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MacGyver is an American adventure television series, produced in Canada, about a laid-back, extremely resourceful secret agent, played by Richard Dean Anderson. The series was created by Lee David Zlotoff and executive produced by Henry Winkler and John Rich. It ran for seven seasons from September 29, 1985 to May 21, 1992 on the ABC network and filmed primarily in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Of the 139 one-hour episodes, three had two parts. Additionally, two made-for-TV movies were produced in 1994.

Angus MacGyver's main asset is his practical application of scientific knowledge and inventive use of common items—along with his ever-present Swiss Army knife and duct tape and the usual coincidence of being locked up in a room full of useful materials. The clever solutions MacGyver implemented to seemingly intractable problems—often in life-or-death situations requiring him to improvise complex devices in a matter of minutes—were a major attraction of the show, which was praised for generating interest in engineering as well as providing entertaining storylines. All of MacGyver's exploits on the show were ostensibly vetted to be based on real scientific principles (even though, the creators acknowledged, in real life one would have to be extraordinarily lucky for most of MacGyver's ideas to succeed). In the few cases where MacGyver used household chemicals to create poison's, explosive's or other things deemed too dangerous to be accurately described on television, details were intentionally altered or vague.

The use of ordinary household items to jury rig devices shows an influence from The A-Team (though MacGyver eschewed firearms). The idea has entered U.S. popular culture; such constructions are referred to as "MacGyverisms".

MacGyver's vehicles

Throughout the series, MacGyver drove a number of vehicles; most frequently a brown Jeep Wrangler. Among the other vehicles he drove in the series were a Jeep Grand Wagoneer, a Jeep Cherokee Chief, a 1946 Chevrolet pick-up truck, a number of Ford Taurus (including a Silver 1989, a Twilight-Blue 1989, and a Brown 1991) and a 1957 Chevrolet Nomad willed to him by his grandfather Harry in the episode "Harry's Will".

Influence on culture


For a list of MacGyverisms, see List of problems solved by MacGyver

The spontaneous inventions have come to be nicknamed MacGyverisms and even led to the verb, 'to MacGyver' or 'to MacGyver-ize'. This word was used in Richard Dean Anderson's project Stargate SG-1, in a postmodern moment in the first episode, when the character Samantha Carter (portrayed by Amanda Tapping) comments on the time and effort that had been required "to MacGyver" a replacement for the Stargate's long-lost control system. In an outtake from another SG-1 episode, Tapping becomes 'upset' with Anderson over their characters' current predicament (being trapped under Antarctica), saying that she's stuck with MacGyver who should be able to get them out of there using string and bubble gum to create a nuclear reactor. Her remarks prompted laughter on the part of the crew, and apparent shock and disbelief on the part of Anderson. However, "MacGyverism" was used long before that, in a MacGyver episode. It was used by Joanne Remmings (played by Pamela Bowen) in the second-season episode #3 "Twice Stung", in which MacGyver must con a con man. (The episode title is a reference to The Sting, with Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and Dana Elcar.)

MacGyverism is a derivative of the "robinsonade" genre, named after Robinson Crusoe (1719). In this genre, the protagonist is suddenly isolated from the comforts of civilization and must improvise the means of his survival from the limited resources at hand. MacGyverism is also an example of bricolage, and MacGyver himself is the paradigm of a bricoleur ("a person who creates things from existing materials, is creative and resourceful").

In July 2005, the American International Press released a book of MacGyverisms from the television show, called 'The Unofficial MacGyver How-to Handbook' by Bret Terrill and Greg Dierkers.

In South Korea, a Swiss Army knife is commonly called "Maekgaibeo kal" and in Indonesia and Malaysia, they are commonly called "Pisau MacGyver/Pisau Lipat MacGyver." (Kal and Pisau mean knife in Korean and Malay, respectively.) In Malaysia, the term "MacGyver knife" (English) is also commonly used. In Norway and in certain areas of Finland, duct tape is commonly known, to some degree, as "MacGyver-tape", though it is more used in a joking manner.

