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Hannibal (TV series)

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Title: Hannibal (TV series)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: 40th Saturn Awards, Hannibal Lecter (franchise), Saturn Award for Best Network Television Series, 2012–13 United States network television schedule, 2014–15 United States network television schedule
Collection: 2010S American Television Series, 2013 American Television Series Debuts, 2015 American Television Series Endings, American Drama Television Series, American Horror Fiction Television Series, Cannibalism in Fiction, Fiction with Unreliable Narrators, Hannibal Lecter, Horror Fiction Television Series, Nbc Network Shows, Police Procedural Television Series, Serial Drama Television Series, Television Programs About Diseases and Disorders, Television Programs Based on Books, Television Programs Based on Novels, Television Series by Sony Pictures Television, Television Series Produced in Toronto, Television Shows Set in Baltimore, Maryland, Television Shows Set in Italy, Television Shows Set in Minnesota, Works About Psychoanalysis
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Hannibal (TV series)

Based on Characters from Red Dragon 
by Thomas Harris
Developed by Bryan Fuller
Composer(s) Brian Reitzell
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 26 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Carol Dunn Trussell
  • Michael Wray
Location(s) Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Running time 42 minutes
Production company(s)
Original channel NBC
Original run April 4, 2013 (2013-04-04) – present
External links
Official website

Hannibal is an American psychological thrillerhorror television series developed by Bryan Fuller for NBC. The series is based on characters and elements appearing in the novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris and focuses on the budding relationship between FBI special investigator Will Graham and Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a forensic psychiatrist destined to become Graham's most cunning enemy.

The series received a 13-episode order for its first season and, unlike most U.S. network shows, all future seasons will feature 13 episodes.[1] David Slade executive produced and directed the first episode. The series premiered on NBC on April 4, 2013.[2] On May 9, 2014, NBC renewed Hannibal for a third season.[3]

The series has received critical acclaim, with the performances of the lead actors and the visual style of the show being singled out by critics.[4][5][6]


  • Cast and characters 1
    • Main 1.1
    • Recurring 1.2
  • Setting and storylines 2
  • Production 3
    • Development 3.1
    • Casting 3.2
    • Filming 3.3
  • Episodes 4
  • Broadcast 5
    • Episode order 5.1
    • Removal from KSL-TV 5.2
    • International broadcast 5.3
  • Reception 6
    • Critical reviews 6.1
      • Season 1 6.1.1
      • Season 2 6.1.2
    • Awards and accolades 6.2
    • Nielsen ratings 6.3
  • Home media releases 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Cast and characters

Main cast of Hannibal, from left to right: Dancy (Will Graham), Dhavernas (Alana Bloom), Fishburne (Jack Crawford), Abrams (Brian Zeller), Chorostecki (Freddie Lounds), Park (Beverly Katz), Thompson (Jimmy Price), Mikkelsen (Hannibal Lecter).


  • Hugh Dancy as Will Graham, a gifted criminal profiler and hunter of serial killers. He visualizes himself committing the murders he investigates to understand the killers' behaviors; throughout the series, Graham's involvement with the investigations takes a toll on his psyche.
  • Mads Mikkelsen as Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant forensic psychiatrist, cannibalistic serial killer, and culinarian; Lecter develops a keen interest in Graham.
  • Caroline Dhavernas as Dr. Alana Bloom, a professor of psychiatry, and consultant profiler for the FBI, who has professional relationships with both Graham and Lecter.
  • Laurence Fishburne as Special Agent-in-Charge Jack Crawford, head of Behavioral Sciences at the FBI and Graham's boss. (regular seasons 1–2; recurring season 3)[7]
  • Hettienne Park as Special Agent Beverly Katz, a crime scene investigator specializing in fiber analysis. (seasons 1–2)[8]
  • Gillian Anderson as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier, Lecter's psychotherapist, who was once mysteriously attacked by one of Lecter's former patients. (recurring seasons 1–2; regular season 3)[9]
  • Scott Thompson as Special Agent Dr. Jimmy Price, a crime scene investigator specializing in latent fingerprints. (recurring season 1; also starring season 2–present)
  • Aaron Abrams as Special Agent Brian Zeller, a crime scene investigator. (recurring season 1; also starring season 2–present)


