Drive is an American action drama television series created by Tim Minear and Ben Queen, produced by Minear, Queen, and Greg Yaitanes, and starring Nathan Fillion. Four episodes aired on the Fox Network in April 2007. Two unaired episodes were later released directly to digital distribution.
The series is set against the backdrop of an illegal cross-country automobile road race, focusing on the willing and unwilling competitors and, as the plot develops, the unseen puppet masters who sponsor the race. Minear has described the show's thematic tone by saying "a secret, illegal, underground road race can be anything from Cannonball Run to The Game to North by Northwest to Magnolia-on-wheels. Ours is all those things."
Firefly and Serenity star Nathan Fillion, a longtime friend of series creator Tim Minear, plays the lead role of Alex Tully. Ivan Sergei played Tully in the unaired pilot.
Drive was the first TV show in history which had a live Twitter session during an episode. The account @foxdrive still exists.
The show premiered on April 13, 2007 on CTV in Canada. It debuted in the United States on April 15, 2007 on Fox, and moved into its regular time slot on Mondays the next day; in that slot it faced stiff competition from NBC's Deal or No Deal and ABC's Dancing with the Stars. On April 25, Fox canceled Drive after only four episodes had aired. The series has not yet been released to international markets (with the exception of Canada) or on DVD.
The following are the checkpoints passed, clues and/or instructions before arrival, and the specifics regarding them.
A total of six episodes of Drive were produced, four of them were aired prior to its cancellation. The series premiered on April 13, 2007 in Canada and on April 15, 2007 in the United States.
Fox greenlit series production on Drive in October 2006. In addition to the series pilot, another twelve episodes were ordered as a midseason replacement for spring 2007.
Drive was shot in the Los Angeles area, using road footage and green-screen technology. According to Tim Minear, "because of technology, we can actually create a cross-country road race and shoot it all in Santa Clarita." This led to geographic inconsistencies in the series, including mountains and desert settings visible during highway scenes set near Gainesville, Florida, when there are no actual mountain ranges or deserts in that area.
Highway scenes were shot on Interstate 210 in Rialto, California on the finished but unopened portion between Alder Ave. and Linden Ave. The exit for Alder Ave can be seen as the exit in most of the freeway scenes. In the first episode, the Alder Ave. sign for the exit is clearly legible. Scenes at the "Kennedy Space Center" were filmed at the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, California.
The two-hour premiere of Drive in the United States, broadcast on April 15, 2007 at 8:00 pm, was watched by six million viewers. The program did not deliver the ratings Fox desired, and on April 25, 2007, the network announced that it had cancelled Drive. The final two remaining unaired episodes of Drive were made available for online streaming on Fox on Demand beginning Sunday, July 15, 2007, in addition to the previously aired episodes. All six episodes of the show have been made available for purchase and download from the iTunes Store and Amazon Video on Demand exclusively for United States residents.
Fox initially announced that the final two episodes would air on July 4, 2007. The network rescheduled them for July 13 and later pulled them entirely. The two remaining episodes were posted online on July 15, 2007. Executive producers Tim Minear and Craig Silverstein subsequently gave an interview that described what might have happened if the series had continued.
To the question "Which single work of yours do you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved?", Nathan Fillion said: "I would say I did a series called Drive that would’ve been a really good TV series if more than two episodes had aired. It was a lot of fun and it was very short lived. Sometimes I forget I was in it."
Alex Tully is a 35-year-old landscaper with a dark past. His wife Kathryn goes missing, leaving him distraught. However, when Kathryn's anniversary present to Alex begins to ring, he rips open the package to find a cell phone. The mysterious call plunges Alex into the race, baiting him with the prospect of seeing his wife again. The catch, however, is that he has to embark straight away, and if he ever hopes to see her alive he will not notify anyone about where, or what he is doing. Meanwhile, the local police consider Tully a prime suspect in the disappearance of his wife, and subsequently view his sudden departure as overly suspicious behavior.
