At home, MacGyver is packing for a hockey vacation when his neighbor Wilt stops by to borrow a paper.
At a shopping mall, Lisa Goodman and her friend Ingrid, her maid's daughter, are touring the stores and Lisa dances to the music. As they go to a clothing store, two men follow them. They recognize Lisa from a description of her coat and follow her. However, Ingrid switches coats with Lisa and the men grab Ingrid, lock Lisa in a storage closet, and drive away.
Lisa's father Eric is at home negotiating a business deal to put a company out of business to boost his company's stock holdings. His aide Neil comes in with a package: her coat and a ransom note telling him to wait for instructions. Eric calls MacGyver, who tells him to agree to whatever the kidnappers demand while he comes to help him. Eric starts liquidating his assets despite Neil's advice it'll set off a panic in the stock market. MacGyver arrives at the house and Eric admits he has any number of enemies. He refuses to call the police at first but MacGyver insists that he call Lt. Rhome. Eric agrees while MacGyver reassures Ingrid's mother, Greta.
Lisa pounds on the door of the storage closet until someone releases her and takes her home.
The police hook up a monitoring device to the phone. However, they're surprised when Lisa arrives. She explains that the kidnappers took Ingrid by mistake and Lt. Rhome tries to get a description of the men. Lisa realizes that they grabbed Ingrid's sunglasses and left fingerprints. The kidnappers call and Rhome tells Eric to not reveal that they have the wrong girl. The head kidnapper demands $3 million and tells him to leave it at a flagpole in Observation Park at midnight. He hangs up before the police can get a trace. When Lisa wonders how they'll get Ingrid back, Eric admits that he won't pay it. Despite Greta's plea, Eric leaves it up to the police. Rhome admits that they can't pay the $3 million either and Lisa is disgusted with her father. Lisa storms off and MacGyver goes to get her so they can go to the Foundation lab and get a facial composite.
At the Foundation, MacGyver comes up with a picture of one kidnapper. MacGyver tries to defend Eric's decision and notes that he's going to the park at midnight. Lisa has a bad feeling but MacGyver convinces her that things will work out.
At the Breland Steel Mill, the head kidnapper, Mike Travers, meets with the two abductors for the first time since the kidnapping. He realizes that Ingrid isn't Lisa and assures her that she won't be hurt. He tells his two men Molenski and Delaney that Eric is stringing them, just like he did when he closed the steel mill. However, Travers figures they can still use Ingrid as bait.
Rhome briefs Eric on what to do and reviews the position of his men in Observation Park. As Eric leaves, Lisa apologizes for what she said and tells him to be careful. At the park, Eric drops off the money by the flagpole and spots a note taped to the base. It directs him to the nearby observatory. They go to there and find Ingrid. She tells them that the kidnappers told her to tell Eric that they have the leverage. He realizes they mean that they think they're in control and MacGyver figures they're going to get Lisa. He calls the house but no one answers. They go back and discover Ingrid and the policeman knocked out and Lisa gone.
The next morning, MacGyver talks with Ingrid and tries to get her to describe anything she can remember. She describes nearby trains and being walked up a flight of stairs with a gritty texture. He checks her shoe and finds metal shavings, and realizes that she was at a steel mill. As Rhome gets his people on it, Lisa's private phone rings. Travers knows that he has the police involved and accuses him of never playing by the rules. He put Lisa on the line to prove he has her, and then tells her he has to get rid of the police and pay $5 million. Once the kidnappers hang up, Eric tells Rhome that he's going to do exactly what they tell him from now on.
At the steel mill, Lisa demands answers and Travers shows Lisa the empty steel mill. He explains that four hundred men used to work there until her father bought out the company and shut it down to make a profit. Now they plan to make Eric pay. Lisa promises to get her father to rehire all the men but Travers doesn't believe her. They leave her locked up in the upstairs room but Travers' men are worried she can identify them. Travers says that it doesn't matter because she won't be alive to identify them.
As Eric and his assistant Neil pack the money, MacGyver informs them that they've one of the abductors as Delaney. He has a record for assault during a steelworkers' strike, and MacGyver figures that the kidnappers have a personal grudge. Neil remembers that Eric shut down Breland Steel Mill and the owner, Travers, wasn't happy. Eric insists that the company was doomed and he gave everyone three months' severance, but MacGyver points out Travers might not have viewed it that way. MacGyver heads for the steel mill and tells Eric to call Rhome. Once he's gone, Neil warns that Eric's liquidation scheme leaves him vulnerable to a takeover, but Eric insists he doesn't have a chance. Travers calls and identifies himself, and says that his face is the last thing Lisa might see. He tells Eric to come alone or he'll never see Lisa again. Once he hangs up, Eric leaves without telling the police.
MacGyver arrives at the steel mill and discovers the gates are locked. He drives around to the side and climbs over the fence. Entering the plant, he overhears Delaney and Molenski complaining that murder wasn't part of their deal. Travers says it's too late for anything else and leaves with Molenski to watch for Eric, leaving Delaney to watch Lisa. MacGyver climbs up a ladder to the second floor and locates Lisa. He spots an overhead winch and lassos the hook with a rope. He then throws some washers to draw Delaney's attention. When Delaney goes to investigate, MacGyver swings down on the rope and knocks him out. Lisa tells him that Delaney has the key and MacGyver goes to get it. Travers calls out to Delaney to bring the girl and starts coming up the stairs.
MacGyver hides the unconscious man while Travers gets Lisa and takes her outside. Once they're outside, MacGyver spots an overhead magnetic crane and uses it to lift the car that Molenski is using, with Molenski in it. Lisa runs outside as Eric pulls up. Travers fires a shot and Eric offers the money. As MacGyver arrives, Eric begs with Travers to release Lisa. Travers refuses and MacGyver insists that killing all of them won't change anything. Travers insists the $5 million will go to the unemployed workers but MacGyver insists that if he gives up, there's a chance the plant can be reopened. Travers doesn't believe Eric but MacGyver insists that he's going to have to trust Eric the same way that they'll have to trust him. Travers releases Lisa and gives the gun over to MacGyver.
As the police take Travers and the others away, Eric admits that he lied to Travers and has no intention of opening the plant. Lisa calls him on it and Eric reluctantly promises that he'll do what it takes to get the steel mill opened.