Trivia / MacGyver (1985)
aka: Mac Gyver

  • Actor-Inspired Element: Richard Dean Anderson really is from Minnesota, loves hockey and hates guns, and has long been active in environmentalist circles.
  • Cast the Expert: Most of MacGyver's random skills and hobbies are taken from Richard Dean Anderson's own talents, including hockey and being an outdoorsman. He had extensive training as a circus performer as well.
  • Creator Backlash: If only a mild example, Richard Dean Anderson was consistently the only main cast member of the series (even with Pete around) and required to be in nearly every scene. For an hour long TV show running 7 years, he was exhausted by the end. He said similar things about Stargate SG-1. The actual show itself he is very proud of, and has fond memories of playing the character.
  • Defictionalization: In "Friends," a woman Mac used to know introduces him to her husband, who plays football for The Titans. There was no such team in 1987, but there is now. (Somewhat more problematically, Mac congratulates the guy on "having a great season" in the present tense in an episode that takes place in March...perhaps they were a USFL team?)
  • Directed by Cast Member: Dana Elcar directed "The Challenge" and "The Invisible Killer."
  • The Other Darrin: In "Jack Of Lies," MacGyver's friend Michelle "Mike" Forrester is played by Patricia McPherson (alias Bonnie from Knight Rider); for her second appearance at the beginning of "The Widowmaker" she's played by Lisa Bayliss. Unfortunately it's also her last appearance.
  • Promoted to Opening Titles: Dana Elcar from Season 2.
  • Real-Life Relative: Not quite: MacGyver's grandfather Harry Jackson was played by John Anderson. It's often assumed he was Richard Dean Anderson's real grandfather, due to their resemblance and same last name — but the two were not actually related.
  • Shown Their Work: The show made an active attempt to actually understand chemistry and physics. Sometimes the effects were exaggerated, but it was pretty rare for MacGyver to do something that was straight science fiction. MythBusters considered him to be their Patron Saint, and multiple episodes were dedicated to both things he did and the concept of MacGyvering to save the day. The producers also actively sought out stories about these kind of DIY fixes to integrate into the show.
    • In the first episode, using chocolate to stop an acid leak is true. The chemical interaction creates a gummy plug rather than just eating through it.
    • Fixing a busted engine radiator using egg whites.
    • In the Season 4 episode "Fraternity of Thieves", MacGyver uses sodium thiosulfate (taken from a photo-processing store) to save the life of Pete Thornton, who's been poisoned with hydrogen cyanide; sodium thiosulfate is used both as a photo-fixing agent and as an antidote to cyanide poisoning.
  • Written-In Infirmity:
    • 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.
  • You Look Familiar: 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.

Alternative Title(s): Mac Gyver