The head of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit, Jack Crawford, calls on profiler Will Graham to help the team catch a serial killer. The killer has now kidnapped eight women, all similar in appearance and always on a Friday. His most recent victim is Elise Nichols. Graham has been teaching at the FBI academy and isn't too keen on going out into the field. He is particularly empathetic and has a tendency to get far too involved in these types of cases. Crawford arranges for a well-known psychiatrist, Hannibal Lecter, to work with him and ease the stress. It seems Lecter has his own plans for Will.
A graphic double murder has taken place in a residential neighborhood. Will Graham is examining the crime scene and by putting himself in the mind of the criminal, Will realizes that the killer tapped the phones in the house a week prior in order to record a conversation between one of the victims and her security company. When the murder was committed, the culprit played her voice back to keep the authorities at bay, meaning most likely whoever did this was a professional.
At the F.B.I. Academy in Quantico, Will Graham lectures trainees on the unsolved crime. Afterwards, he is
approached for help by the lead of the Behavioral Science Unit, Special Agent Jack Crawford. Over the past eight months, eight girls have been abducted from Minnesota campuses with the most recent abduction occurring only moments before Jack introduced himself. Will thinks one of the eight is the proper target and the rest are just collateral who the criminal is using to mask his true obsession. Jack and Will go to Minnesota to investigate.
Will and Jack visit the home of the latest victim's family. Her parents are distraught, but hold on to the frail hope their daughter Elise is still alive. Will asks the parents if their cat has been acting odd since the abduction as when she disappeared, Elise was due to come home to look after the family cat. When Will finds out the cat was acting normally, Will knows Elise fed him before the crime and concludes the abduction occurred at the family house. When Will enters Elise's bedroom with her father, he finds a deceased Elise lying in her bed- the killer brought her corpse back.
Will uses his imagination to get inside the mind of the killer and see exactly how the crime took place. Before Will can finish his process, Beverly Katz, a forensics specialist, interrupts him and explains that she's found antler velvet in two of Elise's wounds. Will tells her that antler velvet promotes healing and he thinks the killer must have placed it in her wounds as a means of undoing as much of his crime as he could and that is why he's brought her back- for some reason, whatever he did to the other seven victims, he just couldn't do to her.
Later, when Will's driving at night, he comes across a stray dog. Will takes the dog home with him, introducing the animal to the other eight canines he's taken in. Sleeping fretfully, Will has a nightmare that Elise's corpse is sleeping right beside him.
Jack is concerned that Will's becoming somewhat unstable, which Will admits as this killer has tested everything he knows about criminal profiling, and he fears the killer will act again soon. Will's colleague Alana Bloom tells Jack she thinks Will keeps a large amount of fear suppressed while on the job and suggests Jack keep him away from that kind of environment but Jack knows the stakes are already too high.
In the autopsy room, forensics specialist Beverly Katz reveals metals traces from the crime scene and Will realizes what the metal was used for - the killer mounted the victim on hooks. When one of the specialists mentions he took her liver out and then put it back, Will realizes the worst- that the killer is a cannibal and as he didn't consume Elise's liver, there must have been something wrong with the meat. One of the examiners says the victim had liver cancer.
Hoping to help Will cope with the stresses of chasing the killer, Alana refers Jack to her mentor, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, an expert in the field of psychology. Jack brings Hannibal to Quantico to brief him on the case; it is here that Lecter first meets Will. Hannibal notices Will is uncomfortable with eye contact; his burgeoning neurosis is peeking through and although it is a somewhat rocky start Hannibal is confident he can help.
Another body, Cassie Boyle, turns up in a Minnesota field, naked and impaled on the antlers of a deer. The police identify the serial killer as the "Minnesota Shrike," a play on the bird known for impaling its prey on makeshift branches or wire as a means of saving their food for later and it's clear the killer is mocking Will and Jack. Will realizes that whoever is committing these murders must have a daughter of similar age to the victims, whom he can't stand the thought of letting go of. Elsewhere, Hannibal Lecter calmly cuts up a pair of human lungs and prepares them for consumption. As Will Graham puts the pieces of the crime together, Brian Zeller tells him that her lungs have been removed.
Although all three planned to meet, Dr. Lecter shows up at Will's hotel with breakfast and without Jack, whom he claims has been deposed to court. Lecter tries to break through Will's tough exterior, but Will doesn't budge. Hannibal asks about the most recent crime and Will explains to Dr. Lecter his thoughts regarding the murderer, that he thinks the killer views one of these victims as a "golden ticket" and may have a daughter of his own that's a similar age. Playing along, Hannibal continues to psychoanalyze Will.
When Will and Hannibal visit a construction site in connection to the latest murder, Will finds something odd in one man's file. His name is Garret Jacob Hobbs, a pipe threader. In addition to some recurring absences, they notice that there's also no address on his letter of resignation. As they transport the files into Will's car, Hannibal purposefully drops one of the boxes and causes a mess to distract Will.
