A Chinese girl arrives at MacGyver's houseboat, while a Chinese agent, Zhao, follows her. MacGyver is fixing Pete's digital alarm clock when the girl arrives and introduces herself as MacGyver's Chinese foster daughter, Su Ling. MacGyver, who has never met her, invites her in and Su Ling explains that she graduated and is now attending graduate college in Los Angeles. Su Ling says that her dorm room isn't ready yet and MacGyver offers to put her up. Pete leaves for the night, and Su Ling gives MacGyver a backscratcher as a gift based on a letter he wrote to her years ago about a camping trip where he caught poison ivy. She thanks him for everything that he's done for her over the years.
Zhao goes to the Chinese consulate and reports to his superior, trade liaison Ping Chow. He notes that the girl hasn't contacted any student, but went directly to MacGyver. They discuss the fact that the Chinese dissidents are setting up a new fax network and Su ling has the phone numbers. Peng Chow orders Zhao to follow Su Ling and see if she meets with her collaborators.
The next morning, Zhao returns to the docks and meets with his assistant Yang. When MacGyver and Su Ling leave for the graduate college, Yang follows them while Zhao and his man Toy search the houseboat. MacGyver drops off Su Ling, who meets with a student, Wing Lee. She identifies herself and tells Wing Lee that she not only has the phone numbers but another important piece of evidence, and she'll bring both with her the next day.
At the houseboat, Pete arrives and Toy knocks him out. MacGyver returns after they leave and revives Pete, who explains that he checked and discovered that Su Ling isn't registered at the graduate college and Immigration shows her visa was issued from Hong Kong, not Mainland China.
Peng Chow observes the protestors outside the consulate, and Zhao informs him that they didn't find the phone numbers at the houseboat. Peng Chow has MacGyver's file and knows he works with the Phoenix Foundation. They determine that Wing Lee has no prior record and figure he's a member of the new fax underground.
When Su Ling returns to the houseboat, MacGyver and Pete ask for an explanation. She tries to stall without success and finally admits that her name is Mei Jan. Su Ling was her roommate in China and Mei Jan learned about MacGyver from her and saw his letters. She explains that she fled China after Su Ling was killed by a government soldier during the protests at
Su Ling returns to the houseboat and MacGyver and Pete ask why she's lying. She claims they misunderstood but they realize she's stalling. She finally explains that she's not Su Ling: her name is Mei Jan. Su Ling was her roommate and Mei Jan learned everything about MacGyver from her time with Su Ling. She explains that her comrades sent her to America for safety after Su Ling was killed by a government soldier during the protests at Tianammen Square. The valuable evidence she has is a videotape that she hid in MacGyver's VHS collection: a recording of the Tianammen Square massacre.
Zhao and Toy corner Wing Lee and force him to cooperate by threatening his mother in Beijing.
Mei Jan tells Pete and MacGyver that she plans to deliver the tape to her contact in the States. She also has the phone list, hidden inside the backscratcher she gave to MacGyver. The Chinese government doesn't know she has the tape, but plan to capture her to force her to give up the list. The next day, MacGyver and Mei Jan go to the graduate college to see Wing Lee. He tells them he has found a place for Mei Jan to hide, and MacGyver drops her off as she prepares to hand over the tape. Wing Lee escorts Mei Jan to a van and apologetically turns her over to Zhao and Toy.
Wing Lee goes to see MacGyver and Pete and tells them what happened. The consulate has diplomatic immunity, and Pete offers to call his government contacts. MacGyver warns that doing so will tip off the Chinese. They get the phone list from the backscratcher, and Pete starts working via the fax network to get Wing Lee's mother to safety.
MacGyver goes to the consulate where Peng Chow has already destroyed the tape. He demands the phone list but Mei Jan refuses to tell them where it's hidden. They lock Mei Jan in the basement. Meanwhile, MacGyver climbs the wall and slips into the consulate atop a delivery truck. However, he missed a security camera and Zhao quickly captures him. They offer to release him if he can get the phone list from Mei Jan but MacGyver refuses. They give him until that night to get the phone numbers or they'll kill both of them. Once they're alone, MacGyver tells Mei Jan that they made copies of the videotape while she was sleeping and Pete has already distributed it.
The news channels air the tape and Peng Chow and Zhao realize that they're in serious trouble. Since only MacGyver, Mei Jan, and Wing Lee know about the tape, they plan to threaten Wing Lee's mother to keep him silent and kill the others. Once everyone is silenced, Peng Chow's superiors will have no idea he was involved. They start to destroy the evidence. At MacGyver's houseboat, Pete and Wing Lee get word via the fax network that Wing Lee's mother is safe.
MacGyver uses a metal pipe attached to a vise as a makeshift press to knock down the basement door. They go upstairs to the kitchen, knock out Toy, then slam the kitchen door into Zhao and Yang as they arrive. They run up the stairs and MacGyver jams the roof door. As Zhao and his men try to break through, MacGyver starts cutting cable loose from the satellite dish and pulling down the radio antenna.
Pete and Wing Lee arrive outside and organize the protestors into rallying for Mei Jan. demanding her release. On the roof, MacGyver tosses the cable down to Pete, who ties it to a van. MacGyver then bends one end of the antenna into a hook and uses the extensions as supports to stand on. Zhao breaks the door down just as MacGyver and Mei Jan slide down the cable to safety.
Later, Pete informs Mei Jan and MacGyver that Peng Chow and his men have been recalled to China, and Wing Lee's mother is safe. Mei Jan thanks MacGyver for making it all possible.