"Primavera"[1] is the second episode of Season 3, and the twenty-eighth produced hour of Hannibal. It aired on June 11, 2015.

Plot Edit

Will Graham awakes from his coma and begins to piece together the events that took place after the bloodbath at Lecter's home. He sets off for Italy and on arrival draws suspicion from Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi, who twenty years earlier pursued a Florentine killer known as "Il Mostro" and, after reading Will's file, believes that Hannibal Lecter and "Il Mostro" are one and the same. Pazzi tries to enlist Will's help in catching Hannibal, but Will warns that he is unsure of where his own allegiance lies.

Synopsis Edit

Will Graham awakes in the hospital after being near-fatally stabbed by Hannibal Lecter. Will's attending physician tells him he has a visitor. This turns out to be Abigail Hobbs, whom Will last saw as Dr. Lecter slashed her throat. Abigail explains that they are both alive because their wounds were "surgical" and Lecter knew just how to cut them so they'd both live. Abigail is angry at Will for lying to her and trying to capture Lecter, in whom she still believes. After Will passes out again, he remembers in his dreams that whilst Hannibal burns his notes, Hannibal mentions that his mind palace is the Norman Chapel, making Will realize where Hannibal plans to go. Abigail is shown with Will eight months later, when he has traveled to Palermo, Italy in pursuit of Dr.Lecter. Will meets Rinaldo Pazzi (Fortunato Cerlino), the detective present for the investigation of the human heart. He later reveals that he has read up on Will's arrest for the Chesapeake Ripper killings, questioning Will about how his arrival has already resulted in a murder. After being released, Pazzi reveals he has been following Lecter since seeing him as "a young Lithuanian man", and known as “Il Monstro”, and investigating a murder for which another man was convicted, inspired by the Botticelli painting Primavera. Pazzi shows Will a photograph of the origami heart Lecter made of Dimmond (having folded his body up). After imagining what Hannibal was thinking while making his creation, he begins talking to Abigail, leading to Will remembering that she died of her injuries before he recovered from his, and that he has been talking to a hallucination. She disappears. As we see Will sitting alone, we also see Hannibal spying on him from a distance. The image of the Saint on the wall behind Hannibal is St. Ambrose, Patron Saint of Milan, a doctor. One of his quotes is "No one heals himself by wounding another." Will and Pazzi pursue Lecter through the catacombs under the cathedral, but he eludes them. After Pazzi leaves, Will wanders around the Catacombs, with Lecter trailing behind him silently. Before leaving himself, Graham senses Lecter is nearby, and tells him he forgives him, and only then does Hannibal turn around and leave.

Extras Edit

  • This is only the second episode of the show (after “Kaiseki”) to have the episode title mentioned in dialogue. In this case, the title refers to a style of preparing pasta popularized in the 1970s, and the plot involves the 15th-century Sandro Botticelli painting of the same name, both derived from the Italian name for the season of spring.  
  • After seeing “Mizumono,” Hugh Dancy told Bryan Fuller that he wished they had used a particular take of his reading of the line, “I already did.” When it came time to replay the sequence at the beginning of this episode, Fuller obliged Dancy by substituting the actor’s preferred take into the cut.
  • Bryan Fuller says on the audio commentary that he included the moment when the priest looks at Abigail to make the audience question whether Abigail is actually a ghost, as opposed to a figment of Will’s imagination, continuing the series’ flirtation with the supernatural.

