Season 4 of MacGyver will have a new co-lead played by Henry Ian Cusick.
As announced today by Deadline Cusick is set to play a character called Russ. A handsome and quick-witted Oxford-educated ex-military who is a master manipulator and salesman — skilled in propaganda and lie detection with an extremely high emotional intelligence. They go on to describe him as “a very wealthy man who’s used to getting his way and not beyond enjoying the spoils of war: expensive suits, fast cars, private jets, a house in Monte Carlo.”
There is speculation that because Cusick is the same age as original co-lead George Eads and the characters both share a military background, he may be Eads’ replacement on the show. It’s also interesting to note that Cusick’s character shares similar skillsets to that of the dropped Cage character from season 2, perhaps in the hopes of following through with some unused ideas developed for Cage before her exit 12 episodes after her first appearance.
This news opens up some interesting questions and possibilities for new dynamics within the team. But the glaring question is what happens to Desi if MacGyver has a new partner watching his back? Desi was Jack Dalton’s hand-picked replacement with the specific assignment of protecting MacGyver in Jacks absence, which she won’t be able to do if he’s off on assignments with Russ, or maybe won’t need to if he has similar military skillsets as Jack and Desi. Actor Levy Tran was recently promoted to full-time co-star on the show after joining midway through season 3 in a guest role, but now with this news, we have to wonder if she’s heading for the same fate as other female co-characters such as Nikki, Thornton, Cage, Andi Lee, Nasha, Jill and Leanne who, with the exception of Thornton and Jill (who both left in dramatic fashion) were all quietly dropped out of the show with little to no explanation, never to be seen or mentioned again.
We’re picking that, despite the promise of “big changes’, things are going to be pretty similar to previous seasons. There will be 5 main characters. Two male leads (Mac and a Military “bodyguard” BFF). Possibly 1 girlfriend again, this time MacGyver’s if the romance between Desi and Mac flourishes – previously it was Bozer and Leanne. We may well see the team split into A and B storylines again – our personal preference is that this doesn’t happen as we think the episodes with one plot with everyone working on the same mission are much better. It will, of course, mean we now have 2 new characters which will need development. This could actually work in favor of the show if they can use missions to explore the character in the same way they did with Matty and her husband, with missions being generated out of the characters past. This approach means we get to learn about the character without the detraction of having the team split or characters missing for episodes.
How ever they decide to handle this they will have to do it fast with the midseason start meaning they only get around 13 episodes this season. Despite what some commentators have said the late start doesn’t give them any more time to work on the show as they start filming next month so they will have the characters and first storylines already fleshed out for the first few episodes already.
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