Pete Thornton

MacGyver’s boss and good friend, Peter (Pete) Thornton is an ex-military Colonel who served in Vietnam before moving over to the Department of eXternal Services (DXS) where he spent time running the DXS office in Toulon, France before being promoted to Deputy Chief and then again shortly after to Executive Director. Several months later Pete took up the role of Director of Field Operations at the privately funded Phoenix Foundation.

Pete’s devotion to his work has cost him his marriage and has driven a wedge between him and his only child Michael, who has always resented that Pete was never around when he was growing up. Pete tried to make amends for this by letting Michael work alongside him at the Phoenix Foundation. Unfortunately, Michael’s overwhelming resentment tempted him to betray Pete by stealing top-secret information for a crime ring. After getting caught red-handed by both Pete and MacGyver, Michael was forced to expose the rest of the co-conspirators. To this day, Pete and Michael are still trying to reconcile their differences.

Pete has a love for the game of golf, even though he doesn’t get much time to play it due to his workaholic nature. Over the years MacGyver has also been able to introduce Pete to the therapeutic qualities of fishing and “getting away from it all”.

There are two different versions of how he and MacGyver first met up, but both stories occurred while Pete was working for the DXS. The first story involves MacGyver saving Pete from quick-sand in the Nafud desert and then riding out on a camel for 6 days. The second story takes place while Pete was tracking the international assassin, Murdoc, and MacGyver was driving Jack Dalton’s taxi while Jack was laid up with both legs broken. It was after MacGyver saved Pete from Murdocs bazooka trap, that he convinced MacGyver to work part-time for the DXS. Seven years later, Pete took the position of Director of Operations at the Phoenix Foundation.

In the sixth season of the show, Pete began to show symptoms of glaucoma, a degenerative condition of the eyes that causes the victim to lose his sight. Despite an operation to try and save his eyesight, he was legally blind in the seventh season, although he was still able to read printed text with the help of special computer equipment.


All 7 seasons
Phoenix Foundation
Dana Elcar

December 18, 1933


Connie Thornton (divorced)

Michael Thornton


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