Season 1 Episode 21

A Prisoner of Conscience

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Apr 30, 1986 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (3)

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out of 10
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  • MacGyver pretends to be a mental patient to rescue a patient inside a Russian mental hospital.

    Not a bad episode overall. A good episode that showed that MacGyver wasn't just an action show but could have good acting to lead an episode. Both Mac and Peter are in Moscow where MacGyver learns that one of Pete's friends needs help.

    It's also an episode where a guest star (Mr. Dobkin) playing the character of Alexander Karsoff, a Russian patient would later play in the series a completely different character in Professor Ryman, an American professor. LMAO (I always love it when writers to do that sort of switch almost to tell the audience to wipe a previous character from the memory).

    As mentioned this episode has a lot to say from my view about mental institutions perhaps implying that people with mental illness aren't better off there as they might be subject to the abuse of crooked doctors and staff.

    Richard Dean Anderson actually shows again that he can act by using a Russian accent through half the episode.

    Overall it's not bad it may not be as flashy as the other MacGyver episodes but it didn't have to be.
  • After a snazzy start, here's another episode that crashes and burns with an anti-climactic escape sequence.

    Writer Stephen Kandel was stretched to his limit in the first season one of MacGyver, contributing to nearly half of the season's 22 scripts. Late in the season, it got to be evident as stories full of potential such as this one eventually spiral into humdrum, generic retreads. Particularly following the clever prison break fare from "The Escape", this episode's escape sequences via slipping a psychotropic drug into the mental hospital's community coffee pot and turning the entire staff into intoxicated louts seems lame. I also failed to understand the dynamic that separated the "political prisoners" from the actual mental patients in the hospital. With the exception of Demetri, all of the patients at the hospital struck me as crazy. Were they simply being drugged out of their minds? Whatever the case, the story didn't work for me and lost almost all of its momentum in the episode's second half. With that said, the high-voltage speedboat chase that began the episode, complete with James Bond-esque background music, will still go down as one of the series' coolest action-adventure sequences.
  • Pete travels to Northern Russia to free a Russian dissident and his daughter from conspiracy. A mental institution is where the action takes place and a well thought out plan by Pete, Maria and MacGyver. Will MacGyver free Alex Karsoff and the mental/po

    I thought this episode was very average compared to other MacGyver episodes.

    MacGyver follows Pete to Northern Russia as Pete believes that Alexander Karsoff, a Russian dissident is dead because of him and Karsoff's daughter, Maria, is also in trouble for conspiracy. MacGyver was never meant to be involved in this mission, but Mac was worried and wants to help.

    The opening scene has a bit of action when Pete goes to Maria's cabin in Moscow and finding out that Alex isn't really dead, he is secretly locked up in a mental institution. The secret police turns up and Pete, Maria and MacGyver escape - and a speed boat chase occurs. MacGyver comes up with a plan to tie some rope on a fuel can and jam the other's intake, as it is a jet drive.

    They come up with a plan to pretend MacGyver is a mental patient, Pete is his doctor and Maria is from the village helping out. Mac meets a good guy in there named Demetri, who is only political not mental. With the help of Demetri and Lovat, they successfully rescue Karsoff and free him from the institution.

    I did enjoy the episode, but didn't think it was one of the best. It was quite funny how relaxed and calm MacGyver was during the final escape... so at ease.