With richly spectacular visuals, imaginative plot twists and crisp performances, the story of the long hard takedown of Hannibal Lecter by Will Graham was a feat to behold. And it’s a shame we didn’t see it quite come to completion.
Hannibal is based on a series of novels by Thomas Harris that portray FBI criminal profiler Will Graham and his hunt for a murderer that has him turn to, Hannibal Lecter, the most ingenius serial killer he has ever met for advice—for insight into the killer’s mind.
Hugh Dancy is excellent as the quiet and thoughtful profiler who falls under Lecter’s spell, nearly fatally so. Mads Mikkelsen’s Lecter is a charmer of a snake, slithering around in the background and through the foreground kicking up messes, murdering folks all the while throwing elegant dinner parties for his law enforcement guests. One always wondered while watching: how much of that victim did the cops just eat alongside Lecter?
Laurence Fishburne made a great Jack Crawford, head of the FBI’s Behavioral Sciences division, just a little full of himself to fall for Lecter’s charm—hook, line and sinker. Caroline Dhavernas was a complicated Dr. Alana Bloom, a psychology professor consultant to the FBI who is a former lover of Will’s who falls for Lecter during the story.
Gillian Anderson plays it cold and calculating as Lecter’s psychotherapist. She is so close to Lecter it’s nearly impossible to tell if she is his hostage or his lover (or both?).
Regardless, the look of the show is eye-poping. The feel of the show is textured and rich—a spectacle for the senses. All played for distraction while Lecter feasts upon his victims and plays with his “friends” as if they were figures in a doll house.
But Graham eventually figures Hannibal out, uncovering the true depths of the horrors Hannibal was responsible for—seeing him for the predatory demon he is. Unfortunately, the series ended in a literal cliffhanger as the two adversaries plunge over a cliff in the season finale that became the series finale.
A true shame,
for the show was shooting for high art.
And it was getting there.
But then, so was Lecter.
Hannibal’s most beautiful murders…