This is a list of problems that have been solved by MacGyver. Demonstrating resourcefulness, he employs his knowledge of science, technology and outdoorsmanship to resolve what are often life or death crises. His ingenuity is normally put to the test under dire circumstances with little time or specialized resources with which to work. (Though it does seem he frequently has a Swiss Army knife and a roll of duct tape with him.)
- MacGyver shorts out a missile timer with a bent paper clip causing the timer to stop, thus keeping the missile from detonating.
- MacGyver rigs a machine gun with a cord, string, stick, and matches so that when the string burns through the machine gun falls and is triggered by the stick and begins firing (while still being held by the cord).
- MacGyver makes a "Rocket Thruster" by hitting a flare gun with a rock, launching him and a man he rescues off of a mountain where he later releases a parachute and makes a swift getaway.
- MacGyver smashes a pair of binoculars, removing a prism to deflect a laser beam back to the emitter and destroys it. He also wipes his optics clean with bare fingers. Time index: 21:00. As a side note, the episode states that the laser is a carbon dioxide laser. These operate at a wavelength of approximately 10 micrometers (infrared) and are thus invisible no matter how much smoke is in the air. Also the wavelength of a carbon dioxide laser is readily absorbed by normal glass and optics. This makes MacGyver's feat all the more impressive.
- MacGyver plugs a sulfuric acid leak with chocolate. He states that chocolate contains sucrose and glucose. The acid reacts with the sugars to form elemental carbon and a thick gummy residue (proved to be correct on Mythbusters).
- When MacGyver needs to move a large steel beam blocking his way, he cuts the end off a fire hose, ties a knot in the hose, and runs the hose under the beam. He then turns on the water, and the hydraulic pressure in the hose causes the beam to lift enough for him to shift it out of the way.
- MacGyver hints that he knows how to make a bomb or otherwise get through a solid wall with a stick of gum, via a sarcastic remark from Barbara Spencer. "Don't tell me you know how to make a bomb out of a stick of chewing gum" "Why, have you got some?"
- MacGyver creates a bomb to open a door using a gelatin cold capsule containing sodium metal, which he then places in a glass container filled with water. When the gelatin dissolves, the sodium reacts violently with the water and causes an explosion which blows a hole in the wall. (On the popular TV show MythBusters, they disproved that this can be achieved with sodium.)
- MacGyver flashes a morse code message through the lighting system to warn the control room to stop a missile from destroying the facility.
The Golden Triangle (1x02)Edit
- In order to create a distraction, MacGyver connects a self-inflating life jacket, a self-inflating boat, and a signal flare together so that as the life jacket inflates it pulls the ripcord off the boat. This serves as a time-delay mechanism. As the boat inflates it sets off the pen flare.
- MacGyver and the people of a village he is protecting from a drug lord and his soldiers create a trap using a bamboo pipe with holes drilled along its length, fire ash, and rice alcohol. The fire ash and rice alcohol are ejected through the holes in the pipe by car exhaust, creating a smoke screen and irritating the eyes of the attackers.
- To slow down the approaching drug lord and soldiers, MacGyver places a large tree branch across the access road to the village. Using some cord wrapped around the triggers, he hooks the branch up to some AK-47 assault rifles pointing toward the road at ground level. When the soldiers try to move the branch, they inadvertently pull the cord and the guns shoot out their jeeps' tires.
- To bring down a helicopter gunship, MacGyver lassos a metal cable onto the helicopter's landing rails and connects the cable to a jeep's winch. By winching in the winch, he pulls the helicopter to the ground.
Thief of Budapest (1x03)Edit
- MacGyver uses a board and a bunch of light bulbs to simulate a blown tire (when it is driven over). This causes the driver to get out and inspect his tire, allowing MacGyver to access the truck.
- MacGyver uses salt combined with sugar and a small amount of chemical enhanced weed killer to create dynamite with a battery acid trigger.
- Used a magnifying glass made of a hairpin and wine to read names of spies from a watch.
- A man covers MacGyver with a newspaper while he opens a hatch in a traffic light. He cuts a credit card (with his knife) into several pieces and shoves them in to a spinning cogwheel. This disrupts the normal behavior of the signal, disrupting traffic and allowing him to escape.
- MacGyver jams the local police radio signal by duct taping a transistor radio to a police radio (in transmit mode) and attaching the bundle to several helium-filled balloons.
The Gauntlet (1x04)Edit
- MacGyver is able to retrieve a key which is in the lock but on the other side of the door by sliding a map under the door and pushing the key with his pen knife through the keyhole. The key falls on the map and MacGyver is able to slide it underneath the door and exit the room before he is apprehended.
- MacGyver made a pea shooter out of the map and he slid down a sand dune on it.
- MacGyver, while escaping in a hot-air balloon from armed guards, patches a bullet hole in the balloon using a map and some tape.
- MacGyver and a photographer he was attempting to rescue are captured. He creates a diversion by plugging a camera's external-flash signal cable into a small amount of plastic explosive and setting the camera's timer; thus, creating a time-delayed explosion.
- MacGyver creates a distraction by building a mechanism in a church bell tower with two candles, a leather strap from the lady photographer's purse and some firecrackers. The strap holds a bell in the tower to one side. The clapper has a lit candle attached to it. The firecrackers are taped to the inner surface of the bell. The other candle is set up to burn through the strap. When it does, the bell is released, and the flame of the candle attached to the clapper contacts the firecrackers, igniting them. When they explode, the sound is amplified by the bell, and the guards in the street are distracted.
- MacGyver takes the bus driver's mirror off (the one where he can see to the back of the bus) and duct tapes it to the back of the driver's seat. He then uses a compact mirror to set up a periscope system to drive the bus out of town while sitting on the floor.
- MacGyver pours oil all over the engine of an old Jeep to create a smoke distraction as the engine heats up.
Trumbo's World (1x06)Edit
- MacGyver uses a piece of wood (support beam off of a porch) as a lever under a door to lift the locked door off of its hinges.
- MacGyver soaks a rope in kerosene and later uses the rope to rappel down a cliff and then burns the rope as the bad guys try to follow. The bad guys climb back up before the fire reaches the top.
- MacGyver stretches barbed wire across a stream to deflate a pursuing raft (he found the barbed wire on the dock before he launched the raft).
- In order to fix a piston con-rod for a water pump, MacGyver makes an arc welder out of a generator, some jumper cables, and two half dollars, by running the DC current through the coins to create heat and electrical discharge, with which he can weld the con-rod.
- MacGyver throws a rope over a beam and around a canoe which has a girl pinned under it. He then takes a bamboo stick and begins to twist the rope. This action causes the boat to lift off of the girl.
- In order to create a flamethrower, MacGyver pumps gasoline out of a tank through the gas hose and a flame thrower type nozzle. The stream of fire ignites branches to prevent army ants from entering the camp.
- MacGyver uses nitrate from fertilizer, cellulose from plant bark, and a drip or two of acid to make nitromannite (it is a little more sensitive than nitroglycerin) in order to make a bomb to blow up a dam.
Last Stand (1x07)Edit
- In order to open a locked security van, MacGyver creates a thermite torch using magnesium filed from a racing cycle frame and iron rust held in a long metal tube and lit with a roadside signal flare.
- MacGyver makes several small bombs using fertilizer, starter fluid, foam padding, and newspaper.
- To open the door of a walk-in freezer, MacGyver fills the lock with water (ice melted from a light bulb) and allows it to re-freeze in the lock. The expansion of the ice forces the lock open.
- MacGyver repairs a blown fuse using the aluminum wrapper of a stick of chewing gum to bridge the blown fuse.
- To carry several boxes of explosives leaking nitroglycerin across rocky terrain, MacGyver places the crates on a surface suspended by wagon springs and sand, both of which absorb shock from the terrain and any drops.
- MacGyver uses the spring from a ballpoint pen as a replacement for a throttle linkage spring in a truck's engine. While this would very temporarily work to replace a broken linkage spring, a broken linkage spring would not cause the truck to stall out as shown in the episode. Rather, without the spring the throttle would stay open, causing the truck to accelerate uncontrollably.
- To put out an oil rig fire, MacGyver sets off a nitroglycerin explosion in order to consume enough oxygen to put out the fire. N.B. nitroglycerin gives off oxygen when it detonates.
- To get the explosives into the fire, MacGyver creates a makeshift train from a burnt-out jeep running along pipes as tracks.
- MacGyver uses an old refrigerator as a heat shield.
The Prodigal (1x09)Edit
- MacGyver used a circular saw and a shop vac to spread wood pieces and saw dust into the room below (he was hiding in a work area above) which confused the bad guys and aided the good guys in their escape.
