[[quoteright:345:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/macgyver2_7163.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:345:Mac built that missile out of some PVC pipe, potting soil, and an old sprinkler head.]]

->'''Barbara Spencer:''' Blow an opening. With what? Don't tell me you know how to make a bomb out of a stick of chewing gum?\\
'''[=MacGyver=]:''' [[RhetoricalQuestionBlunder Why, you got some?]]
-->-- Pilot episode

Adventure TV series, running from 1985 to 1992, starring Richard Dean Anderson. The title character [[DoesntLikeGuns didn't like guns]] (after a friend of his died in a revolver accident when he was a child), preferring to solve problems with his intelligence, resourcefulness and improvised gadgets. He often created some device worthy of Rube Goldberg out of whatever odds and ends were at hand, which is why MacGyvering is named after him.

In the first season, he was an agent for the "Department of External Security", after which he left in favor of a philanthropic HeroesRUs organisation called the Phoenix Foundation for Research, an organization that, if not a front for the CIA, is almost certainly on its speed-dial, where his boss was one Pete Thornton (played by Dana Elcar).

Mac would travel all over the world performing missions for good ol' Uncle Sam, retrieving spy satellite information and helping defectors from CommieLand get to the United States, but spent most of his time in California. He seems to have had several [[BusmansHoliday Busman's Holidays]] as well.

The man seems to have had a plethora of ex-girlfriends and "old friends", who would turn up every so often, usually in need of help, though more often than not they would get killed in the first few minutes of the episode. As the show went on, an increasing percentage of episodes were devoted to Mac's attempts to help an old friend out of trouble.

Among the show's cast of recurring characters were Pete Thornton (Dana Elcar), Mac's [[BenevolentBoss boss]] and friend at the Phoenix Foundation, Jack Dalton (played by veteran character actor Bruce [=McGill=]), airplane pilot, part time spy, and con artist, who was constantly embroiling Mac in backfiring get-rich-quick schemes, and Murdoc (played by British Rock Singer Michael Des Barres), an assassin for "[[FunWithAcronyms Homicide International Trust]]", reputed MasterOfDisguise, or so we're told. He had a penchant for leaving every episode by [[DisneyVillainDeath falling off of something very high]] while [[SkywardScream shouting an enraged]] "[[SayMyName [=MacGyver=]]]!" Mac's most featured love interest was the scatter-brained Penny Parker, played by Teri Hatcher before ''Series/LoisAndClark'' or ''DesperateHousewives''.

It is however, probably true that later seasons had a few too many [[VerySpecialEpisode Very Special Episodes]], an indulgence that likely led to its declining popularity.

Still, the show remains hugely memorable in the US (it was heavily referenced in the ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' as a favorite show of Marge's sisters, Patty and Selma, and is parodied in the regular ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' skit ''MacGruber'' where Richard Dean Anderson [[ParodyAssistance once made an appearance]]). It shows in prime-time in Indonesia and Ukraine. According to TVCream (which doesn't like the show), it didn't really work in the UK.

TheFilmOfTheSeries was set to be released in 2011, and then 2013, with Dino De Laurentiis as executive producer. Following the death of De Laurentiis in November 2010 it remains to be seen if the production will continue.

Not to be confused with ''Manga/{{Guyver}}'' or ''MacGruber'', an AffectionateParody. Not to be confused with [[MacGyvering the trope of the same name]], either.

TropeCodifier of MacGyvering.
----
!!This show provides examples of:

* AccidentalKidnapping: In "Hearts of Steel", kidnappers accidentally kidnap the housekeeper's daughter rather than the daughter of a business magnate because the two girls have swapped jackets.
* AdventuresInComaland: "Passages" had Mac put in a coma by assassins. He found himself on a cruise ship piloted by a guy claiming to be Anubis where he managed to talk one last time to his dead parents and just deceased grandfather before escaping.
* AllCrimesAreEqual: "Jack in the Box" combines this with the CorruptHick trope to create a plot wherein a town in the DeepSouth uses their "justice" system to recruit workers for a mine said to contain treasure.
* AllJustADream: With a touch of [[{{OrWasItADream}} '...or was it?']] in the two-part episode "Good Knight, [=MacGyver=]".
%%* AllThatGlitters
* AlliterativeName: Penny Parker, {{Lampshaded}}
* TheAmazon: In "Trumbo's World", Mac and a wildlife photographer friend must uncover the reason for the strange happenings in the Amazon rainforest. Then, in a story based on "Literature/LeiningenVersusTheAnts", Mac helps a man in the Amazon jungle defend his plantation against billions of ants.
* AmnesiaDanger: Occurs in at least three episodes, where Mac loses his memory due to being drugged, shot in the head, etc.
* AndSomeOtherStuff: When describing his solutions, Mac always leaves out some steps when dealing with anything explosive.
* AngryGuardDog: In "Good Knight, [=MacGyver=]", Morganna uses an angry guard dog (unconvincingly disguised as a demon) as part of her defences. Mac defeats it by MacGyvering up a dog whistle.
%%* AsianBabymama
* ArchEnemy: Murdoc qualifies given that he appears the most often out of all the reoccurring villains.
* {{Atlantis}}: As one might expect, Atlantis features in "Lost Treasure Of Atlantis".
* AutopsySnackTime: "The Enemy Within" has Mac present at an autopsy that has the coroner halting his duties for an eggroll.
* BackFromTheDead: Murdoc, repeatedly from season 3 onwards.
* {{Badass}}: He plays ice hockey and climbs mountains (the latter despite his ''acrophobia'') in his spare time, used to serve in the military as a bomb defuser, used to be a race car driver, regularly faces enemies who ''do'' have guns and tends to make them look like chumps, is the key to defeating pretty much every security system conceivable, and is now synonymous with the concept of getting a bunch of random trash and making it do something amazing.
** BadassBookworm: He doesn't look physically imposing, but he's more than capable of handling himself in a fight, whether through quick thinking or a punch to the face.
* BadGuysPlayPool:
** Nicholas Helman in "Halloween Knights".
** Also mooks in "The Wasteland".
* BambooTechnology: In the opening of "Legend of the Holy Rose Part 1", [=MacGyver=], with only a few hours, manages to design and build a whole working gyroplane out of bamboo, tarps, and an old cement-mixer engine.
* BananaInTheTailPipe: In "A Prisoner of Conscience", Mac stalls the car of the secret police who are tailing him by sticking a potato in the exhaust pipe.
* BananaRepublic:
** Mac found himself in quite a few of these in Latin America as well as [[{{Bulungi}} Africa]]. One particular episode had Mac being sequestered by his {{CIA}} operative friend Abe into kidnapping a South American dictator. When Abe tells Mac this is because said dictator was on CIA's payroll, only for him to double cross them, we get this priceless exchange:
-->'''Mac''': I don't believe it. First Noriega, then Iran-Contra now this! Tell me, is there ''anyone'' you guys ''haven't'' financed yet?
-->'''Abe''': ''[As if stating [[CaptainObvious the incredibly obvious]]]'' [[StrawmanPolitical The Democrats]]!
** Sambaka from "Early Retirement" seems to be this given the name of its president, but the episode also hints that it may be either {{Qurac}} or {{Bulungi}}.