In the office, Hannibal calls the residence of Mr. Garret Hobbs. His daughter answers the phone; she's eerily similar in size and look to the serial killer's previous victims. Garret, nervous, gets on the phone and speaks to Dr. Lecter. Under the pretenses of courtesy, Hannibal informs Mr. Hobbs that, "they know".
The intensity of the case is starting to break Will down, who approaches the house of Garret Jacob Hobbs, now the lead suspect in the case, with Hannibal following at a distance. As Will nears the door, Garret opens it and shoves his bleeding wife outside. Will rushes to her aid as Garret slams the door and realizes her throat has been slit, and she's bleeding out. Hannibal remains in the distance and Will rushes in, gun drawn. He fires a shot at Hobbs right as he's slitting his daughter's throat. As she falls to the ground, Will fires several more rounds at Hobbs, killing him. Hannibal rushes in and helps stabilize the girl's bleeding and she's rushed to the hospital. When Will goes to the hospital later on to check on the girl, she and Hannibal are both sleeping, his hand holding hers.
- The episode's title, Apéritif, refers to an alcoholic drink that is normally served before a meal to stimulate the appetite.
- Bryan Fuller reveals on the audio commentary that the Marlows were murdered by Francis Dolarhyde, although this may have been retconned, since the characters never refer back to these murders once the show introduces Dolarhyde in season 3. Fuller said that, while the intention was to call back to the Marlow murders, it became too "clunky" to do so.
- The eggs and sausage meal takes place after Dr. Lecter enjoys his dinner of lungs.
Book to Show
- The following book characters make their series debut: Will Graham (Red Dragon, mentioned in The Silence of the Lambs), Hannibal Lecter (Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, Hannibal Rising), Jack Crawford (Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal), Dr. Alan Bloom (Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs; gender-swapped to become "Alana" on the show), Beverly Katz (Red Dragon), Jimmy Price (Red Dragon, mentioned in The Silence of the Lambs), Brian Zeller (Red Dragon), and Garret Jacob Hobbs (mentioned in Red Dragon).
- The pendulum motif comes from a brief mention of a silver pendulum swinging in darkness in Will’s mind before he enters the Leeds crime scene in Red Dragon.
- Thomas Marlow being shot while coming down the stairs echoes Francis Dolarhyde’s murder of Edward Jacobi in Red Dragon.
- The specifics of Garret Jacob Hobbs’s killing spree and capture are largely consistent with the backstory given in Red Dragon, including Hobbs’s last words, although Hannibal was not involved in the investigation in the book. The show adds the detail that Hobbs was a cannibal, as well as his motivation for the crimes. The nickname “Minnesota Shrike” was not explained in the book, and the show adds the “impaling” element of the crimes. Hobbs’s daughter is unnamed in the book. A shrike is a bird that impales its prey on spikes then eats them.
- In Red Dragon Hobbs had been active for eight months but it is unknown how many girls he killed.
- Hobbs taking and then putting his victim's liver back in because of liver disease echoes what Dr Lecter does to Donnie Barber in the novel Hannibal. Barber had cirrhosis which made his liver unfit to eat.
- Will and Jack’s dialogue about the way Will thinks is slightly modified from dialogue in Red Dragon.
- Will having written the standard monograph on time of death by insect activity is a detail from Red Dragon (in the book, it’s Zeller who brings it up).
- Will and Beverly’s dialogue about Will not being “real FBI” due to the screening procedures references similar speculation by Freddy Lounds in a Tattler article in Red Dragon.
- According to the novel Red Dragon, Will did not work with Brian Zeller prior to Will’s retirement. They met once at George Washington U. prior to working together on the Tooth Fairy investigation.
- In the novel Red Dragon, Will and Molly collect stray dogs in Marathon, Florida, after Will’s retirement and before Jack recruits Will to help find the Tooth Fairy killer. Will claims that Molly is responsible for the dogs, saying she is a sucker for strays; however, Molly says that Will was “really obsessed with the dogs for awhile” and talked about them all the time.
- The recurring antler/stag motif may have its origins in a sentence about Will from Red Dragon: “He viewed his own mentality as grostesque but useful, like a chair made of antlers.” (Hannibal echoes this line in the second season premiere, "Kaiseki.")
- Will waking up and seeing Elise Nichols’s corpse in his bed is inspired by a similar moment with Valerie Leeds in Red Dragon.
- Will and Jack’s dialogue in the bathroom is partially taken from the beginning of Red Dragon, when Jack tries to recruit Will at his home.
- Beverly saying “Gotcha” whenever she recovers a scraping is a detail from Red Dragon.
- The initial scene betwen Jack and Alana is taken almost verbatim from Red Dragon (where Dr. Bloom is a man named Alan). The dialogue occurs in the book when Jack is planning to use Will as bait to catch the Tooth Fairy. (In the book, Alan Bloom teaches at the University of Chicago. In the show, this is changed to Georgetown, presumably to keep Alana closer to FBI headquarters. Notably, there is no indication in the novels that Dr. Bloom knew Hannibal prior to his captivity.)
