MacGyver meets with a Chinese student, Tan Ye, who informs him the shipment is in a nearby warehouse. Another man watches them from the shadows and makes a report to Chung Tai Shan. Chung calls a henchman, Li, and tells him to go to the warehouse and deal with Tan Ye. Li is unaware that an American teenager is watching him. The teenager follows Li by motorcycle.
Tan Ye shows MacGyver crates filled with goods made by prisoners at a Chinese labor camp, Camp Zero, and then shipped to the States under false labeling. MacGyver's friend and dissident Mei Jan has sent a video tape which Tan Ye has hidden elsewhere in the warehouse. He takes MacGyver to see it, while Li and another of Chung's men, Po, pull up outside. The teenager following them parks nearby. Tan Ye gives MacGyver the tape and explains that it's magnetically encoded. They hear Li and Po come in. As they hide, Li finds the open crate and goes looking for Tan Ye. The teenager looks in and sees MacGyver and Chung's men, and starts taking photos. When he sees Li get the drop on MacGyver, the teenager throws a trash can lid at a window, distracting Li long enough for MacGyver to knock him down. Po arrives and Tan Ye knocks him out, but Li recovers and shoots Tan Ye. MacGyver is forced to leave him but Li corners him. The teenager rides in and knocks Li down, then tells MacGyver to get on. The teenager rides out a warehouse window. Li and Po try to drive after him but discover their car has been sabotaged.
The teenager drives MacGyver to Mei Jan's dissident hideout and introduces himself as Sam. Sam explains he's a stringer as Mei Jan comes out. MacGyver tells her that Tan Ye died and gives her the tape. She thanks Sam for her help and invites them inside. As MacGyver goes inside, Sam looks at a locket.
Li tells Chung that he has a phone number taken from Tan Ye's body.
Mei Jan explains about the prisoners and how import companies route the shipments through Hong Kong. MacGyver decodes the tapes and recognizes several of the prisoners as students from Tianammen Square. Sam explains that he was hoping to find Chung, an Asian tycoon who was formerly Colonel Chung in the Red Chinese Army ten years ago. Chung killed Sam's mother, a photojournalist covering the democratic movement in China. When Chung came for her, his mother hid Sam and he was forced to watch as Chung gunned his mother down. MacGyver admits he knew a friend who died the same way. Sam identifies his mother as Kate Malloy, and MacGyver realizes it's the same woman. Sam shows him his locket, a gift from his mother, which contains a photo of his father: MacGyver.
The next day, MacGyver, Mei Jan, and Sam travel to the docks where Pete is working with the police and discovered all evidence has been removed from the warehouse. Sam tells a surprised Pete that he's MacGyver's relative, and MacGyver explains that Sam is his son. They examine where the crates were and find a dead beetle. MacGyver and Sam realize they can have a forensic entomologist determine where the beetle is from. Sam clearly knows a great deal of science, but MacGyver admits to Pete that he's not sure if he's ready to be a father. Pete tells him no one is ever ready but MacGyver's good at adapting. Later, Sam explains that he hiked out of Red China, made it to the States, and his mother's relatives took care of him. All he had to find MacGyver was the photo and he never learned his father's name. Kate explained to Sam that MacGyver traveled around the world helping people, and she'd introduce them when Sam was older.
Chung transmits Li's report to Beijing and confirms that MacGyver works with the Phoenix Foundation and is friends with Mei Jan. They fear she will use the tape to destroy trade talks with the U.S. Chung calls the number Li found on Tan Ye and gets a fax machine that's part of the student underground. He figures it'll be easy to trace.
MacGyver and Sam eat and Sam explains that his real name is Sean A. Malloy and "Sam" is his nickname. When MacGyver finds out that Sam's middle name is "Angus," he can sympathize. Pete calls to tell them that they've identified the beetle as a wood borer native to the Hu Nan Province. The spectrograph test on the parts confirm they were made in China. Pete believes they have enough to go to the State Department, but they have little on Chung. When Pete tells them Chung's address, Sam slips out before MacGyver notices. MacGyver goes downstairs to stop him and discovers that Sam has a gun and is preparing to shoot Chung for killing his mother. MacGyver convinces him that they have to be better, and a gun isn't the answer. Sam gives him the gun and admits as father-son lectures go, it wasn't bad.
As they collect Mei Jan to take her to the State Department, Li and Po ambush them and carry Mei Jan away while shooting up MacGyver's jeep. They go the dock where Chung's ship is moored, and lock her in a hold with Tan Ye's corpse. Chung tells them they'll set sail in a half-hour and dump the goods... along with Mei Jan.
Sam and MacGyver meet with Pete, who has learned that Chung's ship is sailing that day. MacGyver prepares to go and Sam insists on going over his objections. MacGyver gives in and they ride to Chung's boat. They slip on to a pallet of crates as it's lifted onto the ship. They leap clear before it's loaded into the hold then slip by the crane operator. They spot Li guarding a door and MacGyver tells Sam to wait. He gets behind Li but needs a distraction. Sam starts snapping pictures and the noise distracts Li long enough for MacGyver to get the drop on him. As Sam hides the unconscious man, he considers Li's gun then looks up and sees Chung. As he remembers his mother dying, he takes the gun. MacGyver gets Mei Jan free and she directs them to the labor camp crates in the main hold. Sam slips away to go after Chung, but Po spots him. MacGyver sees Po drawing a bead and yells, drawing his fire. MacGyver is shot and falls into the hold, crashing onto a crate. Sam drops the gun and he and Mei Jan are quickly captured.
Sam is locked in the hold and makes an improvised splint for his father's broken arm. Chung has taken Mei Jan to the bridge. Sam admits he was stupid and MacGyver tells him to look at all the options. However, there's only one way out: straight up. On the bridge, Chung boasts to Mei Jan that she accomplished nothing and the trade talks will continue as planned. He destroys the tape and suggests she'll be sent to Camp Zero.
With time running out, Sam wishfully suggests they should sprout wings and MacGyver gets an idea. He finds a high-pressure water washer and hooks it up to sprayers, rigs it onto their backs, and uses the pressure to propel themselves out of the hold. Sam finds a flare gun and MacGyver takes the shells as they head for the bridge to rescue Mei Jan. Using his father's Swiss Army knife, Sam cuts the top off of a shell and MacGyver drops it down a tube leading to the bridge. He ignites it and the fumes drive out Chung's men. MacGyver and Sam take them out while Mei Jan grabs a gun. Chung draws on MacGyver and Sam but Mei Jan comes up behind her and tells him to surrender. She prepares to kill him as revenge for Tan Ye but Sam echoes MacGyver's words earlier and convinces her not to kill Chung. MacGyver says that Sam's mother would be proud of him.
Later, Pete arrives to find MacGyver and Sam packed for a trip and ready to leave on their motorcycles. Pete has a new contract for MacGyver, but MacGyver says he and his son have some catching up to do. Pete and MacGyver make their farewells and Sam promises to take care of his father. MacGyver and Sam ride off.