Patrick Malahide as Jeremy Boynton in Inspector Morse: Driven to Distraction

Level stare, cool blue eyes

Patrick Malahide appeared in the S04E03 of Inspector Morse, in January 1990. A full 12 years before his Endeavour appearance (read about that here). The characters, though, do have some striking similarities. They are both smug, sexually oleaginous creeps who seem to have little regard for morals or any sort of decency. They also both manage to quickly get on Morse’s bad side.

This was a rather creepy episode. We keep seeing a gloved figure stalking women, obviously planning on binding and stabbing them. In the killer’s car there is a tape that is always playing Why Can’t You Behave. Morse believes this figure is Jeremy Boynton…but is it? Read on, or go to the gallery below for some extremely nice photos (courtesy of RFodchuk).


Morse (John Thaw) and Lewis (Kevin Whatley) are investigating the murder of Jackie Thorn who was found tied up and stabbed. It is strikingly similar to another murder that had occurred earlier. Both murder victims have one thing in common: They each bought a car from the same dealer, Jeremy Boynton (Malahide). It is soon discovered that another woman, who also purchased a car from Boynton, was attacked in a similar manner a few years previously. She survived the attack but could not identify the culprit.

Jackie’s body was discovered by her friend Angie (Tess Wojtczak). She knows that Jeremy and Jackie were having an affair, even though Jackie was engaged to another man. Jeremy does not want that information revealed so he intimidates Angie by threatening to tell the police of her marijuana habit. But, Jeremy is too heavy handed in his intimidation, forcing Angie to bring her marijuana plants into the police station and come clean about everything.

Also, there is a driving instructor who gave lessons to some of Boyton’s female customers. He tells the police that Jeremy is a wolf who often has relationships with his female clientele and is not to be trusted. With all of this evidence, Morse becomes convinced that Boynton is the killer.

A Strong Dislike

Morse first meets Boynton at his car dealership. Drawn by Morse’s beautiful Jag, Boynton leaves his office to take a look. Initially, he thinks that Morse is a potential customer and Morse is happy to string him along a bit before revealing that he is a police officer. “I wish you’d said…makes me look a bit foolish”, says Boynton, probably hoping to be reassured. Instead Morse just says “Yeah” with a little smirk. It is obvious he does not like Boynton at all.

It is later discovered that the married Boynton was having a relationship with Jackie who had died whilst pregnant with his child. Furthermore, they learn that Boynton’s first wife left him because of domestic abuse. Morse is absolutely convinced of Boynton’s guilt and is determined to catch him. His aggressive tactics anger his sergeant DS Lewis, driving a wedge between them.

Fortunately, Lewis has an ally in DS Maitland (Mary Jo Randle), a specialist in violence against women, who has been attached to the case. Morse has little time for her either, at first, but later comes to realize that she is a valuable asset.

A Mess of Things

Jackie’s former fiancé, Tim (Christopher Fullford), finds out about Boynton and goes to his dealership. He is in a distraught way and attacks Boynton, dashing his head and dousing him with petrol. He then tries to light matches on him. The police show up in time and Boynton is taken to hospital but Lewis is livid with how poorly Morse is handling the case, screaming that Boynton could have been killed. He believes that Morse is unfairly harassing Boynton without enough evidence and even threatens to leave him.

The Killer is Found

Let’s skip to the end. Boynton was not the killer. Instead, it was the driving instructor who despised Boynton and his “tarts”. If Morse had looked beyond Boynton, he would have seen that there was, in fact, another connection between the victims.
Finally, filled with guilt, Morse visits Boynton in hospital and gives him the steering wheel from a Jag that won the Monte Carlo Rally in 1956 as a peace offering.


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7 Responses to Patrick Malahide as Jeremy Boynton in Inspector Morse: Driven to Distraction

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  5. leonard Foulk says:

    It’s brilliant!

  6. Peter McCutcheon says:

    I love Morse. I love his taste in music, alcohol, cars and his innate distaste for social and academic frivolity. Patrick’s acting is so good that Morse’s animosity towards Boynton is absolutely credible. I was jolted by the ending… the steering wheel. That was Ronnie Adam’s steering wheel. I met him as a teenager in Dublin following his victory in the 1956 Monte Carlo Rally. My father was the manager of Rolex in Ireland and I was there when he was presented with a new Rolex watch following his achievement. And to think the steering wheel would surface in a TV show 60 plus years later!!!!

    P.S. I also love Inspector Alleyn. Too few episodes.

    I loved Inspector Alleyn, too. Too few episodes.

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