's second season begins by following the same blueprint as the first (although the opening gambit is gone). Richard Dean Anderson is back as the eponymous secret agent. So is Pete Thornton (Dana Elcar), operations director of the Phoenix Foundation. In addition, Mac's ditzy pal, Penny (Teri Hatcher), and beloved grandfather, Harry (John Anderson), return for a few episodes. In the season premiere ("The Human Factor"), a skeptical military man says to Thornton, "So this is your main guy. He doesn't even have any gear." Responds Thornton, "That's what makes him so special." As before, Mac doesn't drink, smoke, or carry a firearm. He puts it plainly in the fourth episode ("The Wish Child"): "I hate guns." Mac would rather use non-violent means, i.e. "MacGyverisms," to fight crime. Midway through the 22-episode year, however, creator Lee David Zlotoff (Remington Steele
) decided to shake up the formula by introducing two new characters. First there's Mac's college buddy, Jack Dalton (busy character actor Bruce McGill from Animal House
, The Cinderella Man
, etc.), who makes his first appearance in the sixth episode ("Jack of Lies"). Then there's Mac's arch-nemesis Murdoc (actor/musician Michael Des Barres from Melrose Place
), who makes his in the eighteenth ("Partners").
Other notable second season guest stars include Fast Times At Ridgemont High's Vincent Schiavelli ("Soft Touch"), Murphy Brown's Robert Pastorelli ("Out in the Cold"), and Star Trek's George Takei and Wayne's World's Tia Carrere ("The Wish Child"). MacGyver also had a tendency to bring back actors from previous seasons for different roles. Second year returnees include Mean Streets' Richard Romanus ("Twice Stung"), Barney Miller's Gregory Sierra ("Jack of Lies"), and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Nana Visitor ("D.O.A. MacGyver"). As with the first season, there are no extras. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Angus MacGyver is a secret agent who refuses to carry a gun with him, but fortunately never needs one. Drawing on a vast practical knowledge of science, MacGyver is able to make use of anything around him to create solutions to any problem he faces. Underestimating MacGyver is a major mistake made by his enemies and always results in the destruction of their plans.