* BatmanColdOpen: The "opening gambits" of some episodes, that usually don't have any relevance to the main plot.
* BavarianFireDrill: Especially when operating undercover.
* BedlamHouse: In "A Prisoner of Conscience", Mac fakes insanity so he can infiltrate a Russian mental hospital to break out a political dissident.
* BelligerentSexualTension: The writers attempted to set this up between Mac and Nikki Carpenter. However, Nikki [[ThePoochie was not popular with fans]] and she was quickly PutOnABus, never to be heard from again.
* BitterAlmonds: Used to identify a cyanide poisoning attempt on Peter Thorton, in one episode.
* BladeBrake: [=MacGyver=] once got down from a catwalk by sticking his pocket knife through his wallet (as a guard) and then that through a curtain.
* BloodyHandprint: In one episode Mac comes across a deserted ship that's been run ashore and ransacked on the inside. Within he finds a BloodyHandprint several times the size of his own, which obviously could not belong to a human.
* ABloodyMess: In "For Love or Money", Mac uses the condiments from a picnic basket (carefully mixing them to give the consistency of blood) to fake a bloody head wound so he can gain access to a hospital.
* BondVillainStupidity: It's amazing how often [=MacGyver=] finds himself in some form of death trap that always has plenty of "useless" items lying around for him to use for escape. Lampshaded in the episode "The Ten Percent Solution", where a Nazi-lady tries to use a gas chamber on the heroes while a henchman ponders, "Why not just shoot them?"
* BoozeFlamethrower: In "The Eye of Osiris", Mac throws alcohol in the face of a man holding a torch, setting the man's hat and shirt on fire.
* BottleEpisode: When Mac and Harry drop by the Phoenix Foundation to pick up some hockey tickets in "Phoenix Under Siege", they find themselves in the middle of a terrorist attack and the terrorists seal the building.
%%* BoundAndGagged: "The Hood", "Gunz N Boyz"
* BountyHunter: Mac frequently crossed paths with the Coltons, an entire family of bounty hunters. They only all appeared together in the PoorlyDisguisedPilot for an aborted SpinOff.
* TheBoxingEpisode: In "Split Decision", Earl Dent is out of money and wants go to boxing as a pro. He enlists Mac as his coach.
%%* BrainlessBeauty: Penny Parker
* BrainwashedAndCrazy: jack is made into an unwilling assassin and programmed to kill mac at an awards ceremony in [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin "Brainwashed"]]
* BreakoutVillain: Murdoc became popular enough to have one episode per season after his first appearance, one of them even had him teaming up with Mac to save someone else.
* BuffySpeak: Penny Parker tends to lapse into this whenever she shows signs of intelligence.
* BulletProofVest: In "The Coltons" we learn that both Frank and Jesse wear these: a fact that saves their lives.
* {{Bulungi}}:
** The episode featuring Kambezi was unusual in that the country was actually indicated on a map (specifically, as being in the vicinity of South Africa).
** The name Sambaka from "Early Retirement" suggests this, but a line of dialogue implies it to be {{Qurac}}. Making matters worse, there's evidence it may be a BananaRepublic.
* BurnTheWitch: In "Good Knight, [=MacGyver=]'', Sir Duncan attempts to burn Merlin at the stake after framing him for attempting to murder King Arthur.
* ButYouWereThereAndYouAndYou: The Old West dream episodes: "Serenity" and "[=MacGyver=]'s Women", and the King Arthur/Camelot episode "Good Knight, [=MacGyver=]".
* ByWallThatIsHoley: Done on purpose when Mac and the old movie guy he was with use a prop wall to take out some armed assailants, in conjunction with a fake surrender.
* CableCarActionSequence: "Cease Fire" has [=MacGyver=] dispose of a bomb on a gondola.
* TheCaper: In "The Heist", a Virgin Islands casino owner steals $60 million in diamonds. Mac and an American senator's daughter plot to steal them back from the casino's impregnable vault.
* CaptainObvious: Dear Damsel of the Week, I'm sure Mac knows what he's doing. There's no need to remind him.
* CattleBaron: Pete Thornton in "Serenity".
* ChainedHeat: [=MacGyver=] spends much of the episode "The Lost Amadeus" chained to a very eighties ManicPixieDreamGirl who also turned out to be a brilliant classical violinist.
* ChainedToARailway: In "Deadly Silents", MacGyver and an old man he is protecting are knocked out and tied to a railroad track by the villain; however, the railroad track is just a film studio prop, and the purpose is to scare the old man (who suffers from a heart condition) into having a heart attack.
* CharacterizationMarchesOn: In the pilot episode, [=MacGyver=] actually uses an assault rifle. Also, his first name was originally meant to be "Stace" according to the pilot's script.
* TheCharmer: [=MacGyver=].
%%* ChaseScene: too many to list
* ChewingTheScenery: Murdoc again. In his second episode, he smashes through a window with a ''flamethrower'' manically yelling "''time to die, [=MacGyver=]!''"
* ClipShow: "Friends", "Unfinished Business", "Hind-Sight"
* ColdWar (including episodes set in [[SovietInvasionOfAfghanistan Afghanistan]], EastGermany and Czechoslovakia)
* CommieNazis: Played straight in "The Enemy Within" which began with Mac on a mission behind the Iron Curtain narrowly escaping from East German troops dressed in World War Two era Wehrmacht uniforms.
* TheCommiesMadeMeDoIt: In "Deathlock", the girl of the week turns out to be acting as a mole for the bad guys because they have her brother hostage.
* ComplainingAboutRescuesTheyDontLike: In one episode, Mac and this other guy are saved from being "processed" on a conveyor belt by being shunted... into a container of fish. The man's response? "Oh no! Fish! I hate fish!"
* ComplexityAddiction: Karl, the bad guy in "Deadly Silents", seems to suffer from this; concocting several elaborate death traps to kill Mac and Pinky, even as his partner keeps [[StatingTheSimpleSolution urging him to just shoot them]].
* TheCon:
** In "Twice Stung", a friend of Mac's becomes suicidal after being swindled out of his life savings. Mac orchestrates a reverse scam to get the money back.
** In "Jenny's Chance", Mac organizes a gambling sting operation in order to catch the murderer of a horse trainer, a money launderer for a Cuban drug lord.
* ConveyorBeltODoom: In "The Black Corsage", Mac and Frank Colton are captured in a fish processing plant, tied up and placed on a conveyor belt that will feed them into a fish grinder.
* CoolCar: Mac's 1957 Chevy Nomad, left to him by his grandfather. Also his Jeep.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: One of the stock villain types employed by the series, Corrupt Corporate Executives appeared in multiple stories.
* CorruptHick: In "Jack in the Box", Mac and Jack Dalton are arrested in Arkansas by a corrupt sheriff who puts the convicts to work in the nearby zinc mine.
* CounterfeitCash: "Three for the Road", "Rock the Cradle"
* CourtroomEpisode: "The Spoilers" spends much time on [=MacGyver=] and the Phoenix Foundation building a case against the villains.
* CowboyEpisode: the series has two WildWest dream episodes, "[=MacGyver=]'s Women", when MacGyver dreams that he's in the Wild West and has to defend three women from outlaws , and "Serenity".
