This is a list of problems that have been solved by the fictional character MacGyver from the television series of the same name. (This list is not yet comprehensive.) MacGyver employs his resourcefulness and his knowledge of chemistry, physics, technology, and outdoorsmanship to resolve what are often life-or-death crises. He spontaneously creates inventions from simple items to solve these problems. These inventions became synonymous with the character and were called MacGyverisms by fans. MacGyverisms became a distinct motif of the series. MacGyver was unlike secret agents in other television series and films because he carried only a Swiss Army knife and duct tape, instead of relying on high-tech weapons and tools.
The show's writers, which included Lee David Zlotoff and Dave Ketchum, based MacGyver's inventions on items they found on location, concepts from scientific advisors John Koivula and Jim Green, and real events. The show also offered a monetary prize to people who sent good ideas in to the show. A young fan of the series suggested that MacGyver could patch up a vehicle's radiator by cracking an egg into the radiator. The episode "Bushmaster" was constructed around this trick, and the fan was rewarded. Although staff were appointed to read every letter sent in, few usable ideas were obtained in this way.
Children watching the series imitated MacGyver and tried to replicate the simple devices he created in the show. The creative team behind MacGyver made a point of leaving out crucial elements of the inventions so that children would not be harmed.
Short summaries of all the episodes are in List of MacGyver episodes.
- 1 Season 1
- 1.1 Pilot (1x01)
- 1.2 The Golden Triangle (1x02)
- 1.3 Thief of Budapest (1x03)
- 1.4 The Gauntlet (1x04)
- 1.5 The Heist (1x05)
- 1.6 Trumbo's World (1x06)
- 1.7 Last Stand (1x07)
- 1.8 Hellfire (1x08)
- 1.9 The Prodigal (1x09)
- 1.10 Target MacGyver (1x10)
- 1.11 Nightmares (1x11)
- 1.12 Deathlock (1x12)
- 1.13 Flames End (1x13)
- 1.14 Countdown (1x14)
- 1.15 The Enemy Within (1x15)
- 1.16 Every Time She Smiles (1x16)
- 1.17 To Be A Man (1x17)
- 1.18 Ugly Duckling (1x18)
- 1.19 Slow Death (1x19)
- 1.20 The Escape (1x20)
- 1.21 A Prisoner of Conscience (1x21)
- 1.22 The Assassin (1x22)
- 2 Season 2
- 2.1 The Human Factor (2x01)
- 2.2 The Eraser (2x02)
- 2.3 Twice Stung (2x03)
- 2.4 The Wish Child (2x04)
- 2.5 Final Approach (2x05)
- 2.6 Jack of Lies (2x06)
- 2.7 The Road Not Taken (2x07)
- 2.8 Eagles (2x08)
- 2.9 Silent World (2x09)
- 2.10 Three For the Road (2x10)
- 2.11 Phoenix Under Siege (2x11)
- 2.12 Family Matter (2x12)
- 2.13 Soft Touch (2x13)
- 2.14 Birth Day (2x14)
- 2.15 Pirates (2x15)
- 2.16 Out in the Cold (2x16)
- 2.17 Dalton, Jack of Spies (2x17)
- 2.18 Partners (2x18)
- 2.19 Bushmaster (2x19)
- 2.20 D.O.A.: MacGyver (2x21)
- 2.21 For Love or Money (2x22)
- 3 Season 3
- 3.1 Lost Love, part 1 (3x01)
- 3.2 Lost Love, part 2 (3x02)
- 3.3 Back From the Dead (3x03)
- 3.4 Ghost Ship (3x04)
- 3.5 Fire and Ice (3x05)
- 3.6 GX-1 (3x06)
- 3.7 Jack in the Box (3x07)
- 3.8 The Widowmaker (3x08)
- 3.9 Hell Week (3x09)
- 3.10 Blow Out (3x10)
- 3.11 Kill Zone (3x11)
- 3.12 Early Retirement (3x12)
- 3.13 Thin Ice (3x13)
- 3.14 The Odd Triple (3x14)
- 3.15 The Negotiator (3x15)
- 3.16 The Spoilers (3x16)
- 3.17 Mask of the Wolf (3x17)
- 3.18 Rock the Cradle (3x18)
- 3.19 The Endangered (3x19)
- 3.20 Murderer's Sky (3x20)
- 4 Season 4
- 4.1 The Secret of Parker House (4x01)
- 4.2 Blood Brothers (4x02)
- 4.3 The Outsiders (4x03)
- 4.4 On a Wing and a Prayer (4x04)
- 4.5 Collision Course (4x05)
- 4.6 The Survivors (4x06)
- 4.7 Deadly Dreams (4x07)
- 4.8 Ma Dalton (4x08)
- 4.9 Cleo Rocks (4x09)
- 4.10 Fraternity of Thieves (4x10)
- 4.11 The Battle of Tommy Giordano (4x11)
- 4.12 The Challenge (4x12)
- 4.13 Runners (4x13)
- 4.14 Gold Rush (4x14)
- 4.15 The Invisible Killer (4x15)
- 4.16 Brainwashed (4x16)
- 4.17 Easy Target (4x17)
- 4.18 Renegade (4x18)
- 4.19 Unfinished Business (4x19)
- 5 Season 5
- 5.1 The Legend of the Holy Rose, part 1 (5x01)
- 5.2 The Legend of the Holy Rose, part 2 (5x02)
- 5.3 The Black Corsage (5x03)
- 5.4 Cease Fire (5x04)
- 5.5 Second Chance (5x05)
- 5.6 Halloween Knights (5x06)
- 5.7 Children of Light (5x07)
- 5.8 Black Rhino (5x08)
- 5.9 The Ten Percent Solution (5x09)
- 5.10 Two Times Trouble(5x10)
- 5.11 The Madonna (5x11)
- 5.12 Serenity (5x12)
- 5.13 Live and Learn (5x13)
- 5.14 Log Jam (5x14)
- 5.15 The Treasure of Manco (5x15)
- 5.16 Jenny's Chance (5x16)
- 5.17 Deep Cover (5x17)
- 5.18 The Lost Amadeus (5x18)
- 5.19 Hearts of Steel (5x19)
- 5.20 Rush to Judgement (5x20)
- 5.21 Passages (5x21)
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
- 8 External links
MacGyver places a stick through the trigger of an AK-47 and hangs it from a tree with a piece of string. He then attaches a paper match packet to the string and lights the matches, using them as a time delay. The AK-47 falls to the ground with the stick still attached to the trigger, causing the AK to fire and distract some guards.
He also makes a "Rocket Thruster" by hitting the end of a flare gun with a rock to make the nozzle thinner, launching him and a man he rescues from a mountain. Not only would the thrust produced from a gun of that size be unable to lift the weight of two human beings, flare guns fire projectiles. The more realistic result would be a jam at the end of the gun, much like if you bent the barrel of a normal gun.
When near a deadly laser grid, MacGyver lights a pack of cigarettes to make the lasers visible. He then smashes a pair of binoculars, removing a prism to deflect a laser beam back to the emitter, destroying it.
To help rescue a group of people trapped in a building, he ties a fire hose shut, places it under a girder in the way, and turns on the water. Using the water pressure to lift the girder, he pushes it out of the way.
MacGyver plugs a sulfuric acid leak with chocolate. He states that chocolate contains lactose and sucrose (chemically C12H22O11), which are disaccharides. The acid reacts with the sugars to form elemental carbon and a thick gummy residue. (This has been tested and confirmed by Mythbusters).
