MacGyver Characters

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Main Characters

Recurring / Important Characters

Main Characters


Played by Richard Dean Anderson. MacGyver was born in Mission City, Minnesota and later moved to California after graduating from Western Tech. Later he met Department of External Services (DXS) agent Pete Thornton. Thornton was impressed with MacGyver's ingenuity, and the two became good friends. MacGyver went to work at the Phoenix Foundation when Pete was appointed Director of Operations. The first several seasons of MacGyver hinted that he spent some time in an elite military unit, perhaps being a Navy SEAL. However, his aversion to guns puts that in question.

MacGyver's resourcefulness and ingenuity have saved he and his friends countless times. Refusing to carry a gun after a childhood experience seeing his friend die, he carries a Swiss Army knife and often a roll of duct tape. Using whatever's available from household cleaners, to gum wrappers, to odds and end junk lying about MacGyver devised many plans - from simple to elaborate - to defeat his adversaries during the seven seasons. MacGyver lost his parents and grandmother tragically, so shies away from romance, but he remains an optimist doing his part to better the world. Incidentally his first name, Angus, was unknown until nearly the end of the show's run in episodes 132 and 133.

Pete Thornton

Played by Dana Elcar. Pete was MacGyver's friend and later his boss. He met MacGyver during a DXS assignment to track the international assassin Murdoc. Seven years later, after becoming Director of Operations at the Phoenix Foundation he talked MacGyver into joining him. Pete has one son, Michael, from a previous marriage. During the sixth season Pete's real life glaucoma was revealed on the show and he was legally blind by the end of the series.

Jack Dalton

Played by Bruce McGill. A childhood friend, who was put up for adoption, Jack tended to show up unannounced and usually had some scheme in the works. Typically when he showed up MacGyver got roped into helping him out of a jam, since trouble was sure to follow. He followed MacGyver to California and set up a private airline, Fly-By-Night. Eventually it became Jack-Be-Quick Messenger Service and finally Dalton Air.

Penny Parker

Played by Teri Hatcher. An aspiring singer and actress, stereotypical blond lacking common sense. Penny met MacGyver at a Bulgarian airport soon getting him detained by police. She later appeared in Los Angeles, having 'borrowed' MacGyver's apartment while she working as a singing telegram. She enlisted MacGyver's help in a few exploits.


Played by Michael Des Barres. An international assassin and MacGyver's arch nemesis. Murdoc describes his work as, "quick, neat, and untraceable." A master of disguise MacGyver is the only loose end Murdoc ever left - though he made numerous unsuccessful attempts.

Murdoc was thought dead, crushed under a collapsed building, after his first attempt on Pete and MacGyver in 1980. He resurfaced 7 years later and made a second attempt on MacGyver's life, but was apparently blown up after a mistake with explosives. However, about a year later he surprised a grieving MacGyver and Nikki Carpenter - again he took a 'fatal' dive off a mountain. Murdoc's next attempt was more elaborate staging a musical, Cleo Rocks, and using Penny Parker as a pawn, he posed as director Jacques La Rue. But once again MacGyver out-smarted him and Murdoc plunged into a fiery pool but his body was never recovered. When his sister, Ashton Cooke, was captured by ex-employer HIT (Homicide International Trust) Murdoc put aside his vendetta against MacGyver and shockingly asked for his help - knowing MacGyver was the only one who could help. Murdoc faked his death after the rescue and resumed his vendetta against MacGyver plummeting down a mine shaft after another failed attempt. In Murdoc's final series appearance he drove a Jeep of a cliff after missing MacGyver.

Despite his 'occupation' Murdoc possessed a twisted sense of honor not that unlike MacGyver. Photography was a hobby - to assure his employers of a successful hit, he sends them a picture of the moment of the victim's death. Murdoc showed his musical talents when he composed the score for "Cleo Rocks," actually falling in love with Penny Parker as he worked with her. He secretly supported his sister to protect her.

Recurring / Important Characters

Harry Jackson

Played by John Anderson (passed away in 1992). MacGyver's grandfather who became his father-figure after Mac's father and grandmother were killed in a car accident. Harry taught young MacGyver about life and the value of fair play. However, he left the MacGyver household without saying goodbye, sixteen years later he and MacGyver reconciled. Harry stopped by for special occasions. Harry shared a final adventure with his grandson before succumbing to complications from a heart attack (Episode 104: Passages).

