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It's like remembering something from your childhood but you're not sure if it's your memory or a friend's memory. And you realize, sadly, it's just some photo of an old book.
— Gideon to Freddie

  Dr. Abel Gideon is a character in television series Hannibal.

Season 1[]

Gideon was convicted of murder in the first degree in the deaths of his wife and her family and was institutionalized in Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. After killing a nurse he begins taking credit for a series of murders perpetrated by the "Chesapeake Ripper", who hasn't committed any (known) murders in two years, the same number of years Gideon has been incarcerated. Dr. Frederick Chilton was already confident that Gideon was the Ripper and had planted the thought in Gideon's mind during a session, implying that Gideon is not the Ripper but believes himself to be. He found Frederick responsible for the nurse he had killed. However, he takes responsibility for his wife's death.

After the events of Entrée, Gideon apparently came to his senses somewhat and realized that he was not the Ripper after all and that Dr. Chilton had manipulated him. No longer believing in himself being the Ripper, Gideon experienced a deep identity crisis. During transport, he broke free and killed the three people escorting him and escaped, intending to take revenge on all of the doctors who ever probed or manipulated his mind in any way, including Dr. Alana Bloom. He calls Freddie Lounds pretending to be one of his own previous doctors, Dr. Carruthers, and when the two meet for a supposed interview at Dr. Carruthers' office, Gideon, who has already killed Carruthers, takes Lounds hostage. He forces her to write an article about him and also watch and "assist" while he was "operating" on Dr. Chilton, saying that it's only fair that, after Chilton got inside his head, he gets inside Chilton's belly. Gideon removes a number of Chilton's less-than-vital organs and has Lounds keep him alive by pumping a respirator.

As he prepares to escape from the scene as the police arrive, he gets held at gunpoint by Will Graham, who is feverish and sees Gideon as Garret Jacob Hobbs, and Will forces him to drive to Hannibal Lecter's house. When Will pleads with Hannibal to tell him whether the "Hobbs" he was seeing was real, Hannibal lies by saying there was no one there at all, rather than telling him the man was actually Gideon. Will shortly after has a seizure and passes out, and Hannibal takes the opportunity to tell Gideon where to find Alana Bloom. Gideon is gone by the time Will wakes up, and Hannibal tells Will he's worried about Alana because Gideon was on the loose. Apparently intending to use Will to kill Gideon, Hannibal sets Will's gun down on the table and pretends as if he intends to check up on Alana himself, and after he leaves the room to "grab his jacket", Will takes the gun and leaves. Will soon catches up to Gideon standing outside Alana's house, and he shoots him. While he was believed to be dead, series creator Bryan Fuller confirmed on the Kevin Pollak Chat Show that the character had survived his wounds.

Season 2[]

Gideon appears in Season 2. Will convinces Chilton to reinstate him so they can catch Hannibal. He was put into the cell of Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane once again, just next to Will Graham's cell. He overheard Will's plot to kill Hannibal Lecter through proxy, Matthew Brown, and he told Alana Bloom about it. Alana and Jack saved Hannibal from hanging and arrested Brown. Later, Gideon was brutally beaten by hospital guards for insulting the dead nurse and was sent to hospital; it is later revealed that his back was broken, paralyzing him from the waist down. Hannibal kidnapped Gideon and killed the guard. Lecter then had Gideon for dinner (literally) with Gideon himself being the guest of honour, serving him his leg. Gideon refused to take part but eventually gave in and ate a piece of his leg. After severing Gideon's remaining limbs and serving them to him, Lecter later killed him and framed Chilton for the murder, leaving his dying body in Chilton's home along with meat-cutting equipment. When Chilton discovered Gideon, he was lying on an operating table with his arms and legs removed and died of heart failure.