- MacGyver removed the lug nuts on the wheels of a couple of bad guys cars so that the wheels fell off when they pursued him (one wheel fell off of each car).
- Soda, fizzies (candy), dry ice simulated smoke
- Dropped a car he was towing (with a tow truck) in an alley to block his pursuers.
- MacGyver used a rope and plastic pipe on stairs to trip bad guys. The rope was rigged to pull up the pipe when he pulled on it and it tripped them up.
- Made a harpoon launcher to fire a zipline in order to get out of a locked room (used cleaning fluid, moth balls, a telescope, pulley, rope and metal rod)..
Target MacGyver (1x10)Edit
- MacGyver picks a lock with his Swiss Army knife.
- MacGyver used a toaster oven to melt ice altering the position of pots and causing them to fall to the floor. This caused a distruption coming from the kitchen. When the bad guys ran into the kitchen he had spread cooking oil on the floor and they slid all over the place . He also stretched a garden hose across a door exit which tripped the bad guys up when they ran out of the house after him.
- MacGyver set an explosive device which blew up a Middle Eastern nuclear refining plant (set off a very impressive series of explosions).
- MacGyver used an ultraviolet lighting in the doorway of his home to determine that someone had entered (saw footprints on the welcome mat).
- He uses hollow reeds stuck into a piece of bark and sets it afloat in the water to make the bad guys think they are still in the water.
- Makes a blow dart out of a piece of bamboo and poisonous sap from a shrub (Urtika family).
- Macgyver gets Harry to fill his vest with sticks and twigs to act as a diversion (to make it look like a man falling).
- MacGyver uses several pine cones and pine pitch to act as ad hoc grenades / land mines. (Pine Sap has some latent explosive properties).
- MacGyver uses grain dust to spontaneously combust (with the help of a match) and harry uses pine nuts to simulate gun shots when burned.
- MacGyver partially cuts through a porch post so that when he knocks it off, the roof will cave in on a bad guy.
- MacGyver uses a gum wrapper to make a fishing lure.
- MacGyver uses stretched bed springs attached to pipes next to a door and to a bed frame to launch the bed frame through the door and at the bad guys as they try to enter the room he is in (like a sling shot).
- MacGyver disassembles a sink and uses his belt to link the sink drain to a nearby electric outlet. The water flows through the electrical system of the building and shorts out the electric box.
- MacGyver uses a TV tube, a battery, and jumper cables to overload the TV tube causing an explosion when it is triggered by opening the door from the outside as it is pushed in (causes the jumper cables to touch). He turns on a small transistor radio to attract the bad guys to his trap.
- MacGyver lowers a fire hose through a window in order to fool the bad guys into thinking he has escaped down it. He was actually hiding under an old turned over couch.
- MacGyver puts a nail into a car's tire valve releasing a steady stream of air and then hides in the car. When the bad guy leans over to check out the leaking valve, he kicks the car door open and knocks the bad guy out.
- MacGyver uses sheets of plywood, water jugs, and a smoke alarm. He throws a rope over a beam and hoists up the water bottles. He lights the end of a rope to set off the smoke alarm. When the bad guys come, he drops the water bottles onto the plywood which knocks over some drums onto the bad guys. He is then able to strike the bad guys and knock them out.
- MacGyver finds a pipe and bangs it against a fire hydrant to magnetize it so he can get the metal antidote tube from out of a drain (banging causes temporary molecular structural alignment as all the ions run to the other end thereby creating the magnet).
Deathlock (1x12) Edit
- MacGyver uses a special coffin (he was being smuggled across the border in it) that turns into a jet ski when he pushes a few buttons on a control (the pallbearers threw the coffin over a bridge and into the water below when their scheme was discovered).
- MacGyver makes an electronic jammer out of some electrical kitchen appliances all turned on at the same time (including a spinning metal mixing bowl).
- MacGyver attaches the torso and helmet of a suit of armour onto the top of a food trolley, and then attaches a makeshift motor with a battery pack, some rubber bands and an electric whisk. The whisk spins the rubber bands and they turn the wheel of the trolley. MacGyver sets the trolley off past a row of hedges to distract an automatic gun that follows movement.
- MacGyver uses a baking soda and vinegar concoction to create a smoke screen.
- MacGyver does some major rewiring (to short out the bad guys entire complex video system) and surrounds the re-wired electric box with metal junk (to hide behind) with an attached mirror (to act as a periscope) and a rigged water cannon. MacGyver short circuits the power box to lure the bad guy down to it and he hides behind the junk. After some drama, the water cannon shoots the bad guy into the electric system and short circuits (but he is still alive) so MacGyver finishes him off with a punch.
Flames End (1x13)Edit
- MacGyver rewires the panel of an electronically-timed lock so the oscillator counts down much more quickly (to override the locking mechanism), and he and Amy are able to get out of the nuclear waste disposal chamber before said waste hits the room.
- MacGyver uses a dismantled revolver as a wrench to unblock a nuclear reactor cooling system.
- Made a remote control robot to open the refrigerator and get eggs (unfortunately the egg dropped on his friend's shoe rather than into the pot).
- Turned a cargo net into a rappelling line.
- MacGyver uses a neon tube, inserted into a vacuum-sealed bomb container, as a vacuum to suck up phosphorus powder.
- He later uses oven cleaner and milk as a chemical base to neutralize the acid in four containers.
The Enemy Within (1x15)Edit
- After a brake line in the engine is shot (by enemy soldiers), MacGyver repairs the line and uses power steering fluid (from the power steering line) to re-pressurize the brakes. He does this while speeding down a hill and leaning into the engine.
- MacGyver uses a dubious ultrasonic device to crack the eyeglasses of a would-be assailant.
- MacGyver uses a mixture of adipic acid, hexamethylene diamene, and iron particles activated by a magnetic field to turn the mixture into nylon. He was able to show that a man was murdered rather than just having an ordinary heart attack.
- MacGyver uses various items around a science fair to make a hypnotizing machine (mirror, spiral painted ashtray, spinning device).
- He later uses two candlestick holders, a floor mat, and an electrical powercord as a makeshift defibrillator to revive a fallen comrade.
Every Time She Smiles (1x16)Edit
- MacGyver puts a stamp on a postcard (over a piece of microfilm).
- MacGyver uses two coat hangers (attached in a metallic square-knot to look like a "figure 8"), a wooden chair, and the conveyor belt just outside his room to break through the chicken-wire in the wall. (The conveyor belt pulls the hangers, which are attached to the chair, and pulls it through the wall).
- After the bad guys get on a merry-go-round, MacGyver pushes the lever to its maximum speed and then dumps metal rings into the gears so that the merry-go-round suddenly stops and throws the bad guys off so he can escape.
- MacGyver mixes pesticide, soap flakes and tile cleaner in a hot pan to create a smokescreen distraction in an enemies apartment. He also pulls a gas pipe off the wall and sprays gas onto a mixture of lard and crystallised oven cleaner which causes a mini explosion to set the fire alarm off in the building. MacGyver and Penny disguise themselves in the crowd of evacuating people.
- MacGyver climbs aboard a water-tanker truck and uses a plastic tube to route its exhaust fumes to the truck's water tube to create an immiscible liquid. Spraying the liquid onto the road surface he creates a treacherous oil-slick for the pursuing vehicles to lose control on, allowing Mac to escape in his own (trailing) vehicle.
To Be a Man (1x17)Edit
- MacGyver constructs a hang glider out of spare parts from a crashed satellite to escape armed pursuit.
- MacGyver uses a scarf and a stone as a sling to drop a bad guy off of his horse.
- Used a butane tank as torpedo to knock down a bad guy.
- MacGyver fixes a hand pump by wrapping material around the plunger to create a seal so that a vacuum could form.
- MacGyver ties a rope around a support pole in a stable so that when he pulls it, the ceiling falls down on the bad guy (he was hiding in the hay).
- MacGyver pours water in the crack of a large boulder and then uses a fire extinguisher to freeze the water, thus splitting the rock which crashes onto the vehicle below, destroying it.
Ugly Duckling (1x18)Edit
- MacGyver uses a large speaker and an oscillator to create a high-pitched squeal that causes his attackers to temporarily be distracted so that he can disable them. After moving 5 or 6 feet, the plug is pulled and the distraction ends, resulting in their capture.
- Kate Lafferty, (the secondary character, episode title's namesake) attempts to break out of a shed with barred windows using an impromptu arc welder using battery terminals and a small metal object. (MacGyver pulls the same trick in the episode "Trumbo's World"), but is unable to get out because the bars are too hot. MacGyver cools the bars off using a spray can which "contains hydrocarbons".
- MacGyver and Kate use a cactus as a makeshift battery to operate a radio in order to triangulate the location of the bad-guy's radio.
