MacGyver

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Angus "Mac" MacGyver is the title character and the protagonist in the TV series MacGyver. He is played by Richard Dean Anderson in the 1985 original series. Lucas Till portrays a younger version of MacGyver in the 2016 reboot.[1].

In both portrayals MacGyver is shown to possess a genius-level intellect; proficiency in multiple languages; superb engineering skills; excellent knowledge of applied physics; military training in bomb disposal techniques and a preference for non-lethal resolutions to conflicts. MacGyver works for the fictional Phoenix Foundation in Los Angeles, although in the original series it was an independent think-tank, and in the 2016 reboot it is a clandestine government organization using the cover of a think-tank. In addition to his scientific knowledge and inventive use of common items, he always carries a Swiss Army knife and refuses to carry a gun.

MacGyver (1985-1992 original series, 1994 specials)[edit]

Angus MacGyver
Macgyver.jpg
First appearance"Pilot"
Last appearance"Trail to Doomsday"
Created byLee David Zlotoff
Portrayed byRichard Dean Anderson
Sean Wohland (young)
Information
OccupationSecret agent
FamilyEllen Jackson (mother)
James MacGyver (father)
Sean Angus "Sam" Malloy (son)
RelativesHarry Jackson (grandfather)
Cecilia Jackson (grandmother)
NationalityAmerican

Personality[edit]

The character is portrayed as a non-violent problem solver and typically eschews the use of guns.[2] Even in cases where he must resort to physical violence, or when his improvised devices are used to attack hostile opponents, he is always doing so in self-defense and, if possible, subduing or disabling rather than killing.

MacGyver is passionate about social causes, having on several occasions volunteered to help the less-privileged, showing a particular affinity for - and connection with - children. For example, he is shown to be a "big brother",[3] conducts hearing research at a school for deaf children,[4] and helps out in a mountain excursion for delinquent youths.[5] He strives to protect the environment and endangered species such as eagles,[6] the black rhino,[7] and wolves.[8] It was also established that he became a vegetarian at an unspecified date during the series run.[9]

MacGyver's persistence and the improvisational nature of his plans make him difficult to thwart, as his nemesis Murdoc pointed out, because not even MacGyver himself knows what he is going to do next. Unlike stereotypical "macho" or stoic action heroes, MacGyver exhibits grief in the face of tragedies, open fear in perilous situations, and shows pain after a fight.[10] A sensitive character, Mac has a tendency to blame himself for personal losses and tragedies, like his bad conscience for not being at his mother's deathbed and funeral when he was on a mission in Afghanistan and experiencing a bout of depression after a fatal climbing accident. He also appears to be susceptible to remote temporal retrograde amnesia, which he has experienced more than once after physical head trauma.[citation needed]

MacGyver's most used item is his Swiss Army Knife. In addition to it, MacGyver often carries a roll of duct tape in his back pocket, flattened out to make it fit. Other items he often has on hand are: an ID card, a Timex Camper watch, strike-anywhere matches, a few paper clips, chewing gum, and a flashlight. It was shown that he also carried a toolbox in his Jeep.[11] MacGyver initially used a Jeep Cherokee and then a Jeep Wrangler beginning with Season 2, but in Season 5 he began driving his grandfather Harry's "classic" 1946 Chevrolet pickup truck.[12]

MacGyver is proficient to a greater or lesser extent in Russian, German, French, Italian, Spanish,[13] and American Sign Language, and knows how to use International maritime signal flags and Morse code.[14] He is an avid outdoorsman with skills including skiing and outdoor survivalism. Despite an acute fear of heights, he is highly skilled at mountain / rock climbing, hang gliding, and parachuting - static line and ripcord / HALO. His other hobbies include ice hockey, racing, and has shown an interest in the arts of painting and guitar.[15]

His haircut is a mullet, in a clean-cut, lightly gelled variation on the classic hairstyle.

While never being in a long-term on-screen relationship, he has relationships with several women in individual episodes and several previous relationships are hinted at in flashbacks. He is always shown to be on good terms with his past romantic acquaintances.

