Episode:  001

Production No.: 40191-001

Airdate:   29 September 1985

Director:  Jerrold Freedman  (as Alan Smithee)

Writer:    Thackary Pallo

Nielsen Ratings:  10.9 rating / 17 share / 3rd (54th overall)



MacGyver is sent to retrieve the firing mechanism of a captured missile being held at the crash site of a downed US fighter plane in Central Asia. As he infiltrates the camp, MacGyver finds the plane’s pilot is alive and being held captive, presenting an unexpected second objective.



MacGyver is recruited as a last hope to save two Nobel candidate scientists trapped by a mysterious explosion in a top-secret underground research facility before the whole complex is flooded with sodium hydroxide to neutralize an acid leak caused by the explosion.



Richard Dean Anderson MacGyver
Darlanne Fluegel Barbara Spencer
Michael C. GwynneCharlie Burke
Paul Stewart Dr. Carl Steubens
Michael Fairman Dr. Sidney Marlowe
Shavar Ross Reggie
Dana Elcar Andy Colson
Michael Lerner Gantner

Rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Charles Bouvier… Technician #1
Lawrence Casey… Colonel Keel
Jerry DeWilde… Jerry
Michael Fairman… Gen. Relkwin
Michael Johnson Captain Jim Taylor
Charles Lanyer… Major Dennis
JoAnna Linn… Mary
Richard Partlow… Pilot
Howard Schecter… Technician #2
Larry Watson… Technician #3
Al White… Sergeant



Disarmed booby-trapped
missile with a paper clip.

Used a matchbook, string, rubber-band
and a stick to make a time-delay fuse
to fire a rifle hanging in a tree.

Squashed the end of a flare gun barrel by
hitting it with a rock to use
it as a rocket thruster.

Used laser to light cigarette.

Used Cigarette smoke to see the laser.

Used mirror from binoculars to reflect the
laser beam to ‘sting’ itself.

Raised fallen I-beam with water pressure
in a knotted fire hose.

Used wooden stick to test door heat.

Used a ripped piece of shirt as a gas mask.

Twisted power wires together on broken
air vent switch.

Used milk chocolate candy bars to
plug Sulfuric acid leak.

Made explosive with Sodium metal,
a cold capsule and some water.

Signaled “All OK” by flashing main power
controls on and off causing the lights
to flash in Morse Code.



  • The Helicopter MacGyver arrives at the lab in was one of the 2 helicopters used to make the Blue Thunder movie.
  • While walking through the ruins of the underground lab, Mac is whistling a tune called “The Streets of Laredo.”
  • This is the only episode that has MacGyver living in the observatory.
  • This is the only episode in which we see MacGyver’s “little brother” Reggie.
  • Dana Elcar appears in this episode as Andy Colson. He returns in later episodes as Pete Thornton.
  • In some of the promotional information for MacGyver, his first name was shown to be Stace, but it was cut from the pilot episode before the premier. Later, his first name is revealed in Good Knight MacGyver part 2, and is mentioned again in The Stringer.
  • Lee David Zlotoff’s original script was for a 90-minute pilot episode. This was shortened to fit into a one hour slot.
  • The director, Alan Smithee, is a cover name for a director that doesn’t want his/her name associated with the finished work.
  • Jerry Freedman decided to use the pseudonym Alan Smithee because he was unhappy with the shortened final cut of the episode and felt the whole experience had been marred with constant fighting against the production team and didn’t want to be associated with the project.
  • Mythbusters disproved the sodium metal macgyverism in this episode.
  • Mythbusters confirmed that chocolate will indeed clog a sulfuric acid leak as seen in this episode.
  • In the Italian version of this episode, the name of Andy Colson, the character played by Dana Elcar, has been changed to Pete Thornton.
  • When asked about the “MacGyver shooting a gun” scene from this episode at the 1998 William S. Paley Television Festival, both Michael Greenburg and John Rich thought it had been cut out and John Rich seemed embarrassed that it hadn’t been.



  • I do wish I’d known you had a cold before I kissed you. – MacGyver
  • I thought you had to be real normal to be somebody’s Big Brother. I mean, this ain’t a normal place to live. This is weird.  – Reggie
    People a lot taller than yourself have said the exact same thing. – MacGyver
  • That 10 hours can’t be getting any longer.  – MacGyver
  • You Colson?  – MacGyver
    That’s right; you must be the screwball.  – Andy Colson
  • Well, the bag’s not for what I take, Colson. It’s for what I find along the way.  – MacGyver
  • What are you doing?  – Gantner
    Praying my back doesn’t give out.  – MacGyver
  • Don’t tell me you know how to make a bomb out of chewing gum.  – Spencer
    Why you got some?  – MacGyver
  • That was dumb Spencer. Very, very dumb!  – MacGyver
    Yeah, it also hurts like hell.  – Spencer
  • A phenomenal shot by a short kid!  – MacGyver



    • Mac rips up his green flannel shirt to use as a gas mask, but at the end of the episode, he’s wearing it again.
    • White long sleeve shirt changes appearance a little while after Mac rips up his green shirt.
    • Why didn’t the laser burn through the mirror?
    • That fire hose would not be able to lift the weight of the beam.
    • In the first part of the opening gambit MacGyver has no bag. Then he suddenly is carrying a backpack.
    • Wouldn’t the other soldiers have noticed his bright blue hiking gaiters on his legs?
    • When MacGyver throws his knife to the pilot in the wooden cage. A guidewire is visible in the shot just before the knife lands in the branch.


MacGyver’s Observatory Home
Griffith Observatory
2800 E. Observatory Rd. Griffith Park,
Los Angeles, CA
Climbing Site
Dead Horse Point State Park
Moab Area,
Plane Crash Site
Dead Horse Point State Park
Moab Area,
Plane Crash Site
Dead Horse Point State Park
Moab Area,



1 Comment

  1. I always love to watch Mcgyver,to me Richard Dean Anderson is a great actor..the BEST of the BEST😍😍😍

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.