- MacGyver uses a straight mirror and a binocular lens to overheat a cartridge in a shotgun, causing a distraction (caused a Jeep to blow up and knock out the bad guys).
Slow Death (1x19)Edit
- MacGyver pours salt in a bowl and uses a seltzer spray bottle to spray the salt into the face of the bad guy.
- MacGyver spreads moonshine on top of the train and lights it as the bad guys try to follow him causing the bad guys to jump off the roof of the train.
- MacGyver rigged the train's starter to shock.
- MacGyver bends the nozzle from a metal bottle (presumably alcohol) pourer to create an animal whistle that blows at ultrasonic frequencies. He uses this whistle to cause the horse of the character named "Hassan" to buck.
- MacGyver also makes a lie-detector out of a sphygmomanometer, a wire and an alarm clock by placing the wire under the connection of the sphygmomanometer on the arm and running it to the alarm clock's buzzer. He then states that when the man (who is already sweating) sweats it triggers the alarm.
- MacGyver took his shoe off and threw it on top of the train to make the bad guy think that he was up there when in reality he came up the stairs after him. It didn't work as he was hit with a gun and knocked down.
The Escape (1x20)Edit
- MacGyver uses a soccer ball (as a mold), newspaper, cotton balls, and olive oil to make a paper mache hot air balloon for signaling his outside contact.
- MacGyver uses PCP & "volatile liquid" on clothes for explosive
- MacGyver uses a live compressor power wire from a refrigerator, rigs one wire of it up to a metal wash pan handle, and wraps the other wire around a block of ice. The wire has a bare end exposed, so that when the ice melts, the wire falls on the metal pan, completing the circuit and blowing up PCP drugs.
- MacGyver uses a spatula taped to a ceiling fan to mimic the sound of a helicopter flying overhead. He records the sounds on a stolen tape recorder then he has a friend play it over the prison intercom system to simulate an air attack.
- MacGyver must blow up an explosives van without being seen and uses gunpowder from WW2 era grenades as a powder fuse/timer so he can blow up a weapons cache truck that has a box of grenades lying underneath it.
A Prisoner of Conscience (1x21)Edit
- To stop the secret police following him, MacGyver blocks the exhaust pipe of their car with a potato in order to stall the engine.
- MacGyver stops a pursuing boat by clogging the intake for the boat's inboard motor with a floating device made from a blanket, some rope, and jerrycans.
- To break out of a locked ward in a mental hospital, MacGyver uses the spring steel filament support wires from a light bulb as lock picks.
- MacGyver plugs a sink in a small janitor's closet with a cloth, puts caulk around the rim of a bucket then pours a hardening agent onto the caulked rim claiming "caulking compound mixed with the proper hardening agent makes a unique version of Russian Crazy Glue". MacGyver then places the bucket in the water rim up so it floats, bobbing up and down. He then glues a broom handle to the bucket's rim, places a white cloth on the end of the broom handle and sticks it out the doorway to attract the attention of a guard. The guard inspects the device and when he picks it up has his hands glued to the bucket.
The Assassin (1x22)Edit
- MacGyver escapes a pursuing car by placing a length of wood in front of a row of tire spikes. This allows MacGyver to drive over them. He then removes the wood. When the pursuing car attempts to follow him, they drive onto the spikes, deflating their tires.
- MacGyver uses explosive toothpaste (left in the room by an assassin) to scare a girl who was pointing a gun at him. He was able to take the gun away from her and then explain that he is not the person she thought he was (that is, the assassin).
- In an interesting reversal, Piedra (an international assassin whom MacGyver is impersonating to stop the murder of a local archbishop) removes two pieces of thin copper wiring hidden in his fake mustache while in his cell, and picks the lock on his handcuffs, removing them. He further removes a needle hidden underneath a fake scar on his right abdomen, plunges the blunt end into a pea on his food tray, and rolls a tube from his paper cup he's torn apart. He then places the makeshift dart into the tube, (now clearly a crude blowgun), makes a ruckus to call one of the DXS agents to his cell and darts the guard, rendering him incapacitated. (It's assumed the needle is tipped with curare, a South American-derived poison discussed earlier, after being found in a pen gun on Piedra upon his initial capture.)
- MacGyver is holding a phone but the man holding him at gunpoint wont let him make the call to clear him of being the assassin. The man with the gun tells him to put the phone down and he puts it down on a ruler (part of which is hanging off the end of the table). He then slaps the ruler and the man with the gun catches the flying phone while tossing the gun up for MacGyver to grasp (it happens really fast).
- Mac, in pursuit of Piedra through a local church, is knocked to the ground with a spin kick by Piedra on a patio outside. Piedra attempts to flee past him back inside, and Mac pulls a garden hose laying across the path taut, causing Piedra to trip and fall on top of one of the lethal darts he fired and missed Mac with only moments before.
The Human Factor (2x01)Edit
- MacGyver builds a telescope using a newspaper, a magnifying lens, and a watch crystal (the crystal covering). He rolls the magnifying lens and the crystal into the newspaper, making a telescope. Mac places the magnifying lens into the wider end of the tube, which is later seen facing the camera. He uses it to see the numbers punched into the entrance number pad when several personnel enter.
- MacGyver walks across a laser sensitive foot zone protecting a number pad entrance lock by stretching out a tightrope and walking across it.
- In order to fake a hand print for electronic scanning, MacGyver applies distributed pressure to a thin layer of plaster dust covering the scanner, making it read the most recently scanned hand. He scrapes a plaster wall to get dust, then spreads it liberally over the entire scanner, where some of it sticks to the sweat of the previous user. He gently blows away the excess, covers the sensor plate with his jacket, and presses down lightly with his fingers. Category: Biometrics. Approximate time index: 17:15. Unverified.
- MacGyver needs to destroy several laser emitters blocking a hallway, so he sets up a mirror to reflect the lasers at each other. The lasers come from the ceiling and cross diagonally at equal angles from vertical. MacGyver slides a mirror (pushed on a cleaning cart) underneath the lasers so that the lasers reflect back on each other and destroy the emitters. Approximate time index: 25:30.
- As laser-wielding robots home in on his body heat, MacGyver creates a fake heat signature by using magnets wrapped in burning paper. He opens several telephone handsets to get the magnets, and finds paper and matches in the science lab he is in. Once aflame, he throws one piece of burning paper, with a magnet wrapped inside, at each robot. The magnets stick to the metal of the robots. With each robot "tagged," they home in on each other and destroy one another. Approximate time index: 33:00. Unverified. Magnets would likely have been strong enough. (It should be mentioned that the robots would also have a heat signature, potentially within the same range as a human; however, it is quite likely that heat-producing components within the robots themselves would have been shielded in some way, such that a burning object on the robot's external surface would have made them appear noticeably warmer).
The Eraser (2x02)Edit
- MacGyver repairs a post mix soda gun by bleeding off some built-up carbon dioxide that has caused a valve to stick. He takes off the button panel of the soda gun, removes the troubled valve spindle (both with his Swiss Army knife) and inserts a miniature pirate's sword from a plate of olives. Using the sword, he opens the valve to the CO2 line fully, and draws out the sword, which lets it close naturally. Unverified. Approximate time: 9:30.
- In order to bypass an electronic door lock, MacGyver shorts out the circuitry. He detaches the main circuit board from the door, which is on the back of a metal plate. Using a cut power cable from a nearby lamp, he applies electricity from the wall to two of the main points on the circuit board. These points are apparently wired to a switch on the inside of the door lock which is designed to pass a current through them when the switch is pressed. The resulting short circuit causes the lock to open. Unverified. Approximate time: 15:45.
- When he needs to remotely control a car's door locks, MacGyver connects the car's mobile phone to its onboard computer's signal lines for the door locks. Using his knife to open the back of the phone, he identifies the contacts where power is routed when the phone is taken off the hook. He opens a tube of wires and identifies, presumably based on color, the two wires which control the computer's locking circuitry. He wraps one wire around each contact, reassembles the device, and waits at a nearby phone booth. When the car's owner gets in, he calls the phone and pretends to order a pizza. The doors lock when the owner puts the phone down. The doors unlock when MacGyver approaches the car and signals to pick up the phone. Unverified (researchers should know this episode aired Sept. 29, 1986). Approximate time: 25:00.
Twice Stung (2x03)Edit
- With his friend dying of carbon monoxide poisoning, MacGyver breaks through his friend's apartment door by tying a fire hose to the door handle and an elevator handrail, then sending the elevator down. He cuts the fire hose with his Swiss army knife, ties the nozzle end to the door, the other end to the hand rail, and lays the hose very flat against the ground so the elevator's doors won't close on it. When the elevator goes down, it pulls enough of the door with it that MacGyver can reach in and unlock the deadbolt and chain door lock. Unverified.