First name[edit]

MacGyver's first name was originally intended to be Stacey, as seen in a press release from Paramount.[16] However, it was never confirmed in any episode, and remained a mystery until the seventh season; whenever he is asked about it, he says he dislikes his first name and quickly changes the subject. His grandfather, Harry Jackson, calls him "Bud" or "Buddy". Most of his friends and colleagues call him by his last name MacGyver or simply "Mac". In the final season his first name is canonically revealed to be Angus when, while knocked unconscious and hallucinating, he meets a 7th-century man named Angus M'Iver ("son of Ingmarr") and admits that they share their first name. [17] This revelation is repeated in the series finale, which introduces MacGyver's son as having the middle name Angus, as well as on the packaging of the MacGyver DVD season sets.

Biography[edit]

MacGyver's birthdate is given as January 23,1951[18] and he was raised in Mission City, Minnesota. MacGyver was in the Cub Scouts and a Den Mother by the name of Mrs. Forgery taught him "backwoods common sense" and the motto "Be prepared."[19] At the age of 10 his grandmother Celia Jackson and father James MacGyver (Martin Milner) were killed in a car accident in which they both drowned, and MacGyver grew up with his mother, Ellen MacGyver.[20] His grandfather, Harry Jackson (John Anderson) acted as his father, but moved away when MacGyver was sixteen, working for a time in Alaska while sending money to MacGyver and his mother, and eventually settled down as a farmer in Minnesota.[21] At about 12 years of age, MacGyver had a traumatic experience with the accidental shooting death of a friend by a bullet from a falling gun.[22] MacGyver is a lifelong player of ice hockey, having played in his local hockey leagues and coached for a minor league team; he is also a supporter of the Calgary Flames and believed he could have made the NHL.[23] He met Jack Dalton while in high school.

MacGyver went to Western Tech where he graduated with Bachelor's degrees in physics and chemistry.[24] After graduating from college he turned down an offer to work at the nearby nuclear power plant and it is later revealed that he shortly served during the Vietnam War in a bomb defusing team.[25] Five years prior to the start of the series, MacGyver worked as a "Hell Fighter," fighting oil well fires in Sumatra.[26] Sometime during this time MacGyver's mother died of a stroke while he was in Afghanistan on assignment, though no specifics are given other than it being after Christmas.[27] Eventually he moved to Los Angeles where he held numerous jobs until he accidentally meets Peter Thornton, an agent at the Department of External Services. When MacGyver saves Thornton's life using a paper clip, a wrench and shoelaces, MacGyver is offered a job as a field agent at the DXS.[28]

In the first episode of Season 2, Thornton takes a job as Director of Operations at the Phoenix Foundation,[29] and MacGyver follows, where he is hired as a "sort of troubleshooter".[30] He is assigned to a variety of tasks, usually field operations such as conducting environmental surveys and testing security systems. In the fifth season, Harry dies of a heart attack,[31] at which point MacGyver believes he has no remaining relatives.[32] In the second last episode of the show, it is revealed that MacGyver has a son, Sean "Sam" Angus Malloy. Sean's mother is the photojournalist Kate Malloy who MacGyver had met after college. Kate had been murdered in China several years prior to MacGyver meeting their son for the first time. After discovering and reuniting with Sean, MacGyver decides to resign from the Foundation in order to spend time with his son.[33]

Two television specials featuring the character followed, both occurring and released in 1994, two years after the series end. In the first one (MacGyver: Lost Treasure of Atlantis), MacGyver teams up with his former college archaeology instructor, Professor Atticus (Brian Blessed), to help him prove his theories about ancient Atlantis while dodging the bullets of genocidal Yugoslav troops, a Greek revolutionary and a ruthless treasure hunter. Soon thereafter (MacGyver: Trail to Doomsday), he investigates the murder of a friend in Britain, and eventually traces it to an unscrupulous businessman who sells nuclear arms research for profit. No mention in either special is made of Pete Thornton, Jack Dalton, MacGyver's son Sean or any of the show's other regulars.