- The use of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” for Hannibal’s introduction references its iconic use in both the book and film The Silence of the Lambs, when Hannibal escapes from custody. The piece has subsequently appeared repeatedly in the franchise, in the book and film Hannibal and the film Hannibal Rising.
- Hannibal having attended boarding school in Paris comes from the book Hannibal Rising, as does his internship at Johns Hopkins. (In the novel, Hannibal’s anatomical drawings earned him a scholarship to a French medical school prior to his Johns Hopkins internship.)
- Hannibal dismissing psychology departments as being filled with “personality deficients” comes from The Silence of the Lambs.
- The “layman” dialogue is modified from a memorable exchange between Will and Hannibal in Red Dragon.
- The concept of Hannibal consulting with the FBI (and specifically with Will) prior to his capture comes not from the novels but from the opening scene of the 2002 film adaptation of Red Dragon.
- Hannibal and Will’s back-and-forth when Hannibal initially psychoanalyzes Will is more or less verbatim from a portion of Red Dragon which describes Will’s psyche.
- Hannibal’s line, “Perception’s a tool that’s pointed on both ends,” was delivered by Alan Bloom in Red Dragon.
- Jack being absent because he is deposed in court is likely a reference to the novel Hannibal, wherein Clarice frequently has trouble talking to Jack as he is being deposed on many cases due to his approaching retirement.
- On the audio commentary for this episode, Bryan Fuller says that Hannibal asking Will if he can enter is a reference to vampire myths. In the novel Hannibal, Thomas Harris implies that Hannibal may have more in common with Behavioral Science’s profile of vampires than cannibals, as he disfavors the cannibal’s nomadic existence.
- Hannibal asking Will if he ever has any problems (and replying, "Of course not," when Will answers in the negative) come from the book, as does Hannibal's line that they are "just alike" (which is a taunt in the book, and recurs later in the show).
- Alana’s lecture on how to catch a killer who bites (likely referring to the Marlow murders) comes verbatim from Will’s lecture to Atlanta PD in Red Dragon, about the Tooth Fairy killer.
- "Can I borrow your imagination?" (to Will)
- "Then what kind of crazy is he?!" (Jack to Will)
- "Everyone has thought about killing someone, one way or another." (during his psychoanalyzing class)
- "Most psychology departments are filled with personality deficients. Dr. Bloom would be the exception."(Lecter to Jack)
- "You won't like me when I'm psychoanalyzed." (to Lecter)
- "He's eating them." (about what a killer does to the livers)
- "My thoughts are often not tasty." (to Lecter)
- "The Devil is in the details." (to Will)
- "Will needs someone who can bring balance to an often unbalanced mind." (to Jack)
- "I imagine what you see and learn touches everything else in your mind. Your values and decency are present, yet shocked at your associations, appalled at your dreams." (to Will)
- "Perception is a tool that's pointed on both ends."
- "The mathematics of human behavior...All those ugly variables." (to Will)
- "Uncle Jack sees you as a fragile little teacup." (to Will)
- "The mongoose I want under the stairs when the snakes slither by." (on how he sees Will)
- "Peeking behind the curtain." (to Will about investigating a possible lead)
Lung, Episode 1: According to Andres, the entire human body is consumable, and
it's no coincidence the lungs are the first piece of offal we see Hannibal cook. They would be Andres' first choice to prepare from a human, as well. Specifically, the lungs of a smoker. "We're looking at a human being as a bioorganic crock pot that is smoking itself for our dining pleasure," explained Fuller. "It felt like it checked off all the boxes of Hannibal Lecter: [Smoking is] a rude habit and there's also an added benefit of that rude habit providing a unique smokey flavor for the tissue."
But as appetizing and beautifully prepared as the lungs were, Fuller notes the ghoulish quality to watching Hannibal squeeze the air out during his prep. "We all sort of feel in horror movies and in these horror situations that tightness in your chest and that [feeling] like, 'Oh my
gosh. That's so startling, I can't breathe.' Then we take that concept... and put in on the kitchen counter," Fuller said. "There's something about those things that go into adrenal overdrive when our life is threatened and then we see that they're just another beautifully prepared dish on Hannibal's table."
- The script originally had a sequence where Hannibal disguises himself, retrieves a car from YourSelf Storage (a reference to the film version of The Silence of the Lambs), and goes hunting for his “copycat” victim at a University of Minnesota football game. He hears Cassie Boyle badmouthing an impoverished classmate in vulgar terms, and warns her that he hates rudeness. After bumming a cigarette from Hannibal, Cassie blows smoke in Hannibal’s face. When preparing her lungs later, he quips that they are “pre-smoked.” The sequence was never shot, for budgetary reasons.
|Season 1 Episodes|