MacGyver (1985–1992)
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Lesson in Evil 

The infamous Dr. Zito escapes from court during his insanity hearing. MacGyver and the police, including the same officer responsible for Zito's incarceration, are now the victims of Zito's sadistic games.


William Gereghty


Lee David Zlotoff (created by), John Sheppard | 2 more credits »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Dean Anderson ... MacGyver
Dana Elcar ... Pete Thornton
Kim Zimmer ... Lt. Kate Murphy
William Morgan Sheppard ... Dr. Zito (as W. Morgan Sheppard)
Jackson Davies Jackson Davies ... Captain Mike Kiley
Lynne Moody ... Dr. Marion Skinner
Karen Elizabeth Austin Karen Elizabeth Austin ... Judge
Michael Rogers ... D.A. Howard
Ken Kramer ... Zito's Lawyer
Alvin Sanders ... Charles
J. Douglas Stewart ... Orderly (as Douglas Stewart)
William MacDonald ... Paramedic
Paul Stafford Paul Stafford ... Security Chief
Andrea Brown Andrea Brown ... Legal Secretary
John Kirkconnell John Kirkconnell ... Kid No. 1


Psychopathic serial killer Zito, an evil genius whom Mac helped arrest and convict, is up for parole due to gullible psychologist Marion Skinner. Mac testimony, a sharp analysis, prevents his release, but the court appearance allowed Zito to steal a pen and escape, fatally stabbing two staff members. He also leaves a complex series of arithmetic riddle clues. Each points to a place or victim, part of an elaborate trap to teach MacGyver a master class in evil, but unlike the police, Mac proves at least as smart. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






Release Date:

29 October 1990 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This story seems to anticipate several elements of the movie The Silence of the Lambs. Dr. Zito's escape resembles Dr. Lector's escape, and the restraint Dr. Zito keeps Thorton in looks a lot like what Lector was kept in at one point of the movie. The interesting thing is that movie wouldn't be released for another three months. See more »


When Mac climbs up to the window of the abandoned asylum, the windows are small-paned two-row window sashes, but when he pushes open a window, it is a tall-paned single-row sash. See more »


[first lines]
MacGyver: [two kids dressed for Halloween surprise MacGyver] Ah!
Kid No. 1Kid No. 2: Trick or Treat!
Kid No. 1: Help the homeless, mister.
MacGyver: Oh, you bet.
Kid No. 1: We were just kidding. We're not really monsters.
MacGyver: Yeah, sure you're not.
See more »


Features MacGyver: Deadly Dreams (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

A less gory Silence of the Lambs
6 June 2018 | by veinctorSee all my reviews

This episode was so good for '90s TV.... and released a year before Silence of the Lambs. The Silence of the Lambs book was written in 1981 so, I cant say the Lesson in Evil is original but I do prefer Macgyver's episode. It's more compact and into the point. It's creepy but without the gore. I love how an old man like Zito can play mind games with Mac.

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