- With two hostile men breaking into his friend's house, MacGyver stuns the intruders with a flash from a photoflood bulb, allowing his friend and himself to escape. He takes the battery out of a normal, high-power flashlight and connects one of the wires from the flood light power cord to it. He cuts the other wire in the middle and strips both new ends. He attaches one end to the open terminal on the battery, and then he lays both ends near each other on the ground. He folds two matchbooks into triangles an inch high or so, and lays them near each exposed wire. He rests a metal letter opener on top of the two matchbooks. When the intruders step on the letter opener accidentally, the circuit is closed, and the lights flash. Unverified (battery power? Or did he connect the battery to the trigger pins?). Approximate time: 32:00.
- Uses wad of paper/gum? to block bolt on police evidence room cage door.
- Rewires cage door button to short/spark when pressed.
The Wish Child (2x04)Edit
- MacGyver lights a fuse without a match by concentrating sunlight on the fuse with his watch crystal. He removes the crystal with his Swiss army knife and holds it so a fine point of light is focused at the fuse's end. Unverified. Approximate time: 13:00.
- To scale a wall, MacGyver converts an umbrella into a grappling hook. First he pulls down a clothesline and cuts it, to get rope. Then he cuts away the fabric of the umbrella so only the metal spokes are left. He ties the rope onto the handle of the umbrella and throws it over the wall, where it catches on some pipes on the other side. It can be noticed that realistically this would not work, as the spokes on most umbrellas reverse themselves inside out if pressure is put on them, and therefore wouldn't be able to support a person's weight. Approximate time: 27:45.
- When blocked by a heavy door with a strong lock, MacGyver destroys the lock by igniting gunpowder inside of it. He steals the gun from a henchman and empties it of cartridges. He opens each cartridge and pours out the gunpowder into a small piece of cloth torn from his clothes. He stuffs the wrapped-up powder into the lock and puts one cartridge in after it with the primer end sticking out a bit to act as a fuse. He hits the primer with the butt of the gun, exploding the gunpowder and opening the door. Approximate time: 42:15. Note that this trick was first used on film in 1942 in the eleventh episode of the Columbia serial The Phantom, starring Tom Tyler. The Phantom escapes from the prison of the villainous Tartar using the same technique. This was foreshadowed earlier in the episode with MacGyver turning off a television on which The Phantom was playing.
Final Approach (2x05)Edit
- To scare away a mountain lion, MacGyver creates a basic waterfall from a small stream. He uses a hollow half-pipe shaped log to guide the water flow and removes rocks from its path. Approximate time: 24:15.
- MacGyver builds a stethoscope out of a pair of headphones and some rubber tubing. He gets a pair of 2 ft (60cm) rubber tubes from a cockpit pressure gauge. He disassembles the headphones, which operate on air pressure rather than electrical current. Using just one ear piece, he takes out the existing rubber tubing, and replaces it with the loose tubing from the plane. This essentially creates a microphone out of the ear piece, and he can now listen from the opposite ends of the tubing. Unverified. Approximate time: 31:30.
- In a particularly elaborate stunt, MacGyver builds a mud runway for a plane. This allows the plane, which has a punctured front tire, to take off, after replacing the wheel with a log that has a v-shape chiseled out on the inside and a smoothed half-circle outside. (The other two wheels ride on solid ground.) First the runway area is cleared of debris, then a 1 ft (30cm) trench is dug. The mud is filled in from a nearby river, carried in campers' backpacks. In order to align the runway, MacGyver builds a theodolite, a device used to sight straight lines. The theodolite is built from relatively straight tree branches and uses earrings as sight guides. The runway is 300 yards (274 m) long, and the plane is a five-passenger, single engine Cessna. To land the plane, he has an airport lay down foam. (Saying that the trench was 8 inches wide, the trench would require ~22 cubic yards of mud. This would probably take several days to do.) Approximate time: 35:00.
Jack of Lies (2x06)Edit
- In order to stop a pursuing Jeep, MacGyver builds a bomb out of a fire extinguisher. He is in a plane that is being chased down a runway by several Jeeps. To stop one of them, he tapes two metal hooks to the outside of the extinguisher and removes the nozzle assembly. Then he launches it out of the plane with elastic ropes that cover the door. When the Jeep drives over the extinguisher, the hooks pierce the cylinder and it explodes. Unverified. Approximate time: 16:00.
The Road Not Taken (2x07)Edit
- To delay soldiers pursuing him, MacGyver burns a string dipped in kerosene attached to a tin can. The resulting flame is bright enough to look like a fuse for a bomb, and the can is filled with animal fat which resembles an explosive. Approximate time: 15:00.
- When he needs to throw off some pursuers in the jungle, 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. Approximate time: 23:30.
- MacGyver creates a rocket-propelled flare out of bamboo, fertilizer, matches, a strip of cloth, a small tin can, a thin metal rod, a funnel, and a wooden spoon. The fertilizer has nitrates, which is the explosive. He packs the fertilizer in the bottom of the bamboo, then the matches, then the tin can which is itself packed with the cloth with a strip hanging out. He ties the spoon onto the side of the rocket with the metal rod used as a guide within the bamboo tube. The funnel is attached to the top of the rocket, to contain the explosion. The strip of cloth serves as the fuse, and then matches as the igniter. MacGyver sets the entire apparatus in a fireplace, where he lights the fuse and lets the rocket take off. *This is basically a potato gun, a few differences aside: Instead of a potato he uses the crudely fashioned rocket described above for ammo; instead of BBQ igniters he uses match heads (which typically contain red and white phosphorus-both somewhat explosive); instead of the standard propellant (typically propane) he apparently felt safe using an ANFO (Ammonium Nitrate/Fuel Oil) (Possibly incorrect: ammonium nitrate is not nearly as volatile without fuel oil or gasoline...neither of which are mentioned). Like so many other situations calling for a quick torch, he uses a (suspiciously) handy road flare to set the "potato" gun off.* Approximate time: 43:30.
- MacGyver is trying to help an eagle shot by the crossbow of a hunter. After he removes the arrow from the wing, he splints the wing with the arrow and some rags. The splint is essentially the same as any other, with the arrow serving as the inflexible component and the rags to tie it together. Approximate time: 11:30.
- MacGyver destroys a building with a propane tank, a grindstone, and some ball bearings. He lets the gas from the tank loose and switches on the grindstone. From outside, he shoots the ball bearings into the building at the grindstone. Although he doesn't hit the grindstone, the bad guy he is after shoots a crossbow into the building, and does hit the grind stone. A spark ignites the gas, and the building is flattened. Approximate time: 35:45. Natural, propane gas as well as gasoline alcohol and paint thinner will ignite and holds the potential to violently explode, if the mixture is correct. A low gas-to-air mix will result in more of a rolling fire ball, which is what special effects probably used for the shot. The next level of mix will violently explode and will flatten a house. Too much gas will not explode as in a "flooded" automobile motor. Two good sources of remote ignition exist in some homes. First is the pilot light in gas appliances, second is that electric motors while running will spark around the electrical contact point with the armature.
- In order to launch the above mentioned ball bearings at a high enough rate of speed to build a spark, MacGyver must build a slingshot. He uses a bicycle and some old tubing to do it. He pulls the handlebar grips off the bike and covers the exposed metal on each side with parts of the tubing. Then he replaces the grips over that tubing, giving him a tight but elastic portion of tubing. That's his slingshot. Approximate time: 36:15.
- Despite MacGyver's best efforts, an eagle he is trying to save doesn't make it, and its young are at stake. After hang gliding to the nest on top of a butte in Monument Valley, Utah, MacGyver brings the eggs back to the house where this episode takes place. To give the young a chance, he builds an incubator with padding from a chair and vegetable oil. As MacGyver puts it, "the oil combines with the fibers in the padding to create a low level spontaneous combustion," generating heat. Approximate time: 45:15.
Silent World (2x09)Edit
- MacGyver builds a time-delayed device to pull a switch out of water using plastic bags, sticks, and fishing line. He fills the two bags with a water bag to the switch. He pokes a hole in that bag, letting the water slowly drain out, eventually making the whole apparatus tilt and pull the switch. Approximate time: 44:00. Plausible. (basically a water clock, as MacGyver puts it)
Three For the Road (2x10)Edit
- MacGyver stops goons chasing his convertible by flipping the top of the car onto their windshield. The chase starts with the convertible's top down, and MacGyver unscrews it and cuts it free from the binding fabric. The driver of the convertible then pushes the button to put the top up, which releases the whole assembly. It flies onto the chase car, blinding the pursuers. Approximate time: 21:00. Unverified.
