Hannibal (TV series)

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Hannibal TV logo.png
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 3
No. of episodes 39 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Carol Dunn Trussell
  • Michael Wray
Running time 42 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor Sony Pictures Television
Original channel NBC
Original release April 4, 2013 (2013-04-04) – August 29, 2015 (2015-08-29)
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 relationship between FBI special investigator Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), 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 would 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] which premiered on June 4, 2015.

On June 22, 2015, NBC canceled Hannibal after three seasons because of low ratings.[4] The series finale aired in Canada on City on August 27, 2015, and aired two days later in the U.S. on NBC.

The series received critical acclaim, with the performances of the lead actors and the visual style of the show being singled out for praise.[5][6][7][8] Both first seasons of the show won the Saturn Awards for Best Network Television Series and Best Actor for Mikkelsen and Dancy respectively, with Laurence Fishburne winning Best Supporting Actor for season two.


FBI profiler Will Graham is recruited by Jack Crawford, the head of Behavioral Sciences, to help investigate a serial killer in Minnesota. With the investigation weighing heavily on Graham, Crawford decides to have him supervised by psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Initially, Lecter – who is secretly a cannibalistic serial killer – works to manipulate the FBI from within, but the bonds he builds with Graham begin to threaten his longevity. Lecter is fascinated by Graham's ability to empathize with psychopathic murderers, and tries to push the boundaries of Graham's fragile sanity in order to turn him into a killer himself.

Cast and characters[edit]

Several first season main and recurring Hannibal cast members, 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; originally a lecturer at the FBI academy, Graham is recruited by Jack Crawford to the Behavioral Science Unit in order to hunt the Minnesota Shrike. As part of his mental condition, he visualizes himself committing the murders he investigates to understand the killers' behaviors. Crawford assigns him a psychiatrist in order to assess his mental state. Unbeknownst to the FBI, and initially Graham, this psychiatrist, Hannibal, is a notorious cannibalistic serial killer. As a pattern of killings emerge, Lecter manipulates Graham and frames him for his crimes. After being charged, and later cleared, Graham continues to lust for Hannibal's capture, whilst all the time building a pseudo-romantic bond with the cannibal. Graham is later re-recruited to the FBI in order to hunt serial killer Francis Dolarhyde, with the assistance of an incarcerated Lecter. In the series finale, Graham kills Dolarhyde with Lecter's help, and he and Lecter embrace and he throws them from a cliff-top, with his fate uncertain at the series end.