  • Lara Jean Chorostecki as Fredricka "Freddie" Lounds, a tabloid blogger who runs the true crime website TattleCrime.
  • Vladimir Jon Cubrt as Garrett Jacob Hobbs, a serial killer known as the Minnesota Shrike.
  • Kacey Rohl as Abigail Hobbs, daughter and accomplice of serial killer Garrett Jacob Hobbs, who develops a complicated father-daughter relationship with Lecter.
  • Raúl Esparza as Dr. Frederick Chilton, administrator of Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.
  • Eddie Izzard as Dr. Abel Gideon, a surgeon institutionalized for killing his family, who is led to believe that he is the Chesapeake Ripper by Dr. Chilton.
  • Anna Chlumsky as Miriam Lass, an FBI trainee and Jack Crawford's protégée. She mysteriously disappears while investigating the Chesapeake Ripper.
  • Gina Torres as Phyllis "Bella" Crawford, Jack Crawford's wife, who is suffering from terminal lung cancer.
  • Cynthia Nixon as Kade Prurnell, an investigator for the Office of the Inspector General. (season 2)
  • Katharine Isabelle as Margot Verger, one of Lecter's patients; she has suffered years of abuse at the hands of her twin brother. (season 2)
  • Michael Pitt as Mason Verger, Margot's sadistic twin brother, who does not quite see eye-to-eye with Dr. Lecter. (season 2)
  • Tao Okamoto as Chiyoh, the handmaid to Lady Murasaki, Hannibal's Japanese aunt. (season 3)

Setting and storylines

Criminal profiler Will Graham is tasked by FBI agent Jack Crawford, the head of Behavioral Sciences, to help investigate the disappearances of eight young girls across Minnesota. With the investigation weighing heavily on Graham, Crawford decides to have him supervised by psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter, who, unbeknownst to them, is a serial killer himself. Graham and Crawford's team investigate several subsequent murders, while also trying to catch the Chesapeake Ripper, a prolific serial killer who is actually hiding among them.



NBC began developing a Hannibal series in 2011 and former head of drama Katie O'Connell brought in her long-time friend Bryan Fuller (who had previously served as a writer-producer on NBC's Heroes) to write a pilot script in November. NBC gave the series a financial commitment before Fuller had completed his script.[10] On February 14, 2012, NBC bypassed the pilot stage of development by giving the series a 13-episode first season based solely on the strength of Fuller's script.[11] The series went into production quickly thereafter.

Promotional poster for the first season featuring Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen).

30 Days of Night director David Slade, who had previously directed the pilot for NBC's Awake, directed the first episode and serves as an executive producer.[12] José Andrés has been brought onto the project as a special "culinary cannibal consultant" and will advise the crew on proper procedure for preparing human flesh for consumption.[13]

Fuller discussed the limited episode order and the continuing story arc he envisions for the series. "Doing a cable model on network television gives us the opportunity not to dally in our storytelling because we have a lot of real estate to cover". Speaking specifically about the Lecter character, Fuller said, "There is a cheery disposition to our Hannibal. He's not being telegraphed as a villain. If the audience didn't know who he was, they wouldn't see him coming. What we have is Alfred Hitchcock's principle of suspense—show the audience the bomb under the table and let them sweat when it's going to go boom". He went on to call the relationship between Graham and Lecter as "really a love story", saying "As Hannibal has said [to Graham] in a couple of the movies, 'You're a lot more like me than you realize'. We'll get to the bottom of exactly what that means over the course of the first two seasons".[1]

