|Hannibal Lecter character|
|Created by||Thomas Harris|
|Portrayed by||Gary Oldman (Hannibal)|
Michael Pitt (Hannibal; season 2)
Joe Anderson (Hannibal; season 3)
|Occupation||Heir to the Verger meatpacking dynasty|
|Relatives||Margot Verger (sister)|
Molson Verger (father, deceased)
Mason Verger is a fictional character and a primary antagonist of 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.
Mason Verger is introduced in the novel Hannibal as a wealthy sexual sadist who was 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 son of one of Baltimore, Maryland's most wealthy, politically connected families. His father, Molson, founded a meatpacking company that had grown into an empire by the time of Mason's birth.
Mason takes 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 swabs 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. 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.
Verger 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 Lecter receives the death penalty. When Lecter is instead found not guilty by reason of insanity and institutionalized, Mason begins plotting to feed Lecter alive to a pack of wild boars, specially bred for the purpose.
After his disfigurement, Mason becomes a recluse, rarely leaving Muskrat Farm, his country estate. He nevertheless indulges in whatever paraphilias his disability allows, such as getting sexual gratification from making children cry.
Verger's only sources of human contact are his assistant, Cordell – a fellow sex offender – and Margot, who works for Mason as a bodyguard. Margot despises her brother, but stays in his employ to persuade him to donate his sperm to her partner, Judy, so they can conceive a child. Mason strings her along, knowing 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 Sardinians to kidnap Lecter, and instructs Pazzi to lead Lecter to them.
Lecter learns of Mason's plot, and kills Pazzi as he flees to the United States. Mason's men eventually capture Lecter, and Mason prepares to enjoy his long-awaited revenge. However, Lecter escapes his bonds, with help from Starling, and persuades Margot to kill Mason, promising to take the blame. Margot sodomizes Mason with a cattle prod, stimulating his prostate and causing him to ejaculate, providing her with the sperm she needs. She then kills him by stuffing his pet Moray eel down his throat, suffocating him.
In other media
In the 2001 film, Hannibal, Mason is portrayed by Gary Oldman. The film's characterization of Mason Verger follows close to 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 gored and devoured by a pack of wild boars.
Mason Verger appears in the NBC television series Hannibal as the main antagonist for the second half of the second season and the first half of the third season. He is portrayed by Michael Pitt in the show's second season, and by Joe Anderson in the third. Series creator Bryan Fuller called this version of the character "The Joker to Hannibal's Batman".
Mason sexually assaults his sister Margot (Katharine Isabelle), who then tries to kill him. He sends her to therapy with Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen). 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. Lecter takes an immediate dislike to Mason, considering him "discourteous".
Mason tells Margot that he wants them to have 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. Desperate, Margot has sex with another of Lecter's patients, Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and becomes pregnant with his child. After Lecter tells him what Margot is trying to do, 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 the family fortune. A furious Graham confronts Mason and warns him that Lecter is manipulating them both.
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 convinces him to peel his own face off and feed the pieces 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. Mason survives, but is paralyzed, 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 pig pen. Mason is then left alone with a vengeful Margot, who promises him she will "take care of you just as you took care of me."
After Lecter flees to Europe following the discovery of his crimes, Mason puts a $3 million bounty on the doctor. He enlists Lecter's former lover Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) to help catch him. He also employs Margot, who is secretly planning to harvest his sperm in order to conceive a child with Alana's assistance. Unbeknownst to her, however, Mason has preserved the fetus Margot conceived with Graham, and implanted it in a giant sow's womb to birth a "Verger baby", which is later found to be stillborn.
Italian police detective Rinaldo Pazzi (Fortunato Cerlino) makes a deal with Mason to bring Lecter in, but Lecter kills Pazzi instead. Mason then hires other corrupt Italian police detectives to apprehend Lecter and Graham and bring them to his country estate, Muskrat Farm. He orders his physician Cordell Doemling (Glenn Fleshler) to slowly mutilate Lecter and prepare gourmet cuisine from his flesh. Mason also tells Doemling to put him under anesthesia for a special surgery: Doemling will cut off Graham's face and graft it onto Mason's. Before the procedure can take place, however, Lecter escapes captivity, kills Doemling, and helps Margot 'milk' the unconscious Mason's prostate with a cattle prod for the sperm she needs to conceive a child. When Mason awakes, Margot tells him that she will have a baby of her own and inherit their father's estate. She kills Mason by holding him underwater in his eel tank, where the eel swims down his throat and suffocates him.
- Abrams, Natalie (December 19, 2014). "Michael Pitt exits 'Hannibal,' Joe Anderson to replace him". Entertainment Weekly. New York City: Meredith Corporation. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
- Morgan, Jeffrey (April 29, 2014). "Hannibal: Michael Pitt's Mason Verger is 'the Joker meets Scott Disick'". Digital Spy. London, England: Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
- "Su-zakana". Hannibal. Season 2. Episode 8. April 18, 2014. NBC.
- "Naka-Choko". Hannibal. Season 2. Episode 10. May 2, 2014. NBC.
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- "Tome-Wan". Hannibal. Season 2. Episode 12. May 16, 2014. NBC.
- "Ko No Mono". Hannibal. Season 2. Episode 11. May 9, 2014. NBC.
- "Aperitivo". Hannibal. Season 3. Episode 4. June 25, 2015. NBC.
- "Digestivo". Hannibal. Season 3. Episode 7. July 18, 2015. NBC.
- "Contorno". Hannibal. Season 3. Episode 5. July 2, 2015. NBC.
- "Dolce". Hannibal. Season 3. Episode 6. July 9, 2015. NBC.