MacGyver’s mother died when MacGyver was 5. James didn’t deal well with his wife’s death; becoming emotionally distant to his son due to feeling constantly angry. He eventually left with no warning when MacGyver was 10, leaving him in the care of Harry.
It was Harry that taught MacGyver to survive in the wild and to rely on his instincts. He also gave him his first Swiss Army Knife. According to a mention in Episode 2×12 (Mac + Jack), MacGyver and his roommate Wilt Bozer (Justin Hires) live in Harry’s house and the mortgage is paid off.
In the Season 2 Finale, it’s revealed that James MacGyver is Oversight and therefore not only the head of the Phoenix Foundation, but also actually MacGyver’s boss since he joined DXS. While he didn’t want to be found, he still kept tabs on MacGyver, staying in contact with Harry sporadically. Feeling betrayed, MacGyver hands in his resignation; stating that he can’t work for someone he doesn’t trust.
2×04 X-Ray + Penny
2×12 Mac + Jack
3×13 Wilderness + Training + Survival
Although there are many references, it’s never made clear if the character is still alive or not. The actor only appears in a single flashback scene.
Rebooted version of Harry Jackson (John Anderson)