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For the Gorillaz member, see Murdoc Niccals.
MacGyver character
Murdoc-Season 6.jpg
First appearance "Partners" (season 2)
Last appearance "Obsessed" (season 7)
Created by Lee David Zlotoff
Portrayed by Michael Des Barres
Gender Male
Occupation Assassin
Family Ashton (sister)

Murdoc is a fictional character in the ABC television series MacGyver, played by Michael Des Barres.[1] Murdoc is an assassin working for the Homicide International Trust, an international group of assassins. He appears in a total of nine episodes, being the most frequent antagonist of the series and one of the very few to actually make recurring appearances.


Angus MacGyver's most frequent opponent, a member of Homicide International Trust (HIT) and master assassin[1] who never fails – except when MacGyver gets involved. Murdoc is an accomplished pianist, a master of disguise, as well as creative and highly skilled in the use of booby traps. He is also very fond of heavy weapons, including flamethrowers, bazookas, and dynamite. Murdoc's signature for each hit is to take photographs of his victim at the moment of their death. MacGyver first encountered Murdoc in 1980: Murdoc was being followed by Peter Thornton, and MacGyver comes to Pete's aid. Their interaction convinces Pete to hire MacGyver to work with him at the DXS. At the end of this encounter, Murdoc had apparently been killed.

Murdoc's next appearance in the television series is seven years later; he has resurfaced to take revenge on MacGyver for foiling his plans during their first encounter. Murdoc's revenge scheme not only fails, but once again results in his apparent death. This became a recurring theme with the character: resurfacing after an apparent death, only to fail and appear to die again. This "near death" cycle occurred a total of 6 times throughout the series. He has survived, among other things, falling down an abandoned mine shaft, driving off a cliff in a car that exploded upon impact, being electrocuted and falling into the pool of flaming water, and falling thousands of feet off the sheer face of a mountain. His body was never found.

Murdoc always screams "MACGYVER!" at the moment of his "death", except in episode "Halloween Knights", where he and MacGyver act as allies: when he tried to retire following his repeated failures to deal with MacGyver: HIT refused to let him go, instead putting a hit out on him, and eventually holding his sister hostage in an attempt to bring him in. To rescue her, Murdoc is forced to seek MacGyver's help. In this episode, it is revealed that he's terrified of snakes.

He has over-the-top disguises and weapons complemented by a maniacal-smile persona that offer a touch of comic relief to the series. He gets childlike joy from taunting his victims before he kills them using elaborate traps (which MacGyver can just manage to escape).

Murdoc chronology[edit]

Season No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date
2 40 "Partners"[2] Cliff Bole Mark Lisson & Bill Froehlich March 2, 1987 (1987-03-02)
Murdoc lures MacGyver and Pete into a trap; while trying to escape they flashback over their previous encounters with him.
3 52 "The Widowmaker" Mike Vejar Story by: Harv Zimmel
Teleplay by: John Whelpley
November 16, 1987 (1987-11-16)
While grieving over the loss of a friend on the mountain called Widowmaker, MacGyver's old nemesis, Murdoc, finds him and tries to end what he started years ago.
4 73 "Cleo Rocks"[2][3] Chuck Bowman John Sheppard & Rick Drew February 6, 1989 (1989-02-06)
A shadowy figure lurks backstage to manipulate Penny Parker in a suspicious rock musical.
5 89 "Halloween Knights"[2] Charlie Correll John Sheppard October 30, 1989 (1989-10-30)
Murdoc forges an uneasy alliance with MacGyver to free his innocent sister, who is held captive by a vengeful mentor and his organization of assassins.
6 123 "Strictly Business"[4] Mike Vejar John Sheppard April 8, 1991 (1991-04-08)
Murdoc comes out of retirement and tries to clear his almost spotless killing record by killing MacGyver; MacGyver ends up with amnesia on a remote farm.
7 128 "Obsessed" William Gereghty John Sheppard September 30, 1991 (1991-09-30)
Nightmares about Murdoc affect MacGyver as he provides security at the criminal trial of a deposed dictator.

Other appearances[edit]

Season No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date
4 83 "Unfinished Business"[4] Charlie Correll Marianne Clarkson May 15, 1989 (1989-05-15)

MacGyver, Peter Thornton and Jack Dalton are stalked by a former female foe of MacGyver with business to finish with him.

Murdoc appears in flashbacks only, from this season's Cleo Rocks appearance.
5 95 "Serenity"[4] William Gereghty Stephen Kandel January 8, 1990 (1990-01-08)

Exhausted from work, Macgyver falls asleep and dreams that he is in the Old West aiming to retire with a claim to a Montana ranch home, although trouble soon starts with neighboring landowner Pete Thornton and his hired mercenary, Murdoc.

Murdoc appears in MacGyver's dream as a hired mercenary in his only non-canon appearance.
6 125 "Hind-Sight" Michael Preece Rick Mittleman May 6, 1991 (1991-05-06)

Pete is awaiting glaucoma surgery and feeling useless, but MacGyver reminds him of why he needs Pete.

Murdoc appears in flashbacks only.


  1. ^ a b Cavacini, Michael (August 5, 2012). "Murdoc: One Of TV's Greatest Villains". Michael Cavacini. Retrieved April 28, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c Handlen, Zack (March 13, 2013). "10 episodes that show why MacGyverwas more than a punchline". The A.V. Club. The Onion, Inc. Retrieved April 28, 2016. 
  3. ^ "The Ten Best MacGyver Episodes". Daily Kos. Kos Media, LLC. June 27, 2009. Retrieved April 28, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c "Murdoc". MacGyver Online. Retrieved April 28, 2016.