Family[edit]

  • Harry Jackson - MacGyver's maternal grandfather. Harry is introduced in season 1.[34] Harry usually calls MacGyver "Bud", and MacGyver refers to him as "Harry", but why is never revealed.[35] Harry had cut ties with Mac and his mom, and was living a life of solitude until MacGyver came to him while trying to keep a low profile due to a bounty on his head.[36]. After this they kept in regular contact, with Harry appearing in several more episodes until he dies of a heart attack in the fifth season. MacGyver's grandmother was mentioned several times but never portrayed in the series, though her name was revealed to be Celia.[37]
  • James and Ellen MacGyver - MacGyvers parents. Both of MacGyver's parents are deceased before the series begins. James MacGyver died, along with MacGyver's grandmother, when their car went off the road and they drowned in a creek when MacGyver was 10.[38] His mother, Ellen (played by actress Sheila Moore) died from a stroke the day after an unspecified Christmas, but Mac was not able to make it home to see her.[39] James appears in two episodes.[40] Ellen appears in one.[41]
  • Sean "Sam" Angus Malloy - MacGyver's son. Sean is the son of MacGyver and photojournalist Kate Malloy, who had a relationship after college before the series began. Unknown to MacGyver until several years after Kate's death, he fathered a child with Malloy, Sean. Sean appears in only one episode, and is portrayed by actor Dalton James.[42]

Cultural impact[edit]

The term "MacGyver" has now become part of the colloquial American English lexicon. When one "MacGyvers" a solution to a problem, one finds a simple yet elegant solution to something using existing resources.[43][44] This is in contrast to a kludge, or a Rube Goldberg, which is generally complicated and problematic.

MacGyver (2016 series)[edit]

Angus MacGyver
Lucas Till as MacGyver.png
Lucas Till as MacGyver
First appearance"The Rising"
Created byLee David Zlotoff
Portrayed byLucas Till
Developed byPeter M. Lenkov
Information
OccupationSecret agent
NationalityAmerican

Lucas Till portrays a younger version of Angus "Mac" MacGyver in the 2016 reboot of the series.

Personality and skills[edit]

MacGyver has a genius-level intellect and a particular ability for adaptation and improvisation. He is a resourceful U.S. operative who works for the Phoenix Foundation, a covert U.S. government 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 and refuses to carry a gun, though if necessary he will resort to lethal measures.[45] He is never without his trusty Swiss Army knife and uses anything in his environment to his advantage. While not an expert in biology or medicine, MacGyver is shown to be an efficient field medic and knowledgeable in crime scene techniques and DNA sequencing procedures.[46]

He is afraid of heights, though is able to overcome his fear to finish his missions.[47] Though not an expert fighter, he is shown to be able to temporarily hold off multiple enemies in hand-to-hand combat, typically long enough for him to figure out a way to end the conflict using his adaptation and improvisational skills.[48] He is proficient in multiple languages, including Italian and Mandarin. [49] He also knows Morse code.[50]

He is shown to be charming, personable, and with an easy ability to make and keep friends.[51] MacGyver shows flashes of intense anger when his friends are threatened or when his father, who disappeared from MacGyver's life at the age of 10, is mentioned.[52]

Biography[edit]

MacGyver was raised primarily in Mission City, California. His mother passed away when MacGyver was 5, and his father disappeared from MacGyver's life when MacGyver was 10.[53] After his father's disappearance, MacGyver was raised by his grandfather. MacGyver met best friend Wilt Bozer in the fifth grade, and both graduated from Mission City High School. Bozer and MacGyver are roommates when the series begins, although Bozer initially believes that MacGyver works as an IT expert. MacGyver spent two years at MIT studying physics, though did not graduate. He left MIT to join the Army because he wanted to make an actual difference in people's lives rather thank thinking about theoretical problems, being trained as an EOD technician and spending three years in Afghanistan.[54] In the Army he met Jack Dalton, who was a Delta force soldier.[55]