- MacGyver fixes a broken fuel line with a ball point pen. The fuel line has a hole in it, so he cuts out the section with the hole completely. He then joins the two loose ends by sliding them over a portion of a disassembled ball point pen so they form a seal. The fuel flows through the hollow pen housing. Approximate time: 23:00.
- MacGyver builds a mortar out of a muffler, a small amount of gas, stuffing from a seat cushion, and a steering wheel knob to stop pursuers. He bends the end of the muffler, to contain the explosion, and stuffs seat cushion material into the bent end. He then pours gas on top of that, and finally packs in the steering wheel knob, which serves as the projectile. He pokes a hole in the bent end of the muffler and stuffs in a short length of cushion material, to provide a fuse. He lights it, aims, and shoots the knob at a chasing car. Approximate time: 27:30. Unverified.
- To stun intruders, MacGyver rigs a circuit to blast a car horn when a door is opened. He connects a car battery to a car horn, with a metallic door handle acting as the switch. When the door is opened, the circuit is closed, the horn sounds, and the intruders are stunned. Approximate time: 39:00. Unverified.
Phoenix Under Siege (2x11)Edit
- MacGyver moves a New York lock from the opposite side of a door with an electromagnet. To build the magnet, he uses two 12-volt batteries as his power source, a sink faucet as the metal rod, and some copper cabling to wind around the faucet. He connects everything, and slides the lock out of place. Approximate time: 33:30. Unverified.
- Uses hockey ticket to stop detonating mechanism in bomb.
Family Matter (2x12)Edit
- MacGyver busts open a steel window covering with some rope and a donkey engine. A donkey engine is a device used in the logging industry to move fallen trees. Part of the engine includes a belt that goes around a cylinder, which MacGyver replaces with a rope. He ties the opposite end of the rope to a steel bar that he slits between the crossbars on the window covering. Through the rope, at the end next to the engine, he splices a thin metal cable which he attaches to the ignition switch. That lets him wait next to the window, and when he's ready, turn on the engine by tugging the rope. Approximate time: 32:00. Unverified (would it be plausible to find a donkey engine still in use?).
- To throw his opponents off balance, MacGyver builds bombs out of swamp gas, bamboo shoots, and mud. Because a bamboo shoot is hollow but not porous, it is well suited to hold gas. Swamp gas is mostly methane, which is lighter than air and thus rises out of swamps naturally. So MacGyver cuts several bamboo shoots, each just past the natural solid disc that is in bamboo every few feet. The disc, patched with mud, makes one solid end, and the other open end he puts just under the surface of the swamp water. He lets the gas build up inside the shoot for a little while, then caps it off with a wad of mud and a leaf. When he's ready to detonate the bombs, he lights the leaf, and eventually the gas explodes. Approximate time: 39:00.
Soft Touch (2x13)Edit
- MacGyver uses a road flare to follow a van without being spotted. As the van gets moving, MacGyver pulls a road flare out of the back of his jeep and throws it onto the roof of the van, into an equipment rack. The smoke trail from the flare is enough to allow MacGyver to follow it without needing to maintain line of sight. Approximate time: 32:00.
- MacGyver breaks a padlock with magnesium alloy fragments, an iron pipe, some cloth, and a match. First he rolls up the cloth to fit snugly into the pipe, and pushes it down a few inches to make a stop. He gets the magnesium from the spokes of a wheelchair's lower wheel and stuffs it on top of the cloth, and then covers that with another cloth. He wedges the pipe into the end of the padlock and lights the cloth on fire, causing the iron to heat up and expand. As it expands, it weakens and finally breaks the lock. Approximate time: 39:15.
Birth Day (2x14)Edit
- MacGyver creates a distress beacon out of a mast bag, marine signal flags, helium gas, and water. The point is to get help from someone far away, so he needs to send the flags their way. He first soaks the mast bag in water to make its surface less porous, so that it will retain helium gas. He then fills the bag with gas and seals it with a string. Dangling from the string, he attaches the signal flags - four in total, one for each letter of the word help. Approximate time: 41:30.
- In a rare unsuccessful MacGyverism, MacGyver fails to blow open a hatch with a bilge pump, a hose, and a dock buoy. MacGyver is stuck in the bilge of a ship that is taking on water. He has the idea that he can blow open the locked hatch (locked by the bad guys, naturally) by overfilling a buoy with water until it explodes. He pokes a hole in the buoy, inserts a tube, connects the end to the bilge pump, and fastens the buoy to the hatch with an angle brace. Unfortunately the buoy tears instead of exploding, causing the water to spill out and defeating the MacGyverism. MacGyver escapes from the predicament by finding a nearby tank of compressed gas and knocking open the valve, sending it shooting up through the hatch, blasting it open. Approximate time: 30:00.
- MacGyver safely detonates a land mine with a piece of string. The land mine is triggered by a rope which, when pulled on, arms it. When the rope is let loose, the mine goes off. The idea is that as you are walking, you trip over the wire, setting off the land mine. MacGyver catches himself as he arms the land mine, and then ties a piece of string to the rope. He holds the rope taut, walks away from it, and finally lets it go off from a safe distance. *Note (From a Combat Engineer): It is a common misconception that anti-personnel mines are armed and fired in this manner. In reality, the mine would detonate when a predetermined amount of pressure (generally around 10 lbs.) was applied to the top of the mine, not via a two phase process. Approximate time: 39:00.
Out in the Cold (2x16)Edit
- [MacGyver is trapped in an avalanche while skiing. He manages to signal a rescue team from beneath the snow with a ski pole and parts of his ski suit. He pulls the grip and point off of his ski pole, giving him a 5-foot long hollow tube. He tears off some cloth from his ski suit in roughly a square shape, and then a long, narrow piece and his zipper pull. He ties the square into a parachute with the narrow piece and attaches the zipper pull to give it a weight. He feeds the whole bundle into his pole and blows it out the other end, which he has poked through the surface of the snow. A member of the nearby rescue team (*edit: actually it is Pete Thornton, his own boss) sees the parachute and saves him. Approximate time: 18:00. Most avalanche survivors tell of being immobilized by the snow once it has stopped its motion. Experts describe the powder snow falling in an avalanche as being like a dry moving concrete that once it stopped moving immobilizes victims. His escape is unlikely unless he has room to move his arms. If that is the case then he could dig himself free enough for rescuers to find him. Also, it would be unlikely that he would be able to poke the pole in the right direction so that it would end up sticking out of the snow (Avalanche victims are sometimes found to have attempted to dig themselves out, but actually ending up traveling in the wrong direction due to darkness and disorientation). (Edit: However, before he starts to poke the pole he mentions the part about avalanche victims being disoriented and proceeds to find out which way is up by letting some snow fall from his glove and observing the direction in which it moves)
- Using parts of a microscope and a drop of water, MacGyver is able to read microfilm which some bad guys are after. He uses the light from the microscope to backlight the film, and the drop of water is his magnifying glass. The viewing head on this microscope is broken and not used. Approximate time: 35:00.
Dalton, Jack of Spies (2x17)Edit
- While being pursued by dirty CIA operatives at a strip club, MacGyver loads a confetti cannon with make-up powder and fires it at them as they enter a door, thus blinding the enemies with powder. Unverified. Approximate time: 26:23
- MacGyver is trapped in the back of a garbage truck and his captors have activated the sledge (compactor) to crush him. Plan A is to use boards found in the trash as braces to hold the sledge back, but the boards are crushed. Plan B is to use a bent piece of metal to hook the levers outside the truck, pull them, and stop the sledge. The MacGyverism almost works: instead of stopping the sledge, MacGyver opens the rear door. This allows him and his friends to go to plan C: Jump. Approximate time: 42:00.
- Trapped in the driver's seat of a car with bazookas pointed at him, MacGyver needs to get out of the car and disable the bad guys all in one move. He removes his shoelaces and ties a lasso, using it to rope the gas pedal. He slips a paper clip onto the lace, secures it in a monkey wrench, and manipulates the wrench so it is braced between the floor and the brake pedal. This situates the lace so that when pulled on, it will pull down the gas pedal. Finally he routes the lace around the steering wheel on ties it to the door handle. The result is that when he gets out of the car, it will lurch forward and crash into the bad guys. Approximate time: 18:00.
- MacGyver needs to blow open a locked truck trailer door. He builds a bomb out of an oil can, a pair of pantyhose, an old exhaust pipe, and an old battery. He soaks the pantyhose in oil, which serves as the fuse. He threads that through the exhaust pipe, at the end of which he has packed shavings from the aluminum can. The idea is that "the ferrous oxide and the aluminum shavings should generate enough heat to explode the battery." It works. Approximate time: 41:00. Ferrous oxide, or rust, from the old exhaust pipe and the aluminum shavings from the can are supposed to create a thermite reaction, which nevertheless cannot be ignited using oil. The typical wet cell car battery will discharge hydrogen gas which will ignite and explode the battery.
