Is Tate Donovan leaving MacGyver as Mac’s dad Oversight?

MacGyver season 3 premiereFollowing tonight’s new episode, it feels like we have to raise the following question: Is Tate Donovan leaving MacGyver? Are we going to be seeing less of Oversight sooner rather than later?

Well, at the end of tonight’s episode, we received a significant blow to the heart — Mac’s dad has cancer, and the amount of time he has left is currently unclear. He wants to cherish however much of it that he has with his son, and he didn’t want any sympathy in the process. He was keeping a secret from the team, but it’s pretty obvious at this point that he wasn’t doing it to be hurtful. He was doing it for the sake of trying to preserve a specific future.

Obviously, the existence of this story is meant to send a chill down your spine … but we wouldn’t take it as proof that Donovan is leaving the show anytime soon. We know that he’ll appear in at least the next episode, and could have more coming up beyond that. Given that Murdoc vs. Helman will be the focus for that hour, it’s hard to imagine that Oversight’s health will have much of a focus in there at the same time. We foresee Donovan being around in the near future so if he leaves, it won’t be immediate.

We also should note that Donovan is not a series regular on MacGyver, meaning that if he does depart, it won’t be akin to someone with a years-long contract saying goodbye a la George Eads. It’s just more the end of that character’s journey. Obviously, it’s just a little bit different when you’re talking about Mac’s father, and a character who has become important to the fabric of the overall story.

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Is there a best-case scenario?

Sure. The cancer goes into remission and as a result of that, Oversight finds a way to continue his life as usual and also his relationship with MacGyver. We don’t want to see him go, but there is a certain appreciation for this storyline — sometimes, MacGyver exists within a plane where storyline’s are explosive, over-the-top, and far beyond what any person would experience. Cancer, often for worse, is something millions of people have dealt with. It brings a hefty dose of sad humanity into the show and we’ll just have to see where it goes.

Donovan first debuted on MacGyver at the end of last season, as Oversight was revealed to be the man behind the Phoenix Foundation … and the man who was intent on controlling much of his life.

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What do you think about tonight’s episode, and are you worried significantly over Oversight’s future? Share right now in the comments. (Photo: 

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