MacGyver creates a bomb to open a door using a gelatin cold capsule containing sodium metal, which he then places in a glass container filled with water. When the gelatin dissolves in the water, the sodium reacts violently with the water and causes an explosion which blows a hole in the wall. ("MythBusters" questioned the size of the explosion but verified that pure sodium does cause an exothermic reaction when mixed with water. However, the amount of sodium required to destroy a concrete wall would greatly exceed the size of a cold pill.)
MacGyver uses the main lighting power switch to transmit morse code to the surface.
The Golden Triangle (1x02)
In order to create a distraction, MacGyver connects a self-inflating life jacket, a self-inflating boat, and a signal flare together so that as the life jacket inflates it pulls the ripcord off the boat. This serves as a time-delay mechanism. As the boat inflates it sets off the pen flare.
MacGyver and the people of a village he is protecting create a trap using a bamboo pipe with holes drilled along its length, "fire ash", and "rice alcohol". The fire ash and rice alcohol are ejected through the holes in the pipe by a car exhaust, creating a smoke screen and irritating the eyes of their attackers.
To slow down their attackers, MacGyver places a large tree branch across the access road to the village. Using some cord wrapped around the triggers, he hooks the branch up to some AK-47 assault rifles pointing toward the road at ground level. When the soldiers try to move the branch, they inadvertently pull the cord and the guns shoot out their jeeps' tires.
To bring down a helicopter gunship, MacGyver lassos a metal cable onto one of the helicopter's skids and connects the cable to a jeep's winch. By winding in the winch, he pulls the helicopter to the ground. Note: In real life reeling in a helicopter in flight by one skid would have caused a dynamic rollover and a crash of the helicopter. Additionally, the pilot of the helicopter would have felt the center of gravity of the helicopter change when MacGyver hung on the skid to attach the cable. The amount of lift generated by some helicopters could also possibly be enough to reverse the tables, lifting the jeep into the air instead, provided the cable didn't snap under excessive force.
Thief of Budapest (1x03)
MacGyver uses a board and a bunch of light bulbs to simulate the sound of a tire being blown.
He makes all police radios within a one mile (1.6 km) radius malfunction by duct taping an ordinary transistor radio to a pick-pocketed police radio and sends it up in the sky using around twenty balloons.
The Gauntlet (1x04)
MacGyver is in a room trying to get out, but sees the key in the other side of the locked door. He takes out a map, unfurls it and sticks it under the door. He then pushes the key out of the lock using his Swiss Army knife, and the key lands on the map. He then drags the map back under the door, thereby getting the key to unlock him from the room.
In order to disguise himself, MacGyver rolls up the same map and uses it as a peashooter to distract a woman who was washing some clothes.
To get away from a guard with a gun aimed at him, he wraps the same map around an iron bar to disguise the bar from the guard. He first bats away the gun and then slugs the guard in the chest with it.
MacGyver uses the same map again as a makeshift sled to slide down sand dunes to get away from the guards chasing him.
While escaping the guards, one of them shoots a bullet through the side of the balloon he is escaping in. He uses the same map and some duct tape to patch a hole over the balloon fabric and escape.
The Heist (1x05)
MacGyver rigs a pair of dice by rounding some of the edges with a shoe buffer with an abrasive added so that the chance of rolling a '7' is increased. In order to create a distraction to swap the dice at a craps table, MacGyver fastens string and a paper clip to the dress of a woman who is walking nearby. By stepping on the string, MacGyver pulls down her dress thereby creating a distraction and allowing him to swap the dice.
He uses a strand from a fiber optic lamp to bend a security laser sensor, creating enough space for him to crouch through without setting off the alarm.
MacGyver opens a sound activated security lock by filling four glasses partially full of wine at different levels and playing the tones in ascending order.
He escapes from the back of a plane mid flight by attaching a parachute to a car and driving it out the back of the plane, landing safely.
Trumbo's World (1x06)
In order to fix a piston connecting rod for a water pump, MacGyver makes an arc welder out of a generator, some jumper cables, and two half dollars. By running the DC current from the generator through the coins, he creates heat and electrical discharge, with which he can weld the con-rod.
To save a woman trapped under a heavy dugout canoe, MacGyver wraps a rope around the bottom of it, attaches both fixed ends to the roof of a building, and places a stick in between both parts of the rope. By twisting the stick, he is given a mechanical advantage and is able to slowly lift the canoe up.
As a way to hold off ants for a while, MacGyver makes a flamethrower out of a hose, pipe, and tank of gasoline. He also uses some "kitchen ingredients" as a fuel-thickener to prevent the contraption from simply exploding. (The vagueness about the "kitchen ingredients" that make this possible provides a good example of measures taken by the show's producers and writers to prevent potentially dangerous recreations of the stunts by viewers.)
MacGyver and Trumbo make a nitromannite bomb by taking the nitrate from fertilizer and cellulose by mashing plant bark. The ingredients are mixed together, stirred with a drip or two of acid, then placed in a small paint can. MacGyver must walk through the ants to plant the bomb, and so makes a "suit of armor". Though it isn't stated what material he is wearing, it is likely a thick layer of rubber from the plantation applied to cloth. He then blows up the dam, flooding the area and killing a large ant infestation, which saves Trumbo’s plantation. Note that real world physics applying, the ants (or at least a large number of them) would more likely than not raft together and float to safety using the surface tension of the water.
Last Stand (1x07)
In order to open a locked security van, MacGyver creates a thermite "torch" using magnesium filed from a racing cycle frame and rust held in a long tube and lit with a roadside signal flare.
MacGyver makes a bomb using fertilizer, starter fluid, foam, and newspaper. He uses these bombs to scare gunmen holding him hostage, and even plants one on a remote-controlled airplane (with olive oil and some cotton as a fuse) to make a flying bomb.
To open the door of a walk-in freezer, MacGyver fills the lock with water and allows it to freeze in the lock. The expansion forces the lock open.
To carry several boxes of explosives leaking nitroglycerin across rocky terrain, MacGyver places the crates on a surface suspended by wagon springs and sand, both of which absorb shock from the terrain and absorb any drops. Along the way, MacGyver's truck stops running, so he fixes the broken throttle tensioner with a spring from a ball point pen.
To put out an oil rig fire, MacGyver sets off a nitroglycerin explosion in order to displace enough oxygen to put out the fire. He mounts a refrigerator on an old jeep as a heat shield, and puts the whole thing on tracks made of metal pipes. By putting the nitroglycerin in a thermos and attaching the thermos to a wire, he is able to get close to the fire while in the jeep, but stay safe from harm. He rigs the wire to drop the thermos above the fire, where it breaks open and explodes.
The Prodigal (1x09)
MacGyver builds a makeshift catapult from a table saw to fire blocks of wood and sawdust at organized crime agents attempting an assassination.
MacGyver wants to help a friend get out of federal custody to see his mother in the hospital. He finds the car of a federal agent and breaks a pipe, causing the coolant to leak. He then builds a diversion with simulated smoke produced from dry ice, soda and candy causing the evacuation of a federal building. The agents escape in the car with MacGyver's friend, and he follows them in a tow truck he rented and waits for them to flag him down. After hoisting up the agents' car, his friend gets in the truck and they drive away without the agents. While being chased, he drops the towed car from the tow truck as a distraction in the middle of the road.
His friend is captured inside of a drug lord's mansion, and MacGyver comes in to help. He uses a pole and rope to trip the drug lord when going down stairs, and he and his friend run to the attic. To escape from there, he builds a rocket propelled harpoon using cleaning fluid and camphor balls as a propellant launching a cord from a telescope to a tree in order to create a zip line.
Target MacGyver (1x10)
MacGyver builds a distraction by balancing pots and pans on a bag of ice that melts from heat produced by a toaster oven. He spreads vegetable oil on the ground to incapacitate some kidnappers.
