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Angus "Mac" MacGyver
Angus "Mac" MacGyver (Portrayed by Lucas Till)
- Birthday Hater: Every since he learned that his father had abandoned the family on his tenth birthday.
- Disappeared Dad: Hasn't seen or spoken to his father since he was nine. MacGyver Sr later turned out to be Oversight, Mac's boss's boss.
- Doesn't Like Guns: True to his 1980s counterpart, he almost never uses a gun. Instead, he uses unarmed combat, his improvised gadgets and traps when required.
- Experienced Protagonist: Like his 1980s counterpart, he served in the US Army as an explosive ordnance disposal tech.
- Heroic BSoD: Went off for vacation after Nikki was gunned down before his eyes. Became worse when he found that Nikki was rogue, working alongside John Kendrick.
- Iconic Item: Carries a Swiss Army Knife, which was used in his years with the Boy Scouts. He received the original one from his grandfather. After losing it on a mission, was given a new one by Jack.
- MacGyvering: Like the original MacGyver, he resolves situations by using any everyday items he can find.
- Missing Mom: Died before his tenth birthday.
- My Greatest Failure: Once disarmed 126 bombs in a single day. Unfortunately, The Ghost had planted 127 bombs in his sector.
- Omniglot: Can speak English and Italian. According to Wilt, he's good in Mandarin Chinese. His Turkish is rusty.
- Raised by Grandparents: By the time he was ten, his mother was dead and his father had abandoned him.
- Trap Master: Some of his methods in fighting the bad guys requires the use of ambushes via improvised traps.
Jack Dalton (Portrayed by George Eads)
- Adaptational Badass: In the original series, Jack Dalton was a bumbling Loveable Rogue that Mac had to bail out of trouble constantly. Here he's a badass One-Man Army. And he drives a Shelby Cobra.
- Cool Car: He has a Shelby Cobra roadster.
- Dark and Troubled Past: He mentions in Season 3 that he got PTSD due to his time in Delta Force and briefly with the CIA that his ex-girlfriend left him.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Used to be Delta Force before he worked with the CIA, followed by DXS and then with Phoenix.
- Experienced Protagonist: Jack used to be Delta Force and a CIA agent before he was recruited to work for DXS.
- Expy: Shaping to be one for DiNozzo from NCIS for using pop culture, regardless if it's casual talk or when he's in danger.
- Fan Boy: Of Bruce Willis, to the point of having his complete works on DVD, as well as Star Wars.
- Friendly Sniper: Back when he was still with Delta Force.
- Hidden Depths: In "Jet Engine + Pickup Truck", Jack has great knowledge about oil wells and drilling. He grew up in a company town near Amarillo and his grandfather was involved in an oil company.
- In Name Only: Jack is nothing at all like the original version.
- Omniglot: In "Ruler", Jack is known to be fluent in Dutch and French. He says it's classified when pressed on when he learned to understand them.
- In "Mac + Fallout + Jack", it's suggested that Jack is familiar with Bahasa Indonesia, since he greeted an Indonesian-speaking arms dealer in Indonesian.
- The Big Guy: In charge of fighting since Mac doesn't want to and Riley's a hacker.
- Put on a Bus: At the end of "Father + Bride + Betrayal", he leaves on an open ended assignment to hunt down a terrorist.
- True Companions: His old squad from his Delta days. When he finds out that one of them is in trouble, he immediately drops everything to get the gang back together and fly down to Honduras to save him. The only one who doesn't come is the paraplegic, who still does his best to help out by running Mission Control from his wheelchair.
- Weapon of Choice: A Heckler and Koch P30 is his main sidearm. Though in the 2nd season, he carries two.
Riley Davis (Portrayed by Tristin Mays)
- Ambiguously Brown: Bozer once called her "my caramel goddess." The episode "Scissors" shows her mom Diane is a light-skinned black woman.
- Boxed Crook: Agreed to work with DXS, later Phoenix, to get her sentenced reduced.
- Brainy Brunette
- Dark and Troubled Past: Had a father, who unbeknownst to her, abused her mother. Not only that but she was actually in a Supermax prison, and was a hacker long before she got caught.
