Back for a second season of bloody, grotesque glory is the NBC take on a character originally made famous in the 1991 film The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal Lector. Although more than a little skeptical about this series in the weeks before it’s first season premiere, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of both the writing and the acting. Of course show runner Bryan Fuller had a pretty good track record with programs such as Dead Like Me and Pushing Daisies, but as Ron Moore’s involvement with Helix and Joss Whedon’s contribution to Agents of SHIELD prove, past excellence is no sure guarantee of future quality.
Season two picks up pretty much where season one left off, with criminal profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) confined to a mental hospital and awaiting trail for several murders actually committed by Hannibal Lector (Mads Mikkelsen). A little too late Will has realized how he has been manipulated and used by Lector, and though no one believes him, he is trying to figure out a way to outmaneuver brilliant psychopath. His capacity to get inside of the mind of killers such as Lector may give him an edge.
The cast of this show is uniformly excellent, from Lawrence Fishburn’s interpretation of FBI Behavioral Science Unit Chief Jack Crawford to Gillian Anderson’s performance as Dr. Lector’s own doomed psychiatrist, Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier (because if anyone needed therapy). The most surprising thing is how Mads Mikkelsen has made the role of Lector his own. I never expected that he would be able to eclipse the performance given by Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs (or its various sequels and prequels), but he has replaced Hopkins in my mind as the quintessential Lector.Hannibal is a bloody mess, with levels of violence that rival anything seen on basic cable shows like Breaking Bad or The Walking Dead or even premium cables series such a Game of Thrones. So watch at your own risk. A