In the episode, MacGyver and his grandfather are being tracked by assassins. They are first fired on while in a fishing boat, and they both jump to the edge of a pond. To buy time, Mac attaches two hollow reeds to a log and sets it floating in the water to make it seem like the two are using the reeds as snorkels. When being chased, he makes a blowdart launcher out of a hollow reed and some sharp pieces of wood. He uses a plant that causes temporary paralysis on the wood and blows them at some assassins, knocking them out. As two more enemies drive near MacGyver and his grandpa, he sets up a large branch to fall on their jeep while his grandpa distracts them with a decoy. Mac smears pine pitch on pine cones to make "land mines". He then buries a sack of these mines on the road and throws a flaming cone under the villain's car to make the sack and the car explode.
When his grandfather is grazed with a bullet, MacGyver uses fool's gold (which contains pyrite) and clay to make a natural antibiotic for the wound. The two are followed into an abandoned town by the remaining four assassins, and so they rig up booby traps to harm them. Macgyver's grandfather attaches a string to the curtains of one of the houses, and pulls it to make it look like someone is inside. When some of the assassins see it, they shoot at the window and then enter the house. MacGyver then pours a sack of flour into the room from the roof and drops down a match, causing an explosion that knocks out two enemies. Amidst the smoke, his grandfather puts pine nuts into a fire, causing a sound similar to gunshots. With this distraction, he clubs one of the assassins in the face.
MacGyver helps a girl trying to fish by making her an effective lure out of a chewing gum wrapper. He notes that fish are attracted to shiny things, and attaches the wrapper to her line.
MacGyver uses his belt (which is sewn such that it makes a leather tube) to route water from the drain trap of a sink to a wall plug to short out the electrical system and cause a distraction. He takes all of the springs out of his bed and attach them in lines, making 4 very long springs. Attaching one large spring to each corner of the bed and to the door frame, he effectively has a massive slingshot aimed at the door. When guards come in response to the electrical short, he shoots the bed at them, breaks the door, and knocks them down so that he can escape.
He rigs a car battery, some jumper cables and the picture tube for a television into a crude bomb. It is set up on two chairs behind a door so when the door is opened it pushes one chair back, causing the jumper cables to make contact, and sending the 12 volts from the battery through the picture tube transformer, overloading it and causing the tube to explode.
When being chased by enemies inside of a building, he takes an emergency fire hose and throws it out a window. The men see it and believe he escaped, when in reality he was hiding to buy time.
To distract a guard blocking a building MacGyver is near, he takes a nail and punctures a hole in a car's tire. The guard hears the air escaping and comes to investigate, and MacGyver (who was hiding in the car) kicks the car door open into his face.
In order to distract two more guards inside of the building, MacGyver rigs a trap with rope, some water jugs, and a fire alarm. He ties the rope to the jugs and lifts them above the ceiling (using one of the ceiling beams as a pulley) and keeps the other end of the rope held down with his foot. He then lights a piece of rope on fire, setting off the fire alarm. When guards rush out, MacGyver is seen sitting on stairs and distracts them. While talking, he releases the rope and the water jugs fall on them.
Needing to retrieve from a sewer drain a pen-sized metal case with the antidote that will save his life, MacGyver takes a long iron rod and repeatedly whacks it against a fire hydrant because "the impact will temporarily align the iron molecules." Thus having created a magnet, he fishes the case out of the sewer with the pole.
MacGyver starts out in Berlin, trying to escape with a microfilm containing government secrets. He takes the place of a dead person and is carried in a coffin towards a bridge, where he is dumped into the water by friends. Upon hitting the water, Mac hits a button and turns his coffin into a jet ski, riding away to safety.
When trapped in a mansion under constant surveillance, MacGyver plugs in a number of electronic appliances and makes a rotary dish out of a bowl and a juicer. The static and radio frequencies generated by these appliances heterodyne the camera and microphone Quail uses to watch them. As a result, Mac and his friends cannot be seen or heard and have a safe room to work in.
MacGyver attaches the torso of a suit of armor onto the top of a food trolley, and then attaches a makeshift motor with a battery pack and an electric whisk. The whisk spins and turns the wheel of the trolley. MacGyver sets the trolley off past a row of hedges to distract an automatic gun that follows movement.
To escape a room with remote-operated machine guns aiming at him, MacGyver creates a smokescreen out of baking soda and vinegar. When traveling towards the power supply room, Mac has Karen set up large pieces of metal and junk as a "warning device" to make noise when Quail comes near. He then proceeds to expose electrical connections and turn off the electricity. Mac also rigs a water pipe to spray a forceful stream of water towards the exposed wires. When Quail is in the right spot, MacGyver sprays the water and thus gives Quail a large electrical shock.
Flames End (1x13)
MacGyver rewires the panel of an electronically-timed lock so the oscillator counts down much more quickly, allowing escape from a nuclear waste disposal chamber before waste enters the room. He uses a dismantled revolver as a wrench to unblock a nuclear reactor cooling system.
After a pulley system on a helicopter has failed, MacGyver makes a rope and rappel setup out of a cargo net and climbing hooks.
MacGyver uses a neon tube, inserted into a vacuum-sealed bomb container, as a vacuum to suck up phosphorus powder. He later uses oven cleaner and milk as a chemical base to neutralize the acid in four containers.
The Enemy Within (1x15)
When MacGyver and his friend are trapped in a speeding car with no brake fluid, he jumps onto the hood while they are moving and forces some of the power steering fluid into the brake lines. He then seals the brake tube, allowing the car to slow down.
MacGyver uses an ultrasonic device to crack the eyeglasses of a would-be assailant. To help bring back memories of a Russian agent he works with, he uses mirrors, a spinning motor, and some cups to somewhat hypnotize her. He later uses two candlestick holders, a floor mat, and an electrical power cord as a makeshift defibrillator to revive a fallen comrade.
Every Time She Smiles (1x16)
MacGyver uses two coat hangers (attached in a metallic square-knot to look like a "figure 8"), a wooden chair, and the conveyor belt just outside his room to break through the chicken-wire in the wall. (The conveyor belt pulls the hangers, which are attached to the chair, and pulls it through the wall).
MacGyver mixes pesticide, soap flakes and tile cleaner in a hot pan to create a smokescreen distraction in an enemy's apartment. He also pulls a gas pipe off the wall and sprays gas onto a mixture of lard and crystallised oven cleaner which causes a mini explosion to set the fire alarm off in the building. MacGyver climbs aboard a water-tanker truck and uses a plastic tube to route its exhaust fumes to the truck's water tube to create an immiscible liquid. Spraying the liquid onto the road surface he creates a treacherous oil-slick causing the pursuing vehicles to lose control.
To Be A Man (1x17)
MacGyver uses his pocket knife to disarm the self-destruct device of a downed military satellite. He then uses parts of the satellite's retrieval system - namely metal tubing and large sheets of flexible plastic - along with duct tape to fashion a makeshift hang glider. MacGyver is wounded while flying it, and is later chased by an Afghani on a horse. Mac uses a piece of cloth as a sling to knock the man off his horse with a rock.
When threatened by a militia member he breaks the end seal of a butane bottle, sending it flying into the assailant. The man falls onto the gun he was holding, and inadvertently shoots himself. Later on MacGyver repairs an Afghan family's water pump by resealing the pumping mechanism with a water-resistant fabric.
As Russian soldiers search the family's home for MacGyver, he hides under some hay and ties a rope to a support column of their stable. When a soldier comes to investigate, Mac pulls the rope, causing the roof to fall on the soldier. After taking his gun, MacGyver frees the man instead of killing him. Later when confronted by the soldier, Mac and his friends are let go instead of shot.
