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.


John Madden


Colin Dexter (novel), Russell Lewis




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
John Thaw ... Chief Inspector Morse
Kevin Whately ... Detective Sergeant Lewis
Gary Powell Gary Powell ... Steven Parnell
Vivienne Ritchie Vivienne Ritchie ... Claire Osborne
Nicholas Le Prevost ... Dr. Alan Hardinge
Steven Crossley Steven Crossley ... Prison Chaplain
Maggie Shevlin Maggie Shevlin ... Margaret Daley
James D. White James D. White ... Philip Daley
Christopher Fairbank ... George Daley (as Chris Fairbank)
Mark Feakins Mark Feakins ... TV Reporter
Malcolm Storry ... DCI Martin Johnson
James Grout ... Chief Superintendent Strange
Michelle Fairley ... Cathy Michaels
John Malcolm John Malcolm ... Williams
George Beach 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) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Rudyard Kipling is referenced twice. The title of the episode, "The Way Through the Woods," is the title of a Kipling poem. Also, the Kipling poem "If" is qouted touchingly by Lewis: "If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster/And treat those two impostors just the same." And it indeed appears above the players entrance to Center Court at Wimbledon, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. 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 »


Dr. Laura Hobson, pathologist: [Meeting Morse for the first time] Do you know where I might find a Detective Chief Inspector... looks like "Mouse"?
Chief Inspector Morse: Morse. Detective Chief Inspector Morse.
See more »


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


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

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User Reviews

Tremendous Acting !!
29 July 2015 | by chaswiiSee all my reviews

This is my choice for the very best episode of the Inspector Morse series. I've watched all of the series episodes from the beginning, and I noticed right away that the writing and acting improved as each season progressed. The chemistry between Morse and Lewis may have developed slowly, but now I cannot imagine the series casting any better actors for the lead roles. The characters are fallible and believable, and frankly, I never thought I could grow to love a British crime drama. Now, as for this particular episode.. the writing is superb, and the acting is absolutely tremendous. It is truly an edge-of-the-seat thriller at the end. I highly recommend it.

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