–3), Mac's old war pal who is now a bomb squad specialist.
- Tate Donovan as James MacGyver/"Oversight" (seasons 2–4), Mac's father who had mysteriously disappeared from his life.
- Sibongile Mlambo as Nasha (season 3), Mac's Nigerian girlfriend whom he met after briefly leaving the Phoenix Foundation.
- Brendan Hines as Ethan Raines (season 3), Matty's husband who went deep undercover for eight years shortly after their marriage. It's revealed in season 3 that, to keep his cover, Ethan married another woman and has a young child with her.
- Leonardo Nam as Aubrey (season 4), Riley's brief love interest.
- Amber Skye Noyes as Scarlett (season 4), a CODEX soldier.
- Jeri Ryan as Gwendolyn "Gwen" Hayes (season 4), MacGyver's aunt (his mother’s sister); an ex-DXS agent who was presumed dead, but is now a high-ranking official with CODEX.
- Daniel Dae Kim as Lieutenant Chin Ho Kelly: Crossover character from Hawaii Five-0. A member of the Five-0 Task Force
- Grace Park as Officer Kono Kalakaua: Crossover character from Hawaii Five-0. A member of the Five-0 Task Force
- Taylor Wily as Kamekona Tupuola: Crossover character from Hawaii Five-0. An entrepreneur and confidential informant for the Five-0 Task Force
- Michael Des Barres as Nicholas Helman, a hitman who is also Murdoc's mentor. (Des Barres played Murdoc in the original MacGyver series.)
- Sarah Sokolovic as Amber, Murdoc's ex-wife and mother of their son, Cassian
- Sean Cameron Michael as The Ghost Bomber
- Presilah Nunez as ATF Agent Maria Ramirez, MacGyver's friend from their time in the Army and the handler of ATF K-9 Cody.
- Peter Weller as Elliot Mason, a former military special ops officer who holds a grudge against James MacGyver
- Brian "Q" Quinn
- James "Murr" Murray
- Salvatore "Sal" Vulcano
- Joseph "Joe" Gatto
- Scottie Thompson as Ellen, Angus’ deceased mother who appears in a dream sequence and a flashback
- John Ales as Nikola Tesla
- Mark Boyd as Alexander Graham Bell
- Tom Thon as Thomas Edison
- Cuyle Carvin as DXS Agent Charles
- Sean Blakemore as President Danny Linson
- Tobin Bell as Leland
- Jorge Garcia as Jerry Ortega, Crossover character from Hawaii Five-0. A former member of the Five-0 Task Force
In October 2015, the original series' executive producer, Henry Winkler, signed on to produce a remake series with James Wan and R. Scott Gemmill for CBS, which owns the rights to MacGyver through its acquisition of the original Paramount Television. In February 2016, it was announced that CBS had greenlit production of a pilot episode written by Paul Downs Colaizzo and directed by Wan. Wan pulled out from directing due to scheduling conflicts and was replaced by David Von Ancken.
In May 2016, the network picked up the series. Co-creator and executive producer Peter M. Lenkov will serve as the showrunner. On May 18, 2016, CBS released a first video trailer for new series. In June 2016, the network scrapped the original pilot, with Wan to direct a new pilot episode.
On October 17, 2016, CBS ordered a full season of 21 episodes. On March 23, 2017, CBS renewed the series for a second season, which premiered on September 29, 2017. On May 9, 2019, it was announced that CBS renewed the series for a fourth season, which premiered on February 7, 2020. On November 6, 2019, it was announced that CBS had ordered an additional nine episodes in this fourth season, bringing the total to 22 episodes. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, this total was reduced to 20 episodes, with six additional episodes being completely filmed before the production halt. However, producers and CBS later chose to conclude the season with the final episode of the CODEX story arc, which was scripted to fit within the original 13 episode order. This decision came after MacGyver was renewed for a fifth season on May 6, 2020, allowing the final six episodes filmed for season 4 to be moved to season 5. Season 5 is set to premiere by fall 2020.
On July 7, 2020, it was reported that Lenkov was fired from his role as executive producer and showrunner following an investigation into allegations that he created a toxic work environment. Executive producer Monica Macer will replace Lenkov as showrunner.
In March 2016, Lucas Till was announced as the new MacGyver, Joshua Boone as Gunner, MacGyver's best friend from high school, alongside with former and longtime CSI star George Eads as Jack Dalton, who was originally named Lincoln, a man who could easily be written off as an eccentric conspiracy theorist but is a legitimate government employee with great capability for compassion. Later cast were Addison Timlin as Mickey, an app developer who is aggressively progressive in her political views but who has a soft spot for MacGyver, and Michelle Krusiec as Agent Croix, Dalton's sister who works for the Department of Homeland Security. However, the original pilot with this casting was scrapped by CBS in June 2016—a new pilot episode was ordered with only Till and Eads from the original cast continuing on to the revised version of the show.
Around the same time the new pilot was ordered, Justin Hires was cast as Wilt Bozer, MacGyver's roommate who is an aspiring filmmaker. In July 2016, Variety reported that Sandrine Holt had been cast as Patricia Thornton, an ex-field agent who was the director of operations for the Department of External Services, and that Tristin Mays was cast as Riley Davis, a highly unpredictable computer hacker with a chip on her shoulder.
