Season 4 Episode 9

Cleo Rocks

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Feb 06, 1989 on ABC

Episode Recap

Penny Parker invites MacGyver to a rehearsal of Cleo Rocks, the new musical she's starring in as Cleopatra. MacGyver arrives in the lobby, unaware that a mysterious figure is watching him on the security cameras. MacGyver watches the rehearsal, and the wheelchair-bound director, Jacque LaRue, comes out to praise Penny and berate the other performers. The owner-producer, Benjamin Wintergreen, arrives and complains to LaRue about the production's mounting expenses. MacGyver admits he's impressed and wonders how she got the part, and Penny explains that LaRue called her agent and hired her directly. Wintergreen complains that Penny isn't a name star and won't draw in an audience. LaRue defends his choice, insisting that Penny is an amazing discovery.

After Wintergreen leaves, LaRue assures Penny that everything's fine. They go back into rehearsal, but a light cable breaks. MacGyver shoves Penny to safety. As they recover, LaRue says the falling light is just the most recent in a series of accidents, and Wintergreen refuses to pay maintenance to take care of them.

Penny and MacGyver go to her dressing room, and Penny explains that some of the crew think that the theater is jinxed. MacGyver wonders if she's romantically interested in LaRue and Penny admits he's a fascinating man. Someone has left a gift for Penny in her dressing room: dead roses. Penny passes it off as a prank but MacGyver isn't so sure. LaRue arrives to tell her he's scheduled a private rehearsal for her in the morning to go over the seduction scene. MacGyver leaves and LaRue thanks him for saving Penny, saying she's a special girl. MacGyver checks out the sign and Wintergreen demands to know what he's doing there. After MacGyver explains, Wintergreen dismisses the complaints about the accidents and walks off.

MacGyver has Pete run a check on Wintergreen, while Penny goes to see the owner. She asks him to go easy on her but he warns that she's not a star and she needs to toughen up. She promises she'll bring in the audience but Wintergreen is unimpressed. As she goes to her dressing room, she sees someone following her and hears the sound of creaking metal. The lights go out and she hides in a costume room. When the figure seems to leave, she runs out and into MacGyver. He goes to investigate and finds stage blood and a fitting dummy with a knife in its chest. There's also a note and a photo of Penny. The note has a mysterious six-line poem warning of murder beneath the Temple of Ra. Penny insists it's a prank but LaRue, coming on the scene, says that Wintergreen is responsible. MacGyver goes to Wintergreen who points out there's no solid evidence they can give to the police. He admits that the theater is in danger of closing and Cleo Rock is his last chance to keep it from becoming a parking lot. He agrees to think about hiring security guards. Afterward, MacGyver takes a sample from the light cable.

Peter does some checking and finds out that Wintergreen has heavily insured the musical. If something happens to the leading lady, he stands to collect a great deal of money. Meanwhile, Penny rehearses the seduction dance as LaRue looks on admiringly. He asks Penny what her relationship with MacGyver is. Once she assures him that MacGyver is like her big brother. LaRue gives her a dress and invites her to dinner. She agrees and dances for him while he plays the keyboard. Wintergreen watches them suspiciously from the shadows.

Examining the cable, MacGyver determines that someone used sulfur to sever it by remote. He goes over the threatening poem and realizes that the first letter of each of the six lines spells out "Murdoc." Examining the knife, MacGyver realizes that it's the same weapon that Murdoc tried to kill him with before falling to his death the last time they met.

Penny calls Peter saying that she and MacGyver need help at the theater. Pete goes to the theater and hears her calling out. Following her voice, he goes into Wintergreen's office and finds Murdoc behind the desk, impersonating Penny's voice. The assassin renders Pete unconscious with knockout gas and takes him to an underground chamber below the theater. Murdoc puts Pete in a cage and swings him out over a flaming pool of water, and boasts that he's built the perfect deathtrap to either kill MacGyver, or force him to kill Pete.

Penny goes up on stage and bows to the imaginary sound of applause from her fans. Murdoc calls out to her as MacGyver arrives, and Murdoc informs them he has Pete captive. MacGyver sends Penny to her dressing room to lock the door and call the police. Once there, she discovers that Murdoc has severed the phone lines. MacGyver follows Murdoc's voice first to a transmitter in a sarcophagus, then up to a spotlight on the balcony where he sees a caped figure waiting for him.

LaRue comes to see Penny and she explains that Murdoc is after them. In response, LaRue stands up with the help of leg braces and grabs her. She scratches his face and comes away with makeup.

On the balcony, MacGyver approaches the taunting Murdoc. MacGyver examines the figure and discovers it's Wintergreen, dead and dressed as Murdoc. A tape player strapped to his chest is laying pre-recorded taunts.

"LaRue" removes his make up to reveal that he is Murdoc. He pulls her out on stage so MacGyver can see him, and then takes Penny to the underground chamber below. MacGyver follows them while Murdoc activates an electric light beam and runs a high-tensile steel cable from the entrance door to the winch holding up Pete's cage. When MacGyver follows, he sets off the light beam and a panel traps him in the hallway. Pete calls out, warning him the door is rigged. Murdoc activates a hydraulic press, raising the floor up in MacGyver's chamber. Murdoc boasts that MacGyver can easily escape by opening the door, but doing so will drop Pete's cage into the flaming pool. He leaves MacGyver to make the choice and goes down a passageway where he ties Penny up to use as a hostage against the survivor. Penny tries to appeal to LaRue's gentle nature and Murdoc admits that she inspired him and that he loves her. Penny realizes that he's insane and Murdoc simply says that they'll see.

With the seconds ticking away until he's crushed, MacGyver ties his Swiss Army knife to a board with his shoelace. He reaches out and manages to snag the cable and pull it free from the wench. Once the trap is deactivated, MacGyver swings Pete over to solid ground and gives him a board to break the lock on the cage. MacGyver goes down the passageway and hears Penny calling out to him, but it's Murdoc impersonating her voice again. He prepares to shoot MacGyver but Penny kicks the gun out of his hand. Murdoc draws a knife and comes at MacGyver, who backs toward the flaming pool. Penny and Pete manage to free themselves and Pete yells at Murdoc, distracting him as he gets the upper hand. MacGyver grabs an electrical cable from Murdoc's control panel and shoves it into his metal braces. Murdoc screams out MacGyver's name before falling into the flaming pool.

Later, MacGyver and Penny go to the Phoenix Foundation to review Murdoc's file. Pete tells them that they drained the pool, but Murdoc escaped through a broken sewer line. Penny admits that whatever Murdoc's crimes, at least he made her feel talented. MacGyver assures her that she is and that she'll get her big chance soon.