- MacGyver creates a diversion with a rifle, a rock, some newspaper, a string, and a match. He hangs the rifle in a tree and ties the string around the rock and the trigger. The way it is tied, when the string is cut, the rifle will fire. He puts the newspaper next to the string and lights it, creating a fuse. Approximate time: 4:00.
- To break open a lock, MacGyver exposes it to Freon gas. The Freon comes from the back of a refrigerator, in a crimped pipe. MacGyver opens the pipe, lets the Freon freeze the lock, and is able to break it with a hard push. Approximate time: 34:00. Whereas the temperature of R-12 from the open line is –30 degrees Fahrenheit, there is not sufficient quantity to last long enough to freeze metal to a point where it becomes brittle. It will give skin very nasty frostbite. This scenario is not very likely. Also, simply crimping the lines would not be likely to make a seal that would hold enough pressure to keep Freon from escaping.
- With an old, bullet-ridden Jeep his only means of escape, MacGyver must patch up the Jeep's radiator to get it working again. Remarkably, he does the job with nothing but water and egg whites. First he dumps some water in the radiator and jump-starts the Jeep, causing the water to heat up. A few minutes later, he dumps in the egg whites, which the water cooks. Once cooked, the egg whites naturally plug the holes in the radiator, making the Jeep temporarily usable. (This was confirmed as plausible in an episode of The Discovery Channel's MythBusters) Approximate time: 40:00.
- MacGyver is being tailed by goons in a car faster than his rail-bound vehicle. He builds a giant, road busting bomb out of gasoline, several types of ammunition, and tear gas. To light it, he rolls up some paper and strikes a piece of metal on the rail he is riding on, causing a spark. Approximate time: 46:00.
- This episode looks back at some of MacGyver's previous feats and contains no new MacGyverisms.
D.O.A.: MacGyver (2x21)Edit
- MacGyver creates a thick fog out of ship hull cleaner and ammonia. Ship hull cleaner contains muriatic acid, which is used to clean algae off ships. It creates a fog when combined with ammonia. MacGyver fills two buckets, one with each chemical, and spreads liberally on the floor. Approximate time: 8:00.
- MacGyver fixes a boy's bicycle with a nameplate, a screw and his Swiss knife. He bends plate to form a chain guide and screws it on place using his Swiss knife's screwdriver tool. Approximate time: 22:30
For Love or Money (2x22)Edit
- MacGyver distracts some goons by creating a smoke cloud out of carbon black (commonly known as soot), a helium tank, a latex lab glove, duct tape, and his pocket knife. The powder is stuffed in the glove, the glove has a slit and is inflated with the helium gas. MacGyver duct tapes the glove to the top and bottom of a food serving tray so that when it is opened, the glove will burst and the powder will be released. Approximate time: 17:00.
- MacGyver creates a bomb out of nitroglycerin tablets and alcohol. He finds the nitroglycerine in a medical lab, where they are used to help weak hearts. He crushes the tablets and mixes in the alcohol, creating a paste. He folds the paste up in two flat napkins and duct tapes the ends. To detonate the bomb, MacGyver throws a nondescript blunt object at it. Approximate time: 18:45.
- MacGyver protects his car with electricity using baling wire to zap soldiers that are trying to force him out of the vehicle. He runs the baling wire from the ignition coil to the frame of the car, and when the two soldiers put their hands on the door handles, he pushes the wire tightly against the frame, shocking them. Approximate time: 32:00. This can work; An ignition coil is used in an automobile's ignition system to transform the (usually) 12 volts of the vehicle's electrical system to the tens of thousands of volts needed to jump the gap at the spark plugs to ignite the air/fuel mixture. When current flows through the primary winding, it creates a magnetic field. When that current is cut, the magnetic field can collapse, creating the necessary voltage in the secondary winding — if there's a place for the released energy to go. For MacGyver's plan to succeed, the coil's charging circuit's (-) pole must be earthed — connected to the ground beneath the car — without continuity with the body or chassis, and the coil's spark plug connection must be connected to the body/chassis. If the coil is charged but not drawing current when the soldiers touch the car, they'll be zapped with the high voltage current as they complete the circuit from the earth to the body. Once the coil has discharged, it can be recharged, as MacGyver could repeatedly open and close the primary circuit to keep shocking the soldiers until the battery ran dead.
Lost Love, part 1 (3x01)Edit
- MacGyver finds some security problems with an exhibition monitor by breaking into it using powdered industrial cleanser to the avoid the laser alarm system and his knife to pick the lock. (06.15)
Lost Love, part 2 (3x02)Edit
- MacGyver and Jack Dalton manage to steal the Ming dragon from the exhibition monitor (see above). The monitor is now fortified with a combination lock, a patrolling guard every 10 minutes and a pressure plate alarm. First they enter above the monitor through the ventilations system. The entry has a pressure alarm silenced by some duct tape. They then use ropes to go down inside the laser perimeter. Mac uses his knowledge of Pete Thornton's golf idol Arnold Palmer's birthday in order to open the combination lock. The monitor is attached to a winch with suction pads in the end of the wire holding it up and clamps were used to hold down the pressure pad. Since they run out of time, they finally use the remote-controlled winch to trap the guard with a snare. (05.30)
- MacGyver freed himself from handcuff captivity with a bobby pin that he got from Lisa, a soviet double-agent and one of MacGyver's many girlfriends. When he was free from the handcuffs, he couldn't use the pin to open the door of the room he was trapped in, so he used the handcuffs to pick the lock the same way he did to free himself from the handcuffs. (37.00)
Back from the Dead (3x03)Edit
- MacGyver escapes from two mafia hit men using a fire hose to slide down a metal wire. First cut off with his Swiss army knife of course. (14:00) Plausible.
Ghost Ship (3x04)Edit
- MacGyver fixes a broken rowing boat using a stick with a fork, a sleeping-bag cover, some ropes and a tarpaulin in order to get to a mysteriously abandoned ship. He puts the sleeping-bag cover over the fork of the stick in order to make a paddle. The stern of the boat is broken but is sealed using the tarpaulin and the rope. (08:00) It's pretty straight-forward and plausible, especially since he's sitting in the opposite end of the boat while paddling.
- In order to save Carin from one of the bad guys, MacGyver makes a trap using his fishing rod and two trees. By stretching the fishing line between the trees to create a distraction, MacGyver could use the flexible rod to smash the bad guy in the face, first spanning it in the bark of one of the trees. (35:00) Plausible.
Fire and Ice (3x05)Edit
- MacGyver 'gets to the second floor of a foreign embassy using the head of a rake which he attaches to a garden hose (incredibly, the screw threads match perfectly!) then throwing it like a hook to the balcony and climbing up. (05.20) Plausible.
- MacGyver opens a vault and steals back some diamonds first dusting the buttons for fingerprints with graphite from a pencil. The vault has a three-digit combination with unique digits and six buttons. The dusting narrows down the 120 combinations to 6 and the vault is easily opened. He then neatly gets the diamonds in a small bag using a paper as a funnel. (31.30) "Math and science do prove useful."
- MacGyver exposes a diplomat by using a remote controlled attache case. Since the briefcase can't be searched due to the international rules of diplomatic immunity the device proved really handy. (43.00)
- MacGyver upgrades Nikkie's shoes by cutting out pieces of his sleeping pad and some duct tape. (21:00) Not so nice but functional.
- He also builds a hot air balloon from scratch to escape from a Soviet search party. The balloon was made of homemade super-glue, old clothes, a parachute, welding equipment, a refrigerator and metal box. (34:00) Not so plausible in that time frame.
Jack in the Box (3x07)Edit
- MacGyver creates a distraction in order to escape from a mining shaft using carbide lamps, water, some flint, a rope and a rock hammer. The carbide was put in the water which creates a reaction forming acetylene (welding gas). CaC2 + 2 H2O → C2H2 + Ca(OH)2 The gas is then ignited with the flint taped to the hammer. By using the rope to swing the hammer, MacGyver and Jack Dalton had time to run away from the exploding gas. Approximate time (21:40). This one is plausible so don't try this at home.
The Widowmaker (3x08)Edit
- MacGyver destroyed Murdoc's flamethrower by building an arc welder using a car battery (12 V), jumper cables and a radio antenna. (26.00)
- MacGyver tapped into the phone wire and transferred a SOS-signal first climbing up the pole using a rope and Nikki's belt around his ankles then scraping of the insulation of the phone wire with his knife and finally tapping in a message for help with Nikki's bracelet using the morse code alphabet. (28.00)
Hell Week (3x09)Edit
- acetic acid and ammonia found in a cleaning locker in order to blind an infra-red motion detector high-voltage trap-door preventing him from getting to the bomb. The result of the reaction is in fact a salt ammonium acetate, creating a fog of crystals. CH3COOH + NH3 → CH3COONH4. Approximate time (35:00) Plausible.
