Hannibal—Season 1

9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Darker than anything you'd expect from network TV, great cast

Sometimes a bit over-the-top


Hannibal would like to invite you over for a bite to eat!

Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) has a gift.  He can reach inside the mind of killers, see their actions, and predict their next move.  Unfortunately for Will, this gift is also a curse which leads to nightmares and horrors as Will sees through the eyes of psychopaths and experiences their crimes in his mind.  When a serial killer nicknamed the Minnesota Shrike begins killing young women, Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) brings Will into the field against the warnings of Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas).  When Will goes through a traumatic event, he finds himself aided by Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) who is interested by Will’s “gift”…unfortunately for Will, Hannibal has secret and those secrets could destroy him.


Who’s wearing a mask in this show?

Hannibal—Season 1 aired from April 4, 2013 to June 20, 2013 as a midseason replacement on NBC.  The season was loosely based on the 1981 novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris which was also used for the film Manhunter (1986) with Leckter played by Brian Cox, Graham played by William Petersen, and Dennis Farina as Crawford and Red Dragon (2002) with Anthony Hopkins reprising his role as Lecter, Edward Norton as Graham, and Harvey Keitel as Crawford.  The series was released to critical acclaim but also criticism for its high level of violence (episode 4 “Oeuf” did not air due to the Boston Marathon bombings and was available on iTunes).


Meg Ryan’s is back for City of Angels 2…the angels get their wings!!!

I was highly skeptical of Hannibal when it was announced.  There have been a lot of grasping-at-straws type of series spinning off of movies, and Hannibal seemed desperate, especially after the failure of the last Hannibal film Hannibal Rising in 2007.  With edgy shows like Dexter and Game of Thrones showing real violence on cable, a network series about a serial killer seemed pretty weak.

I was shocked to find that Hannibal wasn’t that bad.  This is a show which has no-nonsense show which is quite odd in today’s television.  With shows like CSI having comic relief built in, Hannibal doesn’t play that (though Scott Thompson is supposed to get a few laughs). It is dead serious…imagine Dexter without the humor.  I understand that this could be too much for some to take.


The Deer-Man Cometh!!!

The acting is top notch.  Mads Mikkelsen is a great Hannibal.  He’s effectively creepy, but intelligent, and I could see how some could find him charming through his manipulation.  Hugh Dancy is also good and plays “American” great.  I didn’t realize he was English until I heard a little slip up in an episode where he was yelling.  I like Fishburne, but I don’t love his character as it is portrayed in the writing…he never was a “nice guy” but he was also smart enough to not push a character like Graham as far as he does.


Hang around for season 2

Hannibal looks fantastic.  Whether it be the gory shock factor of the murders (like the mushroom farming killer or the Glasgow smile face tears) or the subtle exquisite (and squirm inducing) dinner scenes in which Hannibal shows his ego and power by having people secretly eat other people, the makers definitely bring style to the show.

Hannibal is definitely not for everyone and is hard to watch at points.  It is a revelation for network shows and shows a real attempt to compete with cable shows.  I like the half season format and it does allow for the series to really fill an episode with twists and turns.  I worry about Hannibal however in that I could see it not reaching a satisfactory conclusion.  With it constantly living on the bubble of cancellation, Hannibal viewers might not give the ending they deserve…I hope that isn’t the case.

Hannibal—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:



1.1       Aperitif Airdate:  04/04/13

Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) has a serial killer on his hands and needs help.  He has recruited Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) to help analyze the crimes and try to find the killer…despite Graham’s mental instability.  When Graham determines that they are possibly dealing with a cannibal, Jack brings in famed psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) to help solve the crime of the Minnesota Shrike…but Lecter has secrets of his own, and Graham might be his new favorite patient.



1.2       Amuse-Bouche Airdate:  04/11/13

Graham deals with being forced to kill Garret Jacob Hobbs (Vladimir Jon Cubrt) aka “The Minnesota Shrike” and Crawford worries that it got to close to the case.  As the search for more victims continue, the FBI worries about a copycat and if Hobbs had an accomplice.  When they discover the new killer is intentionally sending diabetics into insulin coma, they realize they are on the trail of a killer pharmacist named Eldon Stammets (Aidan Devine).  Graham finds his story is out on the net when he is revealed on a crime scene by Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki)…making Lounds a target of Eldon.



1.3       Potage Airdate:  04/18/13

Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl) has come out of her coma, and Crawford continues to believe she was an accomplice to her father.  Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) worries that Graham is getting too close to the case and tries to keep him separated from Abigail.  Graham suspects that the caller who warned Hobbs about the FBI might be the copycat killer.  When the brother (Mark Rendall) of the copycat killer victim comes looking for answers, Hannibal finds his in with Abigail.



