In Czechoslovakia, human rights activist Anton Dubcek is taken away by the authorities as his wife Viera protests.
At the Phoenix Foundation, Pete briefs MacGyver on the situation and the fact Anton's arrest was performed by Baranov and Zorkin, rogue GRU agents. They have pictures, and Pete brings in Diana Rogers, who took the photos. MacGyver has worked with Diana before and knows she's a mercenary who will do anything, and abandoned him during an operation to steal papers from an embassy. Private investors have put up $500,000 to get Anton to the U.S. and Diana wants to split the reward. Pete insists they have no choice and explains that Anton is being held in a psychiatric hospital. By the time the Soviets deal with their rogue agents, it'll be too late for Anton. MacGyver knows the hospital because he broke a man out a year ago. Diana promises not to betray him this time and MacGyver reluctantly agrees. Pete explains that they'll be traveling as a honeymoon couple.
MacGyver and Diana arrive in Austria and meet with her contact Krug. Krug drives them to the Czechoslovakia border and they get through with ease. He drops them off at their car, which contains their papers. Diana pays him half to make sure he comes back for them later. They discover their car and try to drive it, but the battery's dead. MacGyver manages to start it up by hitting it after pulling Diana into his lap to get at the ignition. They arrive at the hospital and watch it while enjoying a picnic lunch. As they make their plans, a police motorcyclist arrives and MacGyver hastily grabs Diana and kisses her. Diana speaks Czech and tells the guard to go on his way.
Diana has a detailed plan but MacGyver would rather keep his options open. He makes some fake wounds and has Diana drive him into the hospital. He tells Diana to meet him in 15 minutes. As he prepares to go, Diana kisses him and tells him to stay alive... so she can collect her half of the reward. MacGyver slips in pretending to be a worker, then steals a food cart and sneaks into a lab. He puts together a smoke bomb using carbon black, compressed air, and a rubber surgeon's glove. he then rigs it to a food tray so it'll go off when someone opens the lid. Finally, he crushes some nitroglycerine tablets and mixes the powder with alcohol, making unstable nitro explosive paste. Outside, Diana parks the car and tries to steal an ambulance. When the ignition doesn't start, she borrows MacGyver's method of hitting it.
MacGyver puts on a doctor's coat and stethoscope, then wheels the cart to Anton's cell. Outside, Baranov and Zorkin arrive. In the hospital, an attendant opens the lid and the smoke bomb goes off. MacGyver steals a nurse's key and gets into Anton's cell. He then attaches the nitro pack to the window and sets it off on schedule. Zorkin and Baranov come running while MacGyver gets Anton into the ambulance and Diana drives away, bursting through the gate. They explain the situation but Anton insists they return him: the GRU arrested his wife Viera and will execute him if he doesn't return.
Anton and Diana wait while MacGyver steals a truck and some clothing. Diana privately balks at rescuing Viera, but has no choice but to go along to assure Anton is returned to the U.S. When Anton comes back, he assumes that Diana is helping due to altruism. He leads them to the holding center where Viera is being kept. They watch as the GRU agents bring Viera out and drive away. Anton figures they're going to the Red Army regional headquarters and provides them with a short cut. They get ahead of the GRU agents and turn over the truck to fake an accident. When one of them moves to investigate, Diana holds him at gunpoint and MacGyver captures the other man. Viera and Anton are reunited and get in the car, while MacGyver pauses to get some baling wire from a hay bale.
They drive to the rendezvous spot where Krug is waiting for them. Once he confirms they have the couple, he calls in waiting soldiers so he can collect the reward. MacGyver hooks the baling wire up the battery to the car handles. When the soldiers open the car doors, they're knocked out. Diana holds Krug at gunpoint while MacGyver removes some hand grenades from the soldiers' belts. They continue to the border in Krug's car and MacGyver tosses a grenade to the border guard. They drive through the border while the guards discover the grenade is a dud since MacGyver removed the explosive. They pass through the Austrian border and continue to the airport and fly back to the States.
In Los Angeles, MacGyver brings the Dubceks to his apartment to meet with Pete. He offers them hospitality until Pete has a home ready for them. Viera grows impatient and Anton apologizes, assuring her they are free to make a new life now. She asks for new clothes and Diana offers to take her shopping, while Pete and MacGyver take Anton to the Phoenix Foundation to complete his papers. Once they're done, they go back to MacGyver's home only to discover someone has snuck in. Diana is recovering consciousness and Viera is gone. Anton believes the GRU are responsible, and Diana didn't see anything. The GRU call and put Viera on the line, then tell her they'll release her in return for Anton turning himself in. They set up a meeting at the city zoo in one hour and Anton admits he has no choice.
At the Los Angeles Zoo, Anton waits for the GRU to arrive with his wife. Diana begins to sympathize with Anton, but hides behind a veneer of realism, saying she deserves her payment. Diana admits MacGyver's the second man she ever trusted. The first man, David, turned out to be a KGB agent who tried to get the stolen embassy papers from her. Diana had no choice but to kill him, and MacGyver comforts her. The GRU don't show up, but Viera secretly contacts Anton and warns the GRU are prepared to shoot her if Anton doesn't come with her. Diana notices the couple together but they slip away in the crowd. Viera takes her husband to a quiet spot and then draws a gun on him. She shoots him in the chest and prepares to shoot him again. MacGyver, Pete, and Diana arrive and chase after her, while Diana confirms that Anton is okay since he was wearing a bulletproof vest.
The three GRU agents separate and MacGyver goes after Zorkin and Viera. They run beneath an underpass and MacGyver jumps down on them. He knocks down Zorkin while Diana tackles Viera. Baranov gets the drop on MacGyver but Pete comes up and disarms him. Zorkin comes at MacGyver with a knife, and MacGyver uses a child's plastic tube-toy to first deflect the knife blade and then finally catch it.
MacGyver and Pete pay off Diana, and MacGyver explains that he invested his own part of the reward. Anton tells them that someone has donated a large amount of money anonymously to help his cause. Diana realizes who donated the money and chips in a tenth of her reward.