This new TV series charts the early relationship between the well-known psychiatrist and his patient, a young FBI criminal profiler, who struggles with his ability to empathize with serial killers; sounds tantalising doesn’t it?
How would you describe the character of Hannibal Lecter
He first emerged in the book, Red Dragon by Thomas Harris and then in the film Man Hunter which starred Brian Cox in the key role. Mark Billingham crime author, feels Brian Cox is the ultimate embodiment of this character. He admitted in an interview that he didn’t much like the tics and foibles Antony Hopkins imbued the character with in the 1991 film Silence of the Lambs. So what’s his future? Well, in this instance we need to ask what is his past?
I sometimes cast the film version as I am writing
For those of us who appreciate the subtleties of crime fiction in written form, in many ways if you have read a book first it is always challenging to watch a director’s interpretation of your own imagination. As I am doing the final edits of my new novel The Unwanted I mentally cast the film and have one or two ideas of who I would like to have as director! It’s a bit of fantasy I indulge in and what is left if we cannot dream?
A new series created by Bryan Fuller
So, right now we are just about to experience another take on this tremendously powerful crime icon when a new TV series explores what happens to Lecter before Red Dragon. This TV series is the prequel, as it were, and it quite fascinating. It has been created by Bryan Fuller for NBC and stars Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen and Caroline Dhavernas .
The FBI agent Will Graham begins his relationship with Lecter as the anti-hero is recruited by the FBI to solve a particular conundrum. Both Hugh Dancey and Mads Mikkelsen make an interesting choice to expand the fragment of narrative that first appeared in Red Dragon.
Hannibal the cannibal
The director of this new television series knows the audience understands just how prescient this story is and enjoys playing with the audience’s knowledge when Lecter says: ‘I look forward to having you and your wife for dinner.’ This is a line that follows on the heels of a discovery that the killer being tracked is a cannibal so the director cuts to Hannibal eating a meal. It’s fun and delivered with a spoonful of comic relish.
Of course television viewers know where this is all leading to and sometimes in crime fiction it is fun for an author to lead readers by the nose and then have a surprise lurking at the end.
Some people prefer reading crime fiction to watching it
This series is certainly extremely well made and has very high production values. You can see that lots of money has been poured into the series but if I have any criticism it is that we are almost rushed through to a resolution as everything has to happen within 60 minutes – you see there are some pleasures left when actually reading crime fiction rather than just watching it!
Mormon churches have complained in Utah.
The other thing is that our FBI agent is psychic and in a way that is his ‘get out of jail free card’ which is used maybe a little too conveniently. However, saying that it does give the opportunity for the audience to relive the crimes committed in full gory Technicolor and anyone with a weak disposition may want to give this series a miss. In fact the series has been pulled in Utah for exactly this reason. The one question you have to know is if the FBI agent is all knowing and all seeing how is it he gets into a cannibal’s car and even has dinner with him? Oh well, perhaps I am being picky as overall it is going to be a great series if you can suspend your disbelief at times.
If TV is not what you do as summer approaches then why not read my new book, out in June, The Unwanted. Ideal to keep you company on the beach.
See you next time.