After leaving the Army, MacGyver was hired by the Department of External Services, a government clandestine operation using the guise of a think tank. Eventually, Jack Dalton left his position with the CIA and became MacGyver's partner at DXS; by the time of the series pilot, they had spent three years as partners at DXS. [56] After DXS's original, unnamed, cover is blown a new cover is needed which will allow for a transition of the organization's assets so its work can continue. MacGyver suggests the name "Phoenix", after the mythological bird that is reborn by rising from its own ashes, and the organization begins using the cover-name of the "Phoenix Foundation".[57]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wagmeister, Elizabeth (2016-03-21). "CBS Finds New 'MacGyver' in 'X-Men' Star Lucas Till". Variety. Retrieved 2017-07-14.
  2. ^ In the first episode "Pilot", MacGyver fires an AK-47 at some Russian soldiers. This episode was before his dislike of firearms was established.
  3. ^ Season 1, Episode 1 – "Pilot"
  4. ^ Season 2, Episode 9 – "Silent World". He works with the Phoenix Foundation's research into sound and hearing technology.
  5. ^ Season 2, Episode 5 – "Final Approach"
  6. ^ Season 2, Episode 8 – "Eagles"
  7. ^ Season 5, Episode 8 – "Black Rhino"
  8. ^ Season 6, Episode 18 – "Faith, Hope & Charity"
  9. ^ Season 7, Episode 6 – "Walking Dead"
  10. ^ Season 5, Episode 14 – "Log Jam"
  11. ^ Season 1, Episode 18 – "Ugly Duckling"
  12. ^ "The Black Corsage". MacGyver. Season 5. Episode 3. October 1989. ABC.
  13. ^ Season 2, Episode 15 – "Pirates"
  14. ^ Season 3, Episode 8 – "The Widowmaker"
  15. ^ "The Madonna". MacGyver. Season 5. Episode 11. December 1989. ABC.
  16. ^ "Why was MacGyver's first name kept a mystery?". Movies.stackexchange.com. Retrieved July 25, 2016.
  17. ^ "Good Knight, MacGyver". MacGyver. Season 7. Episode 8. Nov 1991. ABC.
  18. ^ January 23, 1951 per his passport in "Every Time She Smiles". MacGyver. Season 1. Episode 16. February 1986. ABC.
  19. ^ "The Gauntlet"
  20. ^ In "Runners". MacGyver. Season 4. Episode 13. March 1989. ABC. MacGyver states he was 7 years old when the accident occurred, however it is later confirmed that he was 10 "Passages". MacGyver. Season 5. Episode 21. April 1990. ABC.
  21. ^ Phoenix Under Siege, stated by MacGyver as "it's been six..seven...eighteen years"
  22. ^ "Blood Brothers". MacGyver. Season 4. Episode 2. November 1988. ABC. MacGyver returns to his home town and meets two childhood friends, where in a series of flashbacks the accidental death of friend Jesse is shown when MacGyver takes his dad's revolver for the boys to play with. When their friend Neil attempted to shoot a bird, MacGyver knocked the cocked gun from his hands which resulted in it discharging and firing a bullet into Jesse's chest.
  23. ^ E. Blair (2007-10-04). ": Macgyver Hat: Calgary Flames". Vivamacgyver.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2009-03-28. MacGyver has a discussion where he claims to have had a chance to join the NHL and was disappointed he did not take it.
  24. ^ Season 3, Episode 9 – "Hell Week".
  25. ^ Season 1, Episode 14 – "Countdown". Talking with his old friend Charlie about the past and other references to Vietnam in the episode.
  26. ^ Season 1, Episode 8 – "Hellfire"
  27. ^ MacGyver shares the details of the death of his mother with a run away girl, specifically mentioning being on assignment in Afghanistan in "Runners". MacGyver. Season 4. Episode 13. March 1989. ABC. The time frame of after Christmas comes from "The Madonna". MacGyver. Season 5. Episode 11. December 1989. ABC..
  28. ^ "Partners". MacGyver. Season 2. Episode 18. March 1987. ABC."
  29. ^ "The Human Factor". MacGyver. Season 2. Episode 1. September 1986. ABC.
  30. ^ According to Peter Thornton in several episodes throughout the series and MacGyver himself in "Runners". MacGyver. Season 4. Episode 13. March 1989. ABC.
