Season 4 Episode 7

Deadly Dreams

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jan 16, 1989 on ABC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

The hunt for serial killer who's escaped prison takes a different direction when MacGyver realizes he had help from an even more dangerous inmate.

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  • Hands-down the darkest MacGyver episode of all, aided by a haunting villain, ominous tone, and imaginative script.

    MacGyver episodes featuring flamboyant villains always seem to get bonus points for me....and they didn't come much more flamboyant than serial killer Dr. Zito, who fashioned heart attack-inducing cocktails using toilet bowl cleaner and the plastic flap off of a library book. This was a groundbreaking episode for MacGyver in many ways, establishing a level of narrative and visual darkness rarely seen anywhere on episodic television up to that point, but particularly on MacGyver. The intensity of this episode was off the charts from beginning to end, with a clever story that unfolded in ways that virtually nobody could have foreseen. The use of Norse mythology as symbolic metaphors for Zito's twisted revenge plot was first-rate and the fiery visuals in the warehouse added a spectacular visual dimension to an episode that was worthy of a stack of Emmys, none of which it was even nominated for of course. "Deadly Dreams" was the first episode written by executive producer Stephen Downing, and it was unfortunate that Downing's obvious strengths as a writer were so underutilized in this series. Comparisons of Dr. Zito to Hannibal Lecter on "Silence of the Lambs" are undeserved as the characters are only marginally similar on the surface and because the SOTL movie wasn't even released until nearly three years after this episode's broadcast. The only thing I can say against this episode is that is was so over the top in its darkness and intensity level that there were probably some young fans whose parents would no longer let them watch MacGyver after seeing a cop getting a fire ax to the chest on this episode. For teen and adult audiences, however, MacGyver doesn't get much better than this one.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (19)

    • MacGyver: He's making the buy.
      Pete: "Making the buy"?
      MacGyver: Ehh, it's cop talk.

    • Zito: I think you'll find Mr. Cross to have anticipated most everything.
      MacGyver: That so?
      Zito: He's quite an unusual man, you see. It will be very difficult to stop him. To solve his deadly riddle, so to speak. His cunning is so complex, you have to be intellectually superior, exceptionally persistent, and possess an abundance of ingenuity to even get close to him. Are you all of these things, Mr. MacGyver? Yes, I know your name. Does that frighten you?
      MacGyver: Should it?

    • Zito: Back again, Mr. MacGyver?
      MacGyver: You're good.
      Zito: Yes, I know.

    • MacGyver: See the question is, why would you help somebody escape?
      Zito: I could have dozens of reasons. Humanity, for one. Did you think of that?
      MacGyver: Humanity? No, I don't think that's the reason.
      Zito: Oh? What makes you so sure?
      MacGyver: I've seen your file. You are a self-centered egotistical psychopath who has to have control of everything.
      Zito: Umm. Aren't we perceptive?

    • MacGyver: You okay?
      Murphy: Talk about being just in time.
      MacGyver: Oh, nonsense, we had a good 32 seconds to spare.

    • MacGyver: You helped Eric Cross escape.
      Zito: So. Now what? Are you going to have them take away my library card?

    • Zito: My, my, my, my, my. It's all so brilliant, isn't it?
      MacGyver: Thought you might say that.

    • Murphy: I got inside the artist's head and when it was over, I spent three months in therapy. I couldn't even read about him in the newspaper. Can you understand that? If I... deal with it any more, if I even look at Zito... I'll lose my mind.

    • Sweeney: Why would Zito want to help somebody else escape?
      MacGyver: Good question. Maybe somebody in Homicide has an answer.

    • Sweeney: You're not into some kind of detective work here, are you, MacGyver?
      MacGyver: Well, enough to believe that Dr. Zito had something to do with Cross' escape.

    • Murphy: I'm sorry about the way I sounded off yesterday.
      MacGyver: Hey, I understand. Thirty-two seconds is a lot to lose out of any day.

    • MacGyver: He- he knew my name. Psychic?
      Charles: Zito would like you to believe that, but we've been expecting you. The walls have ears.

    • Charles: You okay?
      MacGyver: Oh, yeah. It's just that one guy in there could put frost on a sunny day.

    • Murphy: I asked out of Homicide for a reason. You know that.
      Captain: I have no choice, Murphy. And neither do you.

    • Wyatt: So, what now? Back to your, uh, test tubes, or whatever you guys do?
      MacGyver: No, Wyatt. You heard the lady. The job's gotta be done. I'm just gonna have to do it without her.

    • Murphy: Listen to me, MacGriever—
      MacGyver: It's MacGyver.
      Murphy: Whatever. You just don't get it. What we are doing here is police work. Now, sometimes the public—civilians like yourself—just don't understand what it takes to get the job done.
      MacGyver: We don't, huh?
      Murphy: No, you don't. Now, I've heard you hate guns, abhor violence, and I'm sure my tank is very chilling to your... sense of justice and fair play. But we do live in the real world here. Guns and tanks and nasty crooks are all just a part of the big picture.

    • MacGyver: So what's the gripe? You've got some of the best scientific support available to any police department in the country!
      Murphy: I'll send a thank-you note to the mayor.

    • Murphy: That's a brass problem.
      MacGyver: No, it's our problem, Murphy. The contract your department has with the Phoenix Foundation is a five year marriage.

    • Captain: What happened here, Lieutenant?
      Murphy: MacGvyer's new technology just cost us 32 seconds. I want my tank back.

  • NOTES (7)