* CPRCleanPrettyReliable: In "The Enemy Within", [=MacGyver=] and a friend apply CPR to the victim of an induced heart attack, demonstrating technique that would make a first aid teacher fail them on the spot, and keeping at it only long enough to show they tried before giving up and saying "He's dead" in a suitably dramatic voice. Later in the same episode, there's also a [[MagicalDefibrillator dodgy scene involving a defibrillator]].
* CriminalAmnesiac: In an episode of ''Series/MacGyver'', the [[MonsterOfTheWeek Villain of the Week]] takes advantage of [=MacGyver's=] amnesia to convince him that Peter Thornton is actually a terrorist to be apprehended, and even supplies him with a [[EvilCostumeSwitch gun]] to do the job. Since Mac's memory has started to come back, though, and since he and Pete are [[ThePowerOfFriendship such good friends]], it doesn't take long for Pete to [[IKnowYoureInThereSomewhereFight talk him out of it]].
** In another Mac-Gets-Amnesia episode, the writers play around a bit. Since all the flashes of memory (played by clips from other episodes) he gets are of explosions or other violent acts with him in the middle, Mac almost convinces himself that's he's really a Criminal Amnesiac.
* CriminalMindGames: Mac had an escaped criminal foe who went as far as to call him with math equations that would yield a clue when solved.
* CunningLinguist: He is proficient to a greater or lesser extent in Russian, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and American Sign Language, and knows how to use International maritime signal flags and Morse code.
* CutTheSafetyRope: A character does this in "Two Times Trouble".
* DeathOfAThousandCuts: Two characters are eaten alive by ants in "Trumbo's World".
* DeathTrap: Murdoc is entirely too fond of these.
* DefectorFromCommieLand: A common plot in early seasons. Notably in an early episode when Mac smuggles ''himself'' out hidden in a casket that transforms into a jet ski.
* DestinationDefenestration: In "Phoenix Under Siege", the villain of the week happens to be a martial arts expert and makes a jump-kick at our hero in a high-rise building, but misses and ends up crashing through the window instead.
* TheDiaperChange: Happens when Mac and Jack Dalton have a baby dumped on them in "Rock the Cradle". Mac's solution to a unsatisfactory makeshift diaper is duct tape(obviously).
* DickDastardlyStopsToCheat: One episode involved a stock car race between the title character and an old rival. The rival had nitrous oxide installed in his car without his permission ("That's illegal"), but even though he was already ahead of [=MacGyver=] and would have won had he just kept the course, he decides to use the nitrous oxide he criticized anyway and ends up spinning out on the shoulder.
* DieHardOnAnX: "Phoenix Under Siege", where the headquarters of the Phoenix Foundation is taken over by criminals, trapping Mac and his grandfather (who had returned to the building to retrieve some hockey tickets) inside. And yes, the hockey tickets play a role in the ultimate resolution.
* DiplomaticImpunity: A murderer and jewel thief has diplomatic immunity as a cultural attaché. Mac and his team prove said attaché's criminality to the ambassador, who insists the attaché be returned to their home country to stand trial. The attaché pleads unsuccessfully to be allowed to face American justice instead.
* DisneyVillainDeath: Murdoc, repeatedly.
* DistressedDude: Especially in the later seasons; however, Mac usually freed himself, often with a ConvenientlyPlacedSharpThing.
* DoesntLikeGuns: Due to a childhood friend being accidentally killed by one
%%* DoomedAppointment
%%* DressingAsTheEnemy
* DuctTapeForEverything: Many of Mac's little creations involve the use of duct tape.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: In the first few episodes [=MacGyver=] charms ladies he happens to end up working with at the rate of James Bond. In the pilot episode he also is shown living in a ''very'' nice house surrounded with gardens and fences that would fit right into Beverly Hills. His living conditions were quickly downgraded as well as his intimacy with girl of the week.
%%* EasyAmnesia
* EducationMama: Ma Colton when it comes to the education of her youngest son Billy. She seems to have given up on the older two.
* EightiesHair: [=MacGyver=] himself.
* ElectrifiedBathtub: In "A Lesson in Evil", the Hannibal Lecter-esque Dr. Zito sets a trap for Mac by restraining a hapless victim ([[ThereAreNoTherapists his own therapist, who he had succeeded in convincing he was "cured"]]) in a bathtub, attaching an electric heater on top and leaving the water running.
* ElevatorFloorAnnouncement: Jack Dalton issues one of these in season two when showing Mac where he runs his business.
* EmbarrassingFirstName: Angus [=MacGyver=]
* EnemyMine: Murdoc and [=MacGyver=] work together to rescue Murdoc's sister in "Halloween Knights"
* EnhanceButton: Coupled with some superficially realistic-sounding Techno Babble: "Create a bitmap. Now increase the Z-axis while holding the X and Y axis steady." While this sounds ludicrous, it's basically the 1980's equivalent of getting a high resolution image file from a film negative ("Create a bitmap."), and using the zoom function on your computer ("Increase the Z-axis...").
* EveryCarIsAPinto: and some boats, too
* EveryoneKnowsMorse:
** In "The Widowmaker", where Murdoc is hot on his trail in an off-season backwoods cabin location, [=MacGyver=] climbs a telephone pole and uses a copper bracelet to tap SOS directly into a phone line to summon help. The owner of the general store who hears the interference is retired military, and knows Morse from his military training.
** A more unique example in "Birth Day", Everyone Knows Marine Signal Flags. Mac uses some of these he steals off a docked boat in combination with a makeshift hot-air balloon to spell out "Help". The floating message is seen by a policeman, who is also a Navy veteran.
* EvilLaugh: One of the Murdoc-centric episodes ends with [=MacGyver=] answering the phone to hear Murdoc's laughter.
* EvilPoacher: Mac clashes with evil poachers in "Eagles", "The Endangered", and "Black Rhino".
* ExactTimeToFailure: In "Nightmares", an interrogator gives [=MacGyver=] a slow-acting poison, and tells him that if he doesn't get the antidote within six hours, his death will be inevitable. There is a prominently-displayed countdown timer. [=MacGyver=] gets the antidote with two and a half minutes to spare, and makes a full recovery. That's some poison.
* ExpansionPackPast: [=MacGyver=] has a college degree in physics, comprehensive knowledge of mechanics, chemistry, and any other specialty required by a given plot, worked as a deck hand on a tramp steamer, was a bomb disposal expert for the Special Forces in Vietnam, was a professional racing car driver, played Olympic-calibre ice hockey but had a tragic accident that kept him out of the Olympics, worked as an apprentice and assistant to a noted archaeologist, trained as a pilot, worked as a backwoodsman in the Rockies, a lumberjack and a taxi driver, all before becoming a secret agent. Adding to the confusion, the first and second seasons gave two incompatible versions of his initial meeting with Pete Thornton. Furthermore, the final episode reveals he has a long-lost son.
%%* ExplosiveInstrumentation
* ExplosiveLeash: In "Lost Love" part 1, the Russians place an explosive leash around the neck of Mac's ex-girlfriend of the week, to coerce him to steal one of China's national treasures. This plot twist serves as the episode's cliffhanger, unusual since almost all of the adventures were limited to single episodes.
