The Escape

Episode:  020

Production No.: 40191-020

Airdate: 16 April 1986

Writers: Fred McKnight & Stephen Kandel

Director: Don Chaffey

Nielsen Ratings:  15.7 rating / 25 share / 1st (21st overall)



MacGyver’s elaborate plot to spring a missionary from a North African jail works perfectly… until MacGyver discovers that nothing is as it seems.



Richard Dean AndersonMacGyver
Kristina Wayborn … Sara Ashford
Paul Verdier … Francois Villars
John de Lancie … Brian Ashford
Miguel Fernandes … Khan
Vic Polizos … Commandant
Mike Moroff … Fuad
Jeanne Hepple … Ann
Gary Krakower … Warder
Eric Fleeks … First Officer



Used olive oil, news paper, cotton wool and soccer ball to make a paper-mâché hot air balloon.

Used a small knife as a screwdriver.

Attached a spatula to a ceiling fan and used a tape recorder to record the “helicopter” sound.

Used electrical wires from refrigerator, metal tub with PCP mixture in it and a large ice block to create a time delayed explosion.

Put a packet of PCP in jacket pocket and poured more PCP on the outside flap so it could be lit to make a wearable bomb.

Used gun powder from some hand-grenades to make a “fuse” leading to the rest of the grenades under a truck full of weapons.


  • This episode was the first time Richard Dean Anderson and John De Lancie had met. They went on to be good friends and worked together on ‘Legend’ and ‘Stargate: SG-1’ TV series.
  • Kristina Wayborn was the ‘Bond Girl’ beside Roger Moore’s James Bond in Octopussy. She shares this distinction with Teri Hatcher, who was a bond girl in Tomorrow Never Dies with Pierce Brosnan.
  • The prison MacGyver breaks out of is called ‘Harosh Prison’.
  • This episode is the first time we MacGyver specifically tells someone to call him “Mac”.



  • Let me tell you something comrade I’ve never hit a woman before, but you came darn close. ~MacGyver
  • Brother Brian wasn’t giving away any bargains. Some of this stuff probably dates from the Boer War. ~MacGyver
  • Fuad, you are one miserable son of a diseased camel. ~MacGyver
  • He gives that same speech to every foreigner that comes in here. It’s only 80% true. ~Francois Villars
  • Only three sorts of American end up here. Drug dealers, soldiers of fortune or madmen. I want to know which. So I can use him or get ride of him.  ~Khan
  • The can only lock me up, not my mind.  ~MacGyver
  • You can look, but you can’t touch. The little hint of blue which prisoners call – the sky.  ~Francois Villars
  • Listen, I hope your taking this personally.  ~MacGyver
  • You’re a sweetheart Brian. Thanks.  ~MacGyver



  • The Montgolfier brothers MacGyver refers to as the first men to fly over Paris actually only made the balloon. The pilots of said balloon were in fact Jean-François Pilatre de Rozier and François Laurent.
  • When Mac fixes Khan’s stereo, he opens up the chassis and starts adjusting capacitors. But to fix the phase on a stereo, all you need to do is swap the wires between positive and negative on one of the speaker.
  • When MacGyver finds Brian’s car he reaches in the window to take the keys. When Sara comes back for the car the windows are up.


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