- Disproportionate Retribution: She doesn't like Jack because not only did he date her mom, but he beat her abusive father when he went after her mother. Riley's father subsequently told her it was just because Jack was jealous. Jack never corrected her mistaken impression because he didn't think she'd believe him over her father.
- Ms. Fanservice: During Bozer's fantasy sequence at the beginning of "Ruler," where she's far more buxom than usual. However, in reality, her fashion sense still tends towards tight pants and cleavage-baring tops.
- The Cracker: Riley's a known hacker before she was jailed.
- Unkempt Beauty: at first. Later cleans up.
Patricia Thornton (Portrayed by Sandrine Holt)
- Adaptational Villainy: From so much of a Reasonable Authority Figure that the bad guys had to make him Brainwashed and Crazy to make him try to betray his country (and even then, it was a one-episode Easily Forgiven deal) to The Mole and an Arc Villain.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: In "Wire Cutter," she shows that years behind a desk have not dulled her skills, as she goes on a one-woman rampage to acquire vital intelligence for the team and avenge a fallen comrade.Jack: I thought having a corner office made you soft.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: She both dresses and kicks ass with style.
- Gender-Blender Name: A female name counterpart to Pete Thornton.
- Mole in Charge: In charge of PF on behalf of a criminal/terrorist organization.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Gave Mac time off after he witnessed Nikki's death. Later subverted as it turns out she didn't want him finding out Nikki was a deep cover agent trying to prove Patricia was a mole.
- The Reveal: Patty is actually a criminal mastermind who goes by the codename Chrysalis (a gender-flipped spin on a character from the original series, who was a butterfly enthusiast that went by the name "Papillion", French for "butterfly".)
Wilt Bozer (Portrayed by Justin Hires)
- Black Best Friend: To Mac and to Jack.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Crazy about Riley, gives her all kinds of low-key support. He gets over her though.
- Life of the Party: Life of the Frat Party, at least, thanks to his incredible skill at keg stands.Mac: When Bozer walked in, he was a freshman. One minute and fifty-two seconds later, he was a god.
- Locked Out of the Loop: Has no idea what his best friend really does for a living, until Murdoc taunts him with it while holding him prisoner in "Corkscrew." He takes it relatively well, despite initially being pissed about it.
- Mr. Exposition: In "Magnifying Glass", he explains to the team about the Zodiac Killer.
- Non-Action Guy: Bozer is just fine with staying in the lab and not going out into the field to get shot at.
- Race Lift: He's a massively retooled version of a throwaway character named Milt Bozer in the classic series, one of those changes being from Caucasian to African-American.
- Took a Level in Badass: Matty sends him to spy school in season 2, where learns the skills to make him a more effecive agent.
- Butt-Monkey: See Running Gag for details.
- Dropped a Bridge on Her: Season 3 debut- Jill finds Murdoc hiding in her backseat and he pounced, crashing the vehicle into a tree. Jill didn't survive his attack. The Phoenix team is extremely disheartened afterward.
- Running Gag: The main cast tends to not call her by "Jill", confusing it with another name.
Matilda "Matty" Webber
Matilda "Matty" Webber (Portrayed by Meredith Eaton)
- Bait-and-Switch Tyrant: Jack initially refers to her as "Matty the Hun", drumming her up to be a classic Mean Boss. After a rough introduction to the team, it soon becomes clear that she just takes her job — apprehending top-tier terrorists and criminals — with the seriousness it should demand. And she's very good at it.
- Berserk Button: Making a crack at her diminutive size is enough to drive her ballistic.
- Hidden Depths: She got married when she was working with the CIA alongside Jack. Unfortunately, the years her husband spent on an undercover op in Croatia resulted in him having another family.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Averted at first. She has a problem with Mac's skills in solving cases for the PF. She agrees to retain him if he can challenge her to change her mind in convincing her that his skills are essential.
- Rescue Romance: How she met her future husband. She was the Damsel in Distress.
- It's All My Fault: It brought Matty to tears when Jill was killed by Murdoc, and Matty held herself responsible for convincing Jill to join the Phoenix Foundation in the first place after Jill turned her down twice right out of college.