* ExpospeakGag: In "Last Stand", Mac is holding some piece of equipment that he's supposedly going to use to fix up a plane so the bad guys can escape. When asked by his guard what the item is, he replies "Lateral... cranial... impact... enhancer", and smacks the guard across the head with it.
* ExtendedDisarming:
** In the Season 1 finale, [=MacGyver=] is pitted against a master assassin. Confronting him relatively early in the episode, Mac is able to best him in hand-to-hand combat despite his numerous concealed blades. After the assassin is arrested, it is shown that he had many other knives and weapons on his person. And they still missed a poisoned needle he concealed behind a fake scar.
** Recurring villain Murdoc is meeting with his superiors at [[FunWithAcronyms HIT]], and has to pass through a metal detector first, which reveals that he's carrying multiple weapons on his person that he has to remove. Being as good as he is, he manages to slip a knife though just to prove that he doesn't play by the rules.
* FakeInTheHole: In "For Love or Money", Mac removes the explosive core from a grenade and then tosses it at a group of border guards to distract them while he makes a run across the border.
* FakeOutMakeOut: Mac and his female partner pull this trick when they are caught by a motorcycle cop while scoping out the hospital they are planning to break into in "For Love or Money".
* FallingChandelierOfDoom: In "The Coltons", Jesse Colton takes out a gunman who has taken cover behind a table by shooting out the chandelier above him so that it falls on him.
* TheFarmerAndTheViper: In one episode the female antagonist is hanging from a ledge. Mac is all TakeMyHand, but the woman stabs him, causing him to drop her to her death. Pete tells Mac the tale of "The Scorpion and The Frog" to calm him when he questions why she would do that.
* FingertipDrugAnalysis: Mac tests a suspected drug sample this way, only to find out that it's keratin (powdered rhino horn).
%%* FiveFiveFive
* FlashedBadgeHijack: Done in "The Prodigal".
* FlockOfWolves: In "Honest Abe", Mac gets shanghaied by his CIA agent friend Abe to take down a South American dictator and a corrupt Army Major supplying the former with weapons. Eventually, one of the Major's lackeys reveals to the other he's a Federal agent... and the other lackey reveals he's one as well. And via background checks they find the real identities of Mac and Abe. Naturally they are dumbfounded at the revelation that they are involved in an operation involving ''four'' secret agents of different agencies while they previously thought they were acting alone.
* FriendToAllLivingThings: Shown in "Eagles", when Mac fights some poachers who shot down a mother eagle, than at the end of the episode, saves its three babies still in their eggs.
* FrightDeathTrap: "Deadly Silents" used the 'Scared Stiff' version. The villains set up several stunts (a suitcase full of snakes, leaving him ChainedToARailway, etc.) to attempt to trigger a fatal heart attack in an elderly silent movie star.
* FunWithAcronyms: Murdoc works for the Homocide International Trust... making him a literal "HIT man".
* FurAndLoathing: When he helps a runaway turned hooker, she wears a [[PrettyInMink rabbit fur jacket]], until she's saved.
* GadgeteerGenius: mac was one of the most famous gadgeteers of TV, although he was more of a tinkerer. The series that spawned the term "MacGyvering." Usually worked alone, without a sidekick. Oddly enough, though, there was an episode where he teamed up with a classic GadgeteerGenius girl — an ultra-intelligent schoolgirl who could match him move-for-move.
* GhostShip: the episode was even titled "Ghost Ship"
* GilliganCut: "The Gauntlet", when the GirlOfTheWeek declares she's not going to eat the lizard [=MacGyver=] is cooking for dinner
* GirlOfTheWeek: In the early seasons, Mac seemed to get involved with a different every week. It was toned down in later seasons.
* GodGuise: In "Walking Dead", Mac pretends to be Baron Samedi (or, more accurately, he takes the place of a HollywoodVoodoo priest who is pretending to be Baron Samedi).
* GoshDangItToHeck: [=MacGyver=]'s clean-cut behaviour extended to sometimes ridiculously mild cussing, including an actual "Gosh dang it!" in the pilot episode. An occasional "damn" or "crap" sometimes slipped through. Other characters were allowed to swear, subject to the limitations of the era's TV language restrictions.
* GovernmentAgencyOfFiction: The DXS (Department of External Security) was a U.S. intelligence agency where [=MacGyver=] and Peter Thornton are employed during the first season.
* GPSEvidence: In "Walking Dead", Mac is able to identify that the cult is using an abandoned dam as their base from the mixture of dried river silt and machine oil on a voodoo doll.
* GreatEscape: In "The Escape", Mac cooks up an elaborate plot to break a medical missionary out of a prison in French North Africa.
* TheGunslinger: Murdoc appears a stereotypical black clad gunslinger (seemingly a Type D) in the {{Western}} AllJustADream episode "Serenity".
* HallOfMirrors: When Mac is chased by a brainwashed friend, he uses this to trick the friend into running out of ammo so he can approach and subdue him.
* AHandfulForAnEye:
** Murdoc blinds MacGyver with a handful of dirt during a fight in a mine in the episode "Strictly Business".
** Mac himself blinds a bruiser with a bucket of ashes in "The Escape".
* HeroesRUs: The Phoenix Foundation, Mac's employer from the second season onward, though the DXS (a government department) also fits the type.
%%* HeroicSacrifice
* HiddenInPlainSight: One episode featured some criminals trying to get an East German expatriate to reveal where he had hidden some gold bullion they had him smuggle out when they got him through the Berlin Wall. The gold had been melted down and reshaped as figurines, which were then painted over and prominently displayed in the window of the man's toyshop. Everyone who looked at the painted toy soldiers made of a heavy metal assumed they were lead.
* HighHeelFaceTurn: Karen in "Deathlock", Sara in "The Escape" and Holly in "Twenty Questions".
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: The assassin Pierta, whose assassination methods of choice involved sharp poisoned objects. He tries to assassinate a priest, but scuffles with Mac, drops the pin, and ends up getting his hand pricked with it when he falls.
%%* HollywoodHacking: "Ugly Duckling"
* HollywoodSpelling: Somehow, [=MacGyver=] apparently knows the correct letter case for and space in the password in "Ugly Duckling", though this may be [[JustifiedTrope justified]] thanks to the particulars of the system in question (Mac canonically knows his way around computers) and basic logic regarding English, respectively.
* HollywoodVoodoo: Features heavily "Walking Dead". The episode at least pays lip service to voudon being a genuine religion and that what the villains are doing is a perversion of it.
* HouseboatHero: [=MacGyver=] lived on a houseboat for several seasons.
* HungryJungle: The eponymous place in "Trumbo's World" threatens to be engulfed by army ants.
* HypocriticalHumor: Penny Parker in a foreign country: "Oh, you don't know how good it is to see someone from back home. They're all foreigners here".
* IdenticalGrandson: [=MacGyver=]'s identical ancestor (played by Richard Dean Anderson) in one of the last episodes of the series.
* IHaveYourWife: In "Hearts of Steel", disgruntled steel mill workers attempt to kidnap the daughter of the industrialist who put them out of work, but end up abducting his housekeeper's daughter instead.
* IJustShotMarvinInTheFace: In a {{flashback}} during the "Blood Brothers" episode, [=MacGyver=] accidentally shoots and kills Jesse, a childhood friend. This why Mac DoesNotLikeGuns.
* ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy: Mac is often shot at. The few times they hit is for plot purposes.
* ImprobableAntidote: An episode had Pete poisoned by prussic acid ([[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prussic_acid hydrogen cyanide]]) gas in a mall. Mac recognizes the poison by its [[BitterAlmonds distinctive almond smell]] and dashes toward a photo developer booth, whose printing machine contains [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_thiosulfate sodium thiosulfate]], an antidote for cyanide poisoning.
* IncrediblyObviousBomb: The early episodes have bombs everywhere. The intro sequence for the first season or so has one with a nice big digital timer. The pilot has a ''missile'' with a timer inside it. Just about every explosive device (there are lots of them) has a timer, unless [[MacGyvering Mac made it himself]]. Of course, those are usually highly visible, but rarely incredibly obvious. One whole episode revolves around bombs actually well-disguised as electrical panels... which are nevertheless quickly identified as bombs by Mac.
** Subverted in one of the earlier episodes. Mac spends most of the episode disarming the bomb, and when he finally disarms it a set of blinking [=LEDs=] switch off and the apparatus falls silent... but the real bomb is underneath the entire rig (which was merely a detonator) and still ticking.
* IndyHatRoll: The show has one moment of the hat roll when they are trapped in an [[BambooTechnology Ancient Indian]] DeathTrap and Dalton reaches back to grab his pilot hat, much to Mac's irritation.
* InnerMonologue: [=MacGyver=], providing linking [[{{Narrator}} narration]] or relating a folksy anecdote about something in his childhood that the onscreen action reminds him of
%%* InstantSedation
%%* InstrumentalThemeTune
* IntimateHealing: Mac finds himself as a recipient of one from Natalia in "Trail To Doomsday" after he is caught in a poisoned boobytrap and loses consciousness.
* InvincibleHero: Subverted, he feels pain from attacks and punches, he expresses fear in perilous situation, and he's caught often, but he always jimmies a non-violent way to solve his problem. Which, admittedly, was the expected and entertaining part.
* ItsQuietTooQuiet: "[=MacGyver=], something's not right. It's a little too quiet out here" - Charles Alden, "Trumbo's World"
* ItWorksBetterWithBullets: Murdoc removes the shells from a shotgun and takes the person who later tries to use it on him hostage.
* JailbirdOfPanama: In "The Escape", a woman asks [=MacGyver=] to break out her missionary brother who's been unjustly thrown into a harsh prison in North Africa. [[spoiler:Partway through the episode, [=MacGyver=] discovers he's being played: the woman is a KGB agent, and the "missionary" is a gunrunner whose skills she wishes to make use of.]]
* JokerImmunity: Murdoc "dies" in almost every episode he's in, but he always manages to come back.
* JuryDuty: "Rush to Judgement": Mac gets called up for jury duty on a murder case in "Rush to Judgement" and, naturally, can't resist investigating the case on his own - which is illegal.
* KarmicDeath: Sandra in "Kill Zone" dies because of the research project she flagrantly violated protocol for.
* KillerCop: Manny Lopez in "Tough Boys", who uses the local youth centre to recruit the eponymous gang to act as vigilantes in destroying crack houses.
* KingArthur: In "Good Knight [=MacGyver=]", mac gets hit on the head and either dreams he is back in the court of King Arthur, or actually psychically time travels there. (The OrWasIt ending means both are fair interpretations.)
* KnockoutGas: An instantly sedating knockout gas was one of the weapon systems on the attack helicopter in "Honest Abe".
* LandingGearShot: ''[=MacGyver=]'' did this one when a villain went to Paris.
* LandMineGoesClick:
** Mac once finds himself with a foot on a mine, and manages a daring escape, but, in jumping free, he's landed on ''another'' mine (which turns out to be a dud). There's also a slight variation in one episode where Mac finds himself having to prop up a rickety shelf that's holding several cases of unstable old dynamite. If he lets go, he'll go boom.
** And there was another episode where Murdoc was first introduced: Though the device wasn't explicitly called a mine, it worked on the Bouncing Betty principle. Mac sat down on his bed and that armed the bomb planted in it. Pete told him that it would only detonate when he got off the bed but the blast would be directed mainly upwards so if he jumped away fast enough he'd be safe.
** Yet another one took place in a snowy cave in which all Mac had to do was dig the snow out from the side and shove a metal bar into conveniently sized holes to stop the "platform" from springing up.
* LargeHam:
** The coach in "Legend of the Holy Rose". "RYAN!!! I WANT TO TALK TO YOU!!!"
** Murdoc, in pretty much every appearance.
* LaserHallway: deadly version in the pilot; detector version in "The Heist"
%%* LeaveHimToMe: "The Thief of Budapest"
* LemmingCops: The cops who chase Mac through Budapest in "The Thief of Budapest". A lot of police cars get totalled as a result.
* LiteralCliffHanger: Happens at the end of the first part of the "Good Knight, [=MacGyver=]", where Mac and Merlin are left dangling above a lava pit (in Scotland!).
* LockedInAFreezer: Happens Mac and a lady "Last Stand". They get out when he manages to [[IceBreaker freeze and shatter]] the lock on the door.
* LockingMacGyverInTheStoreCupboard: the TropeNamer
* LukeYouAreMyFather: [=MacGyver=]'s illegitimate and previously unknown son Sam shows up in the last episode, and demonstrates that LamarckWasRight.
* LuxuryPrisonSuite: Khan lives in one in "The Escape".
%%* MacGuffin
* MacGyvering: The TropeNamer, of course. Special mention has to be made of [=MacGyver=]'s ability to make aircraft: on separate occasions, he's built a hang glider, a two-seat fan-powered glider, a hot air balloon, and a Fan Man-type parachute-and-fan combo, all basically from scraps and duct tape. All four flew. And he patched the balloon up with a map when it got a hole in it.
* MadBomber: In "The Prometheus Syndrome", Mac helps the arson squad invesigate a series of fires, all caused by a bomber calling himself Prometheus who thinks he's purifying the world.
* MadwomanInTheAttic: "The Secret of Parker House" had one of these. [[spoiler:He turned out to be a nice guy.]]
* MagicalDefibrillator: In "The Enemy Within", Mac juryrigs a defibrillator out of two candlesticks, a floor mat, and an electrical power cord. The idea was not to reverse fibrillation, but to counteract some kind of magnetic field that was causing bubbles to form in the victim's blood... somehow. Whatever that meant, it worked.
* MagicBrakes:
** "Hellfire" does a good job of setting up the sequence — there's a steep gradient, a reason for the brakes to fail just at that moment, and an actual danger from the load of unstable explosives on the back of the truck — but still falls inside the trope because the people in the truck, one of whom is the famously ingenious [=MacGyver=], can't think of anything that might slow the truck down.
** "The Enemy Within" has a car with a punctured brake fluid cable accelerate out of control down a gentle slope for several miles while [=MacGyver=] climbs out onto the front of the car and does emergency repairs. (The driver does actually think to try the handbrake, but it's not working either.)
* MakeItLookLikeAnAccident: The bad guy in "Deadly Silents" goes to great lengths to make his attempts to kill Pinky and [=MacGyver=] look like an accident.