While being pursued by a Soviet truck, he crushes it by making a large rock fall on it. To do this, MacGyver pours water on a crack on the rock, puts a wedge in it, and sprays the entire thing with a fire extinguisher. The compressed carbon dioxide cools the water enough to freeze it, causing it to expand. This almost entirely breaks the rock away from the mountain, and when the Soviets come by, Mac simply pushes the wedge to have it crush their car.
Ugly Duckling (1x18)
While his friend is being attacked in a parking lot, MacGyver hits a car to set off its alarm, scaring away the attackers. Later, Mac uses a large speaker and an oscillator to create a high-pitched squeal that causes his attackers to temporarily be distracted so that he can disable them. The attackers eventually knock him out and capture his friend, but the friend had a radio turned on in her pocket. MacGyver uses a satellite scan of the particular frequency of the radio to locate her position.
The girl who has been taken hostage uses car batteries and some nickel as an arc-welder to cut through bars trapping her in a room. The bars are still much too hot for her to climb through, so MacGyver uses the propellant of a spray can to cool them down.
To track terrorists preparing to launch a missile at a bridge, MacGyver and his friend use radios to triangulate their position. They use the radio in their jeep and the small portable radio as two points of the triangle, but batteries for the portable radio runs out. MacGyver uses wires of two different materials (likely copper and zinc-coated steel) along with a cactus to make a lemon battery. After hooking this up to the radio, they find the frequency the enemies are using to communicate. Next, they use extra wires to add loops to the top of the radio antennas to create directional antennas. By aligning their watches to north and noting the angle the antenna makes when reception is clear, the two are able to locate the enemies.
After finding the enemies, MacGyver and his friend use a shotgun placed next to a car to blow the car up. They take the parabolic headlights and the planar side mirrors off of a Jeep as well as the lens of a binocular. Using the parabola to collect a large amount of light from the sun and focus it to a point, they focus it even more with the lens and aim it at the shotgun. After a short time, the cartridge explodes, hitting the gas tank of the Jeep, blowing it up and knocking out the enemies.
After disarming a missile, MacGyver finds out that there is a second one pointed at a bridge. He gets his friend to fire the missile they stopped at the other one, and use its heat-seeking capabilities to blow them both up in the air.
Slow Death (1x19)
When bandits hijack a train, MacGyver sets up a small trap at a bar. He puts a lot of salt in a bowl and aims a pressurized bottle of seltzer water at the bowl. After distracting a bandit by dropping a bottle of olives, he sprays the water, pushing a cloud of salt into the man's eyes. While being chased by the same bandits on the moving train, he climbs to the roof and pours a path of moonshine whiskey. When the enemies get on top, MacGyver sets it on fire.
MacGyver bends the nozzle from a metal bottle pourer to create an animal whistle that blows at supersonic frequencies. He uses this whistle to cause a horse to buck. MacGyver also makes a lie-detector out of a sphygmomanometer, a wire and an alarm clock by placing the wire under the connection of the sphygmomanometer on the arm and running it to the alarm clock's buzzer. He then states that when the man sweats it triggers the alarm.
The Escape (1x20)
MacGyver must help someone escape from prison, so he first gets in there by spraying soda on two cops. After being arrested for assault, he is thrown in jail. To contact an acquaintance on the outside, he makes a sort of papier-mache hot air balloon with newspaper and olive oil. He then soaks some cotton balls in the oil, fixes them where the balloon's basket would be, and lights them to send it out of the prison as a signal.
To successfully pull off his escape, MacGyver tricks a powerful criminal and the warden of the prison. He intrigues the criminal by fixing his stereo, and then identifies the man's Phencyclidine operation. Mac offers to fix the man's refrigerator and make the PCP operation more efficient in return for the ability to see the man he is supposed to free. When seeing his friend, MacGyver is told that the prison cells are bugged. He informs the man of their plan to break out while tricking the warden with plans of a large scale helicopter invasion to rescue them both. To prevent them from being killed, Mac also falsely states that his friend is worth 12 million US dollars, and that they will get the money once free.
While working in the PCP lab, MacGyver takes a concentrated form of it and soaks his jacket's pocket with it. He later has the jacket delivered to his friend, who places the jacket near his cell lock and ignites the PCP. The explosion breaks the lock and lets him run free. MacGyver uses a live compressor power wire from a refrigerator, rigs one wire of it up to a metal wash pan handle, and wraps the other wire around a block of ice. The wire has a bare end exposed, so that when the ice melts, the wire falls on the metal pan, completing the circuit and blowing up PCP drugs. Mac uses a spatula taped to a ceiling fan to mimic the sound of a helicopter flying overhead. He records the sounds on a stolen tape recorder then he has a friend play it over the prison intercom system to simulate an air attack. As the guards are distracted by the sound of helicopters, MacGyver and his friend bust free, and meet up with his acquaintance outside.
A Prisoner of Conscience (1x21)
To stop the secret police following him, MacGyver blocks the exhaust pipe of their car with a potato in order to stall the engine. (This technique has been examined by MythBusters and may be ineffective.) MacGyver stops a pursuing boat by clogging the intake for the boat's inboard motor with a floating device made from a blanket, some rope, and jerrycans. To break out of a locked ward in a mental hospital, MacGyver uses the spring steel filament support wires from a light bulb as lock picks (This was tested on MythBusters and confirmed.). To distract a guard, MacGyver covers the rim of a bucket with caulk and adds "the proper hardening agent" to create a powerful adhesive. He attaches the bucket to a mop and makes it hang out of a closet, drawing the guard's attention. The guard picks it up and gets his hands stuck while MacGyver passes through.
To get rid of the armed guards, MacGyver and Pete decide to mildly sedate them. Pete poses as a doctor and breaks into the drug cabinet. He later gives them to a friend working in the cafeteria, who adds the drugs to the guards' drinks.
The Assassin (1x22)
MacGyver pretends to be Piedra in order to foil the upcoming assassination of a famous church figure, but ends up being followed by guards of the assassination target who think he is Piedra. While driving away from them, Mac encounters a one-way path with a spike strip in the way. He takes a nearby board of wood and places it in front of the spikes, allowing him to drive over them. He then removes the wood and the men following him drive through the strip, thus getting flat tires.
Later when caught by the guards, MacGyver is determined to prove his innocence by calling Pete to let his captor know that he isn't Piedra. The sole armed guard orders him to put the phone down, and so Mac puts the phone on top of a ruler on a desk. The other end of the ruler sticks over the desk, and MacGyver hits it. The ruler effectively catapulted the phone onto the guard, and so Mac acted quickly to steal his gun.
The Human Factor (2x01)
MacGyver builds a telescope using a newspaper, a magnifying lens, and a watch crystal (the crystal covering). He rolls the magnifying lens and the crystal into the newspaper, making a telescope. In order to fake a hand print for electronic scanning, MacGyver spreads a thin layer of plaster dust over the scanner. Some of the dust sticks to the sweat left on the scanner by the previous user. He blows away the excess, covers the sensor plate with his jacket, and presses down lightly with his fingers. Macgyver uses a ladies room mirror shard, and janitor's mop and bucket to redirect a laser defense grid's lasers back into itself and destroy it.
As laser-wielding robots home in on his body heat, MacGyver creates a fake heat signature by using magnets wrapped in burning paper. He throws one piece of burning paper and magnet at each robot. The magnets stick to the metal of the robots. With each robot "tagged," they home in on each other and destroy one another.
