MacGyver follows the adventures of the laid-back, extremely resourceful secret agent Angus MacGyver. He prefers non-violent conflict resolution whenever possible and refuses to carry or use a gun. MacGyver works as a problem solver for the Phoenix Foundation in Los Angeles. Utilizing his education as a scientist and his experience as an operative in the Department of External Services (DXS), he is able to solve a range of problems usually with the help of his ever-present Swiss Army knife.
MacGyver and Pete are testing a new security system at the Strategic Research Development Administration. MacGyver successfully bypasses the security and meets Dr. Jill Ludlam, the system's designer. She tries to turn off the security system, but it doesn't realize that it was just a test. MacGyver and Dr. Ludlam are then forced to find a way out, as the security system, named Sandy, tries to destroy the "intruders."
Mac inadvertently leads a hit man to his target, believing that he's helping a father find his lost son.
MacGyver and Pete have a surprise party planned for a colleague, but when the colleague doesn't show up, MacGyver goes looking for him, and finds him on the verge of committing suicide. When questioned why he would do such a thing, Kelly explains that a con artist has swindled him out of his life savings. MacGyver tells Pete about Kelly's situation and the two of them decide that they will get Kelly's money back from the con
While MacGyver goes to pick up a Chinese friend's brother from a birthday party, he witnesses something strange: Paul is being called "The Wish Child." It seems that a greedy businessman has wrapped him up in a scam, because he looks exactly like a boy from an old legend that owns the secret of immortality. Now, MacGyver must try to talk him out of this, because Paul is starting to believe he really is The Wish Child!
MacGyver goes to the mountains to lead four ex-gangster teens on a Phoenix Foundation funded rehabilitation trip. When he gets there, he finds that this task may be a little more complicated then he thought. All of the kids are very rebellious and one of them has a bad grudge against another one. A couple of days later when MacGyver is returning with the kids, their plane crashes in the middle of the wilderness and one of them is injured. Now, MacGyver must fix the plane and help the kids work out their differences so they can save their friend.
MacGyver, returning home one night, walks into his apartment, only to everything he owns missing from his apartment. Initially suspecting a robbery, MacGyver eventually comes to the conclusion that his old friend Jack Dalton is the one responsible for the theft.
MacGyver and Pete head to Asia to rescue a nun, who is an old friend of Pete's, and the orphaned children she takes care of from aggressive regime troops. While there, MacGyver runs into someone he never expected, his old fiancee, Debra. Now MacGyver must complete his mission, work out his differences with Debra, and escape from the troops, all before the troops find them.
While hang gliding in the west, MacGyver crosses paths with an escaped felon who shot and wounded a rare eagle. Now, with the help of his new friend Susan Cooper and her son Darin, MacGyver must heal the eagle and trap the felon before he kills more eagles.
While helping the Phoenix Foundation test a new missile-guidance system for the government, MacGyver's efforts are hampered by men who are trying to steal it. When the men escape with it, MacGyver turns to his deaf friend, who has been having premonition-type dreams of this happening. Now MacGyver must try and analyze her dreams so that he can find the men who stole the system.
A retired actor and his wife stop at a motel on the way to Los Angeles. MacGyver rescues them from a drunkard who nearly makes a mark on their car. MacGyver is supposed to meet a mobster-turned-informant at the motel, but the meeting goes wrong. The mob shows up and kills MacGyver's friend before he can give MacGyver what he promised. Instead the bag lands in the old couple's car, where the old actor finds it and discovers it full of money.
While retrieving tickets for a hockey game at the Phoenix Foundation, MacGyver and his grandpa Harry get caught in the middle of a woman's plot to blow up the building using a bomb that she herself made. They try to escape, but are locked in. Now they must figure another way out before she activates the bomb.
Pete's ex-wife and son are kidnapped down in Louisiana while on an archaeological trip. The kidnappers demand that Pete comes to Louisiana in exchange for letting his family go. But when he gets there, it soon becomes apparent that they don't plan to let any of them go.
MacGyver puts up Penny Parker for a few days while she's looking for a job as a singing telegram. But on her first day, she happens to witness two thugs torturing a man. Unfortunately, she can't find her way back, and when she does, MacGyver thinks this may be the start of something bigger as the victim is a Federal agent.
MacGyver's fishing trip is cut short when he meets a very pregnant woman whose husband is out to kill her. Accidentally, she found out that his half-way home for ex-cons is really a recruiting place for new crimes. Mac and the woman are chased into a warehouse where they are trapped.
While on an expedition to find a Spanish treasure fleet, Dr. Barbara Ortega's boat is hi-jacked by modern-day pirates. They steal the small amount of treasure that she has already found - including the ship's log, which is the key to finding the whole fleet - and take off. When she makes it public that she was hi-jacked, the Phoenix Foundation sends MacGyver to help. Now, MacGyver and Barbara must recover the ship's log, so she can find the treasure before the pirates do.
