The new NBC show about one of our favorite serial killers, Hannibal Lecter, is pretty good. I’m pretty much done with Fox’s serial killer show The Following – it’s just too stupid for me to get into. Thankfully, there’s an alternative, and if the premiere of Hannibal is any indication, this could actually be a pretty good show.
The story takes place before any of the movies. Our main character is Will Graham, a FBI academy lecturer who is expert at getting inside the heads of social deviants. We meet him as he describes a previous case to his students while re-creating it in his mind, and things get pretty messy. Hannibal doesn’t skimp on the gore, which seems to be a trend these days. Will’s gift comes with a downside, as he has seriously bad social anxiety. When the FBI’s behavioral science chief puts him on an active case – seven missing girls in Minneapolis – things get weird.
One girl is returned dead to her own bed, with her liver missing and deer antler residue in her wounds. An autopsy discovers that the missing liver was cancerous, and that’s our segue to meet Hannibal Lecter.
But this isn’t the face-masked killer we all know and love. As played by the excellent Mads Mikkelsen, he hasn’t gone public with his inner urges yet. Instead he’s a professional psychotherapist who helps him come to a new understanding of his killer. How he does this? In a pretty epic way.
A copycat killer takes another girl and leaves her crucified on deer antlers in the middle of a field. Graham immediately sees through the deception, but thinking about it gives him insight into the motives of the real killer. He sees the young girls as substitutes for his daughter, and using metal shavings found with the first body they track him down. But to make things interesting, Lecter anonymously tips the dude off first, and he meets Graham at the door with his wife’s dead body. Graham takes him down as he frantically slashes at his daughter. There’s blood everywhere and Lecter couldn’t be happier.
I dug this show. Lecter is firmly in control of the situation, but his motives for screwing with Graham aren’t clear. The FBI provides him access to the underworld of serial killers, and he’ll obviously know if people are getting close to him, but there’s more going on. The only thing I worry about is if the show turns into a “killer of the week” kind of thing, which could get old.