  • Mads Mikkelsen as Dr. Hannibal Lecter; a brilliant forensic psychiatrist recruited to the FBI in order to profile Will Graham. After previously abducting and brainwashing FBI recruit Miriam Lass, Lecter finds a perfect proxy for his crimes in Graham. Following Graham's acquittal, however, suspicion falls on Lecter, and following a desperate attempt to escape to Europe with psychiatrist Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier, he hands himself in to the FBI and is incarcerated in the Baltimore Institute for the Criminally Insane. Throughout the course of the series he develops romantic bonds with former student Alana Bloom, and, initially, has a close friendship with both Crawford. He also develops a close friendship with Will Graham: according to Bedelia Du Maurier, Hannibal is in love with Will Graham. He later reunites with Graham in order to provide expert insight to Francis Dolarhyde's psyche, and after being forced from police custody by Dolarhyde, retreats to a clifftop home with Graham. Dolarhyde shoots Lecter, resulting in a fight in which Lecter and Graham kill him. Graham embraces Lecter and throws them off the cliffside.
  • Caroline Dhavernas as Dr. Alana Bloom; initially a consultant psychiatrist and behavioural science lecturer attached to the FBI, Bloom is Lecter's former student and Graham's friend. Throughout the series she develops both professionally and personally, and after embarking on an ill-fated romantic interlude with Lecter, Bloom works to facilitate his end. In doing so, she meets Margot Verger, with whom she becomes romantically involved and has a child. She replaces Frederick Chilton as the administrator of the Baltimore Hospital for the Criminally Insane and, following Lecter's capture, oversees his incarceration. Lecter later informs her that she is living on borrowed time, and expresses his intentions to murder her, Margot, and her child. She is last seen fleeing the country with Margot and her family.
  • Hettienne Park as Beverly Katz; a Special Agent and a crime scene investigator assigned to Crawford's team. She specializes in fiber analysis, and develops a strong friendship with Will Graham. During Graham's incarceration she begins to suspect that Graham is innocent, and without notifying her superiors, she breaks into Lecter's house in order to prove his guilt. In doing so, Katz is murdered by Lecter, who slices up her body and displays it in a plexiglass tapestry. (seasons 1–2).
  • Laurence Fishburne as Jack Crawford; a Special Agent in Charge and the head of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit. He is Graham's boss and is responsible for Graham's descent into the world of criminal investigations. Developing friendships with both Graham and Lecter, Crawford believes the latter incapable of murder initially, though advocates for Graham's guilt on account of his mental state. Crawford is severely wounded while attempting to arrest Lecter, and goes on to hunt him internationally. In the final season, he persuades Graham to come out of retirement to profile The Great Red Dragon, and attempts to use Lecter as a resource and, finally, as bait.
  • Gillian Anderson as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier; Lecter's psychotherapist who retired after killing one of Lecter's patients. It is suggested that she is aware of Lecter's true nature, and terminates her professional relationship with him because she feels he is dangerous. However, she changes her mind, fleeing Baltimore just prior to an attempt on her life. She later returns, securing immunity for her own crimes before fleeing to Europe with Lecter. Following his capture, Du Maurier begins lecturing on her time with Lecter, and later accepts Graham as a patient. She last appears in a post-credits scene in the series finale, sitting at a table set for three and dining on her own leg. (recurring seasons 1–2, starring season 3).
  • Scott Thompson as Special Agent Jimmy Price, M.D., a crime scene investigator specializing in latent fingerprints. (recurring season 1; starring seasons 2–3)
  • Aaron Abrams as Special Agent Brian Zeller, a crime scene investigator. (recurring season 1; starring seasons 2–3)


  • Raúl Esparza as Dr. Frederick Chilton, initially the administrator of Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. He is framed by Lecter, and as a result is falsely accused of his crimes. Lecter's surviving victim Miriam Lass, having been brainwashed by Lecter, believes that Chilton is the man who kidnapped and tortured her, and shoots him in the face. He survives, however, and resigning his post of administrator for the BHCI, writes a sensationalized, largely inaccurate book about Lecter. He later gives an antagonistic interview regarding the Red Dragon. The killer kidnaps, mutilates and burns Chilton, leaving him severely disfigured.
  • Lara Jean Chorostecki as Fredricka "Freddie" Lounds, a tabloid blogger who runs the true crime website TattleCrime. She covers the FBI's ahunt for the Chesapeake Ripper, initially believing Graham is the killer. She later conspires with Graham and Crawford to fake her own death in order to provoke Lecter. She is last seen preparing a provocative interview with Graham and Chilton in order to lure the Great Red Dragon into the open.
  • Richard Armitage as Francis Dolarhyde, a serial killer known as The Tooth Fairy due to his habit of biting the skin of his victims. As the primary antagonist of the third season, he develops a relationship with Lecter by telephone, and attempts to kill Graham's family. Following Lecter's faked escape, Dolarhyde shoots him, stabbing and disfiguring Graham in the process. Graham and Lecter kill him together in the final moments of the series. (season 3).
  • Kacey Rohl as Abigail Hobbs, daughter and accomplice of serial killer Garrett Jacob Hobbs, who develops a complicated father-daughter relationship with both Graham and Lecter. She is presumed dead throughout season two, with Graham regurgitating her ear. It is revealed she had been held captive by Lecter, and, after allowing her to push Alana out of a window, he slits her throat, killing her. Graham continues to see Abigail in his memory palace.
  • Michael Pitt (season 2) and Joe Anderson (season 3) as Mason Verger, Margot's sadistic twin brother, who becomes a common enemy to Lecter and Graham. Lecter feeds him psychedelic drugs, persuades him to mutilate his own face, and breaks his neck, paralyzing him. Mason later has Lecter and Graham kidnapped, intending to mutilate and consume Lecter and graft Graham's face onto his own. He is foiled by Margot, who harvests his sperm to produce an heir and then drowns him in his own eel tank.
  • Katharine Isabelle as Margot Verger, one of Lecter's patients. She has suffered years of abuse at the hands of her brother, Mason, for which she receives counseling from Lecter. and later develops romantic relationships with both Graham and Bloom. At Lecter's suggestion, she kills Mason after harvesting his sperm, thus enabling her to have an heir and inherit the Verger fortune. She marries Bloom, who gives birth to their child. She is last seen fleeing the country by helicopter following Lecter's threats to kill their family. (seasons 2–3).
  • 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. Lecter breaks Gideon out of the asylum, and, after feeding him his own legs, leaves him in Dr. Chilton's house. Gideon is found dead soon after.
  • Gina Torres as Phyllis "Bella" Crawford, Jack Crawford's wife, who, throughout the first two seasons of the series is suffering from terminal lung cancer. After attempting suicide, she is revived by Lecter in order to torment her husband. She later dies in her sleep.
  • Vladimir Jon Cubrt as Garrett Jacob Hobbs, a serial killer known as the Minnesota Shrike. He is Abigail's father and is fatally shot by Graham during the first episode of the series. He continues to haunt Graham's psyche for a significant amount of time afterwards.
  • Anna Chlumsky as Miriam Lass, an FBI trainee and Jack Crawford's protégée. She mysteriously disappears while investigating the Chesapeake Ripper, and is not recovered for several years. After being brainwashed by Lecter via his use of sedatives, she is released, after which she identifies Dr. Chilton as her captor and shoots him in the face. (seasons 1–2)
  • Cynthia Nixon as Kade Prurnell, an investigator for the Office of the Inspector General. (season 2)
  • Fortunato Cerlino as Rinaldo Pazzi, an Italian inspector who teams up with Graham to search for Lecter. (season 3)
  • Tao Okamoto as Chiyoh, handmaiden to Hannibal's aunt, Lady Murasaki. (season 3)
  • Glenn Fleshler as Dr. Cordell Doemling, Mason Verger's physician and henchman. (season 3)
  • Nina Arianda as Molly Graham, Will's wife who continues to support Graham when he is asked to return to the FBI. The Great Red Dragon shoots and wounds her after getting Graham's address from Lecter. (season 3)
  • Rutina Wesley as Reba McClane, a blind woman who becomes romantically involved with Francis Dolarhyde, unaware that he is the serial killer known as the Great Red Dragon. (season 3)