The Eraser (2x02)
MacGyver repairs a post mix soda gun by bleeding off some built-up CO2 that has caused a valve to stick. He takes off the button panel of the soda gun, removes the broken valve spindle and inserts a miniature pirate's sword from a plate of olives. Using the sword, he opens the valve to the CO2 line fully, and draws out the sword, which lets it close naturally.Terminology source..
To break into a man's office, he first climbs the elevator shaft to avoid security. When at the door, MacGyver encounters an electronic door lock. He opens up part of the circuit board from outside and uses wire plugged into an outlet to overload the circuit. By doing so, he temporarily unlocks the door.
Mac later finds the man he needs to capture eating lunch with his girlfriend. MacGyver breaks into the girlfriend's car and opens up the car's phone. He attaches a wire linked to the car's locking system to the phone in such a way that hanging up or picking up the phone changes the car lock. When the man MacGyver is looking for enters the car, Mac calls the car phone. After the man hangs up, the doors lock and they are trapped. Only when MacGyver approaches them and tells them how to open it does he take the man into custody.
In order to escape from a room with an armed villain chasing from behind, he locks the door with a metal bar under the doorknob, and to open the opposing door, he fills a pipe with acetylene and places another blocked off pipe in as a projectile. When fired it batters down the door.
While being chased by assassins who want to kill his friends, MacGyver sets up a trick to make the enemies think they killed the target. He sets up two mirrors so that it looks like his friend is facing a window. When the assassins shoot at the mirror, the friend pretends to fall down dead. MacGyver uses rubber cement and a red dye to look like blood around a gunshot wound. When the enemies come to make sure the man is dead, MacGyver uses a comb and some aluminum foil to make the sound of a police siren, scaring them away.
Twice Stung (2x03)
To break through an apartment door, MacGyver ties a fire hose to the door handle and an elevator handrail, then sends the elevator down. He cuts the fire hose with his Swiss army knife, ties the nozzle end to the door, the other end to the hand rail, and lays the hose very flat against the ground so the elevator's doors won't close on it. When the elevator goes down, it pulls enough of the door with it that MacGyver can reach in and unlock the deadbolt and chain door lock.
With two hostile men breaking into his friend's house, MacGyver stuns the intruders with a flash from a photoflood bulb, allowing his friend and himself to escape. He takes the battery out of a normal, high-power flashlight and connects one of the wires from the flood light power cord to it. He cuts the other wire in the middle and strips both new ends. He attaches one end to the open terminal on the battery, and then he lays both ends near each other on the ground. He folds two matchbooks into triangles an inch high or so, and lays them near each exposed wire. He rests a metal letter opener on top of the two matchbooks. When the intruders step on the letter opener accidentally, the circuit is closed, and the lights flash.
The Wish Child (2x04)
MacGyver lights a fuse without a match by concentrating sunlight on the fuse with his watch crystal. He removes the crystal with his Swiss army knife and holds it so a fine point of light is focused at the fuse's end.
When blocked by a heavy door with a strong lock, MacGyver destroys the lock by igniting gunpowder inside of it. He pours gunpowder from gun cartridges into a small piece of cloth. He stuffs the wrapped-up powder into the lock and puts one cartridge in after it with the primer end sticking out a little to act as a fuse. He hits the primer with the butt of a gun, exploding the gunpowder and opening the door.
Final Approach (2x05)
In a particularly elaborate stunt, MacGyver builds a mud runway for a plane. This allows the plane, which has a punctured front tire, to take off, after replacing the wheel with a log that has a v-shape chiselled out on the inside and a smoothed half-circle outside. (The other two wheels ride on solid ground.) First the runway area is cleared of debris, then a 1 ft (30cm) trench is dug. The mud is filled in from a nearby river, carried in campers' backpacks. In order to align the runway, MacGyver builds a theodolite, a device used to sight straight lines. The theodolite is built from relatively straight tree branches and uses earrings as sight guides. The runway is 300 yards (274 m) long, and the plane is a five-passenger, single engine Cessna. To land the plane, he has an airport lay down foam.
Jack of Lies (2x06)
In order to stop a pursuing Jeep, MacGyver builds a bomb out of a fire extinguisher. He is in a plane that is being chased down a runway by several Jeeps. To stop one of them, he tapes two metal hooks to the outside of the extinguisher and removes the nozzle assembly. Then he launches it out of the plane with elastic ropes that cover the door. When the Jeep drives over the extinguisher, the hooks pierce the cylinder and it explodes.
The Road Not Taken (2x07)
To delay soldiers chasing him, MacGyver burns a string dipped in kerosene attached to a tin can. The resulting flame is bright enough to look like a fuse for a bomb, and the can is filled with animal fat which resembles an explosive.
When he needs to throw off some pursuers in the jungle, MacGyver builds a tree-based catapult to throw stones, and puts a light-based fuse on it. First he pulls four flimsy trees together and bends them down to the ground. He routes them under a solid tree branch and ties them together with a thin vine. Then he sets down his friend's rosary to refract sunlight onto the thin vine, creating a fuse. He stakes the thin vine into the ground with a good knot on a pointed stick, and attaches the pockets from his jacket (filled with rocks) to the tree trunks.
MacGyver creates a rocket-propelled flare out of bamboo, fertilizer, matches, a strip of cloth, a small tin can, a thin metal rod, a funnel, and a wooden spoon. The fertilizer has nitrates, which is the explosive. He packs the fertilizer in the bottom of the bamboo, then the matches, then the tin can which is itself packed with the cloth with a strip hanging out. He ties the spoon onto the side of the rocket with the metal rod used as a guide within the bamboo tube. The funnel is attached to the top of the rocket, to contain the explosion. The strip of cloth serves as the fuse, and then matches as the igniter. MacGyver sets the entire apparatus in a fireplace, where he lights the fuse and lets the rocket take off.
MacGyver destroys a building with a propane tank, a grindstone, and some ball bearings. He lets the gas from the tank loose and switches on the grindstone. From outside, he shoots the ball bearings into the building at the grindstone. Although he doesn't hit the grindstone, the bad guy he is after shoots a crossbow into the building, and does hit the grind stone. A spark ignites the gas, and the building is destroyed.
MacGyver builds an incubator for eagle eggs with padding from a chair and vegetable oil. He says that "the oil combines with the fibers in the padding to create a low level spontaneous combustion," generating heat.
Silent World (2x09)
MacGyver builds a time-delayed device to pull a switch out of water using plastic bags, sticks, and fishing line. He fills the two bags with equal amounts of water, and ties them to a straight stick. He balances the stick on a fulcrum made of two other sticks, and then attaches a fishing line from one water bag to the switch. He pokes a hole in that bag, letting the water slowly drain out, eventually making the whole apparatus tilt and pull the switch.
Three For the Road (2x10)
MacGyver fixes a broken fuel line with a ball point pen. The fuel line has a hole in it, so he cuts out the section with the hole completely. He then joins the two loose ends by sliding them over a portion of a disassembled ball point pen so they form a seal. The fuel flows through the hollow pen housing.
MacGyver builds a mortar out of a muffler, a small amount of gas, stuffing from a seat cushion, and a steering wheel knob to stop pursuers. He bends the end of the muffler, to contain the explosion, and stuffs seat cushion material into the bent end. He then pours gas on top of that, and finally packs in the steering wheel knob, which serves as the projectile. He pokes a hole in the bent end of the muffler and stuffs in a short length of cushion material, to provide a fuse. He lights it, aims, and shoots the knob at a chasing car.
To stun intruders, MacGyver rigs a circuit to blast a car horn when a door is opened. He connects a car battery to a car horn, with a metallic door handle acting as the switch. When the door is opened, the circuit is closed, the horn sounds, and the intruders are stunned.
