Serving Up a Tasty Dish with “Hannibal”


A Review of the NBC Drama “Hannibal” by Tiffany A. White

One of the most fascinating and chilling characters in literary and cinematic history has come to TV—Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Only this time, audiences will get to experience more of Special Agent Will Graham’s hunt for a serial killer and his collaboration with a top psychiatrist (Lecter) as he builds his criminal profile.

I personally loved the character of Will from the film adaptation of Thomas Harris’ novel, Red Dragon. But then again, I adore Edward Norton. When I truly enjoy a character, I can’t help but worry about the decision to re-do or continue the same character in a another adaptation with a different actor at the helm. However, I’m happy to report that I do like Mr. Dancy’s portrayal of Will Graham just as much.

Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) has a very vivid imagination that allows him to feel pure empathy with anyone, including psychotic killers, which proves to be a very uncomfortable gift. It’s this unique characterization that allows Will to see the scene of a crime as it was before the crime occurred. He can put himself in the killer’s shoes, providing him insight into the how and the why the murders took place. However, with this great imagination comes an intense fear. Perhaps this is why Will lives alone… well, except for his multiple rescued dogs.

At the beginning of the series, Will doesn’t work in the field anymore; instead, he teaches other FBI agents at Quantico… that is until Agent Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) approaches him to join his Behavioral Science Unit to track down a serial murderer.

The case consists of eight missing college girls, assumed dead after the eighth victim’s body is discovered. After discovering the killer is not only draining his victims of blood, but that he is also eating their livers and lungs and not wasting any part of their bodies, Agent Crawford brings in another expert to help—enter Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen). With the “good” doctor’s help, and I say good very loosely, thus the quotation marks, Agent Crawford hopes Will will be able to see the cannibal’s face and the FBI can arrest their killer.

Lecter takes a very keen interest in Will and his abilities, but when Will doesn’t reciprocate the interest, Dr. Lecter promises him that he will indeed, one day, find him just as interesting. After all, Lecter believes himself to be the best, and he wants to see if Will, the best at what he does, can catch him.

And speaking of Lecter… considering the TV series couldn’t land Sir Anthony Hopkins to resume his iconic role (well, maybe they could, but they didn’t), Mr. Mikkelson will definitely do. He’s got the creepiness down and he’s playing the demented sociopath quite well.

Hannibal is a serial crime drama at its best. While one could probably follow after skipping an episode, the show will definitely make more sense if watched in order. And since the series has chosen to pull its week five episode following the events in Boston and plans to jump directly to its sixth, I guess we’ll all see what it’s like to miss an episode.

Oh, and since we’re on the topic of episodes… I love the episode titles: Aperitif (before dinner drink), Amuse-Bouche (a light hors d’oeuvre), and Potage (a thick soup). Clearly, after the early Hannibal dishes, we’re just getting started with our meal…

So, how does Hannibal rank? I do like it; it’s dark; it doesn’t shy away from the gore; and the way the viewers get to experience the minds of both Will and Dr. Lecter via the cinematography and writing is creepy good. I know not everyone will agree with me, like my mother who has already stopped watching because it’s just too dark for her, but I think Will and Dr. Lecter serve up the finest of meals… bone-in filet, cooked to perfection, with a twice-baked potato and grilled asparagus on the side… and let’s not forget to wash it down with a fine Cabernet.

Yes, Hannibal is five-star dining at its best.


Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery “Football Sweetheart” series. She blogs at The Ooo Factor and is available for contact via Twitter at @Tiffany_A_White, Facebook at Tiffany A. White, or by email at tiffany@tiffanyawhite.com.

© 2013 Tiffany A. White. All written content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact us at the above links to request permission.

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