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.[9] 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.[10] The series went into production quickly thereafter.

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

David Slade, who had previously directed the pilot for NBC's Awake, directed the first episode and serves as an executive producer.[11] José Andrés is the series' "culinary cannibal consultant" and advises the crew on proper procedure for preparing human flesh for consumption.[12]

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.[13] However, after the conclusion of the second season, Fuller stated he later envisioned the show to run six seasons, incorporating the books into the show in a different way than he originally planned.[14]

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

Season 3 would use material from Hannibal Rising as well as Red Dragon and include a different origin story for Dr. Lecter; the season ultimately also adapted Hannibal as well.[15] Fuller had intended 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 appeared in the second season, named Matthew Brown, but the character ended up being an antithesis to the original series' Barney.[17] Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier is named after the character in Creepshow and Daphne du Maurier.[18]

Promotional poster for the third season featuring Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson).

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."[19] Fuller also cited David Cronenberg and Dario Argento as influences on the series.[20] Fuller cited Tony Scott as an influence for the third season.[21]


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.[22] In June 2012, Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen was cast as Lecter.[23][24] Soon after this, actor Laurence Fishburne was cast as FBI Behavioral Sciences Unit commander Jack Crawford.[25] Caroline Dhavernas was later cast as Dr. Alana Bloom, a former student of Hannibal Lecter, and Hettienne Park was cast as CSI Beverly Katz.[26][27] Lara Jean Chorostecki, Kacey Rohl, Scott Thompson and Aaron Abrams were cast in recurring roles.[28]

Gina Torres, Laurence Fishburne's real-life wife,[29] has a recurring role as Phyllis "Bella" Crawford, Jack Crawford's terminally ill wife. 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.[30][31][32] Molly Shannon, Eddie Izzard and Lance Henriksen guest-starred during the first season.[33][34][35]

Several of the actors on the series have worked with creator Bryan Fuller previously, including Dhavernas, who played the lead role in Wonderfalls,[26] and Torres, Greene, Esparza and Shannon, who all appeared in the television series Pushing Daisies.[32] Chelan Simmons reprised her role as Gretchen Speck-Horowitz from Wonderfalls in an episode of Hannibal.[36] Ellen Muth, who starred in Fuller's Dead Like Me, guest-starred as a character named Georgia Madchen, a nod to her original character and a "reinterpretation of that character".[37]

David Bowie was approached for the role of Hannibal's uncle, Robert Lecter, for the second season,[38] but was unavailable for the role.[39] Gillian Anderson returned as Lecter's psychiatrist, Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier, in multiple episodes for the second season.[40] Eddie Izzard reprised his role as Dr. Abel Gideon for the second season.[41] 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.[42] 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!"[43][44] Michael Pitt joined the recurring cast in the role of Mason Verger, Margot's abusive twin brother.[45] Amanda Plummer guest-starred in the second season, playing Katherine Pimms, an acupuncturist.[46] Jeremy Davies and Chris Diamantopoulos appear in two episodes.[47]

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.[20] For the third season, Gillian Anderson was promoted to series regular after recurring throughout the first two seasons.[48] Tao Okamoto was announced to play Lady Murasaki, Hannibal's enigmatic aunt, in season three,[49] 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.[50] For the third season, Joe Anderson replaced Michael Pitt as Mason Verger, as Pitt decided not to return to the role.[51] In December 2014, Fortunato Cerlino was announced as portraying Inspector Pazzi.[52] In January 2015, several recurring roles were cast, including Richard Armitage as Francis Dolarhyde; Nina Arianda as Molly Graham, Will's wife; Rutina Wesley as Reba McClane; and Glenn Fleshler as Dr. Cordell Doemling.[53][54][55][56] In March 2015, Zachary Quinto was cast in a guest-starring role as one of Dr. Du Maurier's patients.[57] Izzard reprised the role of Gideon for the season three premiere, although he was initially hesitant about returning.[58]

Fuller stated that should the series continue, whether for a fourth season or feature film, and should they obtain rights to adapt The Silence of the Lambs, Ellen Page would be his ideal casting for Clarice Starling.[59]


Filming of Hannibal takes place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[60] The first season began shooting on August 27, 2012.[12] The series began production on the second season in Toronto in August 2013.[38] Filming for season 3 began on October 20, 2014, in Toronto,[61] and some filming of exterior scenes were shot in Florence, Italy.[62]

Cancellation and possible revival[edit]

On June 22, 2015, NBC cancelled the series.[4] Fuller initiated talks with Amazon Video and Netflix for a renewal.[63] In July 2015, the cast was released after their contracts expired, but Mikkelsen and Dancy have expressed interest in reprising their respective roles if the series is acquired by a streaming service. However, the series has an exclusive streaming deal with Amazon, making finding a new distributor for the series difficult.[64] On July 6, 2015, it was revealed that Amazon and Netflix decided to pass on the series, but Fuller confirmed the series was still being shopped.[65] On July 11, when asked to elaborate, Fuller commented that Netflix could not renew the series due to Amazon having the exclusive streaming rights, and that Amazon wanted to renew the series, but wanted an immediate debut, while Fuller wanted more time to work on the scripts in advance before shooting. Fuller also stated that he and the producers are exploring the possibility of a feature film.[66] Fuller stated after the finale aired that financing for a film is being looked into, as well as divulging his planned Silence storyline and that Starz could serve as a potential renewal due to their relationship on American Gods.[67][68]


