Inspector Morse (1987–2000)
9 user 1 critic

Driven to Distraction 

After two beautiful women are stabbed to death a month apart by the same killer, the only connection between the pair is their car dealership.


Sandy Johnson


Anthony Minghella, Colin Dexter (characters) (as Alan Dexter) | 1 more credit »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
John Thaw ... Chief Inspector Morse
Kevin Whately ... Detective Sergeant Lewis
Julia Lane ... Jackie Thorn
Tariq Yunus ... George
Tessa Wojtczak ... Angie Howe
Patrick Malahide ... Jeremy Boynton
Richard Huw Richard Huw ... Detective Constable Dearden
Al Ashton Al Ashton ... Detective
Will Brenton Will Brenton ... Detective
Chris Jenkinson Chris Jenkinson ... Detective
David Lonsdale David Lonsdale ... Detective
Christopher Fulford ... Tim Ablett
Carolyn Choa Carolyn Choa ... Phillipa Lau
Ken Nazarin Ken Nazarin ... Whyting Lau
Mary Jo Randle ... D.S. Maitland


Morse and Lewis investigate the death of Jackie Thorn who was found bound and stabbed in her flat. The murder is a carbon copy of one that occurred 27 days previously and they assume both were committed by the same man. The team is joined by Sgt. Siobhan Maitland, a expert in crimes against women. In the course of the investigation, they find that both women had purchased their cars from the same dealer and Morse becomes convinced that the owner, Jeremy Boynton, is the culprit. When they find a third assault victim who survived an attack some 5 years previously, Morse is more convinced than ever. The only thing now is that Morse needs evidence, provided he has the right man of course. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


Did You Know?


Morse tells Lewis about a friend who was terminally ill but was concerned that the battery on his car would go flat with not being driven so he got Morse to drive the car each week to keep the battery charged. Anthony Minghella, writer of the episode, included this story as a tribute to the late Kenny McBain, producer of Series 1 and 2, who had asked Minghella to perform this service on his newly-bought Saab when he discovered that he was dying of Hodgkin's disease. See more »


When Morse is on the skid pan, he can't find the switch to operate the windscreen wipers but when he is attacked there are 3 external shots of the car. In the first the wipers are off. In the second they are working, and then they are off again. See more »


Chief Superintendent Strange: I'm taking you for a drink.
Chief Inspector Morse: It's funny, you're the second person to say that to me today. I turned the first one down.
Chief Superintendent Strange: This one you'll need.
See more »


Edited into Inspector Morse: Rest in Peace (2000) See more »


Why Can't You Behave
Written by Cole Porter (1948)
Killer plays on audio cassette in car
See more »

User Reviews

Very intriguing episode, with a thoughtful tribute to the late Kenny McBain!
4 July 2009 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Driven To Distraction is a somewhat haunting episode. What makes it so is the song playing before a murder happens, the song itself is quite haunting, and I always think it as the murderer's motif. The plot consists of a murdered woman in her flat, and the connection seems to be with a car dealer. It is certainly an intriguing entry into the wonderful series of Inspector Morse, and has so much to recommend it. When Morse tells Lewis of a dying friend and his car, this is a tribute to the original producer Kenny McBain, who sadly died in 1989, and may I say it was a very thoughtful one. The writing is unusually reflective here, and it works to an advantage. As usual Thaw and Whately shine as Morse and Lewis, as does James Grout as Strange, I loved the scene when Strange finds Morse lying on the bed and starts questioning his judgement. The supporting actors are also impressive, with Patrick Malahide deliciously seedy as Jeremy Boynton, and Mary Jo Randle nicely restrained yet humorous at times as Sergeant Maitland. In this episode, Morse and Lewis differentiate in opinion once again, and I liked the fact that Lewis solves the crime instead of Morse, it shows different sides to the characters, and the climax was what I'd call tyre-screeching. All in all, a thoughtful and well done episode, with a 10/10. Bethany Cox

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Release Date:

17 January 1990 (UK) See more »

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