"The Way Through the Woods" is an episode of the British television detective mystery show Inspector Morse dramatized on ITV. It was first broadcast in November 29 1995.
Stephen Parnell (Gary Powell), who confessed to murdering five people, is killed in prison, but in his dying words he says that he did not kill the last victim, Karen Anderson. The murders were first investigated by DCI Martin Johnson (Malcolm Storry) and Detective Sergeant Robert Lewis (Kevin Whately) the previous summer, but Karen Anderson's body was never found.
Inspector Morse is convinced that Johnson overlooked key evidence when a postcard intrigues him, The Woodman's Daughter painted in 1850/1851 by John Everett Millais, with the words "look forward to seeing you here again. - M." on the reverse side. Morse is sure that Karen Anderson is in Wytham Woods, and not in Blenheim Lake, as Parnell had put in his confession.
Morse questions George Daley (Christopher Fairbank) even though it isn't his case. Daley had found Karen Anderson's overnight bag about a week after she disappeared and turned it over to the police. The next day Daley is found shot to death in one of the gardens at Blenheim Palace and Morse is put in charge because Chief Superintendent Jim Strange (James Grout) feels that Johnson may have cut corners and not told him everything. The Bay Hotel on Marine Parade was the setting for Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse book 'The Way Through the Woods'Morse and Lewis then interview Dr. Alan Hardinge (Nicholas Le Prevost) the bursar of Lonsdale College (where Daley was also the gardener); Dave Michaels (Neil Dudgeon), the groundskeeper of Wytham Woods; Margaret Daley (Maggie Shevlin) and Philip Daley (James D. White), the wife and son of George Daley. When they question Mrs. Daley and her son they hand over some photographs from Karen Anderson's camera, and also the camera. This leads them to Alisdair McBryde (Robin Soans) an osteopath who lives in Park Town, Oxford, because of the distinctive curve in the roof-line, which leads them to Dr. James Myton, a man in two of the photographs, and also leads them back to Dr. Hardinge.
Hardinge, McBryde, and Myton had engaged Karen Anderson to take some nude photographs for them on the day before she went missing. Dr. Myton was from South Africa and although he had paid up for a full year, until the end of December, he left suddenly at the end of July. In Myton's flat is a print of The Woodman's Daughter. The background of the painting was done in Wytham Woods, and at Morse's urging Wytham Woods is searched, with Chief Superintendent Jim Strange warning Morse that if he doesn't find anything the Chief Constable wants him off the case and DCI Johnson back in charge. The search turns up some skeletal remains, which Morse is sure is that of Karen Anderson, killed by Dr. Myton.
Cathie Michaels (Michelle Fairley), sexually abused by her father, is the missing Karen Anderson. She is the murderer and is shot and killed as Morse tries to wrestle a shotgun from her.