When MacGyver and Pete go skiing, a man switches poles with MacGyver, only moments before being gunned down and killed by his former friends. But the gunshot starts an avalanche, which covers MacGyver completely, leaving it up to Pete to convince the mountain rangers to stage a search and rescue before the next avalanche comes. As MacGyver finally is dug up, the gangsters are there, waiting for him, and whatever is hidden in that ski pole.
Dalton, who is believed to be dead, recruits MacGyver to help uncover a CIA mole.
MacGyver and Pete meet at a wrecking yard, both thinking that the other one arranged the meeting. Soon an unknown assailant captures them inside a big truck. Their only clue is an obituary for them and Jack Dalton.
When MacGyver is sent to rescue an American pilot held in Central America for supposed espionage, his wargame-trained daughter tags along, but she didn't quite come prepared for the real thing. MacGyver must now rescue the pilot while keeping his daughter safe from the soldiers.
MacGyver's friends throw a birthday party for him, but he's somberly reflecting on his past and future. While reflecting, MacGyver decides to leave the Phoenix Foundation to get married and have a family. Can Pete convince him of how important he is to the Foundation and get him to change his mind?
MacGyver is called to a meeting with a former British spy, who has learned of a group of terrorists that will use a new plastic explosive in a vengeful attack on the U.S. army. This explosive can be hidden anywhere. However, before the spy can give MacGyver all the details he is shot. MacGyver flees through a window and is picked up by a boat. The female who owns the boat soon learns that the man she has rescued doesn't have any memory.
MacGyver is forced to work with a ruthless freelance agent to rescue a human rights activist who is being held in a psychiatric hospital in Czechoslovakia. The rescue is an apparent success, until the secret police then kidnap the activist's wife to get him back.
While helping the People's Republic of China secure a priceless national treasure—The Ming Dragon—in a San Diego museum, MacGyver runs into a Lisa, a woman that he had loved and thought was long dead. MacGyver learns that Lisa has been alive all these years and needs his help escaping the KGB.
The KBG have Lisa in their grasp, and MacGyver must get The Ming Dragon for them to free Lisa. MacGyver enlists the help of his old buddy, Jack Dalton, to help him steal it.
Jimmy Kendall, living undercover after testifying against his Mob bosses, surfaces when he becomes the manager for a winning baseball team.
While mapping the wilderness for the Phoenix foundation, MacGyver stumbles on a deserted ship and finds a runaway girl who tells him that the rest of crew was driven away by Bigfoot.
A jewel thief with diplomatic immunity kills Mac's friend. But there are more people involved in the crime - and Mac can't be sure who's on his side.
Mac and Nikki race to recover equipment from a downed experimental plane before the Soviets, who are using a psychic to guide them to the wreckage.
MacGyver and Jack Dalton are arrested in Arkansas by a corrupt sheriff who arrests people to make them work in a labor camp used for mining gold. MacGyver wants to escape, but Jack has other ideas: He wants to find five million dollars his uncle Charlie left in the mines years before.
MacGyver is forced out of his grief over the tragic death of a friend by a madman with a score to settle from their past association.
A desperate physics student goes off the deep end and boobytraps a college lab when he fails to win a science competition and to live up to his father's high expectations.
MacGyver teams up with colleague Nikki Carpenter to find out who is behind the attempts on her life. When they find out that the man who tried to kill her is connected to two terrorists who blew up a local post office, MacGyver and Nikki must find out what the terrorist's next target is before it's too late.
Opening Gambit: MacGyver rescues an American pilot who has crashed on top of a high cliff. Main Episode: When a science lab studying the ozone layer mysteriously explodes, MacGyver is called in to rescue the scientists that are trapped underground. It's soon discovered that the explosion cracked a tank of sulfuric acid, and MacGyver is in a race against time before the Army uses a missile to seal up the base.
Opening Gambit: MacGyver uses a magnet to retrieve stolen documents, escapes a car about to be flattened, and then traps the thieves in midair. Main Episode: When MacGyver tries to retrieve a canister filled with a deadly chemical in Burma, he stumbles right into an area known as the Golden Triangle, where the military uses farmers as slaves on the opium fields. MacGyver is mistaken for a narcotics agent and is captured, but convinces the slaves to fight their oppression. MacGyver assists by setting several traps at the slave camp, and when the army returns to suppress the unrest, the real action begins.
MacGyver travels to Budapest to meet with a Russian double agent who is in possession of a watch containing information about other Russian spies. However, before MacGyver can take the watch, the agent is killed and the watch is stolen. Now MacGyver must work with the Gypsies to get it back.
Opening Gambit: MacGyver retrieves a top-secret map, then uses it to escape his pursuers in the desert. MacGyver escapes the desert by using a hot-air balloon conveniently stored at a rendezvous point. Main Episode: MacGyver attempts to get a reporter out of a Central American country with evidence linking a general to an illegal arms dealer. As MacGyver and Kate (the reporter) reach the border, it is clear escaping to Mexico will be no easy task, as the general and the arms dealer have every imaginable route severely guarded. There is no turning back. MacGyver must figure out how to get across the border, as his life, as well as Kate's, hangs in the balance.