Phoenix Under Siege (2x11)
MacGyver moves a New York lock from the opposite side of a door with an electromagnet. To build the magnet, he uses two 12-volt batteries as his power source, a sink faucet as the metal rod, and some copper cabling to wind around the faucet. He connects everything, and slides the lock out of place.
MacGyver defuses a bomb by sliding a ticket into the triggering mechanism.
Family Matter (2x12)
MacGyver busts open a steel window covering with some rope and a donkey engine. A donkey engine is a device used in the logging industry to move fallen trees. Part of the engine includes a belt that goes around a cylinder, which MacGyver replaces with a rope. He ties the opposite end of the rope to a steel bar that he slits between the crossbars on the window covering. Through the rope, at the end next to the engine, he splices a thin metal cable which he attaches to the ignition switch. That lets him wait next to the window, and when he's ready, turn on the engine by tugging the rope.
To throw his opponents off balance, MacGyver builds bombs out of swamp gas, bamboo shoots, and mud. MacGyver cuts several bamboo shoots, each just past the natural solid disc that is in bamboo every few feet. The disc, patched with mud, makes one solid end, and the other open end he puts just under the surface of the swamp water. He lets the gas build up inside the shoot for a little while, then caps it off with a wad of mud and a leaf. When he's ready to detonate the bombs, he lights the leaf, and eventually the gas explodes.
Soft Touch (2x13)
MacGyver breaks a padlock with magnesium alloy fragments, an iron pipe, some cloth, and a match. First he rolls up the cloth to fit snugly into the pipe, and pushes it down a few inches to make a stop. He gets the magnesium from the spokes of a wheelchair's lower wheel and stuffs it on top of the cloth, and then covers that with another cloth. He wedges the pipe into the end of the padlock and lights the cloth on fire, causing the iron to heat up and expand. As it expands, it weakens and finally breaks the lock.
Birth Day (2x14)
MacGyver creates a distress beacon out of a sail bag, marine signal flags, helium gas, and water. The point is to get help from someone far away, so he needs to send the flags their way. He first soaks the sail bag in water to make its surface less porous, so that it will retain helium gas. He then fills the bag with gas and seals it with a string. Dangling from the string, he attaches the signal flags - four in total, one for each letter of the word help.
In a rare unsuccessful MacGyverism, MacGyver fails to blow open a hatch with a bilge pump, a hose, and a dock buoy. MacGyver is stuck in the bilge of a ship that is taking on water. He has the idea that he can blow open the locked hatch by overfilling a buoy with water until it explodes. He pokes a hole in the buoy, inserts a tube, connects the end to the bilge pump, and fastens the buoy to the hatch with an angle brace. Unfortunately the buoy tears instead of exploding, causing the water to spill out and defeating the MacGyverism. MacGyver escapes from the predicament by finding a nearby tank of compressed gas and knocking open the valve, sending it shooting up through the hatch, blasting it open.
MacGyver safely detonates a land mine with a piece of string. The land mine is triggered by a rope which, when pulled on, arms it. When the rope is let loose, the mine goes off. MacGyver catches himself as he arms the land mine, and then ties a piece of string to the rope. He holds the rope taut, walks away from it, and finally lets it go off from a safe distance.
Out in the Cold (2x16)
MacGyver is trapped in an avalanche while skiing. He manages to signal a rescue team from beneath the snow with a ski pole and parts of his ski suit. He pulls the grip and point off of his ski pole, giving him a 5-foot (1.5 m) long hollow tube. He tears off some cloth from his ski suit in roughly a square shape, and then a long, narrow piece and his zipper pull. He ties the square into a parachute with the narrow piece and attaches the zipper pull to give it a weight. He feeds the whole bundle into his pole and blows it out the other end, which he has poked through the surface of the snow. A member of the nearby rescue team sees the parachute and saves him.
Using parts of a microscope and a drop of water, MacGyver is able to read microfilm. He uses the light from the microscope to backlight the film, and the drop of water is his magnifying glass. The viewing head on this microscope is broken and not used.
Dalton, Jack of Spies (2x17)
While being pursued by dirty CIA operatives at a strip club, MacGyver loads a confetti cannon with make-up powder and fires it at them as they enter a door, thus blinding the enemies with powder.
Trapped in the driver's seat of a car with bazookas pointed at him, MacGyver needs to get out of the car and disable the bad guys all in one move. He removes his shoelaces and ties a lasso, using it to rope the gas pedal. He slips a paper clip onto the lace, secures it in a monkey wrench, and manipulates the wrench so it is braced between the floor and the brake pedal. This situates the lace so that when pulled on, it will pull down the gas pedal. Finally he routes the lace around the steering wheel on ties it to the door handle. The result is that when he gets out of the car, it will lurch forward and crash into the bad guys.
MacGyver needs to blow open a locked truck trailer door. He builds a bomb out of an oil can, a pair of pantyhose, an old exhaust pipe, and an old battery. He soaks the pantyhose in oil, which serves as the fuse. He threads that through the exhaust pipe, at the end of which he has packed shavings from the aluminum can. The idea is that "the ferrous oxide and the aluminum shavings should generate enough heat to explode the battery."
MacGyver creates a diversion with a rifle, a rock, some newspaper, a string, and a match. He hangs the rifle in a tree and ties the string around the rock and the trigger. The way it is tied, when the string is cut, the rifle will fire. He puts the newspaper next to the string and lights it, creating a fuse.
To break open a lock, MacGyver exposes it to Freon gas. The Freon comes from the back of a refrigerator, in a crimped pipe. MacGyver opens the pipe, lets the Freon freeze the lock, and is able to break it with a hard push.
With an old, bullet-ridden Jeep his only means of escape, MacGyver must patch up the Jeep's radiator to get it working again. Remarkably, he does the job with nothing but water and egg whites. First he dumps some water in the radiator and jump-starts the Jeep, causing the water to heat up. A few minutes later, he dumps in the egg whites, which the water cooks. Once cooked, the egg whites naturally plug the holes in the radiator, making the Jeep temporarily usable. (This technique was deemed Plausible in an episode of The Discovery Channel's MythBusters.) The trick was suggested by a fan of the series.
MacGyver is being tailed by goons in a car faster than his rail-bound vehicle. He builds a giant, road busting bomb out of gasoline, several types of ammunition, and tear gas. To light it, he rolls up some paper and strikes a piece of metal on the rail he is riding on, causing a spark.
D.O.A.: MacGyver (2x21)
MacGyver creates a thick fog out of ship hull cleaner and ammonia. Ship hull cleaner contains muriatic acid, which is used to clean algae off ships. It creates a fog when combined with ammonia. MacGyver fills two buckets, one with each chemical, and spreads liberally on the floor.
For Love or Money (2x22)
MacGyver distracts some goons by creating a smoke cloud out of carbon black (commonly known as soot), a helium tank, a latex lab glove, duct tape, and his pocket knife. The powder is stuffed in the glove, the glove has a slit and is inflated with the helium gas. MacGyver duct tapes the glove to the top and bottom of a food serving tray so that when it is opened, the glove will burst and the powder will be released.
MacGyver creates a bomb out of nitroglycerin tablets and alcohol. He crushes the tablets and mixes in the alcohol, creating a paste. He folds the paste up in two flat napkins and duct tapes the ends. To detonate the bomb, MacGyver throws a nondescript blunt object at it.
MacGyver protects his car with electricity using baling wire to zap soldiers that are trying to force him out of the vehicle. He runs the baling wire from the ignition coil to the frame of the car, and when the two soldiers put their hands on the door handles, he pushes the wire tightly against the frame, shocking them.
