MacGyver will soon be left without his Jack Dalton.
George Eads – who, since the pilot, has co-starred on CBS’s MacGyver reboot series as Jack Dalton, the Bruce Willis-obsessed partner-in-the-field/comic-relief to the improvising lifehacking title character (Lucas Till) – is reportedly set to finish his run on the series, according to THR.
While details about the circumstances surrounding Eads’s MacGyver exit are still somewhat vague, the report points to what is being called an “altercation” that occurred on the set of show – which is primarily shot in Atlanta – back in October, which culminated in the actor storming off the set, leaving the production in the lurch with several hours of shooting still scheduled that day. While Eads is said to be currently in production on the series, an exit is in the works, with his final episode set to air in the back half of the current Season 3, presumably in early 2019.
Interestingly, unlike another recent example of high-profile behind-the-scenes television tumult that affected Fox’s Lethal Weapon, CBS’s plan for Eads’s Jack Dalton is to simply have him written him off MacGyver, rather than killing the character; a stark contrast to what Fox did when handling the acrimonious exit of Lethal Weapon co-star Clayne Crawford, which will prospectively be followed by the exit of co-star Damon Wayans. Thus, the possibility of returning guest spots – after tensions settle – will still exist.
However, the mysterious altercation involving Eads wasn’t so much the primary reason for his imminent exit as it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It seems that shooting the series in Atlanta has taken a toll on his family life, keeping him an entire country away from his young daughter in Los Angeles. Consequently, the report also claims that Eads had been unhappy with the series for quite some time and told showrunner Peter Lenkov his intention to quit and was attempting to convince producers to let him out of his remaining contract.
This is hardly the first time that Eads has clashed behind-the-scenes with CBS. The actor is still best known for his 15-year run as Nick Stokes on the network’s signature crime procedural, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, a tenure that saw its share of tension, notably with a 2013 on-set argument with a writer over the direction of his character. That incident resulted in Eads being suspended from the series, though his exit – after a decade-and-a-half on the show – would occur shortly after his return.
MacGyver has relied on the buddy dynamic between Till’s impromptu inventor and Eads’s blunt instrument of a protector, so it will be interesting to see how it handles the exit. The show has settled on an interesting cast dynamic after early issues such as having to scrap its original pilot and the Season 1 departure of main cast member Sandrine Holt, who played Patricia Thornton, a gender-swapped version of the original MacGyver’s Phoenix Foundation boss, Pete Thornton; an exit that was handled by bringing in Meredith Eaton as new boss Matty Weber, a spitfire of a character who actually ended up improving the cast chemistry.
MacGyver airs Fridays at 8/7c on CBS.