The unknown benefactors want Alex in this race for a reason, and it is assuredly because of his mysterious background as a semi-professional racer, and as a getaway driver/accomplice in a bank robbery. When Alex is arrested by an agent of the race dressed as a police officer he is interrogated about the murders connected to his role in the bank robbery. Alex eventually cracks begging what he believes is a cop to let him go, because he is racing for his wife's life. He promises to confess to whatever charges the officer wants to throw at him, as long as he can get back on the road. Upon Tully's confession, Officer Poole reveals himself as a part of the race, informing Alex that he could win, but only if he becomes the dark Tully once again, the one that would do absolutely anything to retrieve his wife. The officer then throws a stool smashing a two way mirror to reveal Alex's original Dodge Challenger; dating back to his long suppressed racing days. The car is a symbol of Alex's shady past, something that begins to surface again as he races to the checkpoint leaving all of his competitors in a wake of burning rubber. As Alex examines the car, he tells Officer Poole that "It's close, but it's not my old car." When Poole leans in to check, Alex pulls a knife from a hidden compartment in the dashboard and holds it to Poole's throat, indicating he is starting to change back into his "dark self."
Early in the race, Alex partners with Corinna Wiles, a woman who is being chased by the race organizers for stealing a flash drive containing information on all of the racers. Upon being the first to reach the checkpoint at Rome, Georgia, Alex and Corinna get a "head start" that would allow them to skip the next checkpoint and go to the one after it, theoretically putting them hundreds of miles ahead of the competition. However, to get this head start, Alex and Corinna have to rob a bank in Sweetwater, Georgia. They enlist the aid of Winston and Sean Salazar to break in at night and steal the note with the next destination from a safety deposit box. During the robbery, Sean is shot by a security guard, and Alex takes him to a doctor while Corinna and Winston wait at a motel with the box.
Rather than going to a hospital, Alex takes Sean to a criminal doctor in Tennessee that he knew from his days as a getaway driver. The doctor forces Alex to tell him where he had been over the last few years. When Sean deliriously mumbles about the $32 million prize, the doctor tells Alex to explain what is going on, or else he will let Sean die. Suddenly, Detective Erhle arrives, having been looking for Alex since he ran away from Nebraska. When the doctor goes to see the detective, Alex finishes stapling up and bandaging Sean's wounds. After a fight breaks out between Alex, Erhle and the doctor, Alex and Sean leave and go back to meet up with Corinna and Winston.
While on the road to Cleveland, the next checkpoint, Alex and Corinna realize that Winston had stolen Corinna's flash drive, which contained information on all of the contestants. Alex forces the Salazars to pull over, then gets out and starts beating Winston, looking for the flash drive. In the midst of this, Sean throws the flash drive, with his laptop, out onto the highway in order to get the two to stop fighting.
After the fight, Alex, Corinna, Sean and Winston hatch a plan to learn more about the race. At the Cleveland checkpoint, Corinna, who is being chased by the race organizers, will let herself be captured by them in order to infiltrate the organization. Meanwhile, Alex and Sean would go after Fernando Salazar, the father of Sean and Winston, whose company is sponsoring Winston. Finally, Winston would take Alex's cell phone in order to keep him moving to the finish line (the cell phones have tracking devices to keep tabs on the racers).
Alex has one sister, Becca Freeman, who is looking after his house while he is away. Upon questioning by the local detective (Erhle), she reveals that Alex had been a semi-professional race car driver, but had left that lifestyle behind for his wife. She credits Kathryn with making him "Alex again." When Erhle enquires about who Alex is when he isn't Alex, Becca doesn't answer.
Alex is portrayed by Nathan Fillion.
Corinna Wiles is a mysterious woman, and may be the contestant most knowledgeable about the hidden purpose, and meanings behind the race. However, she does not share this information freely with her fellow contestants. Twenty-seven years ago Corinna was kidnapped, and her parents entered the race hoping to win and get her back. They died within feet of the finish line where she was waiting, after another vehicle ran their car off the road.
Corinna stole a USB flash drive containing information on all of the racers from Allan James before the race began. She then proceeded to hide in the back of Alex Tully's truck until James caught up with her. With Allan in hot pursuit, she persuaded Tully to take her on as his partner in the race.
In order to capitalize on their head start, Alex and Corinna find out that they have to rob a bank. They enlist the help of Winston and Sean Salazar to do so. When Sean is shot, Corinna and Winston agree to stay at a motel while Alex takes Sean to a doctor. At the motel, Winston gets Corinna drunk and takes the flash drive. After realizing that the drive is missing, Alex and Corinna force Winston and Sean to pull over. When Alex beats up Winston to get the drive, Sean destroys it in order to stop the fight.
