Season 2, Episode 8
Air date April 18, 2014.
Written by Scott Nimerfro and Bryan Fuller & Steve Lightfoot
Directed by Vincenzo Natali
Episode Guide
Su-zakana gallery

"Su-zakana" is the eighth episode of Season 2, and overall twenty-first produced hour of Hannibal. It originally aired on April 18, 2014.


Will helps investigate the case of a woman's body found inside of a horse; Alana worries about Will's intentions toward Hannibal; Will and Hannibal rush to protect a witness they believe to be in danger.


Will Graham is free from prison. But as long as Hannibal Lecter has gotten away with his crimes, is he really free? Or will he remain a slave to his single-minded pursuit of the man he is sure framed him for murder until he finds justice?

With the alleged Chesapeake Ripper, Fredrick Chilton, gunned down by Miriam Lass, it would seem Hannibal Lecter is in the clear. Will and Jack Crawford are doing what they can to keep up appearances. They even attend dinner at Hannibal's house, though they insist on providing the fish for him to cook themselves. Hannibal seems almost jolly. And why not? He's sleeping with the beautiful Alana Bloom; he's back in Will's good graces, and he's in his element cooking a meal for friends.

At a stable, a veterinarian examines the body of a horse found dead in her stall. The horse's owner thinks she might have died of a broken heart after delivering a stillborn foal. "Did they check for twins?" the vet asks. "It feels as if there is something still in here." He cuts the stitches keeping the horse's abdomen sewn shut and reaches inside the body. "Definitely something still in here," he grunts as he hauls out... the corpse of a woman, dead eyes open and staring back at him.

Jack Crawford and his Behavioral Analysis Unit team are on the scene, and even Hannibal is back consulting. This after he told Jack he was done following his near death at the hands of the hospital orderly Will asked to kill him. The team determines the woman was strangled to death before she was placed inside the horse.

A young woman, Margot, is pushed face down atop an eel tank. As she cries, a hand reaches in and catches a single tear on a piece of paper. The paper is then deposited in a martini glass with three cocktail olives on a spear.

Margot is in Hannibal's office, her arm now in a sling. She talks about having attacked her brother and it's clear she is still seething about him. Hannibal asks if she plans on attacking her brother again and admits he is ethically obliged to tell the police if she says yes. "Be that as it may, if there's no one to protect you, you have to protect yourself," Hannibal says. "It would have been more therapeutic if you had killed him."

The BAU team is examining the dead woman's body when they sense a heartbeat, which is odd for a corpse in rigor mortis. They slice open her chest cavity, spread her ribs... and a bird flies out and begins darting around the room, apparently no worse for wear considering it was trapped in a human corpse.

Will and Jack examine the stable where the woman's body was found. Will comes up with his theory about the killer. Namely, that whoever sewed the victim into the horse was not her killer, but considered himself a healer who was giving the victim a chance to be reborn. The two men visit Peter, a former employee of the stable with a building full of all kinds of animals - rabbits, birds, you name it.

It's pretty clear that something is off with Peter. He was kicked in the head by a horse once and now cannot stand to look at and touch something at the same time. Will isn't convinced Peter is the killer, but he bets the strange man knows who is.

Hannibal had told Alana it was good for Will to be back in therapy. As Hannibal expounds on the current case and on Will's going back to consulting with the FBI, the profiler tells him to stop. He makes clear he still holds Hannibal responsible for what happened to him and that he still fantasizes about killing Hannibal. But it's only a fantasy. "I don't want to kill you anymore, Dr. Lecter," Will assures him. "Now that I finally find you interesting."

The FBI has found a field full of graves, 16 in all. Fifteen contain the bodies of young women. The 16th was empty; someone dug her up to sew her into that horse. Specifically, Will thinks Peter dug her up. He pays Peter a visit, taking him the bird found in the dead woman's chest for him to care for. Peter points Will to his social worker, Clark Ingram. The FBI brings Clark in for an interview with Alana. Watching from behind a one-way mirror, Will becomes convinced Clark is a psychopath; but the FBI has nothing to hold him on, so Jack orders the man released.

Peter comes back to his home to find all his cages empty and his animals gone. Someone is sending him a message, and he bets he knows who. Returning to the stable where he used to work, he finds the body of a horse. Clark Ingram stands over it, holding a bloody hammer. It's the same horse that kicked Peter in the head, and Clark tells him that between this and the 16 dead women, people will say that Peter's break was a long time coming.

Will and Hannibal arrive at the stable and find Peter sewing the abdomen of the dead horse. "Is your social worker in that horse?" Will asks. Peter says yes. Will leads him away, talking him down. "I envy you your hate," he says. "It makes it easier to kill him." Peter looks confused. "I didn't kill him. I just wanted him to understand what it's like to experience the death that he created."

