Inspector Morse (1987–2000)
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The Way Through the Woods 

When a serial killer is murdered in prison, his deathbed confession disavows one of the murders he had previously confessed to. Morse wants to reopen the case.




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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Powell ...
Steven Parnell
Vivienne Ritchie ...
Claire Osborne
Dr. Alan Hardinge
Steven Crossley ...
Prison Chaplain
Maggie Shevlin ...
Margaret Daley
James D. White ...
Philip Daley
George Daley (as Chris Fairbank)
Mark Feakins ...
TV Reporter
DCI Martin Johnson
Cathy Michaels
John Malcolm ...
George Beach ...
DC Renton


Steven Parnell, who was accused of murdering a number young girls the previous summer, is killed while in prison awaiting trial. Morse had not been involved in the case as he was on leave during most of that investigation. What piques Morse's interest is that one of the victims, Karen Anderson, was never found and it is assumed that her body was dumped in a nearby lake but Parnell confessed to his priest on his deathbed that he wasn't responsible for that particular murder. When one of the witnesses in the case, George Daly, is murdered, Morse and Lewis try to find some connection to Anderson's disappearance. They also wonder why Anderson's camera - she was an avid photographer - wasn't found. What they come across is a group of middle-aged men whose hobby is taking so-called glamour photos. The case takes an interesting twist when the body they do find in the woods isn't Anderson's, but a middle-aged male. Morse realizes that he got the whole thing wrong and the cause of the murder ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

29 November 1995 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Dr. Hobson's mistaking "Mouse" for "Morse" also happened in an episode of the BBC Radio 4 programme, "The News Quiz", broadcast on 21st November, 1997, when politician Roy Hattersley misread author Alan Coren's scribbled crib sheet. See more »


Towards the end, Morse desperately tries to contact Lewis, even phoning his home number. Earlier it is shown that Lewis has a mobile phone, but Morse does not appear to think of this possibility. See more »


Chief Inspector Morse: Perhaps it's time to go, but be careful what you wish for.
Detective Sergeant Lewis: How's that?
Chief Inspector Morse: There's always a price to pay, Lewis... always.
See more »


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


String Quartet in G Major, Op. 10
, excerpts from 1st and 3rd movements (uncredited)
composed by Claude Debussy
See more »

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User Reviews

Superb episode based on a superb book!
7 July 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I loved the book, but I thought the adaptation was better, again I could be biased as I do prefer John Thaw's interpretation of Morse. Speaking of Thaw, he was absolutely outstanding here, definitely one of his best performances of the character. Kevin Whately also shines in the episode, somehow loyal, yet yearning for a promotion. Malcolm Storry and James Grout are also excellent. Good supporting performances from Michelle Fairley, Chris Fairbank, Neil Dudgeon and Nicolas Le Prevost. But for me, Claire Holman was excellent as Dr Hobson, I loved her line, "I am looking for Chief Inspector... Looks like Mouse," it was very funny. The highlight of the episode has to be the scene in the woods with the murderer, one of Morse's best climaxes, honestly it was tense and so well-acted, I couldn't have asked for anything more. Beautiful music too, and the story line and characters hold up well despite a 2 year absence between this and the 7th series back in 1993. The episode isn't really faithful to the book, but it was so good in terms of plot and acting that I don't care to honest with you. 10/10 Bethany Cox.

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