- The Napoleon: She is a dwarf, but she is incredibly domineering.
Samantha Cage (Portrayed by Isabel Lucas)
- Action Girl: An ex-SASR operative turned CIA agent turned PF black ops agent.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Used to be the Australian SAS's 4th Sabre Squadron before the CIA offered her a job.
- It's Personal: She disobeyed direct orders when she heads to Turkey to rescue one of her SEAL friends who was suppose to be dead but is later to be taken prisoner for years.
- Living Lie Detector: She can tell when someone is lying based on their mannerisms.
- Omniglot: Speaks Arabic, English and Turkish. In "Duct Tape + Jack", she speaks Spanish.
- Put On The Bus: Or more specifically, the plane. After she recovered from Murdoc's shooting, she left the team to Australia to visit her sister and spend time with her.
Oversight aka James MacGyver
Desiree "Desi" Nguyen
- Action Girl: With Jack out of the picture, she is the team's best melee combatant, able to fight two men at a time and win easily.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: The Phoenix crew isn't the typical military outfit that Desi is used to; a large part of their strength comes from their Chronic Hero Syndrome and The Power of Friendship. It doesn't take too many episodes before she's willing to have a beer with the team after a successful operation.
- Doesn't Like Guns: Downplayed. She explains that she will use a gun if necessary, but prefers to send bad guys to an interrogation room rather than a morgue.
- Hero of Another Story: Desi's time with the Rangers and as a soldier with the US Army Female Engagement Team in Afghanistan.
- Le Parkour: Showcases it by pulling a Wall Jump up some 12-foot-high cargo crates.
- Safety in Indifference: Due to her military background, she's had to bury more than a few friends. She initially insists against making friends with her Phoenix colleagues, so she doesn't risk going through that again.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: While on military duty in Afghanistan, she went AWOL to rescue a local civilian from militants despite the American brass telling her they couldn't take the risk or spare the resources. She succeeded in the solo rescue mission, but got punished with a demotion for her trouble — and an email from the man she rescued, telling her that he and his family are still safe and prospering thanks to her.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Joins Phoenix as MacGyver's bodyguard after Jack is Put on a Bus. Although she rightfully claims she is not Jack in terms of personality, she is taking over the role of The Big Guy as badass marksman and close-quarters fighter.
Nikki Carpenter (Portrayed by Tracy Spiridakos)
- Death Faked for You: Arranged to be killed by John Kendrick in "The Rising" so that she can secure the WMD Mac found undetected.
- Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon:
- As of "Screwdriver," ultimately a Subverted Trope.
- Glory Hound: The reason why she went rogue. She wanted to be the hero like Mac.
- The Mole: Works for an unknown organization that wanted to acquire a WMD in "The Rising".
- Only subverted as it turns out she was a deep cover agent all along.
- Voice with an Internet Connection: Nikki helps Jack and Mac by staying in comms and plans their routes from safety.
- Walking Spoiler: It's best to read the spoiled entries once you're done with the first episode.
Sarah Adler (Portrayed by Amy Acker)
Murdoc (Portrayed by David Dastmalchian)
- Arch-Enemy: To Mac.
- Blue and Orange Morality: He does have a moral code. He likens himself to a surgeon cutting tumors out of a cancer-ridden patient (the patient being modern society, and the tumors being people bad for it). Occasionally he'll perform an assassination for free if he thinks the world will be better off without the target in it.
- Consulting a Convicted Killer: Since he gets captured in his first appearance, most of his episodes in the first season involve this. Then he escapes.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He has a son, whom he has gone to great lengths to provide for and shelter from the reality of what he does for a living. All it takes to ensure his cooperation is Webber threatening to tell his son the truth about his father. He is also reluctant to kill the mother of his child, even after Amber kidnaps Cassian to extort money from him.
- Former Regime Personnel: Wanted to join the US Army, but they refused to take him because he was a psycho who wanted to join the military for the opportunity to kill people. So he joined the military of an unspecified country that was less careful about psych screenings. After said country ceased to exist, he went into murder for hire.