When $60 million worth of stolen diamonds destined for a relief charity end up in the hands of casino owner Jack Catlin, MacGyver must head to the Virgin Islands to try and get them back. With the help of Chris Rhodes, a senator's daughter, MacGyver masterminds a plan to break into Catlin's vault and steal them back.
Opening Gambit: In the Pyrenees Mountains, MacGyver rescues a prisoner, then makes a daring escape with her by raft. Main Episode: MacGyver comes along on a expedition to Brazil with his friend, entomologist Dr. Alden. They meet with a landowner and recluse, Trumbo, who is initially hostile. However, when they realize that a mile-wide column of army ants is moving through the jungle, they team together to mount a defense. Alden is killed by the ants, which seem unstoppable. MacGyver tries to flood the ants by filling the surrounding troughs with water, but when that plan fails, he uses a flamethrower to burn the oncoming ants. Out of gasoline and quickly running out of time, MacGyver must come up with a plan to dispose of the ants, or Trumbo will lose in one afternoon what he spent his life assembling.
When MacGyver is on his way to a vacation, he takes the wrong way and ends up at a small airstrip where everybody seems to be behaving strangely. Too late, he discovers that the airstrip has been taken hostage, and he has been caught in the middle of a plane-hijacking attempt.
During a trip to visit some friends, an accident starts a fire in an oil well owned by MacGyver's friends. MacGyver and his buddy then go to fetch dynamite in an abandonned mine at great peril to themselves after they decide the dynamite is the only feasible way the fire can be put out. However, when they use it, the fire only becomes more intense. Can MacGyver and his Hellfire friend survive the incredible heat to put out the fire and save the oil buried underneath the well?
A man wants to testify against his mobster brother in Federal Court, and MacGyver has the job of keeping him safe, but the man's mother is dying and he wants to visit her.
Opening Gambit: MacGyver rescues a lady general at a beach house, then nabs her kidnappers using common kitchen equipment. Main Episode: After blowing away a nuclear facility under the control of an aggressive world leader, MacGyver returns home for some peace and quiet, only to find his boss waiting for him. He advises MacGyver that a contract is out on his life and he needs to skip town for awhile.
When MacGyver comes home with some important documents, he's drugged by enemy agents and told that he will die in six hours if he doesn't retrieve the documents for them. But MacGyver, using an old prisoner trick, escapes. Now the only problem is convincing someone that he's not just another drunk.
Opening Gambit: Posing as a corpse, MacGyver escapes Berlin by coffin-turned-jet-ski. Main Episode: MacGyver is trapped in a mansion with Pete, a code expert, and a government agent who may or may not be on their side. However, an old nemesis has electronically booby-trapped the entire mansion to make sure they can't go anywhere.
An old girlfriend of MacGyver's contacts him for help after she discovers evidence of uranium thefts from a nuclear processing plant where she works.
A mysterious person, who calls himself "Viking", has just bombed a cruise ship. He demands six million dollars or another bomb will go off within hours. So MacGyver, with an old friend from Vietnam, Charlie Robinson, is sent to disarm it. But when they get there, they find out there's more then one bomb on the ship.
MacGyver is on his way out of Bulgaria with a secret microfilm, when he meets Penny Parker, a beautiful, talkative American, who is on the run from her lover, a man named Stephan Frolov. She stashes some jewels on MacGyver, thus making him a suspect, and now MacGyver and Penny must flee Bulgaria together.
In Afghanistan, wounded and hunted by the Soviets, MacGyver is given refuge by an Afghan woman and her son. But they are themselves at the mercy of an Afghan thug, who will kill MacGyver if he finds him at his woman.
A 15-year-old genius accidentally hacks into a defective missile guidance system and attracts the attention of both the FBI and some black marketeers, who think that she may fix it for them. It's up to MacGyver to save her from being kidnapped by either side.
At the beginning of the episode, MacGyver literally has to jump onto a moving train that he missed earlier to return top-secret files and documents to the U.S. Government. Soon after, a local tribe stops the train. They take all passengers hostage until the men responsible for the death of the tribal leader's son is found among the passengers.
When a mother superior at a religious mission in North Africa asks MacGyver to help a young woman with something, he is glad to help. However, when he finds out the young woman wants him to break her brother out of jail, he may have taken on more than he expected.
Pete Thornton investigates the supposed death of an old friend, a prominent Russian dissident, and finds he must get his friend's daughter Maria out of the country before the secret police arrest her for an alleged conspiracy. However, while in Russia, Pete bumps into MacGyver, who followed him from the United States. While disappointed MacGyver followed him, Pete gladly welcomes MacGyver into his plans when the secret police arrive to take Maria into custody. Following a high speed boat chase to escape the police, Pete and MacGyver find out from Maria that her father is not dead, he is being held in a maximum security ward at a state mental institution. To get into the mental hospital, MacGyver plays the part of a mad patient and Pete plays the part of a doctor who has been assigned to him. With the help of the other patients, MacGyver is able to escape into Ward Zero, where Pete's friend is held. MacGyver breaks him out and hides him with the other patients