Lost Love, part 1 (3x01)
MacGyver finds some security problems with an exhibition monitor by breaking into it using powdered industrial cleanser to the avoid the laser alarm system and his knife to pick the lock.
Lost Love, part 2 (3x02)
MacGyver and Jack Dalton manage to steal the Ming dragon from the exhibition monitor (see above). The monitor is now fortified with a combination lock, a patrolling guard every 10 minutes and a pressure plate alarm. First they enter above the monitor through the ventilations system. The entry has a pressure alarm silenced by some duct tape. They then use ropes to go down inside the laser perimeter. The monitor is attached to a winch with suction pads in the end of the wire holding it up and clamps were used to hold down the pressure pad. Since they run out of time, they finally use the remote-controlled winch to trap the guard with a snare.
Back From the Dead (3x03)
MacGyver uses a fire hose to slide across a high wire at stadium. He throws a spear to shatter a dial and hit the bad guys with steam.
Ghost Ship (3x04)
MacGyver fixes a broken rowing boat using a stick with a fork, a sleeping-bag cover, some ropes and a tarpaulin in order to get to a mysteriously abandoned ship. He puts the sleeping-bag cover over the fork of the stick in order to make a paddle. The stern of the boat is broken but is sealed using the tarpaulin and the rope.
Fire and Ice (3x05)
MacGyver opens a vault and steals back some diamonds first dusting the buttons for fingerprints with graphite from a pencil. The vault has a three-digit combination with unique digits and six buttons. The dusting narrows down the 720 combinations to 6 and the vault is easily opened. He then neatly gets the diamonds in a small bag using a paper as a funnel.
MacGyver uses duct tape and a plastic mat to make a pair of boots.
MacGyver builds a hot air balloon from scratch to escape from a Soviet search party. The balloon was made of homemade super-glue, old clothes, a parachute, welding equipment, a refrigerator, condoms, and metal box.
Jack in the Box (3x07)
MacGyver creates a distraction in order to escape from a mining shaft using carbide lamps, water, some flint, a rope and a rock hammer. The carbide was put in the water which creates a reaction forming acetylene (welding gas). The gas is then ignited with the flint taped to the hammer. The rope is used to swing the hammer, leaving time to escape.
The Widowmaker (3x08)
MacGyver taps into a phone wire and transfers an SOS-signal. First, he climbs up the pole using a rope and belt around his ankles. Then, he scrapes off the insulation of the phone wire with his knife. Finally, he taps in a message for help with a bracelet using the Morse code alphabet.
Hell Week (3x09)
MacGyver defuses a bomb set to detonate by tilting a plate of mercury which short-circuits two electrical wires using the heat from short-circuiting two wires from the elevator in order to vaporize the mercury during the last 20 s of the countdown.
Blow Out (3x10)
MacGyver makes tear-gas out of cayenne pepper, vinegar and baking soda. The vinegar contains acetic acid while the baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, mixed together, they form a lot of gas. MacGyver lets the gas expansion take place in a sealed rubber bag and when it starts to swell he puts a hole in the bag with his knife.
MacGyver takes a nearby paint can and secures it under the truck, then uses his Swiss Army knife to ream a hole in the bottom to leave paint splotches as the truck travels to the hideout, to track it's movement.
In order to stop a bomb from detonating in the middle of a street, MacGyver convinces a truck driver to fill up the terrorists' mail van bomb with concrete, limiting the blast of the dynamite.
Kill Zone (3x11)
MacGyver tightens a sealed lab compartment containing a dangerous microorganism using a Bunsen burner, a longer hose and Freon from a refrigerator. First he burns the leak using the longer hose with the Bunsen burner, and then he freezes it tight with the Freon.
MacGyver uses an electrical transformer to speed up the manual over-ride of the elevator in order to escape from an infected lab about to self-destruct.
Early Retirement (3x12)
MacGyver uses a steam pressure hose to make a smoke screen.
Thin Ice (3x13)
The Odd Triple (3x14)
MacGyver gets himself out of a wine cellar where his hands are bound to a barrel of wine by first opening the tap of the barrel with his head soaking his hands with wine working as lubricant and then using the compressed gas in 4 nitrogen cylinders binding them to a giant wine barrel on wheels running it through the brick wall.
The Negotiator (3x15)
MacGyver stops a professional killer by draining fluid from the radiator, then short-circuiting it with some jump-start cables attached to the car's battery; this electrocutes the killer.
The Spoilers (3x16)
MacGyver creates a diversion and a surprise attack using an inner tube, pressurized air, chloride, a catalyst, two glass jars and a gas mask. The inner tube was put in a truck and filled with air until the glass broke creating a loud noise. Meanwhile MacGyver filled the two gas bombs filling one glass jar with chloride and the other with a catalyst. Then he threw them at his attackers resulting in a reaction producing toxic chlorine gas when the two liquids mixed.
Mask of the Wolf (3x17)
In order to escape from a booby trap in an old Indian temple MacGyver lifts a heavy oak door using ceremonial powder made of Copper and Zinc to pack a charge igniting it with a fuse made of a hemp belt dipped in lamp oil. The explosion in the piston lifted the door a few inches then Mac kept it open with a log enabling him and his friends to crawl out. (34.40) Note: The scene where Dalton reaches in for his hat is taken from a similar scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Rock the Cradle (3x18)
MacGyver fixes a jammed landing gear on an air plane by replacing the hydraulic fluid with pressure from an oxygen gas canister. He falls off the plane in the process but has a parachute so he lands safely.
MacGvyer also builds a swinging playpen out of hockey sticks, a rope net, and rope, and fastens a baby's diaper with duct tape.
The Endangered (3x19)
MacGyver sets up a trap using a forked branch, pegs and fishing line to shoot a tranquilizer dart into the leg of one of the bad guys.
MacGyver makes an assault using a decoy using rope, matches and a coat on a vine to set a time-delayed simulated "approach". When the hunters start shooting at the decoy, MacGyver shoots one of them using a slingshot made of a flashlight barrel and elastic cords from the jacket to shoot yet another tranquilizer dart.
Murderer's Sky (3x20)
MacGyver finds a secret door using hi-fi speakers and cables working as a sonar.
The Secret of Parker House (4x01)
After finding the skull of an unknown person under a recently destroyed gazebo, MacGyver, using the erasers from the tips of pencils, modeling clay, glass eyeballs and cotton wool, reconstructed the face of the skull.
Trapped in the basement with an exploding furnace, MacGyver and friends built a torpedo using a distiller and a sealed plugged pipe. The plugged pipe was put over the spot where gas was most likely to break out, a brass plate. A support made of two sticks and some rags was used to aim at the stone wall.
Blood Brothers (4x02)
MacGyver fixes a typewriter, from which the pin that holds the ribbon has broken off, with the ink cartridge from a ballpoint pen. He uses the ink cartridge to rethread the ribbon, as well as to hold it back in place, and then cuts the cartridge down to size with his Swiss Army knife.
In a flashback scene, a young MacGyver disassembles a bicycle and reassembles it as a makeshift cart in order to transport his wounded friend to a road where he can get help.
In a 'current timeline' scene which closely parallels the one above, MacGyver uses phenolphthalein solution mixed with a drain cleaner to simulate blood, in order to create a decoy from two gun wielding teenagers who are chasing his recently wounded friend.
The Outsiders (4x03)
MacGyver uses barrels to support a dirt tunnel.
On a Wing and a Prayer (4x04)
A plane's left ski is damaged after a crash landing. MacGyver rigs a piece of hose from the plane's fire extinguisher in order to patch the damaged oil line and has Jack heat up a damaged ski strut and set it straight on an open fire. He then repairs a large gash in the ski with a makeshift fiberglass seal, made of life jackets (for the fibers) and a heated rubber and nylon compound to make a waterproof seal over the top.