Fuller originally planned for the show to run for seven seasons: the first three consisting of original material, the fourth covering Red Dragon, the fifth The Silence of the Lambs, the sixth Hannibal, and the seventh an original storyline resolving Hannibal '​s ending.[14] However, after the conclusion of the second season, Fuller stated he now envisions the show to run six seasons, while incorporating the books into the show in a different way than he originally planned.[15] Fuller would like to include other characters from the book series (such as Jame Gumb and Clarice Starling) provided he can get the rights from MGM.[16] Franklin Froideveaux and Tobias Budge were created because Fuller could not secure the rights to The Silence of the Lambs characters Benjamin Raspail and Jame Gumb.[16] Fuller added they also tried to get the rights to Barney Matthews, an orderly at the Baltimore State Hospital, but were denied, thus a character based on Barney was scheduled to appear in the second season, named Matthew Brown.[17]

Promotional poster for the second season featuring Will Graham (Hugh Dancy).

Regarding the series' influences, Fuller stated: "When I sat down to the script, I was very consciously saying, 'What would David Lynch do with a Hannibal Lecter character? What sort of strange, unexpected places would he take this world?' I'm a great admirer of his work and his aesthetic and his meticulous sound design. Those were all components that I felt very strongly needed to be part of our Hannibal Lecter story. Between Lynch and Kubrick, there's a lot of inspiration."[18]


English actor Hugh Dancy was the first actor to be cast, taking on the lead role of FBI criminal profiler Will Graham, who seeks help from Lecter in profiling and capturing serial killers.[19] In June 2012, Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen was cast as Lecter.[20][21] Soon after this, actor Laurence Fishburne was cast as FBI Behavioral Sciences Unit commander Jack Crawford.[22] Caroline Dhavernas was later cast as Dr. Alana Bloom, a former student of Hannibal Lecter, and Hettienne Park was cast as CSI Beverly Katz.[23][24] Lara Jean Chorostecki, Kacey Rohl, Scott Thompson and Aaron Abrams were cast in recurring roles.[25]

Gina Torres has a recurring role as Phyllis "Bella" Crawford, Jack Crawford's terminally ill wife; she and Laurence Fishburne are married in real life.[26] Ellen Greene, Raúl Esparza and Gillian Anderson were later cast in recurring roles and appeared later in season one, though Greene actually appeared in only one episode.[27][28][29] Molly Shannon, Eddie Izzard and Lance Henriksen guest-starred during the first season.[30][31][32]

Several of the actors on the series have worked with creator Bryan Fuller previously, including Dhavernas, who played the lead role in [34]

David Bowie was approached for the role of Hannibal's uncle, Robert Lecter, for the second season,[35] but was unavailable for the role.[36] Gillian Anderson returned as Lecter's psychiatrist, Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier, in multiple episodes for the second season.[37] Eddie Izzard reprised his role as Dr. Abel Gideon for the second season.[38] Cynthia Nixon joined the recurring cast as Kade Prurnell, an employee of the Office of the Inspector General, who is investigating Jack Crawford's role in the events of the first season.[39] Katharine Isabelle joined the recurring cast as Margot Verger, who was originally described as a potential love interest for Graham, but Fuller later clarified that, as in the novel Hannibal, Margot "... is a member of the LGBT community!"[40][41] Michael Pitt joined the recurring cast in the role of Mason Verger, Margot's abusive twin brother.[42] Amanda Plummer guest-starred in the second season, playing Katherine Pimms, an acupuncturist.[43] Jeremy Davies and Chris Diamantopoulos appear in two episodes.[44]

Fuller stated in June 2014 after winning the Saturn Award for Best Network Television Series that they were told by Bowie's management to ask again for his availability for the third season. He also went on to list David Thewlis, Brad Dourif, Kristin Chenoweth, Lee Pace, and Anna Friel as actors he'd like to appear on the series.[45] Tao Okamoto was announced to play Lady Murasaki, Hannibal's enigmatic aunt, in season three,[46] however, Fuller later confirmed at a PaleyFest panel in New York that Okamoto will in fact be playing the role of Chiyoh, Lady Murasaki's handmaid.[47]