The sides of the dead horse bulge. Bloody fingers poke through the incision and pull it apart. Horse guts come spilling out, followed by a blood-and-gore-covered Clark Ingram. Hannibal turns from the sheep he is petting. "You might want to crawl back in there if you know what's good for you." Behind him, Will points a gun at Clark, who drops to his knees and says he's the victim. Will cocks the revolver and tells Clark to pick up the bloody hammer lying nearby. Hannibal tries to talk Will out of shooting the social worker. The tension builds. Hannibal, seeing he isn't getting through to Will, drops his thumb in between the hammer and the firing pin just as Will pulls the trigger. Then he takes the gun away. Hannibal is impressed and proud that for all his work to shape him, for all the seeds he has planted in the profiler's brain, Will's actions are ultimately directed by a violent unpredictability.


  • The episode's title, Su-zakana (酢肴), refers to a small dish, usually containing vegetables in vinegar served during a traditional Japanese multi-course dinner (Kaiseki (懐石)) as a palate cleanser.

  • The concept of a person emerging from a dead horse had initially been pitched for the episode “Coquilles.” The plan was that Jack and Will would find another of Eliot Budish’s victims (not Budish himself) in the barn, and there would be a dead horse on the ground. After they fought and Jack left, Budish would crawl out of the dead horse and attack Will.
  • The Hannibal/Alana sex scene, inspired by the impressionistic sex scene in the film Fight Club, had initially been scripted for “Futamono.” Fuller said that the director of that episode had deemed the sequence too complex to film on the show’s schedule.
  • Fuller initially conceptualized the bird as being dead when Peter placed it inside Sarah Graber, with a literal resurrection occurring when it flew out of her chest. He ultimately realized that this would have broken the show’s delicate balance between stylized realism and flirtation with the supernatural. He still feels that the bird was dead and reborn, but removed the explicit reference in order to leave it to the audience’s interpretation. 
  • The initial choice to play Peter Bernardone was Patton Oswalt, a fan of the show, who ended up having scheduling conflicts.
  • Peter Bernardone is named after St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals in the Catholic religion (full name Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone). The characterization was based on a former movie grip Fuller met who suffered cognitive disabilities after a light fell on his head, and found a second career rescuing and rehabilitating animals.

Book to Show Edit

  • Margot Verger, from the novel Hannibal, makes her show debut. In the novel, she is a bodybuilder, but Fuller felt the idea of a bodybuilding lesbian was too much of a stereotype. 
  • Hannibal’s hunch that whoever placed Sarah Graber in the horse wanted to “transform” her calls to mind other killers in the show such as Elliot Budish in “Coquilles,” all likely stemming from Francis Dolarhyde “changing” his victims in the novel Red Dragon.
  • Hannibal’s reference to the horse as chrysalis calls to mind Jame Gumb’s own desire to “change” himself by building a “girl suit” in The Silence of the Lambs. Gumb is obsessed with moths and butterflies and the way they transform, and lodges a chrysalis in the throat of each victim.
  • Mason Verger’s “take the chocolate” catch phrase comes from the novel Hannibal.  
  • In the novel Hannibal, Mason was sexually abusive to Margot when they were children, on one occasion breaking her arm when she refused to “take the chocolate.” Subsequent to this abuse, she was Hannibal’s patient. This backstory is shown in this episode, but Mason and Margot are much older than they were in the book when these events occur, in order to avoid depicting child abuse. Furthermore, the incestuous sex abuse angle is largely discarded, as Fuller worried that the book’s approach could be construed as supporting the incorrect view that homosexuality can come about as a result of being sexually abused.
  • Mason’s moray eel and penchant for tear drop martinis come from the novel Hannibal.
  • Several pieces of dialogue in the Hannibal/Margot therapy sessions come from their sessions in the book: Hannibal’s “mad dog” line, Hannibal saying it would be therapeutic for her to kill Mason and telling her to wait until she can get away with it, and Hannibal confessing that he is much weirder than Margot will ever be.
  • The shot of Hannibal petting a sheep may be a nod to The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal’s relationship with Clarice Starling.
  • Hannibal’s closing monologue to Will comes from the novel Hannibal, when Hannibal makes the same observation about Clarice, during his attempted brainwashing of her.

Navigation Edit

Season 2 Episodes

KaisekiSakizukiHassunTakiawaseMukōzukeFutamonoYakimonoSu-zakanaShiizakanaNaka-ChokoKō No MonoTome-wanMizumono

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