After the fight, Alex, Corinna, Sean and Winston hatch a plan to learn more about the race. At the Cleveland checkpoint, Corinna, who is being chased by the race organizers, will let herself be captured by them in order to infiltrate the organization. Meanwhile, Alex and Sean would go after Fernando Salazar, the father of Sean and Winston, whose company is sponsoring Winston. Finally, Winston would take Alex's cell phone in order to keep him moving to the finish line (the cell phones have tracking devices to keep tabs on the racers). After being captured, Corinna discusses this plan with Kathryn Tully, who is with her in the back of a semi.
Corinna is portrayed by Kristin Lehman.
Winston Salazar grew up in Miami with his mother, after his father walked out on them. His mother was forced to work several jobs to make ends meet, because Winston's wealthy father severed all monetary ties when he abandoned them. When he was twelve, his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and subsequently died ten months later. In high school Winston showed great promise as a student, however having now spent several years in the foster care system he decided to run away the morning of his high school graduation. He ended up in the Greater Baltimore area, and amassed a rap sheet of offenses ranging from burglary to grand theft auto. In 2006, Winston was convicted of armed robbery, which caused his father to sever any weak ties that remained.
Winston was granted early parole due to the intervention of an anonymous party. Upon collection of his personal belongings he was handed a new cell phone. He answers the incoming call expecting the phone was a gift from his father, but instead he is pulled into the race. He decides to call his father asking for money, and is denied. Instead of taking the rejection, he drives to his father's house, and ransacks the place looking for expensive belongings. Winston's half-brother Sean catches him in the act, and holds him at gunpoint. He informs Sean that they are brothers, and calls their father to prove it; he is vindicated (by accident on the father's part). Sean becomes angry at their father for keeping this a secret, and joins Winston in pursuit of the $32 million grand prize.
Winston and Sean agree to help Alex and Corinna find the clue for their head start by helping them rob a bank. When Sean is shot, Winston agrees to stay with Corinna at a motel while Alex takes Sean to a doctor. Winston steals the flash drive from Corinna after getting her drunk. When Alex and Corinna find out that the drive is missing, they force the Salazars to pull over. While Alex beats up Winston to make him give the drive back, Sean throws it into the road, destroying it, in order to make them stop fighting.
Winston is portrayed by Kevin Alejandro.
When Sean caught Winston robbing his home, he didn't believe that he was his half-brother at first. Sean's father accidentally confirmed it, however, and Sean departed with Winston to go on the race.
He has portrayed skepticism concerning his half-brother. He didn't believe that Winston killed somebody, but he didn't believe he was innocent either. When Winston was caught by a bounty hunter, Sean used his connections to get him released.
Sean and Winston decide to help Alex and Corinna find the clue for their head start by assisting them in their bank robbery. During the robbery, Sean was shot by a security guard. Alex takes him to Winchester, Tennessee to be fixed up by a criminal doctor that Alex had known from his days as a getaway driver. After a fight between Alex and the doctor, Sean's wound is healed, and the two meet up with Winston and Corinna.
On their way to Cleveland, the next checkpoint, Sean finds out that Winston had stolen the flash drive from Corinna while at the motel. He plugs the flash drive into his laptop and learns that, among other things, each racer has been sponsored by someone or some group. Winston's sponsor was the company owned by Fernando Salazar, Sean and Winston's father. Alex and Corinna learn that Winston had stolen the drive, and they force them to pull over. When Alex and Winston fight over the flash drive, Sean throws it, with his laptop, into the highway to make them stop fighting.
Sean is portrayed by J.D. Pardo.
Wendy Patrakas is a housewife from Walton, Ohio hoping to use the race's $32 million payout as a way to escape her abusive husband Richard. When her son Sammy was born, she asked the doctor not to call her husband, because he was busy in meetings. The doctor then questioned Wendy about her unusual bruising, asking her if she was in an abusive relationship, which Wendy denied. When it came time to leave the hospital, she was given a fruit basket, which contained a black cell phone calling for her to participate in the race.
At the starting line, Wendy was carrying a plastic baby, because she didn't want to raise her husband's suspicion when she left their house in the morning. Later, she could not put the doll down, since she missed her son so much. She has said that Sam is fine, and he's been shown in a safe house with a nanny of sorts. Eventually, Wendy was arrested after her husband reported the minivan stolen, but she was released with the help of Brad, an employee of the people behind the race.
