desecrets: (mac)
[personal profile] desecrets
MacGyver timelines meta because I am trash! And super curious about Murdoc's backstory.

So we know from Partners that Mac first runs into both Pete Thornton and Murdoc in 1980, since he says in 1987 that it was 'seven years ago'. At the time, Pete says he's been on Murdoc's case for 'several years'. And in Cleo Rocks, Murdoc says that he and Pete have been 'playing this game' for 'ten-fifteen years'. That's in 1989. Assuming ten years that puts us back to 1979, but since Pete in 1980 said 'several' years, it's more likely that 15 is a correct estimate, in which case Pete has been on Murdoc's case since about 1975.

Now, Murdoc in Cleo Rocks says that he had made a name for himself as the best hitman in the business, and was everybody's go-to person if they needed somebody killed, before Pete and MacGyver 'came along and spoiled the party'. We may take this to mean before 1980, since that's when Mac got involved, or some earlier altercation with Pete in the 70s, but either way it's obvious that Murdoc was already killing people, and doing it well enough and frequently enough to get on the DXS's radar, in 1975, or Pete wouldn't have been assigned to his case.

Now, in 1975, assuming that Murdoc's age is about the same as the guy who plays him (as MacGyver's birthday is - somewhat oddly - on the same date as Richard Dean Anderson's, but one year later), he would have been about 27. Assuming that he'd been out in the field for at least a year or two, possibly longer, and allowing for a considerable amount of training needed to do the job that he does, he might have been recruited by H.I.T. in his early 20s, i.e. straight out of uni, if he attended university at all.

, there are further complications: Ashton. The Halloween Knights episode also takes place in 1989, and Ashton seems to be somewhere in her twenties. It's stated that she had no idea she even had a brother. The age difference between them might be something like fifteen years. Assuming again that Murdoc is the same age as his actor (41 in 1989) and the actress who plays Ashton is about 25-26, that works out nicely. It's possible however that Ashton is meant to be a little younger than that, because she's played with a certain naivete, so if she's supposed to be twenty or so, then that puts the age difference at closer to 20 years. That makes it eminently possible for Murdoc to have left home before her birth (though it is a slightly implausible age gap for their birth dates, assuming they both have the same mother, so I'm tempted to put it somewhere in the middle, say, 17 years, but that's a minor detail).

What's problematic here is: why does Ashton not know she has a brother? Even assuming Murdoc left home before she was born, surely her parents would have told her about him, surely there would have been pictures. There are several ways to solve this:
  1. Their parents also died while Ashton was still very young and Ashton grew up in foster care. We know they're dead by the time of Strictly Business: '[Ashton] was the last of my family'). This raises the question of why her next of kin - her older brother - was not contacted when they died. Presumably Murdoc would have had H.I.T.'s resources to help him drop off the face of the earth and be pretty much unfindable, faked birth certificates etc etc, and faced with that insurmountable obstacle, even if there were family photos which had him in them, Ashton would probably be placed in foster care anyway. And if her parents died when she was a toddler, that explains why she has no memory of her parents telling her about her brother.
  2. Same as the above except instead of just deleting his paper trail, he actively faked his own death as well.
  3. Their parents lived, but chose not to tell Ashton anything because they knew what their son did for a living and had purged him from their lives, wanting Ashton's arrival to be a fresh start. This accounts for a problem which isn't resolved by either 1 or 2, namely, where are the family friends, people who could take care of Ashton, and who would know of Murdoc's existence?? But if they left their old lives behind to start over, that might explain some things. A problem with this theory is simply that it's incredibly unlikely that they would have found out, given how professional H.I.T. are about secrecy. Also, we know Murdoc has been looking after Ashton from afar, probably helping with money etc, and that would have been hard for him to do with his parents still around, especially if they knew that he'd turned criminal, as they'd be very suspicious of any anonymous gifts.
So all in all I think the first option is the most likely one.

There's one final issue, however: linguistics. Ashton has clearly lived her whole life in the United States, as her accent is pure American. Murdoc's is a curious blend, expat Brit slowly going native. He must have moved to the United States late enough that he never quite picked up the accent, despite the fact that he has a pretty good ear.

Nicholas Helman, incidentally, also has a British accent, and we know that he mentored Murdoc. In other words - Occam's razor - it's more economical to assume that they met in England, before Ashton's birth. This also explains why H.I.T. never knew about Ashton. (God, this is complicated.)

So: Murdoc meets Helman, and one way or another ends up joining him. At this time, going by the age difference between Murdoc and Ashton, he is 20 at the oldest, 15 at the youngest. Possibly under the pretext of going to uni, he leaves with Helman. For the time being he probably keeps in sporadic touch with his parents to keep up appearances so they won't report him missing. Murdoc's parents move to the United States, where they have another child. By this time his communication with them - at least as far as H.I.T. is aware - ceases, to keep Ashton a secret from H.I.T. (It's possible that he fakes his death somewhere in this interval but I think paradoxically that would make it harder for him to vanish.) All documentation about Murdoc's existence is eradicated or altered. Then his parents die, presumably in some accident. Ashton is in kindergarden at the oldest, and is placed in care. At some point in this interval Murdoc and Helman go to the United States as well - possibly because the main HQ of H.I.T. is in the US and all recruits must go there for training at some point.

I am curious about the death of their parents though. Most likely it's just an extremely unlikely coincidence. I doubt they were murdered, because if H.I.T. had killed them, they would know about Ashton, and we know that they don't. It is just possible that they lived for quite a few years before dying of natural causes (though they would have been sixty at most when they died, which makes it less likely), if we assume that a) they told Ashton nothing because they'd somehow found out about the killing, and erased all memory of their son from their lives and moved to the States to get a new start (and H.I.T. didn't know that they knew and thus didn't see the need to murder them presumably), b) they cut contact with all their old friends who knew about their son, c) H.I.T. wasn't keeping tabs on them because Murdoc didn't seem to be in contact with them. (I'm not sure I believe that H.I.T. would be that trusting but then again I guess they don't have unlimited resources for spying on non-targets.) In this scenario I'm guessing Murdoc didn't start supporting Ashton anonymously until probably a few years before Halloween Knights. BUT tbh that's a lot of unlikely things stacked on top of each other, so I'm inclined to the 'both parents die while Ashton is a toddler' explanation.

So apparently this is the kind of thing that happens when I bingewatch a show I haven't seen since primary school. (I even got an icon to match my obsession!)