* ManchurianAgent: Jack Dalton in "Brainwashed"
* MasterOfDisguise: Murdoc was said to be a master of disguise. But his disguises were so bad that viewers only fell for them because his appearances were spread out enough that the audience had forgotten what he looked like. This was also the M.O. of the eponymous assassin in "The Assassin".
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: Vacuum cleaner salesman Phil Sternweis in "The Visitor". He gets [=MacGyver=] out of trouble several times in very unlikely fashion, and at one point can only be seen by [=MacGyver=]. The ending leaves the possibility open that he is [[spoiler:a HumanAlien.]]
* MentalTimeTravel: This might be what happens to Mac in "Good Knight, [=MacGyver=]". Or it might be AllJustADream.
* MidairRepair: Mac uses a map to patch a hole in his hot air balloon after it is shot.
* MightAsWellNotBeInPrisonAtAll: Jack Dalton is moving around relatively freely in his barrack in prison in "Jack in the Box", is plotting his schemes, and is eating decent food.
* TheMole: In "The Enemy Within", Mac must discover the identity of a mole within the DXS who has caused the death of four agents.
* MountainMan: Earthquake from "The Spoilers" is a modern day version of this.
* MuggingTheMonster: A bunch of thugs try to mug the WoobieOfTheWeek, a mentally unstable veteran with a wrestler's physique. {{Lampshaded}} by the would-be victim: "Are you crazy? I could have torn your head off!"
%%* MundaneSolution
* MurderInc: Homicide International Trust - H.I.T.
%%* MusicalPastiche
* NearMisses:
** "The Golden Triangle" features a shot of [=MacGyver=] ducking for cover as twin lines of gunfire from a helicopter pass either side of him, which was used in the opening titles.
** "The Enemy Within" has a good example of bullets kicking up dust always just behind the running hero.
* NeedleInAStackOfNeedles: In one episode, Mac is carrying a valuable Chinese artifact which he needs to get rid of in a hurry — so he finds a shop selling cheap replicas of the thing and puts it on the back of the shelf.
* NeverFoundTheBody: Murdoc
* NeverMessWithGranny: In "The Madonna", an elderly bag lady whom Mac and Peter Thornton are helping turns out to be not only a fount of wisdom, but also turns around a troubled youth by hustling him at pool.
* NewOldFlame: "Flame's End", "The Endangered", "Jerico Games"
* NitroExpress:
** In "Hellfire". Mac has to transport old, sweating dynamite cross-country from an abandoned mine to extinguish an oilwell fire on a friend's claim.
** In "Hell Week", a college student snaps and builds a bomb intending to blow himself and the school to kingdom come (and just to make it even more dramatic, he happened to place it in the same building as the nuclear physics lab, meaning it would cause radiation to spread). Said bomb has a "mercury switch", which consists of a drop of mercury placed in the very middle of a precariously balanced Petri dish with wires along the edges set to trigger the bomb if the mercury touches them. With no way to get inside the bomb's mechanism without triggering it (at least for the moment), Mac and the kid's emotionally abusive professor father who started the whole mess have to move the bomb very carefully to an elevator so that the explosion is sufficiently contained underground.
* NoNameGiven: [=MacGyver=] spends almost the entire series being known only as "[=MacGyver=]"; his EmbarrassingFirstName is eventually revealed in the final season.
%%* NoodleImplements
* NoOneCouldSurviveThat: Murdoc
** NoOneShouldSurviveThat: His first two presumed deaths (from his first episode) were realistically survivable. His subsequent deaths through the rest of the show... not so much.
* NoOSHACompliance: In "Flame's End", [[spoiler:there is a room into which radioactive waste is dumped after 10 minutes of activation, with a door that can be pushed shut from the outside and has a timed lock that cannot be opened for 60 minutes after it is shut. And there is no emergency shutoff, handle or opening mechanism inside the room.]]
* NotTheIntendedUse: The entire premise of the series.
* ObfuscatingDisability: One of the many tricks of "The Assassin".
* {{Oktoberfest}}: In "The Wall", a bar in East (Eastern at the time of the airing) Berlin has Bavarian music playing and waitresses in traditional Bavarian dresses.
* TheOldConvict: Francois Villars in "The Escape".
* OneDimensionalThinking: "Fire and Ice" almost suggests that there is a mystical force that compels people to run in a straight line in front of oncoming objects. A man hit by a truck at the beginning of the episode would have been perfectly safe ''if he had not gone out of his way to run in front of the truck''.
* OperationGameOfDoom: Attempting to move the bomb with the mercury switch in "Hell Week".
** And again in the Season 7 episode "The Prometheus Syndrome".
* OutOfCharacterAlert: In "Countdown", Mac cues Pete in on the fact that he needs to speak to him on a private channel by 'reminding' him that they are due to play golf when he gets back. Mac has never played a round of golf in his life.
* ParentsForADay: In "Rock the Cradle," Jack Dalton's ex-girlfriend, on the run from criminals, leaves her son "Jack Jr." in Jack's airplane hangar, with a note asking Jack to take care of him. Jack and [=MacGyver=] have to look after the kid while trying to track down Mama.
* {{Pilot}}: Which did air as the first episode of the series, although it contained a couple of elements that were not continued -- such as [=MacGyver=] actually pointing and ''firing'' a gun at an enemy.
* PinocchioNose: Jack Dalton's left eye twitches whenever he lies. It's mentioned in his first scene with Mac.
* PoorlyDisguisedPilot: "The Coltons"
* PowderTrail: Mac improvises a powder trail - using the black powder charge from an antique grenade - to blow up an arms shipment in "The Escape".
* PraetorianGuard: In "Humanity", [=MacGyver=] tangles with the K-Force, a group of Praetorian Guard still loyal to Romania's dead tyrant.
* PrisonEpisode:
** In "Jack in the Box", Jack Dalton is sent to a prison farm by a CorruptHick who is using the prisoners as a workforce for his mine. Mac ends up in the same prison when he goes looking for Jack.
** In "The Escape", mac infiltrates a prison in French North Africa in order to break out an unjustly imprisoned missonary.
* TheProfessor: [=MacGyver=]
* ProtagonistTitle
* PutOnABus: In a case of ShooOutTheNewGuy, Pete Thornton casually comments at the start of one episode that Nikki Carpenter is on assignment in South America. She is never heard from or mentioned again in the show.
* {{Qurac}}: Sambaka from "Early Retirement" is implied to be this in a line spoken by [[CorruptBureaucrat Webber]], though otherwise it seems like a BananaRepublic. Making matters worse, its name suggests a {{Bulungi}}.
* RaceAgainstTheClock: See ExactTimeToFailure above.
* RansackedRoom: Happens in "Trail to Doomsday" when [=MacGyver=] and Natalia find the door to her apartment busted open, and the whole place ransacked.
* RealAfterAll: Seen in "Ghost Ship", and strongly implied in "The Visitors".
* RecklessGunUsage: This caused the death of one of [=MacGyver=]'s childhood friends, as shown during a flashback in "Blood Brothers".
* RecycledInSpace: "Thief of Budapest" is ''Film/{{The Italian Job|1969}}'' in Budapest with a list of KGB spies as the MacGuffin, and the plot of "Trumbo's World" is ''Literature/LeiningenVersusTheAnts'' on a cocoa plantation.