1.4       Oeuf Airdate:  Unaired

Graham tries to deal with his abilities to link to a killer as he aids Crawford in investigating the murder of a family.  Hannibal tries to get closer to Abigail by forcing her to confront her past.  The search for a woman (Molly Shannon) abducting children and turning them against their family has Crawford’s men rushing to prevent another murder.  Hannibal’s actions with Abigail puts him in conflict with Alana.



1.5       Coquilles Airdate:  04/25/13

Will begins to suffer from sleepwalking and insomnia and goes to Lecter for help.  Jack calls in Will on an investigation of a terminally ill man killing people and skinning them to make angels.  Jack’s wife Bella (Gina Torres) begins to see Lecter as a patient after a dinner with him and reveals she’s secretly has cancer.  The hunt for the Angel Maker speeds up as the Angel Maker’s murders increase…and Will finds himself sinking deeper into his darkness.



1.6       Entrée Airdate:  05/02/13

An attack at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane leads to speculation that the Chesapeake Ripper has been caught.  With an investigation of Dr. Abel Gideon (Eddie Izzard), Will and Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) working with Dr. Frederick Chilton (Raúl Esparza) to determine if Gideon could be the Chesapeake Ripper.  The possible return of the Ripper has Jack recalling the disappearance of a trainee named Mira Lass (Anna Chlumsky) who he put on the Ripper case.  When Jack gets a call from Mira in the middle of the night, Jack realizes he might have to use Freddie Lounds to draw out the real Ripper.



1.7       Sorbet Airdate:  05/09/13

A run in at the opera has Lecter dealing with a tricky patient named Franklin (Dan Fogler) who wants to be his friend, and Lecter visits an insurance adjuster that gets a bit too close to him.  Jack and his team realizes that the Ripper is most likely back and question why the Ripper is collecting organs…with the assumption they are for sale.  Tracking down a paramedic who could be responsible for the Ripper killings, Will doubts it could be the real Ripper.  As Will tries to determine the Ripper’s motives, Hannibal prepares for a grand meal.



1.8       Fromage Airdate:  05/16/13

Hannibal’s patient Franklin goes to Hannibal about his friend Tobias Budge (Demore Barnes) with fears that he may be a psychopath.  Will begins to grow closer to Alana but worries when he realizes he’s hearing things.  Hannibal confronts Tobias about his actions but learns Tobias has information on him.  Hannibal reveals to his psychiatrist Dr. Bedilia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson) that he believes Will could be a potential friend and sets will on a path to test his courage and skill against Tobias.


“Trou Normand”

1.9       Trou Normand Airdate:  05/23/13

The discovery of a totem pole of bodies causes Will to begin to lose time and question his sanity even more.  The body of Nicholas Boyle is found casting more doubt on Abigail in the eyes of Jack Crawford about her involvement in her father’s crimes.  With Abigail contemplating a tell-all book by Freddie Lounds, Hannibal and Will wonder if it is the right decision.  As the hunt for the killer of the people in totem pole increases, Will begins to realize Abigail’s role in Boil’s death…and Abigail’s real involvement with her father’s crimes is revealed.


“Buffet Froid”

1.10     Buffet Froid Airdate:  05/30/13

A woman is killed in her home by someone who seems to be covered in dead skin.  Will suffers more breakdowns during the research, and Doctor Lecter discovers the truth behind Will’s condition without revealing it to Will.  Will finds himself seeking more answers on his mental state but also discovers he is being stalked by the killer.



1.11     Rôti Airdate:  06/06/13

Abel Gideon has escaped prison and is on the run just before taking Chilton to court for making him believe he was the Chesapeake Ripper.  With Gideon taking Freddie Lounds hostage, Freddie seeks to draw out the Ripper…and Chilton might be the perfect place to start.  With Gideon working in his name, Hannibal might have to act.  As Will seeks out the Ripper, his illness might finally overcome him at the worst time.



1.12     Revelés Airdate:  06/13/13

Georgia Madchen (Ellen Muth) is recovering from her ordeal with the help of Will.  As Georgia tries to remember the death of Will’s doctor, Hannibal realizes he must silence her forever.  With Georgia dead, Will suspects that copycat killer is back and Abigail is the only link to the crimes.  Taking her to Minnesota, Will’s increasing sickness could force Hannibal to play his ultimate card and turn Will into what he dreads as Abigail learns the real truth about Hannibal’s dark side.



1.13     Savoureaux Airdate:  06/20/13

Will is under arrest under the suspicion of having killed Abigail.  With Hannibal framing him, both Jack and Alana question if Will really is the copycat killer.  With his arrest, Will’s encephalitis is exposed, and Will make a desperate escape to prove he isn’t the killer.  Taking Hannibal hostage, Will travels to Minnesota to find the truth and learns his closest ally could be the one behind his troubles.

Related Links:

Hannibal—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Hannibal—Season 3 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Manhunter (1986)

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Hannibal (2001)

Red Dragon (2002)

Hannibal Rising (2007)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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