MacGyver, or “Mac,” as his friends call him, is a master of improvisation. Using his vast scientific knowledge and unique ability to see items as individual components he can use ordinary objects to get himself and his companions out of trouble. All he carries with him is a Swiss Army knife and, occasionally, a roll of duct tape and some odds and ends having forsaken guns (and firearms in general) after a traumatic childhood incident, and tries to avoid violence as much as he can.
Raised in Mission City, Minnesota, MacGyver joined the Special Forces Bomb Disposal team in Vietnam after graduating from high school. After finishing his tour of duty, MacGyver completed his education at Western Tech University with a science degree before setting off to “see the world”.
He spent several years working odd jobs including “Hell fighting” oil-well fires, race-car driving and working at a youth center before meeting Department of External Services (DXS) agent Pete Thornton. Thornton was impressed with MacGyver’s ingenuity and asked MacGyver to work with him at the DXS and later the Phoenix Foundation. Over the years, their friendship became very strong, with Pete taking on a father-like role to MacGyver.
In his spare time MacGyver can most probably be found at the local skating rink, indulging his passion for ice hockey. Although his childhood dreams of playing professional hockey were shattered in a hockey accident when he was in his teams, he still enjoys playing as much and often as he can. His other hobbies include painting, playing guitar and collecting classic western movies. He also spends time volunteering at the Challengers Club, a local youth center.
One of MacGyver’s more unusual traits is his fear of romantic commitment. This fear, which has stifled many a relationship, stems from his previous experiences of people close and dear to him being killed or dying, such as his father and grandmother being killed in a car accident when he was twelve years old; his mother dying of complications from a stroke while he was on assignment overseas, his fiancée being shot and presumed dead while helping him on assignment. He worries that whoever he becomes close to will die, just like his parents and grandmother did.
Despite his misgivings about commitment, MacGyver remains the eternal optimist believing that everyone can change for the better if given the chance.
In the 2012 comic book series MacGyver’s education history was altered to show that he studied at CalTech instead of Western Tech university.
The comic book also deliberately moved away from Richard Dean Anderson’s likeness in order to begin the process of moving the character forward and be able to use new actors in the role.
In 2016 CBS rebooted MacGyver with Lucas Till playing a younger lead character.
This rebooted MacGyver had a number of alterations to his history; notably that his father had left him when he was young and is still alive running rather than being killed as the original was. It was revealed at the end of season 2 that James MacGYver was the mysterious head of Phoenix Foundation known as ‘Oversight’.
Some other changes include having met Jack Dalton while he was in the Army Bomb Disposal team and living with Wilt Bozer as his room mate.
Most fans agree that this rebooted MacGyver is played as a completely different persona and seems much more cocky than the original. He also doesn’t seem to have the relationship hangups of the original.
March 23, 1952
Mission City, Minnesota
Ellen Jackson (maiden name)
FATHER: James MacGyver
Cecilia and Harry Jackson
Slip 22, Kigway 1*
Santa Luisa, California 90291
American Sign Language (ASL)
a little Mandarin
* This address is still in the process of being confirmed. See here for more details