Filming of Hannibal takes place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[48] The first season began shooting on August 27, 2012.[13] The series began production on the second season in Toronto in August 2013.[35] Filming for season 3 began on October 20, 2014, in Toronto.[49]


Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 13 April 4, 2013 (2013-04-04) June 20, 2013 (2013-06-20)
2 13 February 28, 2014 (2014-02-28) May 23, 2014 (2014-05-23)


Episode order

The series' fourth episode, "Œuf", which revolved around kidnapped children who had been brainwashed into murdering their own former families, was pulled from the United States broadcast schedule at the request of creator Bryan Fuller. The episode was still shown in other countries.[50] This was not a result of the Boston Marathon bombings as some reports have indicated, but was actually decided just hours beforehand.[51] Fuller said of the decision, "With this episode, it wasn't about the graphic imagery or violence. It was the associations that came with the subject matter that I felt would inhibit the enjoyment of the overall episode. It was my own sensitivity... We want to be respectful of the social climate we're in right now".[52] In lieu of a traditional broadcast, a portion of the episode was broken into a series of webisodes, which was made available through various online media outlets.[53] The complete episode was later made available via iTunes on April 29, 2013, and the episode appears in the order intended on the DVD and Blu-ray release.[54]

Removal from KSL-TV

The series was pulled by Salt Lake City, Utah's KSL-TV (Channel 5) as of April 29, 2013, after four episodes were aired, and started airing in that market beginning with the May 4 episode during late night Saturdays after Saturday Night Live on KUCW, Salt Lake City's CW affiliate.[55]

International broadcast

Citytv picked up broadcasting rights in Canada, where the show is filmed, as a mid-season debut.[56]

In Europe, one year before originally airing, in April 10, 2012, the ProSiebenSat.1 Media Group acquired the rights to broadcast the series in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark beginning in 2013.[57] Sky Living started broadcasting the show in the UK and Republic of Ireland from May 7, 2013.[58]

In the South Pacific, the series is also broadcast on the Seven Network in Australia, from mid-April 2013[59] and in New Zealand, the show premiered on TV3 on January 25, 2014.[60] The series airs in Latin America through AXN.[61] In Middle East and North Africa region, the series is broadcast on OSN.[62]


Critical reviews

Season 1

Reviews for Hannibal have been positive. On critic website Metacritic, the first season scored 69 out of 100 based on 32 reviews, which constitutes "generally favorable reviews".[63] Joanne Ostrow of The Denver Post praised the series as a "... well constructed, masterfully written piece," but stated "... this level of violent imagery is not my cup of tea..." She also had high praise for the characters, stating that they are "... so compelling, however, that you may give in to the gore-fest."[64] Paul Doro of Shock Till You Drop gave Hannibal an 8/10 and said of the series, "The stab at classy horror mostly succeeds due to excellent performances from the leads, genuine suspense and surprises, well-constructed short and long-term mysteries, and an appropriately disconcerting mood that permeates the action right from the start..." and praised Hugh Dancy in particular, saying he "... does an outstanding job of subtlety conveying how painful human interaction is for him, and despite being abrasive and unpleasant, you are always in his corner and really feel for the guy."[65] Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly gave the show an A- and called it "... finely acted, visually scrumptious, and deliciously subversive."[66]

Brian Lowry of [70] Sepinwall also praised the character of Hannibal, writing he has been made into a believable supervillain without making the police force and others look incompetent.[71] Reflecting on the completed first season, The A.V. Club's Todd VanDerWerff wrote that the series acts as a corrective to the "empty" violence on much of television and "restores the seriousness of purpose to a genre long in need of it.... Hannibal is interested in death and murder as a means to glance sidelong at some of life’s largest questions. When not functioning as a cop drama, it’s an intricately twisted serial-killer thriller, but it’s also a surprisingly deep series about psychiatry and the state of the human mind." VanDerWerff concluded that Fuller had taken a series "that had every reason to be a cheap cash-in and has, instead, turned into one of TV’s best shows."[72]

