Before there was an imprisoned Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter in the Thomas Harris novels “Red Dragon” and “The Silence of the Lambs” and the feature films made from them, Lecter was at loose in the world, working as a psychiatrist and occasionally eating his own murder victims.
Thursday, NBC premieres “Hannibal,” a crime thriller series that brings the Hannibal Lecter character into today's world — but the events still take place before his imprisonment — and pairs him with his “Red Dragon” nemesis, FBI profiler Will Graham.
As reimagined by writer/producer Bryan Fuller (“Pushing Daisies”), Graham, played by British actor Hugh Dancy (“Elizabeth I”), is on the hunt for a serial killer. Even though he has the ability to find his way into the psyches of the criminals he's chasing, this particular quarry proves too complex even for him.
So Graham calls on the expertise of respected psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter, played by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, unaware that Lecter is on a killing — and eating — spree of his own.
In the meantime, Dr. Lecter also has a therapist, Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier, played by Gillian Anderson (“The X-Files,” “Great Expectations”) in her first American TV series role in 10 years. Laurence Fishburne (“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”) also stars as another Thomas Harris character, Dr. Jack Crawford, head of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit.
Noting that Hannibal Lecter has usually been seen as a lone wolf on the prowl, Fuller says, “I was really excited about showing a story where Hannibal was engaged in relationships with not just Will Graham and Jack Crawford but also with his psychiatrist, played by Gillian Anderson.”