I have always had the thought in the back of my head that I never talked about Hannibal Lecter even though he is possibly one of if not my favorite fictional characters ever. So from today, I will be going through all of the Lecter related fiction.
I was blown away when I saw that this show was being made. By then I was a huge fan of the Hannibal Lecter movies (I had not read the book yet) and a huge fan of Mads Mikkelsen who to this day is one of my favorite actors alongside Anthony Hopkins and seeing that he would get to play the same role as Hopkins was like a birthday gift.
Starting off as a prequel to “Silence of the lambs” Hannibal tells the story of Will Graham, a criminal profiler with a special gift – empathy. He is able to emphasize with the killers and get into their head to see their point of view thus allowing him a unique view on the crime scene which he uses to track down the killers.
However, such a feat takes a toll on him, sometimes he “looks” too far and it can be dangerous and this is where the good doctor Lecter comes in. Worried for his mental health, Jack Crawford the FBI agent who uses Will, calls Dr. Lecter to be his unofficial psychiatrist. From there a dark and twisted friendship starts blossoming as Will starts his quest to hunt down the infamous Chesapeake Ripper who he does not realize may be closer than he thinks.
Hannibal has always been my favorite show. Few other shows have managed to intrigue me and make me fall in love with them quite as well as it did. (There are some notable exceptions for example “Billions” which is another story of two main characters stuck in a battle of wits). The fantastic psychological mind games between Hannibal and will make for some of the best psychological horror/thriller television ever while approaching the source material in a new and fresh light.
I would say spoiler alert but by now most of the people know who and what Hannibal Lecter actually is. A cold and calculating cannibalistic serial killer and in this scenario we have him working alongside the FBI trying to capture…himself. So what will he do with this fantastic opportunity that has dropped right in front of him? Have fun of course.
He takes an immediate liking to his patient Will Graham since he is a unique and different personality that Hannibal is fascinated by but while he plots from the shadows he also starts taking a liking to Will and starts seeing him as a friend. This is where one of the better parts of this show lies since in the movies we are never introduced to this side of Hannibal and it gives him much more depth. On the other side, Will, unlike Lecter is the complete polar opposite of him. He is messy, unorganized, and driven mainly by emotions. But he is no pushover. In fact, this is where his strength lies.
Through the first season, we follow his slow descent into insanity as he dives deeper and deeper into the minds of the killers that he is capturing and all the while saving a piece of their characteristics into the mind of his own. Will he push through and find what hides in plain sight or will he fall into the abyss and become the very thing he seeks to destroy?
Aside from the fantastic plot and top tier acting not only by Mads but by Hugh Dancy (Will Graham) as well as the supporting cast, this show has a lot more to offer. It is one of the most visually stunning shows ever produced. From the grotesque and yet somehow aesthetic murders to the gorgeous dishes prepared by Hannibal the show is a sight to behold. At times it can seem a bit too much and overwhelm but it is all carefully crafted and the scenery in itself is an extension of the characters and their characteristics. Since Hannibal is someone who loves the fine arts and fine dining some scenes of the show only mirror his persona and serve as a tool to present him as who he is. Part monster, part man. As evil, as he is, he is still human. I could talk much more about him as a character but I might just leave all of that for a separate post dissecting all of the Lecters together.
All in all, for a first season it was fantastic. From the start to the finish with the unexpected plot twist. It’s a show that you have to pay a lot of attention to. Although it follows the usual cops chase killers episodic formula, the way in which the story is told is much different and that is what makes it a fantastic show.
Final verdict: 10/10