A Prisoner of Conscience
Episode 21 of 22 within Season One. Item 21 of 141 overall.
Production number 40191-021.
Stephen Kandel - Writer
Cliff Bole - Director
5 votes

Pete Thornton investigates the supposed death of an old friend, a prominent Russian dissident, and finds he must get his friend's daughter Maria out of the country before the secret police arrest her for an alleged conspiracy.

However, while in Russia, Pete bumps into MacGyver, who followed him from the United States. While disappointed MacGyver followed him, Pete gladly welcomes MacGyver into his plans when the secret police arrive to take Maria into custody. Following a high speed boat chase to escape the police, Pete and MacGyver find out from Maria that her father is not dead, he is being held in a maximum security ward at a state mental institution. To get into the mental hospital, MacGyver plays the part of a mad patient and Pete plays the part of a doctor who has been assigned to him. With the help of the other patients, MacGyver is able to escape into Ward Zero, where Pete's friend is held. MacGyver breaks him out and hides him with the other patients.

original airdate--April 30,1986    rating--13.3/22 share

network: abc

music--MacGyver Theme song by Randy Edelman



  1. To stop the secret police following him, MacGyver blocks the exhaust pipe of their car with a potato in order to stall the engine.
  2. MacGyver stops a pursuing boat by clogging the intake for the boat's inboard motor with a floating device made from a blanket, some rope, and jerrycans.
  3. To break out of a locked ward in a mental hospital, MacGyver uses the spring steel filament support wires from a light bulb as lock picks.
  4. MacGyver plugs a sink in a small janitor's closet with a cloth, puts caulk around the rim of a bucket then pours a hardening agent onto the caulked rim claiming "caulking compound mixed with the proper hardening agent makes a unique version of Russian Crazy Glue". MacGyver then places the bucket in the water rim up so it floats, bobbing up and down. He then glues a broom handle to the bucket's rim, places a white cloth on the end of the broom handle and sticks it out the doorway to attract the attention of a guard. The guard inspects the device and when he picks it up has his hands glued to the bucket.
Goofs--Obvious stunt doubles during the boat chase scene.
When the mans hand is glued to the bucket and mop handle, he runs over to the alarm button and the alarm sounds when he clearly doesn't touch the button.


"Oh I've heard about you! You're the guy who does the whatchamacallits, you know, MacGyverisms; turns one thing into another?"

related items

Previous episode :
020 The Escape
Next episode :
022 The Assassin (season finale)

regional titles

Een gewetensgevangene
A Prisoner of Conscience
Affaire de conscience
Ein Gefangener des Gewissens
A príosúnach coinsiasa
Prigioniero di coscienza
Un preso de conciencia