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)
3 13 June 4, 2015 (2015-06-04) August 27, 2015 (2015-08-27) (Canada)
August 29, 2015 (2015-08-29) (U.S.)


Episode order[edit]

The series' fourth episode, "Œuf", which revolves around kidnapped children who have 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.[69] This was not a result of the Boston Marathon bombings as some reports have indicated, but was actually decided just hours beforehand, and was more likely due to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.[70] 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".[71] 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.[72] The complete episode was later made available via iTunes and Amazon Video on April 29, 2013, and the episode appears in the order intended on the DVD and Blu-ray release.[73]

Removal from KSL-TV[edit]

The series was pulled by Salt Lake City's KSL-TV (Channel 5) as of April 29, 2013, after four episodes were aired, and started airing in that market on KUCW, Utah's CW affiliate.[74]

International broadcast[edit]

City picked up broadcasting rights in Canada, where the show is filmed, as a mid-season debut.[75] When Hannibal was moved to Saturdays on NBC in the middle of the third season, City continued to air the series in its regular Thursday time slot in Canada.[76]

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.[77] Sky Living started broadcasting the show in the UK and Republic of Ireland from May 7, 2013.[78]

In the South Pacific, the series is also broadcast on the Seven Network in Australia, from mid-April 2013[79] and in New Zealand, the show premiered on TV3 on January 25, 2014.[80] The series airs in Latin America through AXN.[81] In Middle East and North Africa region, the series is broadcast on OSN.[82]


Nielsen ratings[edit]

U.S. television ratings for Hannibal
Season Timeslot (ET) Episodes Premiere Finale TV season Average viewership
Date Viewers
Date Viewers
Thursday 10:00 pm
April 4, 2013
June 20, 2013
1.98[84] 2012–13 2.90[85]
Friday 10:00 pm
February 28, 2014
May 23, 2014
2.35[87] 2013–14 2.54[88]
Thursday 10:00 pm (episodes 1–6)
Saturday 10:00 pm (episodes 7–13)
June 4, 2015
August 29, 2015
1.24[90] 2014–15 1.31[91]

Critical reviews[edit]

Season 1[edit]

Reviews for the first season were positive. On critic website Metacritic, the first season scored 70 out of 100 based on 32 reviews, which constitutes "generally favorable reviews".[92] 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."[93] 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."[94] Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly gave the show an A- and called it "... finely acted, visually scrumptious, and deliciously subversive."[95]

Brian Lowry of Variety said Hannibal is "... the tastiest drama the network has introduced in awhile," and had particular praise for the central trio of Dancy, Mikkelsen and Fishburne.[5] Eric Goldman of IGN gave the series a 9/10, which constitutes a score of "Amazing". He said, "A prequel TV series about Hannibal Lecter has to overcome a lot of preconceptions ... But guess what? None of that matters when you actually watch the show, because Hannibal is terrific."[96] Linda Stasi of The New York Post gave the series two and a half stars out of four, praising the performances and called it "... The most beautifully shot and produced show on network TV, with many scenes simply and literally breathtaking..."[97] Jeff Simon from The Buffalo News called Hannibal "deeply sinister" and "brilliant."[98] The Chicago Sun Times' TV critic Lori Rackl said, "Hannibal is a haunting, riveting... drama that has the look and feel of a show audiences have become more accustomed to seeing on cable than broadcast," and concluded that "It's also extremely well executed... bound to leave viewers hungry for more."[6] Alan Sepinwall of HitFix called Hannibal "creepy, haunting, smart, utterly gorgeous..." and the best of this season's serial killer shows.[99] 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.[100] 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."[101]

