“Hannibal”: On New TV Show He’s Not-Yet-Known-to-Be Cannibal

Premiering this coming Thursday at 10 P.M. on NBC is a new series called Hannibal.

That’s Hannibal Lecter, known to many from The Silence of the Lambs (1991), the most popular of the films featuring this character. In it psychiatrist Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) is the imprisoned cannibal killer who taunts young FBI cadet Clarice (Jodie Foster) as she enlists his aid regarding another case.

Who can forget Lecter’s final words? Now a prison escapee, he’s on the phone with Clarice. Lecter: “I do wish we could chat longer, but…I’m having an old friend for dinner…”

And another quote from the movie has likely sent a major chill down the spines of therapists and therapy clients everywhere:

Clarice: If you didn’t kill him, then who did, sir?

Hannibal Lecter: Who can say. Best thing for him, really. His therapy was going nowhere.

Hannibal the new TV series offers a prequel kind of twist on Lecter. As described by Slash Film, “Hannibal follows Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) in their early days — back before the FBI profiler knew that the famed psychiatrist was actually a cannibalistic killer.” Lecter is a forensic specialist working for the FBI in some capacity. Graham’s boss is Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne), head of Behavioral Sciences at the FBI.

And Lecter’s not the only shrink on board. There’s also a female psych professor who’s a consultant profiler for the FBI and there’s Lecter’s own therapist, played by Gillian Anderson.

An early review from Brian Lowry, Variety: “More than for the gruesome imagery, this is a show that cries out for cable, simply because it’s hard to envision a 22-episode broadcast run of ‘Hannibal,’ much less four or five such seasons. Besides, if Graham and Crawford let the bad doctor operate under their noses for that long, they’re not so brilliant, are they?”

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