Little is known about the international assassin Murdoc. He is, and has been, the best in his line of work; his methods are, in his own words, “quick, neat, untraceable.” His mastery of makeup and costuming have made him difficult to identify, as Pete Thornton described him, “he’s half chameleon and half rattlesnake” who never leaves loose ends – except, of course, in the case of MacGyver and his friends.
Murdoc had been known to the DXS for about five years prior to 1980, when he attempted to kill Peter Thornton and MacGyver. This 1980 encounter resulted in Murdoc’s apparent death in a collapsing building. He did not return until seven years later when he nearly succeeded in blowing Mac and Pete up. Murdoc “died” in this confrontation, too, after being careless with dynamite. But somehow, he escaped the explosion, and he reappeared about a year later, to the surprise of a grieving MacGyver and Nikki Carpenter; again, he took a “fatal” dive off the mountain known as the Widowmaker after cutting his own climbing rope. The next time he tried to kill MacGyver, he staged an elaborate musical, “Cleo Rocks,” using MacGyver’s friend Penny Parker as a pawn. Posing as crippled director Jacques La Rue, he came very close to realizing his goal – only to be defeated, once again, by MacGyver’s ingenuity. For his “death” this time, he plunged into a fiery pool after being electrocuted. Murdoc laid to rest his vendetta, albeit temporarily, against MacGyver when he realized that MacGyver was the only one who could help him rescue his sister, Ashton Cooke, from his vengeful ex-employer at HIT, Homicide International Trust. This spirit of cooperation between the two, however, did not last; after another of Murdoc’s “deaths,” he and MacGyver resumed their deadly game of cat-and-mouse…with Murdoc, yet again, plummeting into a flooded mine shaft. Murdoc’s final regular-series appearance was as the right-hand man of a deposed Central American dictator who intended to regain power; Murdoc made his exit by driving a Jeep off of a cliff after a failed attempt to run MacGyver down.
Despite his nasty homicidal tendencies and twisted sense of honor, there are facets of Murdoc’s personality that are quite likable. The assassin is a photography buff; to assure his employers of a successful hit, he sends them a picture of the moment of the victim’s death. He showed his talent for musical composition when he wrote the score for “Cleo Rocks,” and he even fell in love with Penny Parker as he worked with her on the production. He secretly supported his sister, Ashton, without revealing to her his identity. If he hadn’t become a hired killer, he probably would have chosen a career as a photographer or a musician.
If Murdoc survived his last encounter with MacGyver (and it’s very likely that he did), then it is certain that he will try to kill MacGyver again. MacGyver is, after all, the only blemish on Murdoc’s otherwise spotless record. He’s the one man Murdoc has failed to kill.
Michael Des Barres