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"Aperitivo" is the fourth episode of Season 3, and the thirtieth produced hour of Hannibal. It aired on June 25, 2015.


Dr. Frederick Chilton is alive and well, if not somewhat reconstructed, urging those wronged by Hannibal Lecter to use Will Graham as bait to flush him out. Jack Crawford is distracted by Bella Crawford's failing health, but he implores Will to abandon the risky idea of finding Hannibal. Meanwhile, Alana Bloom entertains a different approach, potentially partnering with Mason Verger to utilize his vast resources.


Frederick Chilton meets with Mason Verger, where they discuss Lecter after revealing their disfigurements at the hands of Lecter, then goes to meet Graham. Crawford recalls his meeting Graham after the events at Lecter's house, with Graham stating that he informed Lecter of his and Bloom's impending arrival because he considered Lecter a friend, and wanted to run away with him. Chilton goes to Bloom, who has agreed to act as Verger's new therapist. In a flashback where both Crawford and Bella are bedridden (Crawford right after the events of last season's finale), Bella comforts Crawford, but says "at least you can cut out what's killing you." Chilton asks for Crawford's help, telling him that Graham will lead him right to Lecter, but Crawford refuses to get involved, stating that he has let everything go, and that he's focusing on caring for his wife. Bella succumbs to her cancer, and at her funeral, Crawford is upset to notice a card from Lecter offering his condolences. Graham enters the church, where Crawford says he knows what's coming for him, and that he does not have to die. Verger asks his physician Dr. Cordell Doemling to make arrangements for Lecter to be eaten alive. During a session with Verger, Bloom agrees to help him lure Lecter to what he is planning. Crawford meets Bloom at Will's house; she says that Graham has already left. Graham is seen leaving on a boat.


  • The flowers Chilton brings on his hospital visits were an improvisation by actor Raúl Esparza.
  • Jack euthanizing Bella was not in the script. Mads Mikkelsen proposed this story point, as he thought it would be interesting for Hannibal to confront Jack with this knowledge in the following episode.
  • Bryan Fuller intended the tear that falls on the letter to belong to Hannibal (as indicated by the cut to a dry-eyed Jack holding the letter in the next shot).
  • The music heard over the flashback to Mason's operation, and again over the end credits, is an instrumental version of a song Brian Reitzell and British singer-songwriter Marc Almond wrote for the show called "Snake Charmer." Although Almond's vocal was not used on the show, it was later released on the Season 3, Vol. 1 soundtrack.

Book to Show[]