In the media

As of 2005, MacGyver is the subject of a hoax a Presidential campaign, as a spin-off of a similar and popular hoax concerning actor Christopher Walken. The campaign started at the website MacGyver 2008.

In 2006, Anderson appeared in a MasterCard television commercial for Super Bowl XL. The spot poked fun at the character's inherent ability of using everyday objects to perform extraordinary feats: In it, he manages to cut the ropes binding him to a chair using a pine tree air freshener, uses an ordinary tube sock as the pulley for a zipline, and somehow repairs and hotwires a nonfunctional truck using a paper clip, ballpoint pen, rubber band, tweezers, nasal spray and a turkey baster. In contrast to previous MasterCard commercials showing people making somewhat extravagant purchases to accomplish some mundane task, MacGyver is here portrayed as escaping from some sort of deathtrap using less than $20 worth of common household items. The commercial ends by showing him purposefully buying an assortment of such things at a department store with his credit card (as a tongue-in-cheek explanation for how Mac seems to always have items he needs on hand no matter where he goes). It should be noted that although the commercial clearly indicates Anderson is portraying the role of MacGyver, he is never explicitly identified as such, possibly due to licensing issues related to the character.

The series is referenced in many episodes of The Simpsons, primarily detailing Marge Simpson's sisters Patty and Selma's obsession with the show and their crush on the MacGyver character. The sisters' regular viewing of the show is an unalterable element of their daily schedule to the point of death as demonstrated in the episode "Black Widower". Anderson himself is an avid fan of The Simpsons, and even provided his voice for an episode of the show titled "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bangalore", which first aired April 6, 2006.

In the season one episode titled "Brian: Portrait of a Dog" from Family Guy, Peter writes a letter to Richard Dean Anderson asking him to save his dog using the enclosed items from the envelope: a rubber band, a paper clip and a straw. Anderson puts these together and hits himself in the eye with the rubber band.

The New Zealand sporting skit show 'Pulp Sport' had a running gag called 'McIvor' in which the MacGyver theme is played, and a prank involving Sky TV sports presenter Steven McIvor is played out. This gag, instead, now targets TV3 sports news presenter Hamish McKay (dubbed 'McKay-ver'). The pranks usually involve the office area (a mobile phone taped to the under side of a desk) or something happening the car of the victim (placing a goat in the back seat).

In the MMORPG World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, a Grand Master Engineer named "Mack Diver" can be found in Zabra'Jin, a Horde outpost in Zangarmarsh. Mack Diver wears a diving helmet and wields a utility knife, a homage to MacGyver.

Recently, the NBC sketch show Saturday Night Live has had a parody of MacGyver called "MacGruber" with Will Forte as the title character shown as a pretaped, three-part sketch on episodes hosted by Jeremy Piven and former castmember Molly Shannon.

