Next Episode -->

MacGyver: Pilot

A bomb goes off in a classified laboratory, sealing off the lower levels. The explosion traps two valuable scientists and unleashes an acid leak. MacGyver is called in to help the two trapped scientists escape.

Episode Info  

Episode number: 1x1
Production Number: 001
Airdate: Sunday September 29th, 1985

Starring Roles
Michael LernerMichael Lerner
As Ed Gantner

Guest Stars
Dana ElcarDana Elcar
As Andy Colson (not Pete Thornton)
Paul Stewart (1)Paul Stewart (1)
As Doctor Carl Steubens
Michael C. GwynneMichael C. Gwynne
As Doctor Charlie Burke
Michael FairmanMichael Fairman
As General Relkwin
Shavar RossShavar Ross
As Reggie
Darlanne FluegelDarlanne Fluegel
As Barbara Spencer

Co-Guest Stars
Olaf PooleyOlaf Pooley
As Doctor Sidney Marlowe
Charles LanyerCharles Lanyer
As Major Dennis
Lawrence CaseyLawrence Casey
As Colonel Keel
Al WhiteAl White
As Sergeant
Charles BouvierCharles Bouvier
As Technician #1
Michael Johnson (1)Michael Johnson (1)
As Captain Taylor
Jerry DewildeJerry Dewilde
As Jerry (as Jerry de Wilde)
Joanna LinnJoanna Linn
As Mary (as JoAnna Linn)
Howard SchecterHoward Schecter
As Technician #2
Larry Watson (1)Larry Watson (1)
As Technician #3
Main Cast
Richard Dean AndersonRichard Dean Anderson
As Angus MacGyver


In Mongolia, MacGyver is scaling a mountain and approaches a plateau where a USAF fighter has crashed with a top-secret missile. Soldiers have set up camp and taken the pilot prisoner. MacGyver knocks out a guard at a machine-gun post, takes his uniform, and slips past the guards to the plane. He takes a flare gun out of the cockpit and puts it in his bag, then spots a survivor, the pilot. MacGyver finds out from him which tent the missile is in and slips the man his Swiss Army Knife to cut himself free. MacGyver slips under the edge of the tent and uses a set of specialized tools to start disarming it. He removes the main circuit but sets off a 30-second timer. With seconds remaining, MacGyver uses a paper clip to stop the countdown. He then rigs a rifle to fire into the ground and heads for the pilot, who has cut himself free. The gunshots attract the guards and the pilot gets out, while MacGyver knocks out a guard. They head for the edge of the cliff as the guards open fire. MacGyver opens fire to hold them off and gives the rifle to the pilot, then takes out a parachute from his backpack. He dons it and grabs the pilot, then flattens the barrel of the flare gun, grabs the pilot, and fires the flare gun. The blast shoves them far enough off the cliff to get clear and make a safe drop...

Read the full recap
Episode Notes
Opening Gambit: MacGyver rescues a downed Air Force pilot from his Mongolian captors.

Jerrold Freedman directed the episode under the pseudonym "Alan Smithee."

Filming locations: Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles

Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver) and Dana Elcar (Andy Colson) are the only actors to appear in both this episode and the finale, "Mountain of Youth".

Dana Elcar (Andy Colson) would later play Peter Thornton, the Director of Operations at the Phoenix Foundation. He was a recurring guest star during the first season and later joined the regular cast for the second and subsequent series.

Two of the MacGyverisms presented here were examined on Mythbusters in the episode "MacGyver Myths." The "chocolate creating a resin" was proven truth, while the sodium explosive was proven false.

Episode Quotes
MacGyver: God, I hate heights.

Gantner: They calculate the chances of anyone getting through to Marlowe and Stubens is... well, it's not great.
MacGyver: Well, give me "not great" on a scale of one to ten.
Gantner: Minus three.

Colson: The only way to get down to the first level is through the elevator, and we can't even open the doors up here. The whole shaft is protected by laser.
MacGyver: Infra-red or gas discharge?
Colson: Gas. CO2, ten thousand watts.
MacGyver: You take your elevator shafts pretty seriously.

MacGyver: Well, the bag's not for what I take, Colson - it's for what I find along the way.

Barbara: Don't tell me you know how to make a bomb out of a stick of chewing gum?
MacGyver: Why, you got some?

Barbara: I'd kiss you, MacGyver, but I've got this cold.
MacGyver: So what's a little cold between friends, huh?

Episode References
* Paper clip to defuse a missile
* Branch and string to rig a rifle to fire, with burning matches as a timer
* Flare gun with a narrowed barrel as a rocket thruster
* Cigarette smoke to spot laser beams
* Binocular lens to reflect a laser back on itself
* Fire hose filled with water as a makeshift hydraulic lift
* Shirt used as improvised gas masks.
* Chocolate bars used to react with sulphuric acid and create a seal
* Sodium placed in a cold capsule and placed in a thermos as a timed explosive.

Other Episode Crew

CreatorLee David Zlotoff
Executive ProducerHenry Winkler  |  John Rich (1)
Supervising ProducerMel Efros
ProducerVin Di Bona
EditorJerry Young (2)  |  Donald R. Rode  |  Anthony Redman
CastingVicki Rosenberg  |  Helen Mossler
First Assistant DirectorDavid Menteer
Second Assistant DirectorMerri D. Howard
MusicRandy Edelman
Music EditorSteve Danforth
Costume DesignerThomas Welsh
HairstylistLola Kemp
Make-upBen Nye Jr.
Set DecoratorJohn M. Dwyer  |  Charles Graffeo
Property MasterRobert O. Richards
Script SupervisorJoyce King
Director of PhotographyTak Fujimoto
Stunt CoordinatorVince Deadrick, Jr.
Art DirectorDaniel A. Lomino
Sound MixerJack Woods  |  Jacques Nosco
Special EffectsChuck Dolan
Main Title ThemeRandy Edelman
Missing Information
Click here to add Music
Click here to add Episode Goofs
Click here to add Cultural References
Click here to add Analysis