  • This episode introduces Cordell from the novel Hannibal.
  • The first scene calls to mind the opening of the 2001 film adaptation of Hannibal: starting in voiceover, an employee of the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane (Chilton in the show, Barney in the film) discusses Hannibal Lecter, and is revealed to be talking to Mason Verger.
  • As with Michael Pitt in season 2, Joe Anderson’s performance and look as Mason Verger is clearly inspired by Gary Oldman in the film Hannibal.
  • The episode continues the show's adaptation of the novel Hannibal, backtracking to Part I ("Washington, D.C.") to adapt Chapter 9, mostly substituting Alana for Clarice Starling, including: Chilton and Mason’s dialogue about the reward (substituting Chilton for Clarice); Margot greeting Clarice/Alana on horseback; Alana and Margot’s dialogue about missing the exit, Alana’s line about the “witchy beauty,” and Margot’s line about the “riot of lilacs” (from narration in the novel describing Clarice’s arrival at Muskrat Farm); Margot’s disclaimer that some people have trouble talking with Mason; and all of Alana and Mason’s dialogue in their first scene, which is an abridged version of the exchange in the book (some dialogue from which has already turned up elsewhere in the show), down to Mason choking on his spit. In the book, Mason elaborates that the “Nobody beats the Riz” catch phrase was coined by young Mason and his campmates at Christian camp to “[make] it contemporary.” Notable differences: In the book, Clarice says her religious upbringing left her with “whatever that leaves you with,” whereas Alana more definitively says, “Whatever that left me with, it’s not religion.” The show adds Mason’s dialogue mocking Alana for her relationship with Hannibal, and Alana’s closing line about Old Testament revenge.
  • In the book, Mason brings in a psychologist named Dr. Doemling to profile Hannibal (particularly his relationship with Clarice), but is never seen meeting Chilton or Bloom, neither of whom is seen to have any involvement in the hunt for Hannibal. Chilton is missing and heavily implied to have been killed by Hannibal by the time of the novel’s events.
  • A print of William Blake’s Ancient of Days hangs in Mason’s chamber, a detail taken from the novel Hannibal.
  • It is revealed that on the show, Mason received a nose graft, further toning down his injuries from the novel Hannibal, where he remains noseless (the 2001 film likewise let Mason keep his nose, in both cases likely due to practical makeup and effects concerns). Mason being able to move around in a wheelchair is borrowed from the 2001 film, as opposed to the novel where he is almost completely bedridden ("Moving out of his room was a major effort for Mason and the people around him, requiring reconnection of his tubes to containers on his traveling gurney and switching over his hard-shell respirator to an AC power pack").
  • The sequence of Will-as-shattered-teacup calls back to the metaphor for entropy-reversal Hannibal first referenced in "Kō No Mono," originally from the novel Hannibal.
  • Alana’s line, “Would be the best thing for his therapy, really,” calls to mind Hannibal’s line about his murder of Benjamin Raspail in The Silence of the Lambs: “Best thing for him, really. His therapy wasn’t going anywhere.”
  • Bella’s admonition that Jack is not going into the ground with her was previously spoken by Hannibal in “Hassun,” and comes from narration in The Silence of the Lambs.
  • Chilton’s line, “You fall in love with the Bureau, but the Bureau doesn’t fall in love with you,” is a thought Jack has about forced retirement in The Silence of the Lambs, and also appears in the novel Hannibal as the epigraph for Chapter 4 (which is about Jack Crawford nearing retirement), credited as a “Maxim in FBI Separation Counseling.”
  • Jack’s sweater is likely a nod to the novel Hannibal, wherein Jack, approaching retirement, is said to wear a sweater the late Bella knitted for him around the office in place of his suit jacket.
  • Jack and Bella’s bedroom is depicted as described in Chapter 5 of The Silence of the Lambs, including the two beds raised on blocks to hospital height, flowers (“but not too many”), the medicines and clipboards being concealed in a closet, Jack reading near the bed in half-glasses, and Bella’s mouth-breathing.
  • Jack does not euthanize Bella in the novel.
  • The show continues “remixing” the novels’ timeline: in the books, Phyllis/Bella is mentioned during the events of Red Dragon and seems to be alive and in good health. She subsequently is ill and dies during the events of The Silence of the Lambs.
  • Jack’s line about the view from the windows comes from The Silence of the Lambs, but in the book he is in his office at the FBI when he thinks this.
  • The text of Hannibal’s letter to Jack is from the letter he sends in The Silence of the Lambs when Bella is sick. As in the book, the letter is also seen to contain a verse from John Donne’s “A Fever,” although this portion of the note is not read aloud in the episode.
  • All of Jack and Will’s dialogue in the church is adapted from narration in The Silence of the Lambs describing Jack’s thoughts after Bella’s death, except Jack’s line about Bella hoping to die while he was out of the room, and his closing admonition to Will, which are original to the show. Notable change: The line, “Had to fucking die on me,” from the book is censored for the show.
  • Brian Reitzell and Marc Almond's "Snake Charmer" track plays up Mason’s fondness for Moroccan music, referenced in the novel Hannibal.
  • Most of Mason and Cordell’s dialogue comes from narration in the novel Hannibal, including: Cordell not being able to work in the health industry (in the book, he more specifically is said not to be able to work in the health industry in Switzerland, for reasons implied to be related to child abuse; as with Mason, this lurid aspect is largely ignored by the show); Mason’s comment that Cordell has witnessed suffering that would have moved anyone else to rage or tears (in the book these are specified to be “acts of cruelty on video as Mason interviewed little children”); all of Mason and Cordell’s “transubstantiation” dialogue is adapted from narration in the novel when Mason has his “Christmas epiphany”; the line about Cordell being reliable and capable of most anything, and being paid a large salary to be responsible for Mason’s care and feeding; Mason wanting to begin arrangements for Lecter to be eaten alive; and Mason’s line that he would smile if he had lips (in the book, the narration says this when Mason remembers his father sticking a show pig with a knife).
  • Mason’s line about Hannibal eluding them was Jack’s in the novel, and the line about Hannibal dropping off the earth is from narration in the same chapter, when Jack questions why Hannibal suddenly decided to write to Clarice.
  • Some of Alana’s dialogue in the penultimate scene comes from Clarice’s thought process when trying to locate Hannibal in the novel Hannibal, notably: her saying that Hannibal obviously has good papers and money, and her whole monologue about how they will find him through his tastes.
  • Alana’s line that Europe is where a man of Hannibal’s tastes would settle is a thought Mason has in the book.
  • Alana’s dialogue about the fact that she amused Hannibal and that she has no idea how he feels about her come from Clarice’s discussion with Jack in the novel Hannibal. Mason’s line about using understanding as a predator’s tool likewise comes from this portion of the book, where Clarice believes Hannibal took this approach to her (and calls it “the worst”).
  • The reference to Mason preparing the theater of Dr. Lecter’s death comes from narration in the novel Hannibal.
  • The ending is reminiscent of the closing moments of the 2002 film adaptation of Red Dragon, when Will is last seen sailing the ocean with his wife and child, forgetting about Hannibal (symbolized by him throwing away a letter from Lecter), as opposed to the show where Will is actively pursuing him.
  • The reference to compassionate leave in the deleted scene calls to mind The Silence of the Lambs, wherein Jack is ultimately forced to take compassionate leave after Clarice breaks protocol by visiting Hannibal in Tennessee.
  • Zeller’s dialogue in the deleted scene regarding Bella’s “terminal situation” which is “not discussed” comes from John Brigham’s dialogue with Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs.

Cut Scenes[]

  • During Alana and Chilton’s conversation, the script includes cutaways to marrow enveloping Alan’s skeleton, forming “Tarry Alana... A new Alana Bloom: solid, dark, resolute.” 
  • In the script, after leaving Jack’s body, his blood “streams and collects” “in a very conscious nod to the Hannibal title sequence,” “as if filling a transparent Jack Crawford-shaped vessel looking down on dying Jack.” 
  • The DVD and Blu Ray feature a deleted scene of Price and Zeller toasting Jack with whiskey in his office, and Price obliviously not realizing that Jack’s wife is terminally sick. 
  • The script intercuts the final sequence of Will sailing with Chilton and Alana overseeing the construction of Hannibal’s cage at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. 


Season 3 Episodes

AntipastoPrimaveraSecondoAperitivoContornoDolceDigestivoThe Great Red DragonAnd the Woman Clothed With The SunAnd the Woman Clothed In Sun... And the Beast From the SeaThe Number of the Beast is 666The Wrath of the Lamb