Other reviews were less favorable. Glenn Garvin from The Miami Herald called it "a fast-food hash of poor planning and worse execution...", referring to the writing as "a mess of unmemorable dialogue and unworkable characterizations."[73] Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe was similarly critical, calling the series "rank and depressing," and concluded that it is "shocking, gruesome, and, ultimately, hollow."[74]

Season 2

On Metacritic, the second season scored 88 out of 100 based on 14 reviews, which constitutes "universal acclaim".[75] On April 10, 2014, Hannibal was voted the winner for Hulu's "Best in Show" online competition.[76] On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season scored a 100% "certified fresh" rating with an average rating of 9.2 out of 10 based on 24 reviews. The consensus reads: "With powerful imagery and a strong, unpredictable story, season two of Hannibal continues to build on the first season's promise."[77]

Mark Peters of Slate called Hannibal "an engrossing, psychologically dense show that is also visually stunning...the kind of gem seldom found on network TV." He did however note that the female characters were less developed.[78] Matt Zoller Seitz, writing for New York magazine heaped praise on the show, calling it "serenely unlike anything else on TV or anything that ever has been on TV."[79] Alan Sepinwall of HitFix continued his praise of the series, highlighting the performances of the lead actors.[80]

The season two finale was met with universal critical acclaim. Gathering a perfect rating of 10 out of 10 on IGN, reviewer Eric Goldman stated, "Hannibal ended its fantastic second season with a thrilling, exciting and audacious series of events" and praised the directing by David Slade.[81] The finale also earned a perfect "A" grade by The A.V. Club, where reviewer Molly Eichel called it "an entirely perfect cap to this season."[82] Den of Geek reviewer Laura Akers labelled the episode "simply divine" and stated that she has "rarely found [herself] looking forward to a show's return more".[83] Emma Dibdin of Digital Spy also heavily praised the episode, specifically Mikkelsen's performance, stating that he is "so convincingly predatory...and so simultaneously scary and sad". She also laid praise on the sound design of the episode by saying that "the integration of a ticking clock worked so well not just in the usual 'time is running out' way, but also a subconscious reminder of Hannibal's manipulation of Will".[84]

Awards and accolades

Awards and accolades for Hannibal
Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result
2013 Online Film & Television Association Awards Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series Gillian Anderson Nominated
Best New Theme Song in a Series Nominated
Best New Titles Sequence Nominated
2014 IGN Awards[85] Best TV Actor Hugh Dancy Nominated
Best TV Horror Series Won
Best TV Villain Mads Mikkelsen Nominated
Best TV Series Nominated
Best New TV Series Won
Saturn Awards[86] Best Network Television Series Won
Best Actor on Television Hugh Dancy Nominated
Mads Mikkelsen Won
Best Guest Star on Television Gina Torres Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Award[87] Best Drama Actor Hugh Dancy Nominated
EWwy Award[88] Best Drama Series Won
Best Guest Actor, Drama Michael Pitt Nominated
Online Film & Television Association Awards Best Actor in a Drama Series Mads Mikkelsen Nominated
2015 Satellite Awards[89] Best Actor – Television Series Drama Mads Mikkelsen Pending
Best Television Series – Drama Pending

Nielsen ratings

U.S. television ratings for Hannibal
Season Timeslot (ET) Episodes Premiere Finale TV season Rank Average viewership
Date Viewers
Date Viewers
Thursday 10:00 pm
April 4, 2013
June 20, 2013
1.98[91] 2012–13 2.90[92]
Friday 10:00 pm
February 28, 2014
May 23, 2014
2.35[94] 2013–14 2.54[95]

Home media releases

The first season, including all 13 episodes, was released on Blu-ray and DVD in region 2 on September 2, 2013,[96] in region 1 on September 24, 2013,[97] and in region 4 on September 25, 2013.[98] The region 1 set includes two audio commentaries (by Bryan Fuller, David Slade and Hugh Dancy on "Apéritif" and "Savoureux"), deleted scenes, gag reel, pilot episode storyboards, four featurettes, and "producer's cut" versions of five episodes.[97]


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