Episode: 012

Production No.: 40191-011

Airdate: 22 January 1986

Opening Gambit Writer: Jerry Ludwig

Opening Gambit Director: Cliff Bole

Writer: Stephen Kandel

Director: Alexander Singer

Nielsen Ratings: 15.9 rating / 23 share / 2nd (34th overall)



MacGyver is sent to East Berlin to retrieve microfilm evidence for the DXS and hides in a coffin being delivered across a bridge checkpoint to make his escape by turning his coffin into a jet-ski.



After returning from his East Berlin mission, MacGyver is unexpectedly picked up by government employee Karen Blake and whisked away to a secret DXS “Safe House” where he finds his friend Pete Thornton waiting for him with Crypt-analyst expert, Mrs. Chung ready to start decoding the microfilm from Berlin. Pete explains that they are meeting in the unused safe house because there’s a security leak in the DXS. They quickly find, however, that the house has been booby-trapped by an old enemy of MacGyver’s named Quayle, who has his heart set on revenge.



Richard Dean AndersonMacGyver
Dana Elcar Pete Thornton
Wendy SchaalKaren Blake
Christopher Neame Quayle
Beulah QuoMrs. Chung
Erik Holland… Man #1
Tom Maier… Man #3
Karl Held (as Carl Held) … Man #2 (as Carl Held)
Frank Holms… The German



Turned a casket into a jet ski.

Used his SAK to test the
door for electrification

Put suit of armor out through
door to see how the door was

Used metal bowl & electric
juicer along with other kitchen
appliances as electronic jammers.

Removed pins from door hinges
so the door would fall outwards
and could be used as a ramp
for the motorized trolley

Used batteries taped together as
a power-pack for a motorized cart.

Used a rubber band and electric
mixer powered by batteries
to “motorize” a cart.

Attached amour helmet and
shoulders to the top of the
motorized cart as a decoy
for motion detecting guns.

Used motorized decoy to draw
the fire of motion sensing guns
away from himself.

Used vinegar & baking soda to
make a smokescreen.

Piled up scrap metal in the
middle of the corridor as an
early warning for when Quayle
is coming.

Wired the fuse box to overload the
main power switch.

Used all the scrap metal in the
basement to create a path to
the fuse box.

Used mirror as a “periscope”

Used high-pressure water outlet
as a water cannon to push
Quayle against overloaded fuse
box to electrocute him.




  • The opening gambit includes clips from the 1966 film”Funeral in Berlin” starring Michael Caine.
  • Pete mentions in his explanation of how he and MacGyver first met, that MacGyver saved him from quicksand in the “Wadi Nafud” desert. We assume that he was referring to the An-Nafud desert area in Saudi Arabia. Wadi is the Arabic word meaning dry river bed.
  • Pete’s explanation of how he and MacGyver first met is contradicted in the episode Partners when a whole new story is revealed which involves Murdoc.
  • At the start of this episode, we see Quayle standing before 3 nameless men who appear to be his boss. We see these 3 men again in later episodes, which leads to the question of – Are these 3 men the forerunners of what will later become HIT? Or are they in fact HIT?
  • Pete Thornton is a Colonel, which suggests that the DXS is a military agency.
  • In the scene showing people exiting the helicopter at the beginning of the episode, the helicopter can be seen shaking uncontrollably as it experiences ‘Ground resonance‘ forcing the pilot to lift off immediately to avoid crashing the chopper.
  • The scene where MacGyver is picked up by Karen was shot in two completely different locations and edited together. We see him walk out of the Cavitt-Tinglof Tower but then they drive out onto Sunset Boulevard which is 6.5 miles away.
  • The 3 actors (Erik Holland, Karl Held and Tom Maier) playing Quayle’s bosses reprise their roles in the season 2 episode Silent World.



  • There are some places in this world that are a lot easier to get into than out of. Like East Berlin, for instance. I mean look at me… I’m dying to leave. – MacGyver
  • I guess this makes me about the first guy who ever attended his own funeral and lived to tell about it. – MacGyver
  • The first time I met this fellow, he pulled me out of the quicksand in the Wadu Naboot – deep desert. Then he put me on a camel and gave it this gigantic swat. – Pete
  • Congratulations yourself. I heard: Deputy Chief of the Department. Big deal. – MacGyver
    You can call me “Sir.” – Pete
  • He used the name, Quayle. Sold the British out to the Russians. Double-crossed the Russians for the Ayatollah. – MacGyver
    Ah, those dear, fun days… – Quayle
  • Always had to say how great you were, didn’t you, Quayle? Afraid maybe people wouldn’t notice. – MacGyver
    You’ll be the last one to die. – MacGyver
    That’s what I figure, too . . . of old age, hopefully – MacGyver
  • Stay low, move fast, think smart… – MacGyver
    …and if you go… – MacGyver and Pete together
    …take company along. – Pete
  • When I was a kid, I use to build model airplanes with rubber band motors. Then I discovered batteries – it sure did increase the mileage. – MacGyver
  • Ah, yes, that’s the handyman side of MacGyver; he likes to make clever little things out of odd bits. – Quayle
  • So, how’s the General? – MacGyver
    Generally good, except he’s a Colonel. – Karen
  • I’m a geometric rarity my dear. There’s only one side, myself. – Quayle



  • When MacGyver pulls the suit of armor back in after it gets shot by the machine gun outside there are no bullet holes in it.
  • The automatic sentry guns Quayle uses are ordinary MP5s with ordinary 30 or 50-round magazines mounted on some sort of automatic aiming mechanism. This means the guns should have run out of ammunition fairly quickly instead of having a seemingly endless supply of bullets.
  • When Quayle is flipping through the security cameras he looks at the room where Mrs. Chong and Pete are. Pete disappears then reappears when he flips back to the room again.



Cavitt-Tinglof Tower
Westin Bonaventure Hotel
404 S Figueroa St,
Los Angeles, CA
DXS Safehouse
Greystone Mansion
905 Loma Vista Dr,
Beverly Hills, CA


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