Mason Verger

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Mason Verger
Hannibal Tetralogy character
Created by Thomas Harris
Portrayed by Gary Oldman (Hannibal)
Michael Pitt (Hannibal; season 2)
Joe Anderson (Hannibal; season 3)
Gender Male
Occupation CEO of Verger Enterprises
Relatives Margot Verger (sister)
Molson Verger (father, deceased)
Nationality American

Mason Verger is a fictional character and the main antagonist in Thomas Harris' 1999 novel Hannibal, as well as its 2001 film adaptation and the second and third season of the TV series Hannibal. In the film, he is portrayed by Gary Oldman, while in the TV series he is portrayed by Michael Pitt and Joe Anderson.

Character overview[edit]

Mason Verger is introduced in the novel Hannibal as a wealthy, sadistic pedophile who is horribly disfigured during a therapy session with Dr. Hannibal Lecter. He plans gruesome revenge against Lecter, which sets the novel's plot in motion. The novel and TV series also portray his dysfunctional relationship with his twin sister Margot, whom he subjects to years of emotional and sexual abuse.



Mason Verger is the scion of one of Baltimore, Maryland's most wealthy, politically connected families. His father, Molson, founded a meat packing company that grew into an empire by the time of Mason's birth. As a teenager, Mason raped his twin sister, Margot, who went into therapy with Lecter to deal with the trauma. Lecter suggested that it would be cathartic for her to kill her brother. As an adult, Mason takes sadistic pleasure in acts of cruelty and sexual violence, including torturing animals and molesting children. He also performs autoerotic asphyxiation, and enjoys collecting children's tears with sterile swatches and flavoring his martinis with them. At one point he befriends Idi Amin, with whom he claims to have re-enacted the crucifixion of Jesus by nailing a migrant worker to a cross. Publicly, he claims to be a born-again Christian, and operates a Christian camp for underprivileged children - whom he molests.

He is eventually arrested for and found guilty of several counts of child molestation, but thanks to his family's political connections he is sentenced to community service and court-mandated therapy in lieu of prison time. Lecter serves as his court-appointed psychiatrist. During one of their sessions, Lecter gives Mason PCP and tells him to peel off his own face with a piece of broken mirror. In a state of drug-induced euphoria, Mason complies, and afterwards feeds the pieces to his dogs, except for his nose, which he himself eats. Lecter then tells Mason to demonstrate autoerotic asphyxiation; Mason hangs himself and breaks his neck. He survives the ordeal, but is left disfigured – losing his lips, nose, cheeks, eyelids and left eye – and paralyzed from the neck down. Lecter is arrested soon afterward for committing a series of murders, and Mason tries to influence the resulting trial to make sure that Lecter receives the death penalty. When Lecter is instead found not guilty by reason of insanity and institutionalized, Mason is enraged, and begins plotting to feed Lecter alive to a pack of wild boars bred for the purpose.

After his disfigurement, Mason becomes a recluse, rarely leaving his darkened mansion. (He nevertheless indulges in whatever paraphilias his disability allows, such as getting sexual gratification from emotionally abusing children.) His only sources of human contact are his physician, Cordell Doemling, himself a sex offender, and Margot, who works for him as a bodyguard. Margot despises her brother, but stays in his employ to persuade him to donate sperm to her domestic partner, Judy. He strings her along, knowing that she cannot leave if she wants to see her share of the Verger family fortune; their father had disinherited her when she came out as a lesbian, and willed his estate to any future heir Mason might have.

Seven years after Lecter's escape in The Silence of the Lambs, Mason pays Lecter's former guard, Barney Matthews, for information leading to his capture. When Detective Rinaldo Pazzi spots Lecter in Florence, Italy, he contacts Mason in hopes of collecting the reward money. Mason bribes Justice Department official Paul Krendler to discredit Lecter's foil Clarice Starling in order to coax Lecter out of hiding. He hires a gang of Sardinian gangsters to kidnap Lecter, and instructs Pazzi to lead Lecter to them. Lecter learns of Mason's plot, however, and kills Pazzi as he flees to the United States. Mason's men eventually capture Lecter and Starling, and Mason prepares to enjoy his long-awaited revenge. Lecter escapes his bonds, however, and persuades Margot to kill her brother, promising to take the blame. Margot kills Mason by stuffing his pet Moray eel down his throat. At the same time, she sodomizes him with a cattle prod, causing him to ejaculate in his death throes, providing her with the sperm she needs to conceive a child.


Mason is portrayed by Gary Oldman in the 2001 film Hannibal. The film's characterization of Mason Verger follows that of the novel except for two key aspects: the film omits the character of Margot Verger, and changes the portrayal of Mason's death. In the film, Mason dies at the hands of his physician Cordell Doemling (Željko Ivanek), who at Lecter's suggestion pushes his hated boss into the pig pen in which Lecter was intended to die. Mason is then devoured by a pack of wild boars.

TV series[edit]

Mason Verger appears as a supporting antagonist in the NBC television series Hannibal, which is set prior to Lecter's capture and imprisonment. He is portrayed by Michael Pitt in the show's second season, and is scheduled to be portrayed by Joe Anderson in the third.[1] Series creator Bryan Fuller called this version of the character "The Joker to Hannibal's Batman".[2]

Season 2[edit]

Mason sexually assaults his sister Margot (Katharine Isabelle), who then tries to kill him. He sends her to therapy with Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) to keep her quiet.[3] Mason meets with Lecter to discuss Margot's treatment, and agrees to enter therapy with Lecter to find out what his sister is saying about him.[4][5] Lecter takes an immediate dislike to Mason, considering him "discourteous".[6]

Mason tells Margot that he wants an heir, the implication being that he wants to father his own sister's child. He threatens to cut her off financially if she disobeys him.[5] Desperate, Margot has sex with another of Lecter's patients, Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and becomes pregnant with his child. In response, Mason causes Margot to get into a car accident, and has her womb surgically removed so that only he can father an heir and inherit their father's money. A furious Graham confronts Mason and warns him that Lecter is manipulating them both.[7]

Mason eventually grows suspicious of Lecter and has him kidnapped, intending to feed the doctor to his prize pigs. Lecter escapes with Graham's help, however, and takes Mason as a captive to Graham's house. Lecter gives Mason a hallucinogenic drug cocktail and tells him to cut off pieces of his own face and feed them to Graham's dogs. Mason does so, and also obeys Lecter's command to cut off his own nose and eat it. Lecter then breaks Mason's neck with his bare hands so that Mason survives, paralysed, confined to a respirator and forced to wear a neck brace and a facial mask. He tells FBI Agent-in-Charge Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) that he sustained his injuries after falling into a feeding lot. Mason is then left alone with a vengeful Margot, who promises to "take care of you just as you took care of me."[6]


  1. ^ Abrams, Natalie. "Michael Pitt exits 'Hannibal,' Joe Anderson to replace him" Entertainment Weekly. December 14, 2014
  2. ^ Jeffrey, Morgan. "Hannibal: Michael Pitt's Mason Verger is 'the Joker meets Scott Disick'" April 29, 2014.
  3. ^ "Su-zakana". Hannibal. Season 2. Episode 8. April 18, 2014. NBC. 
  4. ^ "Naka-Choko". Hannibal. Season 2. Episode 10. May 2, 2014. NBC. 
  5. ^ a b Cook, Josie Rhodes. "Hannibal Recap: The Secret's Out". May 9, 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Tome-Wan". Hannibal. Season 2. Episode 12. May 16, 2014. HBO. 
  7. ^ "Ko No Mono". Hannibal. Season 2. Episode 11. May 9, 2014. NBC. 

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