In order for the damaged plane to take off, MacGyver creates a Jet Assisted Take Off (JATO) unit with two Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) called 'Vipers'. He ties the RPGs to the skis of the plane and wires the igniters from the rockets so that they are placed inside the cockpit. The RPGs are ignited by a sharp impact, which in this case is a hammer.
Collision Course (4x05)
The Survivors (4x06)
Deadly Dreams (4x07)
Ma Dalton (4x08)
Cleo Rocks (4x09)
Fraternity of Thieves (4x10)
In order to save Pete Thornton's life after he was attacked by an enemy agent with prussic acid (hydrogen cyanide), identified by its strong almond odor, MacGyver uses sodium thiosulfate as an antidote which he gets from a nearby photo shop's printing machine which uses it as a photographic fixing agent.
The Battle of Tommy Giordano (4x11)
MacGyver taps the phone line of two criminals in the motel room next to his by first using a bent coat hanger to push his phone's receiving wires over to the other room's junction box, and then rewiring it in order to hear the conversation from the other room. Additionally, he uses the tweezers from his Swiss Army knife in order to pick the lock of the other motel room.
The Challenge (4x12)
Gold Rush (4x14)
MacGyver plays back an old phonographic record on a black cylinder using a piece of paper and a safety pin that he rips from a Misha brooch. He rolls the sheet of paper into a cone and puts a safety pin on the tip. MacGyver places the tip of the safety pin on the black cylinder and rotates it in order to listen to the contents.
To escape from a plane wreckage that was caved in by an avalanche, MacGyver fills a metal bucket with 75% alcohol barely even one third full, put a gas canister inside and used a plastic string dipped in alcohol as the igniter. After setting the string on fire, the gas can eventually catches on fire and blows to the direction of the gas faucet.
The Invisible Killer (4x15)
MacGyver constructs an air powered gun with a telescope and air horn. For the projectile he uses pepper and vinegar.
MacGyver sets a trap using rope and a trap door. He makes a loop in the rope and covers the trap door with the rope loop and then a rug. The last convict gets roped when he falls in the trap.
Easy Target (4x17)
MacGyver creates a bomb by taking C4 out of a hand grenade and making a smaller bomb by taping the explosive material with a regular painter tape to the hand grenade's detonator (thus making a smaller bomb which would not blow down the whole house).
MacGyver rigs a radio-phone to short-circuit by connecting a loose cord inside. Then he used the other radio-phone to remotely short-circuit the phone which distracted the bad guys.
To catch an escaping thief during a security lockdown, MacGyver hot-wires an elevator by simply holding his Swiss army knife between two cords in the control box on top of the elevator.
Unfinished Business (4x19)
The Legend of the Holy Rose, part 1 (5x01)
MacGyver builds an ultralight airplane with bamboo poles, heavy duty garbage bags, a cement mixer engine, and duct tape. (This was tested and busted by MythBusters, though some doubt exists as to the validity of the experiment performed by MythBusters compared to the scenario depicted on MacGyver - namely that the cliff drop on MythBusters was small compared to the MacGyver scenario, and thus the MythBusters aircraft did not have enough time to develop the necessary air speed for the aircraft to be able to fly.)
The Legend of the Holy Rose, part 2 (5x02)
MacGyver sets up three rods with crystal heads, a golden globe (with ruby center), and a shiny mirror artifact on a stone (created for this purpose) to create a ruby laser that ignites what he believes is gunpowder in a stone wall.
The Black Corsage (5x03)
MacGyver rigs up a Fun Fair booth so that its horizontally mounted shutter drops when one of the bad guys tries to pick up a piece of stolen jewelry. When the jewelry is picked up the moving target activates pulling a hose along with it which dislodges the wooden supports of the shutter thus dropping it on the bad guy and knocking him out.
Cease Fire (5x04)
MacGyver repairs a spark plug with a broken top electrode by first hammering a nail head so that it becomes flat, and then running a current from a battery through the nail and the spark plug head as to fuse the broken electrode and the nail together. Once the weld is made, he cuts the nail to the correct length and bends it towards the other electrode to form the correct gap with the other electrode of the spark plug.
Second Chance (5x05)
MacGyver uses a pulley system fashioned from torn fabric, baling wire, and toy car wheels to assist a small dog in crossing a busy road.
Halloween Knights (5x06)
MacGyver uses candle wax, some pool cue chalk, and his breath to bypass a biometric thumb print lock. (He dusts a glass for the thumb print using the chalk, and then uses candle wax to transfer the thumb print onto his thumb)
To cross a pit filled with snakes, MacGyver uses the smell of kerosene taken from a nearby torch to repel the snakes by pouring it on his legs and feet.
Children of Light (5x07)
MacGyver uses a hydraulic clamp bolted on a work bench to pry open a door, by attaching a pipe and a block of wood to the shaft of the moving arm and then turning the handle that closes the clamp so that the shaft pushes on the door.
MacGyver creates a zip line to escape from the roof of a building using a steel shaft from a large TV antenna and a large rope. He ties one end of the rope to the building and throws the other end to Pete Thornton who ties it to the bumper of his van. Pete then gets the driver to move the van forward in order to tighten the line. Meanwhile MacGyver bends the shaft of the TV antenna into the shape of a hook and uses his jacket to protect his hand from the friction, and proceeds to slide down the line with another person (whom he was trying to free from the building).
Black Rhino (5x08)
The Ten Percent Solution (5x09)
MacGyver and his friend escape from an operating gas chamber using only objects found within the chamber. MacGyver first locates the tube behind a vent that is feeding the gas into the chamber. Then he uses his knife to unscrew the vent grating, cut a hole on his side of the chamber's door, and then feeds the tube in. He theorizes that since the door is essentially hollow inside, he can ignite the gas now being fed in and blast the door apart, which he does after breaking the one light bulb in the chamber near the hole in the door, creating a spark.
Two Times Trouble(5x10)
The Madonna (5x11)
Live and Learn (5x13)
Log Jam (5x14)
The Treasure of Manco (5x15)
Jenny's Chance (5x16)
Deep Cover (5x17)
The Lost Amadeus (5x18)
Hearts of Steel (5x19)
Rush to Judgement (5x20)
In this episode MacGyver has a near death experience while he is in a coma and meets his grandfather who has died from a heart attack. This meeting takes place on a passenger cruise boat called Osiris. When his grandfather encourages him to leave, Anubis (the Egyptian afterlife gatekeeper) refuses to let him go. Anubis locks MacGyver and his grandfather in the engine room and jams the lock wheel with an axe. MacGyver wraps one end of a fire hose around the lock wheel and the other end around the ships propeller shaft. The tension builds as the hose is wrapped around the shaft and eventually shatters the wooden shaft of the axe, releasing the wheel lock and enabling MacGyver to escape.
- Britton, Wesley, Spy Television, Praeger/Greenwood, ISBN 0275981630, p. 212.
- Rich, John, 2006, Warm Up the Snake: A Hollywood Memoir, ISBN 0472115782, p. 167.
- Annotated Mythbusters: Episode 15: Scuba diver in a forest, Car capers
- Terrill, Bret, and Dierkers, Greg, 2005, The Unofficial MacGyver How-To Handbook: Revised 2nd Edition, American International Press, ISBN 1887641475.
- MacGyver Online MacGyverisms list - a complete list of MacGyverisms.
- List of technical tricks used by MacGyver in each episode - Tous les Trucs et Astuces de MacGyver, episode par episode. (in French)