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MacGyver: The Human Factor

MacGyver is challenged to test a military security base but once inside the AI computer takes control and runs on its own. MacGyver and the lady scientist who created the computer are trapped inside.

Episode Info  

Episode number: 2x1
Production Number: 024
Airdate: Monday September 22nd, 1986

Guest Stars
June ChadwickJune Chadwick
As Dr. Jill Ludlum
Peter HaskellPeter Haskell
As Col. Scott Woodward

Co-Guest Stars
Peter KwongPeter Kwong
As Steven Lee
Main Cast
Richard Dean AndersonRichard Dean Anderson
As Angus MacGyver
Dana ElcarDana Elcar
As Peter Thornton


MacGyver heads out into the desert with his friend Pete Thornton, new operations director of the Phoenix Foundation, a civilian think tank. The military wants Phoenix to test their new SRDA (Strategic Research Development Administration) facility, under the supervision of Col. Scott Woodward. Woodward isn't thrilled to have MacGyver there despite the fact he served with Pete in the military. MacGyver has to break into the high-tech mountain facility on his own: otherwise SRDA fails to get the seal of approval from Phoenix. Woodward shows them the weight-sensitive floor in front of the main entrance, which is bypassed with a keycard and activates a laser when triggered. They take the elevator down as the AI computer system, Sandy, monitors their descent. The next security device is a palm reader and as they go past the physics lab, Woodward and Pete argue about civilian involvement. MacGyver looks around and enters a lab, but four mobile drones with laser mounts intercept him. The head scientist and security system designer, Dr. Jill Ludlum, arrives and explains they are heat-seekers. They are each familiar with the others' credentials. Ludlum claims that her computer, Sandy, is one step short of true artificial intelligence...

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Episode Notes
Dana Elcar is promoted to series star as of this episode.

Episode Quotes
MacGyver: When James Bond gets an assignment, it's on the Riviera, up to his double-o seven in bikinis. Me, I end up eighty miles past nowhere courtesy of my good buddy, Pete Thornton, new operations director of the Phoenix Foundation.

Col. Scott Woodward: So this is your main guy? What makes him so special? He doesn't even have any gear.
Pete: That's what makes him so special.

Dr. Jill Ludlum: MacGyver. Some time consultant for the Phoenix Foundation. Alleged hockey player. Camel smuggler. Jack of all trades.
MacGyver: Jill Melissa Ludlum. Born in London. PhD, System Design, Oxford University, 1980. 1980-82, designed the Ludlum cybernetic circuit. 82-83 ... took a year off, for personal reasons. 83-86, immersed in the SRDA project. Hasn't come up for air yet. Reported to be a premiere technocrat.

MacGyver: It took the human race three million years to invent the telescope. I figure I had about thirty-five seconds. On the other hand, I knew it could be done.

Dr. Jill Ludlum: (as MacGyver takes off his pants) Why are you taking your pants off?
MacGyver: You gotta better idea?
Dr. Jill Ludlum: I'm still trying to figure out what yours is.

Pete: We don't "roll the dice," we make a calculated choice. It's time we tried to think like MacGyver. His mind doesn't work like yours--or mine. We've got to put our gut to work, Woody.
Col. Scott Woodward: Instinct doesn't cut it, Pete. We've got plans. They have been thought out, reviews, they've been approved.

Dr. Jill Ludlum: You're all right for a camel smuggler.
MacGyver: I returned that camel.

Episode References
* Map light w/magnifying lens, combined with watch crystal, rolled into a newspaper tube, to make a telescope
* Plaster dust to capture the last image on a handprint scanner and bypass the lock
* Mop bucket cart with a mirror propped on a chair to bypass a laser barrier
* His pants to provide a rope to support himself and Ludlum over an acid bath
* Phone receiver magnets wrapped in paper and set on fire to cause heat-seeking drones to fire on each other
* Plug-in inspection light with the light cut off, to short circuit a computer system

Other Episode Crew

CreatorLee David Zlotoff
Executive ProducerHenry Winkler  |  John Rich (1)
Co-Executive ProducerStephen Downing
Supervising ProducerBill Froehlich
ProducerKevin Inch
Co-ProducerStephen Kandel
Associate ProducerSteven Milkis
EditorHoward Deane (1)
CastingRamsay King  |  Maureen A. Arata
Unit Production ManagerVictor Hsu
First Assistant DirectorPatrick A. Duffy
Second Assistant DirectorMerri D. Howard  |  Gary Law
MusicDennis McCarthy (2)
Music EditorSteve Danforth
Costume DesignerAnne Winsor  |  Thomas Welsh  |  Michael Abbott (2)
HairstylistJo McCarthy
Make-upBron Roylance
Set DecoratorMary Swanson
Property MasterJames A. Rathbun
Script SupervisorEdle Bakke
Director of PhotographyWilliam Gereghty (1)
Story EditorJohn J. Sakmar  |  Kerry Lenhart
Stunt CoordinatorVince Deadrick, Jr.
Art DirectorWilliam Hiney
Sound MixerAlan Bernard
Special EffectsBilly Myatt
Executive Story EditorBrian Lane  |  Robin Bernheim  |  Stephen Kronish
Main Title ThemeRandy Edelman
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