%%* RedHerring: [[spoiler: Rachel]] in "The Prometheus Syndrome".
* RedScare: in this case, actually called Soviets, but in later episodes, Soviet hardliners.
* RememberTheNewGuy: Many, many episodes involved an old friend or girlfriend showing up in need of MacGyver's help, but it was never someone he saw fit to mention before or ever again.
* TheRemnant: In "Humanity", [=MacGyver=] tangles with the K-Force, a group of PraetorianGuard still loyal to Romania's dead tyrant Ceauşescu.
* RockBottom: casually averted in "The Gauntlet": the GirlOfTheWeek proclaims that nothing more could go wrong, [=MacGyver=] admits she's probably right, and the scene ends without anything happening to either of them
%%* RockStarParking
* RougeAnglesOfSatin: In one ClipShow episode, Murdoc tries to off Mac, Pete, and Jack by luring them to a junkyard. An obituary in the newspaper, which Murdoc planted, reads "In Memorium".
* RuthlessModernPirates: In "Pirates", an archaeologist is kidnapped by pirates to help them find $60 million in sunken treasure at the bottom of the sea, and Mac must attempt a rescue on the isolated ocean.
* SawedOffShotgun: Jesse Colton's WeaponOfChoice.
* ScaryBlackMan: Axminster, the hit man from "Target [=MacGyver=], can come off as this.
* ScarySurpriseParty: Taking this to rather an extreme level, in "friends" Mac gets taken at knife-point by a disguised Jack Dalton to a birthday party.
* ScienceHero: [=MacGyver=], despite the jury-rigged nature of his devices, qualifies.
* ShootingGallery: "Halloween Knights" featured a shooting gallery called 'Death Row' used by MurderInc organisation H.I.T. to test new recruits.
* ShoutOut:
** "The Heist" has a sequence where [=MacGyver=] confronts the villain in a casino in a tuxedo; when he first appears in the tux, the background music starts with the same four notes as the ''Film/JamesBond'' theme.
*** In another episode, he introduces himself to a female character with "BondJamesBond".
** "Target [=MacGyver=]" has a scene where [=MacGyver=] builds a trap out of stuff he finds in the bad guys' kitchen; the first thing he finds is a bag of carrots, from which he carefully selects a single carrot that he then proceeds to not use in the trap in any way -- but when the trap is ready, he picks up the carrot again and takes a bite of it Characters/BugsBunny style.
* SkepticismFailure: In "GX-1", [=MacGyver=] helps a Russian psychic who is portrayed as real, despite Mac's skepticism.
* TheSnackIsMoreInteresting: The Bugs Bunny Shout Out in "Target [=MacGyver=]".
%%* SoftGlass
* SongsInTheKeyOfLock: "The Heist" features an ultra-high-tech (for the time) lock which requires four tones emitted by a remote control. This being [=MacGyver=], he improvises by playing some wineglasses.
* {{Spexico}}: Take a band of Zapatistas. The more indigenous the better. Then drop them in [[TelevisionGeography the Rockies]], dress them with the clothes left over by the Sicilian scenes of ''Film/TheGodfather'' and make them live in wooden barracks with bananas in the porch. According to ''[=MacGyver=]'', this is [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjbbfK87JWc the Basque Country]].
* SpiderSense: Frank Colton's eye twitches when something isn't right about a situation.
* StalkerWithACrush: "Cleo Rocks" is a riff on ''Theatre/ThePhantomOfTheOpera'', with Penny Parker and Murdoc(!) in the lead roles.
* StandardHollywoodStrafingProcedure: Demonstrated in "The Golden Triangle", in a shot that was also used in the opening titles.
* StatingTheSimpleSolution: In "Deadly Silents", Karl's partner Neil keeps urging to just shoot Mac and Pinky and dump their bodies somewhere. After multiple attempts to MakeItLookLikeAnAccident fail, Karl gives in and agrees to just shoot them. [[spoiler:It fails.]]
* StockFootage: many times in many episodes, but particularly noticeable in the following two episodes:
** "The Thief of Budapest", in which violent [[HandWave handwaving]] is applied to justify reusing the entire car chase from ''Film/{{The Italian Job|1969}}''.
** "Trumbo's World", where maybe a third of the episode consists of footage from ''The Naked Jungle'', both of which were based on the short story ''Literature/LeiningenVersusTheAnts''.
** Also the second season episode "GX-1", which stole the footage for its opening aircraft sequence from another Paramount property: ''Top Gun''. It is never explained why the secret stealth spy plane looks exactly like an F-14.
** Can also see it in the episode "Out in the Cold" with a painfully obvious stock-footage avalanche.
* StorybookEpisode: "Good Knight, [=MacGyver=]" transports Mac back to the court of KingArthur.
* StuffedIntoTheFridge: early episodes would often kill off the newly introduced old friend to set up the rest of the episode, then never again mention the character in the series
** This very thing was lampshaded in the ''Webcomic/KidRadd'' web comic. Bogie is watching what's probably ''Anime/ReadOrDie'', flips the channel to see what else is on -- and comes across "Radd", complete with a [=MacGyver=] opening parody. "Also starring a bunch of people who are supposedly old friends of the guy yet only ever show up in one episode."
* SurprisinglyGoodForeignLanguage: Several episodes set in East Germany
* SwampsAreEvil: [=MacGyver=] must rescue Pete and his family from a Louisiana swamp in "Family Matter".
* TapOnTheHead: This happens all the time, what with [=MacGyver=]'s no-guns policy. The likelihood of knocking a bad guy out with a single blow is inversely proportional to his position on the bad guy ladder. Mac himself has also received enough knocks on the head that he's lucky never to have got anything worse than the occasional bout of EasyAmnesia.
* TheTeaser: At least initially, each episode began with a mini-episode called the "Opening Gambit", which -- unlike the teasers in most series -- was unconnected to the rest of the episode, and often created by a different writer and director. Later episodes either had a standard teaser or went straight to the opening credits.
* TechnicalPacifist: [=MacGyver=] vocally and obviously [[DoesntLikeGuns hates guns]], but isn't averse to hitting people (with fists, or with a variety of heavy things), and for a "pacifist", he's awfully fond of creating explosives. He also doesn't hesitate to put people in what would, in reality, be very dangerous situations: shocking them with high voltage, suspending them high up in the air by flimsy cords, driving towards them at high speeds, slamming them headfirst into heavy objects, blinding drivers of fast-moving vehicles, hiding unconscious bodies inside heavy machinery, and so on. Probably the most egregious example of this is when he set up a trap that shot a bunch of automatic weapons at cars full of people... but aimed them at the tires.
* TelevisionGeography: the show was primarily set in Los Angeles. Production moved to British Columbia from the third through the sixth seasons, then returned to LA. As a result, Southern California looked very much like Canada for four years.
* TemporaryBlindness: "The Negotiator", "Blind Faith"
** Pete's blindness in "Blind Faith" was [[RealLifeWritesThePlot real and permanent]].
* TenLittleMurderVictims: "The Invisible Killer" - Just as Mac determines which of the Phoenix employees on his wilderness stress-relief retreat is an imposter, we find out that not one but ''two'' of them are really escaped convicts.