  31. ^ "Passages". MacGyver. Season 5. Episode 21. April 1990. ABC.
  32. ^ "Target MacGyver". MacGyver. Season 1. Episode 10. December 1985. ABC.. MacGyver reveals that Harry is his only living relative.
  33. ^ "The Stringer". MacGyver. Season 7. Episode 13. April 1992. ABC. Sean is revealed as MacGyver's son.
  34. ^ "John Anderson". IMDb. Retrieved 2016-11-16.
  35. ^ "MacGyver". September 29, 1985 – via IMDb.
  36. ^ "Target MacGyver". MacGyver. Season 1. Episode 10. December 1985. ABC.
  37. ^ "Runners". MacGyver. Episode 13. March 1989. ABC.
  38. ^ The date is revealed to be December 14, though no specific year is given. "Phoenix Under Siege". MacGyver. Season 2. Episode 11. January 1987. ABC.
  39. ^ "The Madonna". MacGyver. Season 5. Episode 11. December 1989. ABC.
  40. ^ "Thin Ice". MacGyver. Season 3. Episode 13. February 1985. ABC. and "Passages". MacGyver. Season 5. Episode 21. April 1990. ABC.
  41. ^ "Passages". MacGyver. Season 5. Episode 21. April 1990. ABC.
  42. ^ "The Stringer". MacGyver. Season 7. Episode 13. April 1992. ABC.
  43. ^ Britton, Wesley, Spy Television, Praeger/Greenwood, ISBN 0-275-98163-0, p. 212.
  44. ^ Rich, John, 2006, Warm Up the Snake: A Hollywood Memoir, ISBN 0-472-11578-2, p. 167.
  45. ^ "The Rising". MacGyver. Season 1. Episode 1. September 2016. ABC. MacGyver rigs his boat to explode into the trailing boat, causing the death of all enemies onboard. "Toothpick". MacGyver. Season 1. Episode 5. October 2016. ABC. MacGyver uses an improvised explosive to knock an enemy out of a train moving in excess of 100mph, and Dalton confirms he is dead.
  46. ^ "Compass". MacGyver. Season 1. Episode 19. March 2017. ABC. CSI and DNA sequencing knowledge shown. "Cigar Cutter". MacGyver. Season 1. Episode 21. April 2017. ABC. Field medicine skills.
  47. ^ "Awl". MacGyver. Season 1. Episode 3. October 2016. ABC. Shown hanging from the landing gear of a plane taking off.
  48. ^ "Cigar Cutter". MacGyver. Season 1. Episode 21. April 2017. ABC.
  49. ^ "The Rising". MacGyver. Season 1. Episode 1. September 2016. ABC. Tells Nikki Carpenter that he learned Italian when she agreed to accompany him to Rome, presumably romantically; Wilt Bozer says that MacGyver is the only person he knows who speaks Mandarin "Flashlight". MacGyver. Season 1. Episode 18. March 2017. ABC. Translates radio orders spoken in Mandarin, though he acknowledges his Mandarin skills are "rusty"
  50. ^ "Can Opener". MacGyver. Season 1. Episode 7. November 2016. ABC.
  51. ^ "The Rising". MacGyver. Season 1. Episode 1. September 2016. ABC.
  52. ^ "Hole Puncher". MacGyver. Season 1. Episode 20. April 2017. ABC. Murdoc, while teaching MacGyver to act like a cold-blooded killer, enrages MacGyver by bringing up MacGyver's father. MacGyver begins choking Murdoc before getting himself under control. "Cigar Cutter". MacGyver. Season 1. Episode 21. April 2017. ABC. When Fake Dr. Zito, a criminal trained by Murdoc to kill MacGyver, is defeated by MacGyver, he claims that Murdoc told him all of MacGyvers weaknesses, including his father. When Zito mentions his father, MacGyver raises his weapon to strike the downed Zito, but a commotion causes Zito to be able to get away.
  53. ^ "Metal Saw". MacGyver. Season 1. Episode 2. September 2016. ABC. Jack Dalton mentions that MacGyver's mother died when he was 5, and this is confirmed in later episodes; in this episode, MacGyver's father is stated to have left at age 12, though later episodes confirm he was 10, such as "Flashlight". MacGyver. Season 1. Episode 18. March 2016. ABC.
  54. ^ "Compass". MacGyver. Season 1. Episode 19. March 2017. ABC.
  55. ^ "Compass". MacGyver. Season 1. Episode 19. March 2017. ABC.
  56. ^ "The Rising". MacGyver. Season 1. Episode 1. September 2016. ABC.
  57. ^ "The Rising". MacGyver. Season 1. Episode 1. September 2016. ABC.