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Catherine Martin was the daughter of Senator Ruth Martin. She was the last woman kidnapped by Jame Gumb, the serial killer known as “Buffalo Bill”. She was portrayed by Brooke Smith in the Silence of the Lambs film, and by Marnee Carpenter in the television series Clarice.


In 1983, a brutal serial killer nicknamed “Buffalo Bill”, had kidnapped and killed at least six women. He flayed their corpses and dumped the bodies in rivers. One evening, Catherine was driving home and spotted a man struggling with a sofa into a van, with his arm in a sling. She offered the stranger help, but was put off by the smell of his chamois (which was made from human skin). The man was grateful for the help, then asked Catherine was a size 14. Before she could respond, the man clubbed her over the head with his sling, which hid a crowbar. He cut off her dress and threw it out of the van.

When Catherine woke up, she was naked and was kept in a well. The man taunted her, and ordered her to put skin lotion on. When she heard this, as well as seeing scratch marks on the walls, she realized to her horror the man was Buffalo Bill.

Her kidnapping triggered a national crisis, as she was the daughter of Senator Ruth Martin. Senator Martin issued a plea to the killer, begging her to release her. She used Catherine’s name constantly in an attempt to see her as a person. Jack Crawford, who had sent Special Agent Clarice Starling to ask the notorious serial killer Hannibal Lecter for help in the case, decided to offer Lecter a phony offer. He pretended to offer Lecter better facilities in exchange for a psychological profile on Buffalo Bill. The Senator was furious when she discovered this and offered a genuine offer to Lecter. At Memphis Tennessee, Dr Lecter taunted Martin before giving an accurate description of the killer (who he treated briefly before his capture).

In Gumb’s basement, Catherine planned to lure Gumb’s dog Precious into the well, in order to negotiate with the killer. She succeeded, much to the fury of Gumb. Before he could kill her, Starling arrived at his house. Realizing that Gumb was Buffalo Bill, Starling discovered Catherine, but told her to keep calm. Starling managed to kill Gumb and Catherine was eventually rescued.

Clarice series[]

This section covers content from the Clarice television series, a sequel taking place a year after The Silence of the Lambs. (See our Timeline Policy for more information on how we organize different timelines and adaptations.)

Catherine Martin in Clarice, portrayed by Marnee Carpenter.

The television series Clarice features Catherine Martin six months following her rescue as she still reels psychologically from the events that transpired. She has decided to adopt Buffalo Bill’s poodle, Precious, as a measure to cope with her trauma.[1]


  1. Dela Paz, Maggie (December 18, 2020). "Clarice: Silence of the Lambs Sequel Series Can’t Feature Hannibal Lecter". ComingSoon.net. (Retrieved on January 26, 2021).