- Angus MacGyver
colour text =
name = Angus MacGyver
Richard Dean Andersonas MacGyver
first = "Pilot"
last = "MacGyver: Trail to Doomsday"
Lee David Zlotoff
Richard Dean Anderson
gender = Male
age = 34 - 41
March 23, 1951
family = Ellen Jackson (Mother)
James MacGyver (Father)
relatives = Harry Jackson (Grandfather)
Cecilia Jackson (Grandmother)
Los Angeles, United States
nationality = United States
Angus MacGyver, known as just MacGyver or Mac until the finale of the fictional American
television series" MacGyver", is the highly intelligent, optimistic action heroplayed by Richard Dean Anderson. He prefers non-violent conflict resolution wherever possible and refuses to carry or use a gun. MacGyver works as a problem solver for the Phoenix Foundation in Los Angeles. Educated as a scientist and with a background from a fictional United States government agency, the Department of External Services (DXS), he is used as a resourceful agent able to solve a range of problems. In addition to his scientific knowledge and inventive use of common items, he always carries a Swiss Army knifeand duct tape.
The character is portrayed as an outspoken advocate of
gun control, and is also politically liberal in other respects; environmental preservation, racial equality, assisting the poor. Even in cases where his improvised devices are used to attack hostile opponents, he is always doing so in self-defenseand, if possible, subduing or disabling rather than killing. He is often suspicious of militaristic attitudes within the government; he sees his Phoenix Foundation employer as an alternative to the more conventional (and violent) means of law enforcement.
The most appealing aspect of MacGyver is that, when being challenged to, say, protect himself or a person who needs protection, he will never give up; when plan A doesn't succeed, he will move on to plan B, which hasn't been developed much (if at all) beforehand. There are only a few episodes in which he was forced to think about a "plan B". All his plans start as a basic framework, the details being added as the scene progresses, making them open to change and improvement as new things become available; This also makes it more difficult to plan against, as his enemy Murdoc pointed out, because not even MacGyver himself knows what he's going to do next. He was also unlike the stereotypical "macho" or stoic action hero; not only did he dislike violence, but he often exhibited open fear in perilous situations (though it did not hamper his efforts to escape or resolve such situations) and showed pain after a fight (he would routinely gasp in pain and shake out his hand after punching an opponent). These reactions helped humanize the character, giving him an accessible "everyman" quality.
MacGyver speaks to greater or lesser extent Russian, German, French, Italian,
American Sign Languageand knows Morse code. He is an active mountain climber and ice hockey player, though his talents by far exceed these fields.
His (iconic) haircut is that of a "Bro
mullet", a clean-cut, lightly-gelled variation on the haircut.
MacGyver's first name remained a mystery until the final season; whenever he's asked about it, he says he dislikes his first name and changes the subject. Consequently, most of his friends and colleagues call him by his last name or simply "Mac." The script for the series pilot gave MacGyver's first name as "Stace", but this information, while mentioned in promotional material, did not appear in the finished episode. His first name is finally canonically revealed in "Good Knight, MacGyver", in which he learns of a
7th centuryScottish ancestor, Angus M'Iver, and admits that they share their first name; and repeated in the series finale, which introduces MacGyver's son, whose middle name is Angus. It is also revealed on the packaging of the "MacGyver" DVD season sets.
He was born on
March 23, 1951[ January 23, 1951per his passportin "Every Time She Smiles", but working back from dates given in the episodes "Thin Ice", "Passages", "Friends", "Runners" and "Phoenix Under Siege" March 23, 1951is correct. Given the fact that MacGyver was on a covert missionin the episode "Every Time She Smiles", it is possible that the birthdate on his passport was purposely incorrect.] and raised in Mission City, Minnesota. In 1960, as a seven-year-old his grandmother and father were killed in a car accidentwhere they both drowned and Mac grew up with his mother. His grandfather, Harry Jackson played by actor John Anderson acted as his father, but moved away in 1967 when MacGyver was sixteen, worked for a period in Alaska, sending money to MacGyver and his mother and eventually settled down as a farmerin Minnesota after MacGyver had left. [Phoenix Under Siege, stated by MacGyver as "it's been six..seven...eighteen years"] When he was ten years old he got his first chemistry set. ["Phoenix Under Siege"] In his early teens MacGyver had a traumatic experience with the accidental death of friend Jesse by a bullet from a falling gun. [ This was shown in episode two of Season 4 (Blood Brothers) when MacGyver goes back to his home town and meets two childhood friends and in flashbacks we see the accidental death of friend Jesse by a bullet from a falling gun. In the first episode "Pilot," MacGyver fires an AK-47at some Russian soldiers. This episode was before his dislike of firearms was established.] Throughout his childhood, in his youth and in adult age MacGyver is an active player of ice hockey, having played in the leagues. He feels himself that he could have made the National Hockey League, but chose to give up before he was good enough. In his childhood he meets Jack Dalton. At the age of nineteen his mother died after a brief illness.
After high school Mac went to "Western Tech" where he graduated in 1973 with a
Bachelor's degreein physicsand chemistryand had studied under Julian Ryman, a man who also had an ability to fix things with everyday objects and was probably influential on MacGyver [Hell Week.] After graduating from college he turns down an offer to work at the nearby nuclear power plantand starts working as a special forces bomb disposalfor a short period in Vietnam. Mac has also been an enthusiastic race car driverand was quite successful before an accident put him out of the business. Eventually he moves to Los Angeleswhere he has a number of scatter jobs, including working as a taxi driverfor Jack, until 1979, when he accidentally meets Peter Thornton, an agent at the Department of External Services (DXS). When MacGyver conveniently saves Thornton's life using a paper clip, a wrenchand shoelaces, Mac is also offered at job as a field agent at the DXS. He keeps this job until 1986 (season 2 pilot) when Pete is offered a job as Director of Operationsat the Phoenix Foundation. MacGyver follows him and works in a similar role for the Foundation for the next six years, finally leaving in 1992.
At the Foundation MacGyver is hired as a "sort of troubleshooter," [According to Peter Thornton] involved in a variety of tasks, usually field operations (conducting environmental surveys, testing security systems). In the fifth season Harry dies of heart attack, [Passages] at which MacGyver stands without any family left. In the final episode of the show, it turns out that MacGyver has a son, Sean Angus Malloy, who by then is about 20 years old. His mother is the photojournalist Kate Malloy who MacGyver had met after college. This is discovered by Mac just after Kate had been murdered. After discovering and reuniting with Sean, MacGyver decides to resign from the Foundation, as he and his son have a lot of catching-up to do.
It is unclear what MacGyver did for a living after leaving the Phoenix Foundation. However, he has clearly kept current with the world of action, as he appears in at least two more adventures. In the first one ("MacGyver: Lost Treasure of Atlantis"), MacGyver teams up with his old teacher, Professor Atticus, 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 (in "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. Both adventures occurred in 1994. No mention is made of MacGyver's son, nor of Pete Thornton, Jack Dalton or any of the show's regulars, nor is MacGyver's day job ever stated.
The term "MacGyver" has now become part of the colloquial American English lexicon. When you MacGyver a solution to a problem, you find a simple yet elegant solution to something using existing resources. This is in contrast to a
kludge, which is generally complicated and problematic.
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