When Wendy came in last place at Jupiter, Florida, Mr. Bright gave her a package containing a gun and pictures of Ivy Chitty. Mr. Bright informed Wendy that Ivy could not arrive at the next checkpoint in her vehicle, and needed to be eliminated. In the end, sweet natured Wendy couldn't kill Ivy, and instead convinced Ivy to switch teams and join her, cleverly following the elimination rules without bloodshed.
After Wendy learns that somebody is watching the safe house where Sam is being kept, she immediately returns home, fearing that Richard will try to kidnap the baby. She leaves Ivy at the side of the road when she protests this decision. Upon returning home, she is relieved to learn that her brother Louis had been watching the safe house. However, Ivy inadvertently informs Richard of where Wendy is after finding her cell phone, and Richard soon comes by to take Wendy and Sam home.
Wendy is portrayed by Melanie Lynskey.
Ivy Chitty is a 28-year-old racer. She was originally on Susan Chamblee and Leigh Barnthouse's team. As a penalty for being the last to arrive at the Jupiter checkpoint, Wendy Patrakas was given a gun and told to eliminate her. However, a waitress who works for the race organizers said that she simply mustn't be in the car with her former partners by the next checkpoint. Ivy used this instruction to abandon her old team, and join with Wendy, which seemed to appease Mr. Bright.
When Wendy hears that somebody has been watching the safe house where her baby is, she tries to go back home in order to make sure that her husband Richard is not trying to take the child. Ivy, who wants to win the race, points a gun at Wendy's head and tries to force her to keep going to the next checkpoint. In response, Wendy turns around and drives down the highway towards oncoming traffic, then dumps Ivy on the side of the road. When Wendy's cell phone, which had been left in one of Ivy's bags, starts ringing, Ivy answers it and starts speaking with Richard, Wendy's husband. Ivy inadvertently tells him that Wendy is coming back home to make sure her baby is safe, leading to Richard meeting Wendy at the safe house.
Later, Ivy runs into Violet Trimble, who had just taken her father's car, and picks up a ride to the next checkpoint. When Violet and John reunite at a restaurant, Ivy steals the Trimbles' car. However, Ivy does not know how to drive, and struggles to keep the car going.
Ivy is portrayed by Taryn Manning.
John Trimble is an astrophysicist. Early in life, his father wanted him to have a career in medicine. Trimble regrets than he never followed that path when he is diagnosed with a terminal illness, which he keeps a secret. Now 47, he has a teenage daughter, Violet, who is traveling with him. He is divorced from Violet's mother, and they share custody of Violet.
In episode 5, Violet learns that John is dying, and she accuses him of lying to her. She takes his car and leaves him. In the next episode, John and Violet reconcile, and they continue to work together. However, Ivy Chitty steals their car, leaving them stranded.
Trimble is portrayed by Dylan Baker, who is credited as a guest star. In episode six, he became a series regular and was placed into the opening credits.
Violet Trimble is the 17-year-old daughter of John Trimble. A student, she is taken out of school by her father to be in the race, though she does not learn about this until after the orientation session. Once she knows, however, she becomes enthusiastic. Violet is impressed by how her father is so daring in taking part in the race.
In episode 5, Violet discovers that her father is dying, and accuses him of lying to her. She leaves him in a huff, stealing his car in the process. While driving alone, Violet briefly picks up Ivy Chitty as a hitchhiker. In episode 6, Violet and John reconcile, and they continue to work together. However, Ivy steals their car, leaving them stranded.
Violet is portrayed by Emma Stone.
Rob Laird is a 28 year old U.S. soldier who has recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq. He is participating in the race with his wife, Ellie. While Ellie is eager to participate, she has also been hiding the fact that Rob's unit has been reactivated and is shipping back to Iraq. After seeing a news report that a comrade had been killed, Rob calls one of his superiors and finds out that he's missed phone messages and letters over the course of two weeks (all of which were intercepted by Ellie). His unit shipped out without him and Rob is now officially AWOL. In episode 6, Rob turns himself in to the Army at Fort Benning to stand for court-martial, having left his post in order to race.
Rob is portrayed by Riley Smith.
Ellie Laird is Rob's wife. She is a 27-year-old front desk clerk at a hotel. Ellie was secretly having an affair with Allan James. However, as he was employed by the race organizers, he couldn't enter the race, so Ellie convinced her husband to be her partner. Ellie is fully intending to leave her husband and split the prize money with James if she wins the race.