Show information

  • The first episode was directed by Alan Smithee, the pseudonym used when a director does not want to be credited.
  • The reason for MacGyver's reluctance to use guns was shown in episode two of Season 4 (Blood Brothers) when MacGyver goes back to his hometown and meets two childhood friends and in flashbacks, we see the accidental death of friend Jesse by a bullet from a falling gun.
  • MacGyver's producers had a tendency to use the same actor in multiple roles through the series. Some examples:
    • Kai Wulff played "Stepan Frolov" in season one's "Every Time She Smiles", "Hans Visser" in season four's "Collision Course", "Ladysmith" in season five's "Black Rhino", and "Nicolas Von Leer" in season six's episode "Eye Of Osiris"
    • Gregory Sierra appeared in the season one episode "The Gauntlet", playing "General Antonio Vasquez", the season two episode "Jack Of Lies", playing "Colonel Antunnez", and the season five episode "The Treasure of Manco", playing "Captain Diaz]".
    • Nana Visitor of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fame appeared in the season one episode "Hellfire" as "Laura Farren", and in the season two episode "DOA: MacGyver" she appears again as "Carol Varnay".
    • David Ackroyd appears in the season one episode "Trumbo's World" as "Mr. Trumbo", and in the season three episode "The Negotiator" as "Mr. Knapp".
    • [Elyssa Davalos]] played "Lisa Kohler/Kosov" in "Lost Love: Part 1 & 2" (Season 3), then just a few episodes later (in the same season) reappeared as Nikki Carpenter, a role which she reprised in several more episodes.
  • MacGyver's Swiss Army Knife went through a few changes over the early episodes. His first and most often used knife was a "Spartan" model from Victorinox. In "Thief of Budapest" he gives it away; in the next episode he is using a "Traveler" model from Wenger. He is soon back to his "Spartan." At one point he uses an Orange Peeler blade; probably from a Victorinox "Executive." He may have used an older model "Explorer" from Victorinox later in the series. He also used the Sportsman "Lost Love: Part 1 and 2", the Recruit "GX-1", and the Climber "Three for the Road." In "Tough Boys" he uses a Tinker (with the key ring removed) to unlock a large padlock. He also had a couple of non-production models that were obviously modified for the series. In "Serenity," he has a knife with wood handles on it, to flow with the time setting of the episode. In "Strictly Business" he used a knife with the Victorinox shield on the back handle of the knife instead of the front. He seems to have used all of the slimmer models available at that time. The Tinker was (and still is) available in a slightly smaller model, which he may have used. The Sportsman, Tourist, and Spartan are virtually indistinguishable with the blades closed, so he may have used any one of these three, or only one. The knife seen in the opening of each episode was a Wenger, as noted by its long keychain.
  • In 2003, the WB had a pilot for a possible new Young MacGyver series starring Jared Padalecki, but opted to pick up a new Tarzan series instead. [Citation needed]
  • In 2016, the series is rebooted, with Lucas Till starring as a title character.

DVD releases

Paramount Home Entertainment has released all 7 Seasons of MacGyver on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time. They have also released Seasons 1 to 4 in Region 2.

Cover Art DVD Name Release Date Ep # Tagline
MacGyver DVD Season 1.jpg MacGyver: Season 1 January 25, 2005 22 Always prepared for adventure
MacGyver DVD Season 2.jpg MacGyver: Season 2 June 7, 2005 22 His mind is the ultimate weapon
MacGyver DVD Season 3.jpg MacGyver: Season 3 September 6, 2005 20 Saving the day is all in a day's work
MacGyver DVD Season 4.jpg MacGyver: Season 4 December 6, 2005 19 He acts fast and thinks faster
MacGyver DVD Season 5.jpg MacGyver: Season 5 March 14, 2006 21 The right man when things go wrong
(originally He has a mind for adventure)
MacGyver DVD Season 6.jpg MacGyver: Season 6 June 13, 2006 21 Braver than most—smarter than the rest
MacGyver DVD Season 7.jpg MacGyver: Season 7 October 24, 2006 14 Back in action—ready for danger

TV Movies (DVD Release Pending)
TVM1 Lost Treasure of Atlantis
TVM2 Trail to Doomsday

Book releases

# U.S. Book publication date Book cover Title and Author
1 July 9, 1987 Macgyver on ice.jpg MacGyver on Ice by Mark Daniel

