Convert to Fannibalism: Why You Should Add Hannibal To Your Must Watch TV List

Courtesy of NBC

Well, it’s that time again. We’re about to embark on season two of NBC’s wonderfully gory series Hannibal. The show may be returning at the end of the month but we’re already so excited about it that we’re here to give you the spoiler-free lowdown on what you missed, what to expect, and why the only place to be at 10PM EST on February 28 is in front of your TV, tuned in to NBC – but be warned! We advise you not to plan on having any snacks while you watch.


NBC’s Hannibal stars Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen in the legendary eponymous role. Mikkelsen, who stars in this year’s Oscar-nominated foreign film The Hunt, makes a pretty damn good Hannibal Lecter. He’s a whole different animal from the Anthony Hopkins version we all know and love. In this series, Hannibal has not yet been caught. As a matter of fact, he’s one of the FBI’s most trusted psychological consultants when it comes to profiling psychopaths – and isn’t that just sweetly ironic? He’s also a socialite who loves opera and throwing elaborate dinner parties. It’s truly unsettling to see how tasty the food looks when you know it’s definitely made of people.


Hannibal’s “foil,” so to speak, is Will Graham. Unfortunately, prior to production, show-runner Bryan Fuller was only able to gain rights to the characters from the movie Red Dragon, rather than all the others we’re more familiar with (i.e. Clarice Starling). No matter – it helps make this show its very own Hannibal legend. The character of Will Graham was played by Edward Norton in Red Dragon, but here he’s played by the wonderfully talented (and adorable) Hugh Dancy. The character, however, is adapted entirely from Bryan Fuller’s readings of Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter novel series, rather than Norton’s iteration of Will Graham. As such, he, like Hannibal, is an entirely different animal from the one we’re used to seeing. From the very beginning it’s basically shoved in our faces that this guy is autistic (which is sort of annoying, but the show more than makes up for its heavy-handedness where this is concerned). He’s purely empathetic, which helps him analyze crime scenes far more effectively than anyone at the FBI could – which is why he, a teacher at the FBI training school, is brought in as a consult on a serial murderer investigation.


And here, my friends, is where fate brings together Dr. Lecter and our dearest Will Graham.  They are both brought on the case by Agent Jack Crawford (played by Laurence Fishburne, who is best known for playing Morpheus in the Matrix film series). The killer is known as the Minnesota Shrike, and he kills teenage girls who all match a certain profile – pale, dark features, long hair, etc. Will is very quick to figure out who the killer is, with a series of unfathomable leaps between the scattered pieces of evidence provided by the FBI. Dr. Lecter, of course, is fascinated by the guy. He’s Lecter’s polar opposite – where Lecter is a pure sociopath, Graham is a pure “empath.” And I hate to say it, but it’s all downhill from there for our buddy Will Graham.


The show features some pretty amazing guest stars, not the least of whom is Gillian Anderson. The former X-Files­babe comes in as none other than Dr. DuMaurier – Hannibal’s own therapist! We’re also treated to the lovely ex-Firefly star Gina Torres, who plays Jack Crawford’s wife (which is awesome, since Torres and Fishburne are married in real life!) Another heavy-hitting guest star is Broadway leading man Raul Esparza. As Dr. Frederick Chilton, Esparza plays a very convincing obnoxiously narcissistic psychiatrist – although he still doesn’t deserve what comes to him. My personal favorite guest star has to be the one and only Eddie Izzard, who plays Dr. Abel Gideon. Don’t let his title fool you; Gideon is actually a patient. It seems he snapped and murdered his whole family, landing himself in the care of Dr. Chilton. Lucky for us, all three of these incredible guest stars have signed on to appear in season two of Hannibal!


Speaking of season two guest stars, NBC has landed some pretty awesome ones already. Just today it was announced that Lost alum Jeremy Davies would be joining up for a couple of episodes. He will play an animal rescue worker named Peter Bernardone, who becomes the main suspect in a bizarre murder that takes place at his former place of work. Joining Davies as Bernadone’s social worker is Chris Diamantopoulos, who is probably best known for playing the cameraman Brian from the final season of The Office. He also had a hilarious role in the Netflix-exclusive fourth season of Arrested Development as Lindsay Bluth’s love interest, Marky Bark. We’ll also be treated to a turn from Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon, who will play Jack Crawford’s boss.


Plot-wise, NBC is keeping pretty tight-lipped so far, but we do have some clues of what’s to come. Some things we could have guessed – like the fact that Will is going to be trying to prove his innocence. Another hint is that Dr. Lecter will be working even more closely with the FBI this time around. Could he be taking on Will’s old job? We think so. Rumor also has it we’ll be meeting a very troubled patient of Dr. Lecter’s, named Margot. Could this be Margot Verger, a character from Harris’ novels? Could be, according to some people. If so, that would be an invitation for one of Bryan Fuller’s ideal casting choices – Pushing Daisies alum Chi McBride as Barney Matthews, a Baltimore State Hospital orderly. Fuller has said that he would like to include that particular character in season two. Yesterday the news broke that Boardwalk Empire star Michael Pitt will also be appearing in this coming season…as Mason Verger! We’re guessing this is early in his relationship with Dr. Lecter – you know, before Lecter mutilates him. It seems NBC has gotten the rights to MGM’s Hannibal characters right under our noses! How exciting is that? Fuller has also stated that his ultimate dream is to have David Bowie appear on the show as Hannibal’s oft-referenced uncle. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for that one!


Beyond all of this, we’ll just have to wait to see what else the twisted mind of Bryan Fuller will bring to our TVs this time. All we can really say is…who’s ready for seconds?

If you need to get yourself caught up, there are unfortunately few ways of doing so. The DVD set of season one is out, and there are a few full-length episodes on the NBC webplayer app, but in order to watch the whole season, you’re going to need an Amazon Prime account. If you have one, though, you’re all set! The entire first season of Hannibal is available to watch instantly on Amazon!

If you’re just hungry for more, hopefully the full-length trailer for season two is enough to whet your appetite: