'MacGyver's Lucas Till on How Russ Taylor Reunites the Team in Season 4

Jim Halterman
Macgyver Season 4 Fire + Ashes + Legacy = Phoenix
Preview CBS

Come on in, the gelled sodium polyacrylate's fine! At least, that's what brainy covert operative Angus MacGyver (Lucas Till, above) wishes were the case — but in MacGyver Season 4's first episode, he's literally stuck in a vat of the super-absorbent polymer (it's used in disposable diapers!).

"I actually learn a lot doing this show," says Till, laughing, of the science-based know-how Mac famously employs, in this case to stop a bioweapon from destroying Los Angeles via underground pipes.

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The '100' and 'Lost' alum joins the series in the season premiere, which finds Mac teaching a class of bored college students.

Backing up to the start of the hour, we quickly learn 18 months have passed and the do-gooding Phoenix Foundation has been defunded and shut down. Blocked from taking other government roles, the team — operative Wilt Bozer (Justin Hires), hacker Riley Davis (Tristin Mays), martial arts expert Desi Nguyen (Levy Tran, upped to series regular), and ex-boss Matty Weber (Meredith Eaton) — have fallen out of touch as they toil at various everyday jobs.

"Mac's teaching, and he's pretty miserable," says Till of his character's gig as a college chemistry professor.

Henry Ian Cusick MacGyver Season 4 Russ Taylor

(CBS)

Enter wealthy Russ Taylor (new cast member Henry Ian Cusick, Lost). The onetime MI6 agent needs a reluctant Mac to stop that bioweapon — and the mission just might reunite the team permanently.

"Russ does shady things and he's well known for it, but he eventually buys up the Phoenix," previews Till, adding that Russ' welcome is hardly warm, especially from Matty, who is used to calling the shots. "You'll see their tug-of-war all season."

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The CBS drama finally returns Friday, February 7 on CBS.

We'll also see a serialized battle with a shadowy enemy known collectively as the Codex. And watch for the returns of Peter Weller (as villainous Mason) and Tate Donovan as Mac's intelligence-man dad Jim, aka Oversight. The family saga "is going to get pretty heartbreaking," Till notes. (Could it be Jim's cancer, a diagnosis he finally revealed last spring?)

For now, though, Till says he's thrilled to be back on the air after a nine-month hiatus. "I've had two old ladies in a grocery store slap me in the chest and say, 'Where's your show?'"

Lucas Till MacGyver Season 4 Premiere Mac

(CBS)

MacGyverSeason 4 Premiere, Friday, February 7, 8/7c, CBS