Season 3[]

In Season 3, Gideon appears in flashbacks during Antipasto, seated with both of his legs missing whilst sitting at Hannibal Lecter's dinner table, with the leg graciously served on a platter before them. He is wise enough to know Hannibal's intention for his well-being, but allows the facts to play out anyway, stating to Hannibal that he'd rather know what was happening to him than be ignorant, and that he is fascinated to know what it will be like when the same horrors befall Hannibal. Lecter serves the remainder of Gideon's limbs to him, even preparing his arm by feeding it to snails.


Abel Gideon has been diagnosed variously as a sociopath, a psychopath and a pathological narcissist with psychotic episodes; however, none of these definitions seem to fit his personality. As Hannibal observes, psychopaths and narcissists seldom doubt who they are, but Gideon was constantly in doubt as to his identity. Merely being asked if he was the Chesapeake Ripper by Frederick Chilton convinced him that he was, whilst being asked if he wasn't by Alana Bloom caused him to doubt his entire identity. As such, given his volatile sense of self as well as the psychotic episodes that caused him to kill his family, it is probable that Gideon suffers from a severe case of borderline personality disorder.

Dr Gideon is highly intelligent and previously worked as a surgeon before his incarceration. He has a darkly whimsical sense of humour, often making dry remarks about the bizarre situations around him. He was prone to explosions of anger, murdering a promiscuous nurse for rejecting his romantic advances, along with killing his wife and parents in law although Chilton speculates that Gideon felt intense guilt for murdering his family, driving him deeper into insanity. Most of the time however, Gideon presented a smug, calculating and unflappable demeanour, even when being forced to eat his own leg by Hannibal, knowing that he was going to die after doing so.

Episode appearances[]

Season 1[]

Season 2[]

Season 3[]


  • 2011: His wife, her mother, her father and her brother.
  • 2013:
    • Nurse Elizabeth Shell (blinded, then stabbed and impaled with numerous objects in a Chesapeake Ripper copycat murder)
    • The driver, guard and orderly who transported him (killed them and hung their organs from tree branches)
    • Dr. Paul Carruthers (drained his blood, cut his throat and pulled out his tongue to form a Colombian necktie)
    • Frederick Chilton (operated on him while alive and removed several of his internal organs; survived)


  • "Dr. Gideon is a psychopath."(Lecter)
  • "So, you get to dress up and I don't?"(to Dr. Chilton)
  • "You made me think I was somebody else, and now who knows what I'm thinking?" (to Dr Chilton)
  • "Dr. Chilton, you told me I was The Chesapeake Ripper, and that's what I'm going to tell everyone."
  • "Regarding divorce... Not that you're getting one. A word of advice, it's easier just to kill them."(to officers)
  • "You thought I was manipulating him? He was manipulating you."(Chilton to Will and Alana)
  • "He was not insane when he killed his wife. Killing her drove him insane."(Chilton to Will and Alana)
  • "Gideon can't be completely responsible for his actions if he was subjected to an outside influence."(Alana to Will)
  • "Gideon's mind was dissected by psychiatrists, and as a surgeon he's applying his own skillset."(Will to Jack)
  • "You got inside my mind Frederick, it's only fair that I get inside your belly."
  • "All right, stay awake now! Come on, Frederick. I'm gonna ask you to hold a few things."
  • "It's like remembering something from your childhood but you're not sure if it's your memory or a friend's memory. And you realize, sadly, it's just some photo of an old book."(Gideon to Freddie)
  • "He's like a blind man. Somebody got inside his head and moved all the furniture around."(Will to Lecter)
  • "Never liked being called the Chesapeake Ripper. Maybe something with a little more wit."
  • "I imagine Gideon would want to find The Chesapeake Ripper, to gauge who he is, and who he isn't."(Lecter to Will)
  • "Come closer Dr. Lecter, I'm a cutter, not a pisser."
  • "My compliments to the chef." (to Lecter)
  • "'Cause snails aren't the only creatures who prefer to eat in company. If only that company could be Will Graham." (to Lecter)