Any child of the 80’s has probably heard of or watched the show MacGyver. It starred Richard Dean Anderson, who played the title character, Angus MacGyver. He was a secret agent under the employ of The Phoenix Foundation, an organization that allowed him to use alternative (and less violent) means of law enforcement. As much as I liked MacGyver, there was another character I enjoyed more. His name was Murdoc.
Played by Michael Des Barres, Murdoc was a recurring villain who haunted MacGyver throughout the series’ seven seasons. Haunted is not just a turn of phrase. Time and time again, the villain returned after suffering a seemingly gruesome demise. If MacGyver had an arch-nemesis, it was the diabolical Murdoc.
Murdoc was an operative working for Homicide International Trust (HIT) and suffered the misfortune of crossing MacGyver’s path. Before meeting his greatest adversary, Murdoc never failed an assignment. The megalomaniac was a prolific assassin and master of disguise. He specialized in devastating weaponry. During his bouts with Macgyver he used dynamite, flamethrowers, and bazookas.
What made this villain so enjoyable was the manic delight he took in luring MacGyver into elaborate traps. Somehow, Mac always managed to escape, but that was the point all along. It was clear throughout the series that Murdoc was more than capable of dispatching MacGyver, using traditional means. But defeating such a worthy enemy this way was beneath Murdoc.
The blend of theatricality, over-the-top violence, and insatiable need for revenge made Murdoc an interesting foil. He was MacGyver’s equal in terms of cleverness. However, his need to prove this was always his undoing, and that’s what made his character so enjoyable.