Russell “Russ” Taylor (Henry Ian Cusick) is a wealthy ex-MI6 agent who used his training and skillset as a mercenary for hire; undertaking various “shady” military operations around the world for whoever paid the highest price – a venture which gained him a reputation as a profiteering con-artist.
Russ has Pareidolia, a hyper pattern recognition disorder that he uses to his advantage. He is able to absorb data and see connections and patterns where others don’t.
After the events in the Season 3 Finale Episode 3×22 (Mason + Cable + Choices), the Phoenix Foundation was disbanded and the team members were stripped of their high-level clearances. In Episode 4×01 (Fire + Ashes + Legacy = Phoenix), Russ approaches Angus MacGyver (Lucas Till) and convinces him to get “Team Phoenix” back together. As it turns out by the end of the episode, Russ already bought the former Phoenix Foundation. During the first few episodes, they encounter an organization called “Codex”.
Trying to save money, Russ puts robot Sparky up on Ebay to sell him to the highest bidder, but is later seen using him as a sounding board and psychotherapist.
In Episode 4×06 (Right + Wrong + Both + Neither), Russ learns that his ex-girlfriend Emilia West (Amanda Schull) was kidnapped by rebels. Team Phoenix joins Russ to get her back. As it turns out, Russ had once proposed to her, but she turned him down. It had been Emilia who influenced Russ to become a better person, giving up his life as a private military contractor with the intention of making a lot of money.
In Episode 4×12 (Loyalty + Family + Rogue + Hellfire), MacGyver pretends that he defected and joined Codex, going undercover without telling anyone. Russ is disappointed; thinking that MacGyver has gone rogue for real because he can’t “read” him anymore due to his unpredictable behavior.
In the Season 4 Finale (4×13: Save + The + Dam + World), head of Codex Leland (Tobin Bell) questions MacGyver and reveals to him that he once tried to recruit Russ Taylor. Leland is impressed by MacGyver, but later realizes that he’s still loyal to Phoenix and tries to get him killed.
In Episode 5×03 (Eclipse + USMC-1856707 + Step Potential + Chain Lock + Ma), Leland orders Codex head of security Roman (Zach McGowan) to kidnapp Russ; demanding a mercenary named Eric Andrews (Joe Pantoliano) in exchange. Off-camera, Leland gets Russ to reveal the location of a scepter with important information about Codex by threatening to kill Emilia.
Reboot Season 4
Hyper Pattern Recognition
Henry Ian Cusick