- mercury which short-circuits two electrical wires using the heat from short-circuiting two wires from the elevator in order to vaporize the mercury during the last 20 s of the countdown. (42:00)
Blow Out (3x10)Edit
- spices(cayenne pepper), vinegar and baking soda. The vinegar contains acetic acid while the baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, mixed together, they form a lot of gas (CO2). MacGyver let the gas expansion take place in a sealed rubber bag ("a hot water bottle" of the type used to warm a bed) and when it started to swell he put a hole in the bag with his knife. (01.50) Plausible.
Kill Zone (3x11)Edit
- bunsen burner, a longer hose and freon from a refrigerator. First he burns the leak using the longer hose with the bunsen burner and then he freezes it tight with the freon. (25.00)
- electrical transformer to speed up the manual over-ride of the elevator in order to escape from an infected lab about to self-destruct. (40.00)
Early Retirement (3x12)Edit
No proper MacGyverisms in this episode.
Thin Ice (3x13)Edit
- MacGyver fixes a compressor by replacing a broken spring with a battery holding spring from a flash light first cut off to fit. This is done in order to break up the ice between him and Mr. Curby, the father of a talented hockey player MacGyver is coaching. (35.00)
The Odd Triple (3x14)Edit
- wine cellar where his hands are bound to a barrel of wine by first opening the tap of the barrel with his head soaking his hands with wine working as lubricant and then using the compressed gas in 4 nitrogen cylinders binding them to a giant wine barrel on wheels running it through the brick wall. (29.00/42.00) When releasing gas under pressure you're using one of the basic law of physics, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. - MacGyver
The Negotiator (3x15)Edit
The Spoilers (3x16)Edit
- inner tube, pressured air, chloride, a catalyst, two glass jars and a gas mask. The inflatable boat was put in a truck and filled with air until the glass broke creating a loud noise. Meanwhile MacGyver filled the two gas bombs filling one glass jar with chloride and the other with a catalyst. Then he threw them at the bad guys resulting in a reaction producing toxic chlorine gas when the two liquids mixed. (36.00) When I was a kid my grandpa gave me two things I'll never forget; a subscription of popular mechanics and a chemistry set. And this place was one BIG chemistry set! - MacGyver
Mask of the Wolf (3x17)Edit
- Copper and Zinc to pack a charge igniting it with a fuse made of a hemp belt dipped in lamp oil. The explosion in the piston lifed the door a few inches then Mac kept it open with a log enabling him and his friends to crawl out. (34.40) Note: The scene where Dalton reaches in for his hat is taken from a similar scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Rock the Cradle (3x18)Edit
- MacGyver fixed a jammed landing gear of Jack Dalton's air plane by replacing the hydraulic fluid with pressure from an oxygen gas canister. MacGyver fell off the plane in the process but had a parachute so he landed safely anyway. (03.00) Due to the compressibility of oxygen as compared to hydraulic fluid, this would not likely work unless the gas was used under high pressure from the bottle to directly actuate the hydraulic piston.
- Although not shown, MacGyver fixes a cradle for a baby using hockey sticks, climbing rope, and a net. He also fixed diapers for the baby using duct tape. (18.00)
The Endangered (3x19)Edit
- After being spotted at a bar, MacGyver ask some persons at a bar for matches in order to light some rum to create a fireball to create a diversion. He doesn't find any matches and is nearly shot but fortunately, the hit man misses and then his gun jams. (02.30)
- MacGyver set up a trap using a forked branch, pegs and fishing line to shoot a tranquilizer dart into the leg of one of the bad guys.(29.00)
- limonite stone and made a pointing arrow visible from the air later seen by a ranger helicopter. (35.25) It's amazing what you can do with decomposed rock, huh? - MacGyver
- MacGyver made an assault using a decoy using rope, matches and a coat on a vine to set a time-delayed simulated "approach". When the hunters started shooting at the decoy, MacGyver shot one of the using a slingshot made of a flashlight barrel and elastic cords from the jacket to shoot yet another tranquilizer dart. (38.50)
Murderer's Sky (3x20)Edit
- sonar. (Basicly the same as knocking on the wall to find a hollow spot, just using sound waves instead of fist.)(32.30)
- MacGyver knocked out two light bulbs spraying them with hard surface cleaner.(The shock of cold liquid on the hot glass made it shatter.) (37.00)
- MacGyver hid behind fake paper "rock" walls made out of paper and some home-made glue in order to make a surprise attack using his knife to lure his adversaries. (38.00)
The Secret of Parker House (4x01)Edit
- After finding the skull of an unknown person under a recently destroyed gazebo, MacGyver, using the erasers from the tips of pencils, modeling clay, glass eyeballs and cotton wool, reconstructs the face of the skull. (22.37)
- MacGyver finds a hidden door tapping on the wall with his hands until he hears a hollow sound. Then lighting a candle using the flame as a detector of draught. (32.40)
- Trapped in the basement with an exploding furnace, MacGyver and friends build a torpedo using a distiller and a sealed plugged pipe. The plugged pipe is put over the a patch where the gas was most likely to break out, a brass plate. A support made of two sticks and some rags was used to aim at the stone wall. (40.45) MacGyver, we're all about to die and you're giving us geology lessons
Blood Brothers (4x02)Edit
- MacGyver fixes a typewriter, from which the pin that holds the ribbon has broken off, with the ink cartridge from a ballpoint pen. He uses the ink cartridge to rethread the ribbon, as well as to hold it back in place, and then cuts the cartridge down to size with his Swiss Army knife. In addition, the police officer MacGyver helped remarked that "a kid around here once rigged up the darnedest thing you ever saw to mow our lawn once". Approximate time: 12:00
- In a flashback scene, a young MacGyver disassembles a bicycle and reassembles it as a makeshift cart in order to transport his wounded friend to a road where he can get help. Approximate time: 34:00
- In a 'current timeline' scene which closely parallels the one above, MacGyver uses phenolphthalein solution mixed with a drain cleaner to simulate blood, in order to create a decoy from two gun wielding teenagers who are chasing his recently wounded friend. Approximate time: 34:30 (Edit: Presumably, the drain cleaner is NaOH (Lye) which is a base. The base solution would be indicated by the phenolphthalein by changing color. However, phenolphthalein in no way resembles blood; it turns pink in the presence of a base.)
The Outsiders (4x03)Edit
- MacGyver used wooden barrels to make a tunnel.
On a Wing and a Prayer (4x04)Edit
- In order to rescue Pete and a missionary worker, MacGyver throws an oil lantern at an ammunition dump, which explodes on impact and causes the stored ammunition to discharge. Approximate time: 21:00
- After Jack Dalton's plane's oil line is hit, the group make a crash landing in which the plane's left ski is damaged. MacGyver rigs a piece of hose from the plane's fire extinguisher in order to patch the damaged oil line and has Jack heat up a damaged ski strut and set it straight on an open fire. He then repairs a large gash in the ski with a makeshift fiberglass seal, made of life jackets (for the fibers) and a heated rubber and nylon compound to make a waterproof seal over the top. Approximate times: 28:00, 32:00.
- In order for the damaged plane to take off, MacGyver creates a JATO (Jet Assisted Take Off) unit with two RPGs (Rocket Propelled Grenades, called 'Vipers'). He ties the RPGs to the skis of the plane and wires the igniters from the rockets so that they are placed inside the cockpit. The RPGs are ignited by a sharp impact, which in this case is a hammer. Approximate time: 32:00.
Collision Course (4x05)Edit
- MacGyver repairs a race-car by fabricating a cylinder gasket from a plastic flag.
The Survivior (4x06)Edit
- Uses two climbing hammers wrapped around with rope to make a makeshift grapple hook.
Deadly Dreams (4x07)Edit
- Digs through trash, finds empty motor oil tin can with some in it, pours it onto old wrag to look through window.
- Soaks matchheads with water to prevent from igniting when opening boobytrapped door.
- Used his "cutters" to open the door. A remote controlled device to set off explosives at the same time.
Ma Dalton (4x08)Edit
- Uses a tire iron to undo handcuffs and chain in van
Cleo Rocks (4x09)Edit
- Tested for sulfur on spoon over butane torch.
- String & Swiss Army knife released wire set to trigger Pete's deathtrap.