On November 26, 2018, it was announced that George Eads was set to depart the series midway through the show's third season. According to creator Peter M. Lenkov, Eads had asked to be released from his contract for some time so he could spend more time with his young daughter who resides in Los Angeles; the series is filmed in Atlanta. Producers ultimately agreed with Eads being written out of the show but left the opportunity for him to return as a guest star in the future. His final episode aired on February 1, 2019.
|Authors||Dr. Rhett Allain|
Peter M. Lenkov (foreword)
Lucas Till (introduction)
|September 17, 2019|
The Official MacGyver Survival Manual: 155 Ways to Save the Day is a book that gives instructions on how to "MacGyver" things as seen in MacGyver. The book was written by Dr. Rhett Allain, the show's resident physicist. The foreword was written by Peter M. Lenkov, and the introduction was written by Lucas Till. The Official MacGyver Survival Manual: 155 Ways to Save the Day was released on September 17, 2019.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||21||September 23, 2016||April 14, 2017|
|2||23||September 29, 2017||May 4, 2018|
|3||22||September 28, 2018||May 10, 2019|
|4||13||February 7, 2020||May 8, 2020|
|Crossover between||Episode(s)||Type||Actors crossing over||Date aired|
|Series A||Series B|
|One-part crossover||Appearing in Series A: Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park, Taylor Wily||March 10, 2017|
The Phoenix Foundation team of MacGyver gets rerouted to Hawaii after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hits the coast of Hawaii. While aiding Detective Chin Ho Kelly and Officer Kono Kalakaua from Five-0 task force, they also have to deal with Chinese intelligence soldiers who use the earthquake to steal top-secret weaponry that the scientists are currently developing.
|MacGyver||Hawaii Five-0||Upcoming episode||Guest appearance||Appearing in Series A: Jorge Garcia||TBA|
In the United Kingdom, Sky acquired the rights to MacGyver, and the series commenced airing on Sky1 from February 8, 2017. Fox Crime Turkey broadcasts serials a week after original run. Veronica broadcasts the episodes in the Netherlands, a few weeks after US broadcast. In Australia, the series airs on the Ten network. The show also airs in Asia on AXN. The series premiered in Latin America on Universal Channel on October 26, 2017. In Germany the series premiered in June 2017 on Sat.1. The series premiered in France on M6 (TV channel) on January 5, 2018. In Italy, the series airs on RAI 2. In South Africa it airs on pay-TV channel M-Net City, as well as on free-to-air channels, e.tv and eExtra.
|Season||Time slot (ET/PT)||Episodes||Season premiere||Season finale||TV season||Rank||Viewers|
|1||Friday 8:00 pm||21||September 23, 2016||10.90||April 14, 2017||6.57||2016–17||27||9.80|
|2||23||September 29, 2017||6.69||May 4, 2018||6.10||2017–18||38||8.59|
|3||22||September 28, 2018||5.77||May 10, 2019||5.47||2018–19||48||7.70|
|4||13||February 7, 2020||5.94||May 8, 2020||5.77||2019–20||45||7.50|
MacGyver has received generally negative reviews from television critics, with many comparing it poorly to the original and some praising and criticizing CBS for making it an updated show. Variety wrote: "Lucas Till’s performance as the title character misses the mark completely; even when MacGyver explains the contraptions he builds on the fly via voiceovers, Till’s delivery is wooden and clunky. The writing doesn't help—the pilot script is full of silly plot short-cuts and painfully cheesy lines—but there’s no getting around the fact that the new version of the character has very little appeal.... George Eads does what he can to bring a bit of energy to the MacGyver spy crew, but it’s a futile effort. MacGyver may know a lot about chemistry, but this unmemorable team has none."
USA Today wrote: "If... you’re looking for something approaching the original’s simple DIY charms—or, for that matter, something even marginally original—look elsewhere. What you're getting here is a factory-made retread that is less MacGyver than MacGyver: Impossible, with the title character now just one member of an impossible mission team.... MacGyver may not fully engage you, but at least it won't actively annoy you."
IGN's verdict was: "CBS' MacGyver is an unnecessary, middling reboot that has little to offer—its biggest sin being a bland hero and eye-rolling stakes. Lifting more than a few swerves from the Mission Impossible franchise, this new MacGyver somehow even manages to make the science gimmick dull."
Rotten Tomatoes shows a 25% rating for Season 1, with the sites critical consensus reading, "Despite using spare parts from countless successful TV procedurals, the new MacGyver fails to cobble together a compelling show." Metacritic gives a score of 38 out of 100, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".
Awards and nominations
|2017||People's Choice Awards||Favorite New TV Drama||MacGyver||Nominated|||
|Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Drama Series, Limited Series, or Movie||Jeff Wolfe||Nominated|||
|BMI Awards||N/A||Keith Power||Won|||
|2018||Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV Actor: Action||Lucas Till||Nominated|
|2019||Choice TV Show: Action||MacGyver||Won|||
|Choice TV Actor: Action||Lucas Till||Nominated|
The first season was released on DVD in region 1 on February 27 and second season on September 18, 2018.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date|
|MacGyver: Season 1||21||February 27, 2018|
|MacGyver: Season 2||23||September 18, 2018|
|MacGyver: Season 3||22||January 14, 2020|
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