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."[102] 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."[103]

Season 2[edit]

On Metacritic, the second season scored 88 out of 100 based on 14 reviews, which constitutes "universal acclaim".[104] On April 10, 2014, Hannibal was voted the winner for Hulu's "Best in Show" online competition.[105] 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."[106]

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.[107] 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."[108] Alan Sepinwall of HitFix continued his praise of the series, highlighting the performances of the lead actors.[109] The A.V. Club named it the best TV series of 2014, and wrote that Hannibal was "the best, most elegantly designed thrill ride on TV in 2014".[110]

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.[111] 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."[112] 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".[113] 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".[114] TV Guide named it the best TV episode of 2014.[115]

Season 3[edit]

Early reviews for season three were extremely positive. On Rotten Tomatoes, season 3 has a 97% "Certified Fresh" rating with an average rating of 8.7 out of 10 based on 29 reviews. The site's consensus reads: "Bryan Fuller serves up another delightfully demented season of Hannibal, featuring a hearty helping of gorgeous gore, paired with a sweet side of twisted humor."[116] On Metacritic, the season has a score of 84 out of 100 based on 15 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[117] Joshua Rivera of Business Insider stated that "Hannibal is a show that puts all of its chips on the table, blows up that table, and then builds something even more fascinating from what remains", and hailed it as one of the best shows on television.[118] Dominic Patten of Deadline.com also gave the first few episodes positive reviews also stating the show returns better than ever.[119] In addition, the acting of Mads Mikkelsen and Gillian Anderson were particularly praised, with Bloody Disgusting writing, "Gillian Anderson's performance pushes Mads Mikkelsen in ways never thought possible," while also giving praise to creator and writer Bryan Fuller saying he creates "meticulously detailed scripts that define his characters in completely unpredictable ways." The review concludes by stating season 3 "re-establishes Hannibal as the best horror show on television."[120] Chris Cabin of Slant Magazine gave it a very positive review, with four stars, and wrote that season 3 is "even more incisively and ambitiously written than the last season, and sporting the most radically expressive imagery currently on television."[121] Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly rated it an "A-" and wrote, "Hannibal remains the most engrossing (and gross) serial-killer drama on television, and the most beautiful."[122]

Awards and accolades[edit]

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[123] 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[124] 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[125] Best Drama Actor Hugh Dancy Nominated
EWwy Award[126] 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[127] Best Actor – Television Series Drama Mads Mikkelsen Nominated
Best Television Series – Drama Nominated
IGN Awards[128] Best TV Series Won
Best TV Horror Series Won
Best TV Villain Mads Mikkelsen Won
Best TV Episode "Mizumono" Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Network Television Series Won
Best Actor on Television Hugh Dancy Won
Mads Mikkelsen Nominated
Best Supporting Actor on Television Laurence Fishburne Won
Best Supporting Actress on Television Caroline Dhavernas Nominated
Best Guest Star on Television Michael Pitt Nominated
Best DVD or Blu-ray TV Series Season 2 Nominated
Fangoria Chainsaw Awards 2015[129] Best TV Series Nominated
Best TV Actor Hugh Dancy Nominated
Mads Mikkelsen Nominated
Best TV Supporting Actress Gillian Anderson Won
Best TV Makeup/Creature FX Francois Dagenais Nominated

Home media releases[edit]

The first season, including all 13 episodes, was released on Blu-ray and DVD in region 2 on September 2, 2013,[130] in region 1 on September 24, 2013,[131] and in region 4 on September 25, 2013.[132] 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.[131]

The second season, including all 13 episodes, was released on Blu-ray and DVD in region 1 on September 16, 2014. Bonus features include episode audio commentaries with cast and crew, several behind-the-scene featurettes, a gag reel, deleted scenes, and the "Post Mortem" webisodes hosted by Scott Thompson.[133]


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External links[edit]