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Season 2 Episode 1

The Human Factor

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Sep 22, 1986 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
73 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

MacGyver and Pete are testing a new security system at the Strategic Research Development Administration. MacGyver successfully bypasses the security and meets Dr. Jill Ludlum, the system's designer. She tries to turn off the security system, but it doesn't realize that it was just a test. MacGyver and Dr. Ludlum are then forced to find a way out, as the security system, named Sandy, tries to destroy the "intruders."moreless

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  • The second season that was never supposed to happen opens in style.

    Happy as I was that MacGyver returned for a second season in September 1986, I didn't realize what a hornet's nest that ABC was putting the show into by scheduling it for Monday nights, where it faced brutal sitcom competition and competition from its own network's Monday Night Football on the West Coast ("MacGyver" aired after MNF, often as late as 11 p.m. or midnight, in some markets not at all). I have every confidence that MacGyver would have been a long-term fixture in the top-20 had it stayed on Wednesday nights.

    Getting to the episode that kicked off season two, "The Human Factor" was an abundance of fun that deviated significantly from the first season's more traditional adventure-themed formula. MacGyver producers were always crafty about triangulating the series' content to appeal to lovers of different genres, and science fiction geeks often celebrate this series soft-core sci-fi episodes such as this one. And the execution of this one was brilliant, save for the one-time-revelation-quickly-forgotten that Pete was also a Vietnam vet, with the litany of gauntlets that Mac and Jill running into being profoundly imaginative. The high point for me was sliding down the garbage disposal chute and having it open up into a pool of acid based on their narrowly exceeding the weight limit. The combination of action and humor was not forced and not cheesy, and Mac's chemistry with Jill was better than with the usual one-dimensional female characters from the series' early seasons. MacGyver's second season premiere was hard not to like and was well-received by viewers with a 15.4 rating (unfortunately, subsequent week's numbers would not be so kind as new comedy "ALF" would quickly hijack MacGyver's would-be audience). The episode unequivocally delivered in every way and stands out as one of the series' high points.moreless
  • MacGyvr is called in to test the security at STRADA (Strategic Research Development Administration) which is a top secret project. A state of the art computer system is used as security and suddenly malfunctions....can MacGyver escape in time?moreless

    This was easily one of the best episodes so far in the series. STRADA (Strategic Research Development Administration) has a state of the art computer system that is way ahead of it's time. Jill created this system and makes it think like her, so MacGyver is sent to test the security system and break in single handed. If he passes it's back to the drawing board. If he didn't Woodward gave the Phoenix Foundation the seal of approval.

    All is going well and MacGyver uses some great tactics to enter the compound and break in. Jill is inside with Mac.. when.. suddenly Sandy (the computer system) malfunctions and does everything in her power to defend STRADA.

    Meanwhile Pete and Colonel Woodward are trying to desperately get them out and cut the power to the mainframe.

    A brilliant episode and recommend it to anyone, a full adventure and very intense in some situations. Sci-Fi to the max and a great start to Season 2!!

June Chadwick

June Chadwick

Dr. Jill Ludlum

Guest Star

Peter Haskell

Peter Haskell

Col. Scott Woodward

Guest Star

Peter Kwong

Peter Kwong

Steven Lee

Guest Star

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • MacGyver and Jill dangle over an acid bath and breathe the fumes for an extended period, in a confined space. They're totally unaffected despite the fact acid forms are highly toxic.

    • When MacGyver and Dr. Jill Ludlum are figuring out how to escape from the receding floor, MacGyver takes off his shoes and then takes off his pants. He uses his pants to hang from a pipe that runs across the room. However, when MacGyver and Dr. Jill Ludlum are hanging from the pipe, MacGyver has his shoes back on.

    • MacGyver weighs 175 pounds and wears boxers, not briefs.

  • QUOTES (13)

    • MacGyver: Well, old Sandy sure has a mind of her own, doesn't she?
      Jill: Yes, but she thinks like me. So I should be able to think it through and find her pattern, logically and rationally.
      MacGyver: Without the emotion, right?
      Jill: That's what gives her the edge. People and emotion can't get in her way.
      MacGyver: Well, I say we trust our instincts—go with our gut. You can't program that. That's our edge.

    • Jill: (while MacGyver is taking off his pants) Why are you taking your pants off?
      MacGyver: You got a better idea?
      Jill: I'm still trying to figure out what yours is.

    • MacGyver: Enough plaster dust and I could pick up the pattern of the last hand print. Kind of like dusting for fingerprints.

    • MacGyver: A little problem here. I forgotten to bring along a card key. But you can't let something like that throw ya. Just because of a... laser trap. One of the things I used to love about the circus was the way they worked without a safety net. Scared me then, still does.... especially with a 20,000 volt laser ready to zap me.

    • (While MacGyver is making a telescope)
      MacGyver: A map light...that's a start. Comes with it's own magnifying lens, nice. It took the human race 3 million years to invent a telescope. I figure I had about 35 seconds. On the other hand, I knew it could be done. Take the magnifying lens. Add a watch crystal. Roll them up in the ever useful sports pages and it oughta work. Besides I .. didn't have much choice.

    • MacGyver: (While reading the sports pages) Calgary lost again

    • Jill: You're alright for a camel smuggler.
      MacGyver: I returned that camel.

    • Pete: We don't "roll the dice," we make a calculated choice. It's time we tried to think like MacGyver. His mind doesn't work like yours - or mine. We've got to put our gut to work, Woody.
      Colonel Woodward: Instinct doesn't cut it, Pete. We've got plans.

    • Jill: MacGyver. Some time consultant for the Phoenix Foundation. Alleged hockey player. Camel smuggler. Jack of all trades.
      MacGyver: Jill Melissa Ludlum. Born in London. PhD, System Design, Oxford University, 1980. 1980-82, designed the Ludlum cybernetic circuit. 82-83 ... took a year off, for personal reasons. 83-86, immersed in the SRDA project. Hasn't come up for air yet. Reported to be a premiere technocrat.

    • Colonel Woodward: So this is your main guy? What makes him so special? He doesn't even have any gear.
      Pete: That's what makes him so special.

    • MacGyver: When James Bond gets an assignment, it's on the Riviera, up to his double-o seven in bikinis. Me, I end up eighty miles past nowhere courtesy of my good buddy, Pete Thornton, new operations director of the Phoenix Foundation.

    • Dr. Jill Ludlum: 30,000 watts of laser is a whole lot more than a peck on the cheek.

    • Jill: This was a bad idea. This garbage chute is programmed to send everything into an acid bath. It can only hold 280 pounds.
      MacGyver: I weigh 175. That means if you weigh any more than 105, we're in trouble.
      Jill: I think we're OK.
      (Garbage chute begins to activate)
      Jill: I lied, I'm 108!

  • NOTES (2)