See also


  • In Argentina, the show was shown on Canal 13.
  • In Australia, the show was shown on the Seven Network.
  • In Austria, the show was shown on ORF1.
  • In Bangladesh, the show was shown on Bangladesh Television and Ekushey Television.
  • In Belgium, the show was shown on VTM (Dutch-subtitled), Kanaal2 (Dutch-subtitled) and RTL TVI (French-dubbed)
  • In Brazil, the show was shown on TV Globo with the title "Profissão: Perigo!" (in English, "Occupation: Danger!"). The original opening and closing themes was replaced by Rush's song "Tom Sawyer".
  • In Colombia, the show was originally premiered way back in 1.986 by RCN|RCN when they were a licenseer of the Public Television system. After many repetitions all over the years, was one of the flagship shows of RCN when they became a TV network in 1.998. Then, the show was shown on Telecaribe and currently is shown on the Bogota local network CityTV.
  • In Costa Rica, the show was shown on Channel 6 and now appears on channel 11 at 7:00 p.m. The show is so popular that it became used until today to call "MacGyver" to a person very skilled technically.
  • In the Czech Republic, the show was shown on TV Nova and TV Prima.
  • In Denmark, the show was shown on V Danmark.
  • In Dominican Republic, the show was shown on Canal 11 (Telesistema)
  • In Ecuador, the show was shown on Ecuavisa.
  • In Egypt, the show was shown several times on the program "Ekhtarna Lek" (What we chose for you) on Egyptian Channel 1 as the show received a huge fanbase in Egypt. The show also aired on Channel 2.
  • In El Salvador, the show was shown in TV2. On the final season presentation (a year later than in the USA, due to Spanish dubbing), erroneously the operators showed the last episode almost at the start. This caused lack of interest from the public in the remaining episodes and seriously affected the rating from a series that was, to that date, very popular. The programming director was fired.
  • In Finland, the show was shown on MTV3 and has been rerun on SubTV.
  • In France, the show was shown on TF1 and later on TV Breizh.
  • In Germany, the show was shown on Pro7, Sat.1, Kabel1 and Premiere Series.
  • In Greece, the show was shown on ERT and ANT1.
  • In Hungary the show was shown in MTV2 and TV2 in the late 90th years.
  • In India, the show was shown on Star World and Fox Crime.
  • In Indonesia, the show was shown on RCTI.
  • In Ireland, the show was shown on RTE Network 2.
  • In Israel the show was shown on Channel 1 of the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA).
  • In Italy, the show was shown on Italia1 and Rete4.
  • In Japan, the show was shown on JCTV.
  • In Malaysia, the show was shown on TV3.
  • In Mexico, the show was aired on Canal 5, Televisa.
  • In Mozambique, the show was shown on TVM.
  • In New Zealand, the show was shown on TV2, and is now repeated on Prime.
  • In Norway, the show has been shown in several reruns on TV 2, still running.
  • In the Philippines, the show was shown on RPN 9.
  • In Poland, the show was shown on TVP 1, Polonia 1 and Polsat.
  • In Portugal, the show was shown on RTP 1 and SIC Radical.
  • In Romania, the show was shown on Antena 1.
  • In Russia, the show was shown on TNT.
  • In Saudi Arabia, the show was shown on Saudi TV Channel 2.
  • In Singapore, the show was shown on then TCS' Channel 5, and then on the short-lived Channel i, which ran reruns until it was dissolved in 2005.
  • In Slovakia, the show was shown on STV, Markiza, JOJ. Currently it is running on JOJ.
  • In Slovenia, the show was shown on Kanal A.
  • In South Africa, the show was shown on SABC
  • In South Korea, the show was shown on MBC.
  • In Spain, the show was shown on TVE, Telecinco, Calle 13 and Antena 3.
  • In Sri Lanka, the show was shown on Rupavahini.
  • In Sweden, the show was shown first run on SVT and is currently syndicated on Kanal 5.
  • In Switzerland, the show was shown on TSR, in French
  • In Taiwan, the show was shown on TTV.
  • In Thailand, the show was shown on Channel 3.
  • In Trinidad & Tobago, the show was shown on TTT, Friday nights at 8:00 pm.
  • In Turkey, the show was shown on Star TV, TRT 1 and TNT
  • In the United Kingdom, the first two series were initially shown early Saturday evening on ITV1 in the late 1980s, with repeats sometimes on Bravo.
    Digital Freeview channel CBS Action started showing the series in February 2015.
  • In Uruguay, the show was shown on Canal 12 (La Tele).
  • In Venezuela, the show was shown on RCTV.
  • In Zambia, the show was shown on ZNBC.
  • In Zimbabwe, the show was shown on ZBC TV 1.


External links

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