Season 1 Episode 3

Thief of Budapest

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Oct 13, 1985 on ABC

Episode Recap

Opening Gambit

MacGyver travels to the Middle East to recover a rare white stallion stolen from a king. A tribal leader has taken the horse and leaves it in a tent while he goes outside to practice his swordsmanship. MacGyver sneaks into the camp, subdues a guard, and takes his clothing. He enters the tent and takes a saddle from beneath his robes, then puts it on the horse. MacGyver rides the stallion out of the tent, knocking down another guard and taking his crooked staff.

The tribal leader rallies his men, gives orders not to shoot because of the horse, and they ride off in pursuit. They soon corner MacGyver on a beach and the leader charges at MacGyver. He cuts MacGyver's staff in half on the first pass, but on the second pass MacGyver knocks the man off his horse, rides past the tribesmen, and heads down the beach. As they ride in pursuit, a helicopter drops down from the sky, lowers a line, and MacGyver attaches it to the saddle. The helicopter rises up, taking MacGyver and the horse with it.

Main Episode

Next, MacGyver travels to Budapest to meet an old friend, Grodsky, who has some stolen information. The city is preparing for a road rally. A young Gypsy girl, Yanna, tries to steal his Swiss Army knife. When he catches her, she offers him a free Gypsy blessing as recompense. She blesses him and leaves, and MacGyver discovers she managed to steal his watch.

Grodsky is on his way to the rendezvous, unaware that the local Soviet agent, Major Nicolai Kossov, is secretly watching him from a van. With Kossov is Inspector Jan Messic, the local head of security. MacGyver meets Grodsky and they chat briefly. Grodsky has the information on a pocket watch. They agree to meet at a café to make the exchange and separate. Yanna trips Grodsky with some marbles, then helps him up while pickpocketing the watch. MacGyver sees what happens but is unable to intervene before Kossov and his men move in on Grodsky. Grodsky runs for it but is hit by a truck.

Kossov searches the corpse but finds nothing. He tells his men to find MacGyver while he and Messic review the surveillance tapes. They spot Yanna stealing the watch and Messic orders all the Gypsies rounded up. Kossov warns that if he goes to Siberia because he fails to recover the microfilm, Messic will go with him.

MacGyver finds Yanna performing with her father and brothers. She runs away and take refuge in a garbage can, but he easily finds her. MacGyver asks for the watch and explains that her friend was killed for it. Yanna admits she gave it to her brother Bruno. They go back only to see the police arrest Yanna's family. Yanna begs MacGyver to help her free her family.

MacGyver and Yanna go to the prison camp where the Gypsies are being held. Kossov conducts their interrogation but they tell him nothing. Kossov orders Messic to do whatever it takes. Meanwhile, Yanna whistles a signal to her family to let them know she's there. MacGyver searches a trash dump and finds several light bulbs and two boards. He places the light bulbs between the boards and then ties the boards together. He and Yanna wait for the supply truck to arrive. When it does, Yanna pulls the contraption beneath the truck. When the light bulbs break, the driver thinks he has a blowout. MacGyver sneaks onto the truck while it's stopped.

Inside, MacGyver borrows a janitor's uniform and mixes with the staff. He steals sugar, salt, and weed killer and makes an explosive out of the materials, then sets a chemical fuse. MacGyver wanders over to Yanna's family and warns them to be ready, and then steals a guard's uniform. The Gypsies stage a fight and MacGyver takes advantage of the distraction to knock out a bulldozer driver. He then fastens barbed wire to the back of the bulldozer and drives it between the Gypsies and the guards. MacGyver steals a truck, picks up Yanna's family, and they break through the gate and pick up Yanna. As they escape, Bruno tells MacGyver that he sold the watch.

That night, MacGyver goes to see Bruno's fence, a Gypsy woman named Reena. She runs a tavern but the customers resent MacGyver asking questions. He manages to hold them off long enough to get Reena's attention. She invites him upstairs to her room, while one of the patrons secretly compares MacGyver's face to a photograph distributed by the police.

Reena flirts with MacGyver and then demands to know why the watch is so valuable. Using a bobby pin with a drop of wine as a magnifying glass, he shows her the miniature information on the watch face. She turns over the watch but Kossov and Messic arrive and start searching the place. MacGyver escapes across the roof to where Bruno and Yanna are waiting for him in a stolen cab. Yanna asks him to take her and her family with them when he escapes Budapest and he agrees.

The next day, MacGyver comes up with a plan. He and Yanna's family dress up in driver's coveralls and go to the road rally. Yanna steals a policeman's radio while MacGyver uses credit card pieces to reprogram a traffic light controller. Kossov learns of the stolen cab and goes to the park to find the fugitives. MacGyver and the others take three of the racing cars from a truck and drive away. Kossov and Messic spot them and try to pursue, but they're stalled in traffic due to the reprogrammed lights. Motorcycle police manage to make it through traffic but MacGyver and the Gypsies manage to evade them by taking to the roofs.

Yanna tunes a transistor radio to a music station and then MacGyver has her tape it to the stolen police radio. The music scrambles the channel and MacGyver stops long enough to buy all of a merchant's balloons. He attaches them to the radio and sends it soaring up into the sky, blanketing every radio within miles.

Kossov and Messic finally get free of traffic and close in. MacGyver and the others pull into a car lot and hide, then double back and cut across a river. Kossov tries to follow but is swept downstream. Next the fugitives drive through a drainage pipe and Yanna's cousins open the gate at the other end. They close it, further delaying Kossov. Finally MacGyver and the Gypsies get across the border to Austria. Kossov is forced to stop and can't open fire for fear of an international incident.

Yanna's family celebrates their good fortune and MacGyver gives Yanna his Swiss Army knife as a gift.