Bruce McGill revisits ‘MacGyver,’ 25 years later

Bruce McGill of 'MacGyver' Friday on CBS
Bruce McGill of “MacGyver” Friday on CBS

Q: You played Jack Dalton on the original “MacGyver,” but since George Eads now plays him. you have a new character in the reboot’s Dec. 15 episode. What’s he like?

A: He’s a pretty good, pretty honest procedural cop, and thought the best thing I could do was to build a real world that the “MacGyver” world could bump into. I thought, “Let’s make this as real as any real cop show I’ve ever done.”

There’s a very good scene where my character believes MacGyver (played by Lucas Till) is a serial bomber, and I’m trying to get him to spill the beans. He won’t tell me who he is, and he can’t, because he works for the double-secret-probation Phoenix Foundation. I just pound away (with the interrogation), but I’m genuinely concerned for this highly intelligent kid who has an abnormal obsession with explosives.

Q: How did you become involved in “MacGyver” originally?

A: I wasn’t doing any TV to speak of, and when they called me to do it, I said, ‘I don’t think so.” But Charlie Correll – who was the director of photography on “National Lampoon’s Animal House” (in which McGill played musical-throat-playing motorcyclist D-Day) – was directing it, and he called and said, ‘”What are you doing? Get on a plane and get out here! It doesn’t matter; you die at the end of the episode, so you don’t have to worry about making a commitment.”

That was interesting, so I did it. And then I went back to my theater and movie life, and my agent called and said, ‘”They’d like you to do another ‘MacGyver.’” I said, “What part?” And he said, “Oh, same part.” And I said, “But that character died.” Well, he didn’t die on camera; he heroically saved MacGyver by flying his airplane over the horizon, and then there was one of those poor-man’s (largely unseen) explosions. And my agent said, “If Bobby Ewing can come back in the shower … .”

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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