- I Have Many Names: Murdoc isn't his actual name, it's just the alias he's most fond of. If his mentor is to be believed, his original given name was Dennis.
- In Love with the Mark: Inverted, if one believes that Murdoc was actually telling the truth. A woman he was contracted to kill fell in love with him while he was still in the prep stages of the assassination, so he delayed the kill and settled down with her. A year or so later, she gave birth to his son. Minutes after she did so, as Murdoc looked at his lover and their child, he decided that the time was right to go back to work, so he smothered her to death.
- Most of this story is later shown to be fictitious - his wife is still alive, and is in fact a killer for hire who, in her own way, is just as psycho as he is. They actually met while trying to kill the same target - since they couldn't figure out whose bullet did the job, they split the fee. And a bottle of vodka.
- Invincible Villain: After escaping at the end of Season 1, he pretty much does nothing but win.
- Lack of Empathy: Or so he claims.
- Made of Iron: Electrocuted and suffered two nasty falls in his introductory episode. None of that stopped him for more than a minute or so.
- Multiple-Choice Past: Once tells Mac a story about how he almost died from anaphylactic shock after eating a single peanut at a baseball game as a kid. At the end of the episode he reveals that he'd eaten an entire bag of peanuts while Mac was out and about that episode, and took no harm. He'd told Mac the story just to mess with him. The original story he told about his son's mother was also fake.
- Not So Different: Tries this spiel on Mac, saying they both have the same goal: building a better world by eliminating threats. But whereas Mac locks people up, Murdoc simply kills them. Mac, naturally, doesn't buy it.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Do not turn on him, or he will kill you.
- Running Gag: He keeps getting interrupted in the middle of The Young and the Restless while in lockup.
- Would Hit a Girl:
- Threatened to take out Riley and Patricia.
- Shot at Sam, who wore a ballistic vest. The first time.
- Killed Jill.
- Worthy Opponent: After personally experiencing Mac's ingenuity (I.E. zapped by his electrified handrails and knocked out a window by wine bottle rockets), Murdoc graciously admits his sincere-respect for Mac by telling him that he would consider it an "honor" to be the one to "put him into the ground."
- Bavarian Fire Drill: Often gets into position to plant bombs by disguising himself as someone sent to look for bombs.
- Chronic Evidence Retention Syndrome: Watches people trying to disarm his bombs on webcam and then keeps the videos as trophies.
- The Dreaded: He's notorious in the law enforcement/military/intelligence community because he's very good at making bombs and has ways to block any countermeasures meant to disarm them.
- Foil: To Mac in his role as a former EOD specialist. The Ghost is one of the best bombmakers in the world, and Mac is the one of the best bomb disposal experts. Mac wants to bring him to justice. The Ghost wants to blow up his rival.
- The Ghost: Ironically, yes. He has never been seen on screen in person before. The closest was a surveillance recording of him walking by Mac & Bozer's house in disguise. He is later revealed to be an Irish man named Connor, a former bomber for the PIRA.
- Hero Killer: His bombs killed off several EOD specialists and Mac was nearly killed in one.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Was the cause of this for Mac's teacher from EOD school.
- My Greatest Failure: A marital dispute that broke out when his wife caught him making bombs in their home caused him to improperly mix some chemicals, causing the bomb to go off early, killing his wife.
- Rule of Three: Killed in his third appearance.
- That Man Is Dead: His daughter was willing to forgive her father for accidentally blowing up her mother, but she wasn't willing to forgive The Ghost.
- The End... Or Is It?: Tells Mac that he made a special bomb just for the purpose of beating him. With his death at his daughter's hands, nobody knows where it is.
- Western Terrorists: Has seen action in the Troubles with the PIRA.
- Wire Dilemma: He is a genius at this. One of his favorite tricks is setting up multiple bombs that are interlinked so that they all blow if they're disarmed in the wrong order - and the bomb that's the easiest to find the hard way is generally the one you have to disarm last, which means that you can't get to the others.
- Worthy Opponent: Sees Mac as one, as trying to outwit him made him a better bombmaker.