Richard Dean Anderson stars as MacGyver, an agent for the Phoenix Foundation, a progressive agency devoted to righting the wrongs of the world. Even more progressive is the near-genius MacGyver who never carries a gun and always thwarts the enemy with his vast scientific knowledge, sometimes with little more than a paper clip and the duct tape in his pocket.
Desperate times call for desperate measures--and the desperate will stop at nothing to get MacGyver's attention. In the fifth season premiere ("Legend of the Holy Rose"), an old friend releases his houseboat from its moorings--while he's in it. Four episodes later ("Halloween Knights"), an old enemy relieves his boat of its belongings. It works, of course. Mac lives to help people in need, even if those people include obnoxious archeology professor Zoë (Lise Cutter), who enlists his aid in tracking down an ancient artifact, and the mysterious Murdoc (Michael Des Barres), who does the same to rescue his kidnapped sister. Joining forces with arch-enemy Murdoc marks a break with previous seasons. Otherwise, the fifth features the same resourceful secret agent as the first four (though hes relying on those inventive "MacGyverisms" less often as the series continues). MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson) still travels the world on behalf of the Phoenix Foundation, while reporting to supportive superior Pete Thornton (Dana Elcar). As before, he goes it alone: no gun, no back-up, no wisecracking sidekick--not counting reckless rogue Jack Dalton (Bruce McGill), who drops by on occasion to shake up MacGyver's well-ordered world.
Aside from a greater interest in socially conscious causes, like the protection of endangered species, the 1989-1990 season also breaks with the past by an episode set in the Old West ("Serenity") and another set in the afterlife ("Passages"). In the former, Jack and Penny (Teri Hatcher in her final appearance) return as prototypes for their present day characters. Murdoc returns, as well--this time wearing a black hat. In the latter, Grandpa Harry (John Anderson) bids adieu. Other fifth year guests include Blossoms Mayim Bialik ("Cease Fire," "Hearts of Steel"), The Exorcists Linda Blair ("Jenny's Chance"), and Jerry Maguires Cuba Gooding Jr. ("Black Rhino," "Serenity"). --Kathleen C. Fennessy