* TheThingThatWouldNotLeave: Jack Dalton is this to [=MacGyver=] on occasion.
* ThisIsMyBoomstick: In "Good Knight, [=MacGyver=]", Mac convinces KingArthur's court that he is a powerful wizard by lighting a match.
* ThoseWackyNazis: In "the Ten percent Solution", a massive neo-Nazi movement within the American political system is uncovered by [=MacGyver=] after investigating the claims by a Holocaust survivor.
* ThrownFromTheZeppelin: In "Legend of the Holy Rose", the bad guy has his advisor with a niggling conscience thrown from a helicopter when [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness he is of no further use]].
%%* TomboyishName: Mike Forrester in "Jack of Lies" and "The Widowmaker"
* TooDumbToLive: At the start of "Target [=MacGyver=]", [=MacGyver=] takes his ski mask off in the middle of a covert raid for no in-story reason, just so the people he's raiding can get a look at his face and spend the rest of the episode trying to kill him.
* ToxicInc: In "The Spoilers", Mac and and a hermit from the mountains work to try and stop a group from illegally dumping radioactive and toxic waste into a stream.
* TrainingThePeacefulVillagers: Mac has to train a peaceful village in a [[BananaRepublic Republica del Platano]] to fight their drug lord oppressors, in the episode "The Golden Triangle."
* TranslationConvention: wherever [=MacGyver=] goes, everyone apparently speaks English, albeit with a range of funny accents
* TrappedInContainment: In "Kill Zone" a scientist creates a chemical for maturing plants. When her dog knocks over the vial, she is trapped with it and ages to death.
* TrashLanding: In "The Coltons", Frank and Jesse tackle a pair of bad guys out throw a second storey window and land in a dumpster which is miraculously full of bags of shredded paper.
* TreeBuchet: When he needs to throw off some pursuers in the jungle in "The Road Not taken", [=MacGyver=] builds a tree-based catapult to throw stones, and puts a light-based fuse on it. First he pulls four flimsy trees together and bends them down to the ground. He routes them under a solid tree branch and ties them together with a thin vine. Then he sets down his friend's rosary to refract sunlight onto the thin vine, creating a fuse. He stakes the thin vine into the ground with a good knot on a pointed stick, and attaches the pockets from his jacket (filled with rocks) to the tree trunks.
%%* TribalCarry: "The Golden Triangle"
* TriggerPhrase: In one episode, Pete gets brainwashed into shooting whoever utters the trigger phrase "From the bottom of my heart, I salute you". The villain of the episode wanted to use him to kill a visiting dignitary (who was scheduled to give a speech containing that phrase at a dinner Pete would be attending).
* UncannyFamilyResemblance: Jack Dalton and his father, Jack Sr., in "Ma Dalton".
* UndersideRide: Mac clings underneath a truck to escape the cops in the episode "Jerico Games".
* UnnecessaryCombatRoll: One of the assassins in "Target [=MacGyver=]", entering the house where Mac is staying—and very silly he looks, too.
* UnwillingSuspension: Happens to Frank and Jesse in "The Coltons".
* VehicleVanish: In "For Love or Money", Mac and Pete are watching a pair of defectors at the zoo who disappear when a crowd of pedestrians temporarily obscures their view.
* VehicularSabotage: One episode of ''[=MacGyver=]'' featured the tampering with brakes version as an excuse for the title character to repair a moving vehicle.
* VerySpecialEpisode: every other episode from around the third or fourth season onwards was one.
* VikingFuneral: In "Deadly Dreams", Dr. Zito convinces one of his clients to give ''himself'' a Viking funeral... And he takes a friend of Mac's to [[HumanSacrifice play the part of the slave]].
* VillainDecay: Played with. Murdoc starts out as a one-dimensional villain who would return once per season, try to kill [=MacGyver=] in progressively crazier ways, and fail miserably. However, these repeated failures convince '''him''' that he's "over the hill" and that it's time to retire... but his employers won't let him, kicking off his next cycle where he's trying to find a way out [[spoiler:first by allying with [=MacGyver=] to take down his employers, then by asking them to take him back in exchange for [=MacGyver=]'s head, and then by seeking another protector/employer]].
* VisionQuest: Mac experience one while being cared for by an old Indian after being LeftForDead in "Trail of Tears".
* VoodooZombie: The 'living person in a deathlike trance' variety appear in "Walking Dead". The villain attempts to do it to Mac, but he is able to hold the effect at bay long enough to find the antidote.
* WeAreEverywhere: In "The Ten Percent Solution", [=MacGyver=] uncovers a massive Neo-Nazi conspiracy that has infiltrated a sizeable portion of America.
* WeHelpTheHelpless
* WhenSheSmiles: Penny Parker made her debut in an episode called... "Every Time She Smiles."
* WhenThePlanetsAlign: "Lost Treasure Of Atlantis" features this. For some reason, the planets are visible, to the point where they would actually collide with each other.
* WholePlotReference: Several episodes are either rare examples of a WholePlotReference played entirely straight, or a cynical attempt to rip off the plot of a film most of ''[=MacGyver=]'''s audience wouldn't have seen -- these include "Countdown" (''Film/{{Juggernaut}}''), "Trumbo's World" (''Film/TheNakedJungle'', which as noted above it even uses actual footage from), and "Kill Zone" (''Film/TheAndromedaStrain'').
* WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes:
** Mac is afraid of heights, more so in the early seasons than than the later ones.
** Murdoc himself was afraid of snakes, which became a problem when he and Mac were trapped in a snake pit during the EnemyMine episode.
* WigDressAccent: Mac in his nerd alias of Dexter Filmore, which simply consists tying his mullet back, throwing on a jacket and some glasses and slightly changing his voice.
* TheWildcats: The Wildcats was the name of the Pee Wee Hockey League team MacGyver belonged to as a boy, as seen in the episode "Harry's Will".
* TheWildWest: The two dream episodes set in the town of Serenity.
%%* WithMyHandsTied
* WitnessProtection: Mac helped get someone into witness protection. Two episodes deal with this character, "The Eraser" and "Back from the Dead".
* WritersCannotDoMath: "Ugly Duckling" shows a pretty accurate example of how [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangulation triangulation]] works, with one little problem: the two base points they were taking readings off of were so close together, and the two angles they found were so different, that the third point would have had to be ''so close they could already see it.'' To get useful triangulation readings, they would have had to be a significant distance further apart.
* WrittenInInfirmity:
** Dana Elcar developed glaucoma which led to blindness; Pete Thornton accordingly developed the same condition.
** "Every Time She Smiles" had [=MacGyver=]'s arm in a cast from the start, supposedly due to a skiing accident in Switzerland, rather than have him injured somewhere in the middle of the episode. This was because Richard Dean Anderson had injured that arm and needed to have the cast written in. The same injury re-appeared in the next episode, "To Be A Man", with a different backstory.
* YouLookFamiliar: Dana Elcar played a one-off character in the pilot before being cast as Pete Thornton in the ongoing series. Numerous other actors appeared in multiple roles over the course of seven years.
* ZorroMark: In one episode Murdoc blowtorches "R.I.P. [=MacGyver=]" onto the wall of Mac's home.
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