Fraternity of Thieves (4x10)Edit
- prussic acid (hydrogen cyanide), identified by its strong almond odor, MacGyver uses sodium thiosulfate as an antidote which he gets from a nearby photo shop's printing machine which uses it as a photographic fixing agent.
The Battle of Tommy Giordano (4x11)Edit
- MacGyver taps the phone line of two criminals in the motel room next to his by first using a bent coat hanger to push his phone's receiving wires over to the other room's junction box, and then rewiring it in order to hear the conversation from the other room. Additionally, he uses the tweezers from his Swiss Army knife in order to pick the lock of the other motel room.
- MacGyver creates a smoke device using a toy robot. By pouring household cleaners in the robot and placing two wire that almost touch but yet aligned perfectly to create an electrical charge. That in turn cause the chemicals to blow up smoke from the robot.
The Challenge (4x12)Edit
- MacGyver sets a car to run without a person in it by putting it into gear.
- MacGyver sabotages a car without setting off its alarm by roping a dumpster to its unalarmed underbelly, causing the dumpster to trash the car when the driver brakes.
- MacGyver opens a window latch with his knife
Gold Rush (4x14)Edit
- safety pin that he rips from a Misha breast pin. He rolls the sheet of paper into a cone and puts a safety pin on the tip. MacGyver places the tip of the safety pin on the black cylinder and rotates it in order to listen to the contents. Plausible; novelty item gramophones using paper cones for the amplification and wall tacks for the needle are available from many manufacturers.
The Invisible Killer (4x15)Edit
- MacGyver makes a distraction out of some twigs and ferns. He bends the twigs in to a ball and the covers it with ferns. He then lights the ball on fire just before the escaped convict walks up. MacGyver also has some string tied to the ball. When the convict walks up he stops to look at the ball of smoke, it is at this point that MacGyver pulls the string and throws dirt and leaves into the convict's face. This allows MacGyver to tackle the escaped convict.
- MacGyver sets a trap using rope and a trap door. He makes a loop in the rope and covers the trap door with the rope loop and then a rug. The last convict gets roped when he falls in the trap.
- No proper MacGyverisms in this episode.
Easy Target (4x17)Edit
- Perhaps not proper MacGyverism, but he also stopped an EMP cannon by simply connecting the cannon to its power source and the truck it was on with a simple metal cable.
Unfinished Business (4x19)Edit
- This episode looks back at some of MacGyver's previous feats and contains no new MacGyverisms.
The Legend of the Holy Rose, part 1 (5x01)Edit
- MacGyver builds an ultralite airplane with bamboo poles, a tent, a lawnmower engine, and duct tape.(Proven impossible on Mythbusters, as Mythbusters revised the original specifications)
The Legend of the Holy Rose, part 2 (5x02)Edit
- MacGyver uses his shoe, things on the wall, and a whole lot of divine intervention / luck to stop the pit-and-the-pendulum torture device he had been placed in.
- MacGyver uses a bellows and some small model cannonballs as a pea shooter to signal the episode's heroine for help.
- MacGyver sets up three rods with crystal heads, a strange golden globe (with ruby center), and a shiny mirror artifact on a stone (created for this purpose) to create a ruby laser that ignites what he believes is gunpowder in a stone wall.
The Black Corsage (5x03)Edit
- MacGyver rigs up a Fun Fair booth so that its horizontally mounted shutter drops when one of the bad guys tries to pick up a piece of stolen jewelry. When the jewelry is picked up the moving target activates pulling a hose along with it which dislodges the wooden supports of the shutter thus dropping it on the bad guy and knocking him out.
Cease Fire (5x04)Edit
- MacGyver repairs a spark plug with a broken top electrode by first hammering a nail head so that it becomes flat, and then running a current from a battery through the nail and the spark plug head as to fuse the broken electrode and the nail together. (The cut to the next scene reveals that there are soldering marks on the spark plug). Once the weld is made, he cuts the nail to the correct length and bends it towards the other electrode to form the correct gap with the other electrode of the spark plug.
- MacGyver later creates a makeshift harness by threading his legs through the straps of a leather bag so that the bag ends up between his legs and then reinforcing the straps by tying a rope around them and his waist.
Second Chance (5x05)Edit
- MacGyver uses a pulley system fashioned from torn fabric, bailing wire, and toy car wheels to assist a small dog in crossing a busy road.
Halloween Knights (5x06)Edit
- MacGyver uses candle wax, some pool cue chalk, and his breath to bypass a biometric thumb print lock. (He dusts a glass for the thumb print using the chalk, and then uses candle wax to transfer the thumb print onto his thumb)
- He has Murdoc distract a motion-sensor gun turret by moving a helmet back and forth behind a bunker. This works because the motion-sensor (in this show) can only track one thing at a time.
- He uses candle oil put on his legs and feet to get safely across a snake infested pit,(mangrove snakes identified) with Murdoc on his shoulders, of course.
Children of Light (5x07)Edit
- MacGyver uses a hydraulic clamp bolted on a work bench to pry open a door, by attaching a pipe and a block of wood to the shaft of the moving arm and then turning the handle that closes the clamp so that the shaft pushes on the door.
- MacGyver creates a zip line to escape from the roof of a building using a steel shaft from a large TV antenna and a large rope. He ties one end of the rope to the building and throws the other end to Pete Thornton who ties it to the bumper of his van. Pete then gets the driver to move the van forward in order to tighten the line. Meanwhile MacGyver bends the shaft of the TV antenna into the shape of a hook and uses his jacket to protect his hand from the friction, and proceeds to slide down the line with another person (whom he was trying to free from the building).
Black Rhino (5x08)Edit
- Using his mind, Macgyver and Billy reach the dock by sliding down a large pipeline.
- To foil Ladysmith and company, Macgyver gets into Ladysmith's car and positions himself so he cannot be seen. When one of the bad guys tries to open the car door, Mac kicks it, sending the bad guy hurtling backwards.
The Ten Percent Solution (5x09)Edit
- MacGyver and his friend escape from an operating gas chamber using only objects found within the chamber. MacGyver first locates the tube behind a vent that is feeding the gas into the chamber. Then he uses his knife to unscrew the vent grating, cut a hole on his side of the chamber's door, and then feeds the tube in. He theorizes that since the door is essentially hollow inside, he can ignite the gas now being fed in and blast the door apart, which he does after somehow breaking the one light bulb in the chamber near the hole in the door, creating a spark.
Two Times Trouble (5x10)Edit
- MacGyver uses a camera lens as a magnifying glass.
- Uses tempera paint and tape and pull a fingerprint off a glass.
- While underwater in tank, MacGyver breaths the air from a bubble pipe.
- While underwater in tank, MacGyver kicks a light bulb and then cuts his straitjacket loose on the broken glass.
The Madonna (5x11)Edit
Live and Learn (5x13)Edit
Log Jam (5x14)Edit
The Treasure of Manco (5x15)Edit
Jenny's Chance (5x16)Edit
Deep Cover (5x17)Edit
- Mac is trapped in a sinking submarine, and the hatch above him is locked. He ties a flare gun up near the hatch with a wire on the trigger so he can pull it from below. Once the water level has risen to seal up the area where the hatch is (in the top of the room), he turns on a pure oxygen tank . After it has built up enough, he pulls the trigger on the flare gun from under water to ignite an oxygen explosion and it blows the hatch open. With how small the room is.
The Lost Amadeus (5x18)Edit
Hearts of Steel (5x19)Edit
Rush to Judgement (5x20)Edit
- In this episode MacGyver has an NDE (near death experience) while he is in a coma and meets his grandfather who has died from a heart attack. This meeting takes place on a passenger cruise boat called Osiris. When his grandfather encourages him to leave, Anubis (the Egyptian afterlife gatekeeper) refuses to let him go. Anubis locks MacGyver and his grandfather in the engine room and jams the lock wheel with an axe. MacGyver wraps one end of a fire hose around the lock wheel and the other end around the ships propeller shaft. The tension builds as the hose is wrapped around the shaft and eventually shatters the wooden shaft of the axe, releasing the wheel lock and enabling MacGyver to escape.
- MacGyver mentions that this trick was inspired by something his grandfather did in the past, where he wrapped one end of a rope around a tree and the other end around the wheel of a truck in order to winch the truck up a slippery hill
The Stringer (7xfinale)Edit
- Uses seatbelts to make a harness to hold jetpacks made from high-pressure water sprayers, assisted by his son.
Further reading Edit
- Terrill, Bret, and Dierkers, Greg, 2005, The Unofficial MacGyver How-To Handbook: Revised 2nd Edition, American International Press, ISBN 1887641475.
- Daniel, Mark, 1986, MacGyver on Ice, Armada Books, ISBN 0-00-692733-5
- MacGyver Online MacGyverisms list - a complete list of MacGyverisms.
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