Ellie is portrayed by Mircea Monroe.
Ceal Cousins is a racer on a motorcycle. Her race partner is Jimmy Cousins, her husband. She is only seen in the first episode.
Ceal is portrayed by K Callan.
Jimmy Cousins is a racer on a motorcycle. His race partner is his wife, Ceal Cousins. He is only seen in the first episode.
Jimmy is portrayed by Wayne Grace.
Leigh Barnthouse is a 32-year-old Hurricane Katrina refugee and actress partnered with Susan Chamblee. They were left stranded by Wendy Patrakas and Ivy Chitty in the second episode.
Leigh is portrayed by Rochelle Aytes, and despite being credited as a series regular she does not appear in the episodes 3 and 6. She and Chamblee were eliminated from the race in episode 4. However, they refused to admit defeat, and after finding the cellphone that Ellie Laird had thrown out of her car window, they continued to participate.
After Susan's death, Leigh was left without a car or a partner. She hitchhikes part of the way to the next checkpoint, Appomattox Court House, then steals a black Pontiac Solstice to go the rest of the way. She also picks up John Trimble, who had been left behind by his daughter Violet, when she steals the car, then drops him off when John and Violet reunite.
Susan Chamblee, age 34, is a Hurricane Katrina refugee and nurse whose race partner is Leigh Barnthouse. They were left stranded by Ivy Chitty and Wendy Patrakas in the second episode.
Chamblee is portrayed by Michael Hyatt, who is credited as a guest star. She and Barnthouse were eliminated from the race in episode 4. However, they refused to concede defeat, and they continued to participate.
In No Turning Back, Susan died after her car was rammed off the road, her last words to Leigh being "God told me that you would win this race".
Mr. Bright (first name unknown) works for the people who run the race. He explains the race in the orientation and greets racers at subsequent checkpoints. He also delivers a package to Wendy Patrakas for being last. It contains a handgun and pictures of Ivy Chitty, with the instructions that if Ivy arrived at the next checkpoint in her car, Wendy would be eliminated.
Mr. Bright is portrayed by Charles Martin Smith.
Allan James works for the people who run the race. He was tricked by Corinna Wiles (who told Tully his name was "Bill"), who stole a USB flash drive full of information about the other racers. He tried to get it back and kill her, but has to let her go when she becomes Alex Tully's partner.
Allan is portrayed by Brian Bloom.
Brad (last name unknown) helps Wendy to be freed by the police of Keywest disguising as Wendy's husband, Richard.
Brad is portrayed by Patrick Fischler.
Kathryn Tully is Alex Tully's wife. She is kidnapped by the people who run the race to force Tully to participate. She is seen bound-and-gagged, being held by the truck driver who picked Alex up (portrayed by Paul Ben-Victor). Later, at the end of episode 6, Corinna is seen talking with Kathryn about her plan to infiltrate the race. Both of them in the back of the truck.
Kathryn Tully is portrayed by Amy Acker.
Erhle (first name unknown) is the detective investigating Kathryn Tully's disappearance. He is seen questioning Tully right after she went missing and then later on talking to his sister, Becca Freeman. He suspects that Tully is running away.
Erhle is portrayed by Richard Brooks. Not coincidentally, Brooks portrayed Jubal Early, an assassin (with a similar homophone for a last name) who sparred with Nathan Fillion's character, in Firefly Episode "Objects in Space".
Becca is Alex Tully's sister, who is taking care of his house while he is away. She can be heard on the phone with Alex in the first episode, and was shown talking to Detective Erhle in the third episode about Alex's past and current whereabouts.
Becca is portrayed by Katie Finneran who also starred on the Tim Minear produced shows, Wonderfalls (as Sharon Tyler) and The Inside (as Melanie Sim).
Drive, while short-lived, is the first series to be nominated for an Emmy Award under the organization's new "broadband" eligibility guidelines. The show's title sequence had originally been submitted for consideration in the category of "Outstanding Visual Effects in a Drama Series". However, Emmy regulations require a series to air at least six episodes in order to be eligible, whereas Drive had only aired four episodes prior to its cancellation. After the sequence was posted for streaming on the Internet, it became eligible under the new "Outstanding Visual Effects in a Television Miniseries, Movie, or Special" category.
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Visual Effects Society Awards
Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program
Primetime Emmy Awards
Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special