Book to Show Edit

  • This episode introduces Rinaldo Pazzi, from the novel Hannibal. 
  • The shattered teacup metaphor from the novel Hannibal continues to be a recurring theme and visual motif.
  • Will references Hannibal’s penchant for church collapses, previously mentioned by Hannibal in “Amuse-Bouche” (in dialogue from Red Dragon) and “Shiizakana” (in dialogue from The Silence of the Lambs). Will quotes Hannibal’s line “he just loves it” from “Shiizakana” (and Silence).
  • Nothing in the books indicates that Will Graham and Rinaldo Pazzi ever met. In the novels, Will is long retired by the time Hannibal is on the run in Florence and has no involvement in the manhunt. Likewise, in the book, Pazzi has no prior contact with Hannibal before meeting him as “Dr. Fell.”
  • This episode continues the series’ loose adaptation of the novel Hannibal, incorporating much of Pazzi’s backstory from Chapter 17, particularly many of the details Harris presents about the Il Mostró murders and Pazzi’s involvement in the investigation. 
  • The show is the first work to say that Hannibal Lecter is the real-world Il Mostró killer, although some fans have long believed that Thomas Harris meant to leave a breadcrumb trail implying this in the novel Hannibal, including: Harris’s stated eight-year gap in Il Mostró’s killings (in reality the largest gap was just under six years and nine months) potentially lining up with Hannibal’s eight-year incarceration; Hannibal’s penchant for arranging flowers, and for modeling killings after paintings and illustrations (Wound Man in Red Dragon, and Pazzi’s death imitating the painting of his ancestor); Hannibal’s presumed familiarity with Florence prior to his incarceration due to his ability to recreate it in a sketch in his cell in The Silence of the Lambs; and Hannibal’s potential breast fixation echoing the single exposed breast in Harris’s version of the killings (in the novel, Clarice latches on to Hannibal asking Senator Martin about breast feeding and seems to believe this says something about his psyche, ultimately offering him her own single exposed breast dripping with champagne). Perhaps most intriguingly, Harris refers to Hannibal at various points in the novel simply as “the monster,” although he seems to distinguish between Hannibal and the Florentine killer by capitalizing the latter as “the Monster.” Also going against this theory is the fact that, at one point, the narration notes that “The case of Il Mostro did not interest Dr. Lecter at all.” In any event, Pazzi—a highly skilled investigator—never makes a connection between Il Mostró and Hannibal despite spending a great deal of time investigating both, and Harris has never clarified his intentions. The 2001 film adaptation eliminated nearly all references to Il Mostró from the final cut, but deleted scenes show a janitor/custodian at the Palazzo Vecchio who was intended to be Il Mostró, definitively showing the killer as separate from Hannibal.
  • The show builds on the novel Hannibal’s fictionalization of the real-life Il Mostró killings. The idea that the killer arranged his victims in painterly tableaux is an invention of Thomas Harris, belying the savage mutilations of the real-world killings.
  • The novel (published in 1999) shifts the timing of the killings (the last of which actually occurred in 1985) to extend into the 1990s, allowing Pazzi’s investigation to have been a relatively recent development. The show likewise impliedly places the investigation in the mid-1990s, twenty years before the present-day events of the show, making them a more distant part of Pazzi’s history than in the book.
  • The Primavera-inspired tableau is as described in the novel (the show eliminates the exposed breast for censorship reasons). Harris loosely based this murder scene on the real-life murders of Giovanni Foggi and Carmela di Nuccio on 6/06/1981. In reality, the corpses were not posed together: as per Il Mostró’s typical M.O., the man was left in the car while the woman was dragged out of the car, her vagina removed. The Primavera connection came via the 1993 trial of Pietro Pacciani (the inspiration for suspect Girolamo Tocca in the novel). Police commissioner Ruggero Perugini (a big influence on the novel’s characterization of Pazzi) discovered a copy of the Botticelli painting in Pacciani’s possession and it was presented as evidence of his guilt, under the theory that the manner in which di Nuccio was displayed (with her necklace in her mouth) mirrored the painting’s depiction of the nymph Chloris with roses in her mouth. Harris greatly elaborated on the parallel in his fictionalization, inventing a much more elaborate tableau, which the show adapts faithfully.
  • The investigation unfolds very differently in the book, wherein Pazzi spots a poster of Primavera at a vendor near the Uffizi and makes a connection with a print he saw in the house of Girolamo Tocca, one of many convicts he interviewed whose imprisonments lined up with the gap in the Il Mostró killings. In Chapter 18, it is said that the Questura nearly destroyed Tocca’s home looking for evidence (in the show, Pazzi says this is what happened after he identified Hannibal as a suspect). Tocca is ultimately convicted, largely on his character (Tocca is a previously-convicted murderer and rapist), with the sole piece of physical evidence implied to have been planted by Pazzi. The conviction is later overturned, ruining Pazzi’s reputation. The show in contrast whitewashes Pazzi, portraying him as wise enough to have identified the real killer via the painting, and unhappy with the railroading of the wrong suspect. Notably, on the show, Pazzi’s description of the unnamed Tocca-esque suspect modifies the language from the book, saying that there was no evidence (as opposed to “almost no evidence”) against the suspect beyond his character—impliedly eliminating the one piece of evidence from the book, the cartridge case likely planted by Pazzi.
  • Other specific dialogue taken from narration in Chapter 17: Pazzi saying he reads everything he can find on FBI profiling methods; Will’s line about grabbing his gift by the blade (from a similar piece of narration in the novel describing Pazzi, impliedly referring to his planting of evidence); Pazzi’s dialogue about the “moment when the connection is made” (when he recalls seeing the Primavera poster in Tocca’s house. Narration in Red Dragon also describes Will feeling “the sweet jolt of a new connection”); Pazzi’s line, “Match. Match,” regarding the Primavera painting; Pazzi’s dialogue about success and revelation; Pazzi’s line, “To find the inspiration Il Mostró used was a triumph”; his dialogue about the best moment of his life and about the epiphany that made him famous and then ruined him; his line about “haste and heat of ambition” (which in the book referred to Pazzi’s own handling of the investigation, but the show shifts the blame to the Questura overall); and Pazzi saying he didn’t head the Questura de Firenze for nothing (the related narration in the book substitutes “the Questura investigation division”). 
  • Pazzi’s line about prayer giving “the distinct feeling you’re not alone” is a thought he has in the book.
  • Hannibal’s Lithuanian heritage, from the novels Hannibal and Hannibal Rising, is mentioned for the first time on the show.
  • Will’s line about Hannibal following several trains of thought at once comes from Hannibal Rising, where psychiatrist Dr. Rufin says this line about a thirteen-year-old Hannibal.
  • Abigail’s death is an invention of the show. In Red Dragon, Will says of Garret Jacob Hobbs’s unnamed daughter, “She’s all right now.”
  • Will’s line about his prayers feeling constricted, and Pazzi’s about hoping his prayers escape, come from Pazzi’s thoughts while watching Hannibal in the church of Santa Croce in the novel Hannibal.
  • Will calling Pazzi “Commendatore” references Hannibal’s preferred term of address for Pazzi in the novel.
  • Most of Will's dialogue in the deleted scene from this episode comes from the description of Hannibal's memory palace in the novel Hannibal.

Cut Scenes Edit

  • The Blu Ray and DVD contain a deleted scene of Will and Abigail in the church discussing Hannibal's memory palace, and how they will find him.


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

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