Sean A. 'SAM' Malloy

Played by Dalton James. Appeared in the season finale, 'The Stringer,' as MacGyver and Kate Malloy's son - unknown to MacGyver. Kate was a photo-journalist MacGyver was involved with after college. When Kate was murdered by Chinese soldiers under the command of General Chan, SAM vowed revenge. His chance for revenge came when he and his father confronted Chan, but MacGyver talked SAM out of killing Chan. SAM and MacGyver set off on a motorcycle journey at the end of finale season.

Nikki Carpenter

Played by Elyssa Davalos. In the third season of MacGyver she joined the Phoenix Foundation and met MacGyver while She's afraid of committing to anyone since her husband was killed by a mafia hit meant for her.

Dexter Fillmore

MacGyver's favorite alias. He took on the persona of a computer-geek to complete several missions.

Michelle "Mike" Forester

Played by Patricia McPherson / Lisa Bayliss. She was a botanist who attended college with MacGyver and Jack Dalton. Jack and MacGyver rescued her from a ruthless drug dealer in Central America. She was later killed while they climbed a mountain when her climbing equipment failed. MacGyver mistakenly blamed himself since he told her he wasn't ready for commitment. Murdoc was behind the accident and failed at taking out MacGyver.

The Coltons - Frank, Jesse, Billy, and Mama

Played by Cleavon Little, Richard Lawson, Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Della Reese. The Colton brothers bounty-hunting business was headed by Mama. The Coltons made several appearances, both together and separate. A spinoff from MacGyver starring these bounty hunters lived a short life.

Mama Lorraine

Played by Kimberly Scott. A neighbor during MacGyver's seventh season who practices voodoo and quickly developed a friendship with MacGyver.

Wilt Bozer

Robin Mossley played MacGyver's neighbor at the marina.

Lt. Kate Murphy

Kim Zimmer played head of the Los Angeles police narcotics squad. She was instrumental bringing down serial killer Dr. Zito.

Dr. Zito

W. Morgan Sheppard played a memorable villain. He was cast as a serial killer who Kate Murphy put behind bars. He planned his revenge from the state mental hospital in Alameda, enlisting the help of fellow prisoner Eric Cross. MacGyver foiled two attempts on he and Murphy's lives.


Played by Kristian Alfonso (Hope on NBC's DOL). Kristian was cast in the villainous role as 'The Negotiator'. She was hired to influence and later kill MacGyver, but failed at both when MacGyver realized her true intentions. Two years later, after a reduced sentence, Deborah made sought revenge but fell to her death after MacGyver out-witted her.

The Von Leer Brothers - Erich and Nicolas

Christopher Neame and Kai Wulff played two wealthy treasure-hunting brothers. Erich used MacGyver and Zoe Ryan in a plot to recover the Holy Grail meeting his death instead. Nicolas met his demise in the search for the Eye of Osiris while seeking revenge on MacGyver.

Michael Thornton

T. Scott Coffey/Hank Stratton played Pete Thornton's son. Pete rescued Michael and Connie (Pete's ex-wife) when they were kidnapped by an ex-DXS agent seeking revenge on Pete. Michael was later involved in a plot to steal top-secret material from the Phoenix Foundation. He cooperated with authorities after being caught.

Connie Thornton

Penelope Windust/Linda Darlow played Pete Thornton's ex-wife. She divorced Pete since he was more devoted to his work than her. Connie returned to help Pete through his eye operation.

Maria Romburg

Brigitte Sternberg was cast as a prospective love interest for MacGyver. Maria reunited with her grandfather when the Berlin Wall fell, she later joined the Phoenix Foundation and became romantically involved with MacGyver. The relationship ended when she left for Brazil on assignment. She may have left due to fans who wanted MacGyver to remain single and uncommitted.

Mei Jan

Michele B. Chan was cast as a member of the Chinese student movement. Arriving in the stated as Sue Ling, MacGyver's 'foster daughter',it was later revealed the real Sue Ling was dead. MacGyver helped her to complete her mission in the U.S.

Earl Dent

Dick Butkus plays an ex-convict gone straight. Dent has tried to support his daughter, Veronica, with winnings from prize-fights.

Mike Kiley

Played by Jackson Davies. Often helped MacGyver deal with the police.

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