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
Malcolm Storry ...
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

Show detailed on  »

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 »


When Morse asks to borrow a book from her bookshop, Claire Osborne comments that "this isn't the Bodleian". But, the Bodleian Library is in fact not a lending library, and all books there must be read only on the premises. See more »


DCI Martin Johnson: [Referring to Morse] What's he doin' here?
Chief Superintendent Strange: I'm assigning Morse investigating officer on this, Johnson.
DCI Martin Johnson: [resentful] What's this? Give a dog a bone week?
Chief Superintendent Strange: I want someone to give me the full picture, not edited highlights.
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

The Way Through The Woods
27 January 2006 | by (England) – See all my reviews

In my humble opinion, I think that this episode of Morse is up there with the best of them. The cinematography is crisp, the music is first class, the scenery is beyond compare, the acting is incredible and John Madden's direction is superb. This episode was adapted from Colin Dexter's book of the same name - the book itself is also one of his best - and though it changes several elements of the original story, it is (believe it or not) actually an improvement.

The tension between Morse and Lewis is portrayed exceptionally by Thaw and Whately and the murderer is one of the best developed murderers in the series!

This episode was the first in a series of one off specials of the series which appeared almost every year until the end of the programed with 'The Remorseful Day' in 2000. For anyone looking for a Morse episode which is thrilling and utterly absorbing and one which offers one of John Thaw's greatest performances - then this one is certainly for you.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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