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For years, Anthony Hopkins was the face of Hannibal Lecter. His words to Clarice Starling have haunted many people's nightmares. The character of Hannibal Lecter was first introduced to the world through the novels of Thomas Harris, and his recognizability only grew with the Oscar winning performances given in The Silence of the Lambs. So when Bryan Fuller created Hannibal for NBC, he had a great deal to live up to. He was working with an iconic set of characters that deserved a lot of respect.

When the announcement came that Gillian Anderson would be joining the cast of Hannibal in season one, we were intrigued. We always look forward to seeing her work, but what we weren't counting on was just how incredible the entirety of Hannibal would be. From the relationship between Will Graham and Hannibal to the struggles of Abigail Hobbs, we were hooked early on. Never had murder been so appetizing. 

Gillian plays Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier, Hannibal Lecter's psychiatrist who is hiding her own dark secrets. She made guest appearances throughout seasons one and two, but was promoted to a series regular for the coming season. According to multiple reports, Fannibals will be finding out a lot about Bedelia and her past this year, and we cannot wait. 

Season three of Hannibal premieres tonight at 10pm on NBC following David Duchovny's Aquarius. The first episode, "Antipasto" will feature heavily on Bedelia Du Maurier and her relationship with Hannibal. We will find them living in Europe, on the run from the FBI after the disaster Lecter left behind at the end of season two. 

XFN will be reviewing season three of Hannibal, bringing you recaps and reviews every week. However, before we dive into the new episodes, let's take a look back at the series' first two seasons to catch up on anything you've forgotten. 



Season One

We first meet Will Graham lecturing to a class at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Will has a unique ability to take on the perspective of anyone; he can crawl into the minds of the most horrific serial killers and understand their motivations. For obvioius reasons, this can make Will somewhat troubled, so he tries to avoid profiling and sticks to teaching. However, Jack Crawford, the head of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit, has other plans for Will.

Crawford is hunting the Minnesota Shrike, a killer of young women who is proving difficult to catch. He convinces Will Graham to help him catch this killer. In order to protect Will's sometimes unstable psyche, Dr. Alana Bloom, a friend of Will's and a guest lecturer at the academy, has Jack send Will to a psychiatrist. That psychiatrist is Dr. Hannibal Lecter. 

Lecter is with Will Graham when Will's profile leads him to Garrett Jacob Hobbs, the Minnesota Shrike. The rather brutal attempted capture leaves Hobbs and his wife dead and his daughter, Abigail, bleeding to death from a neck wound. This tragedy only occured because Hannibal called Hobbs to warn him that Will and the FBI were coming. It seems he was interested to know what would happen when he poked this particular serial killer with a stick. 

Abigail Hobbs survives thanks to Hannibal placing pressure on her neck wound, but both she and Will are scarred by the events that occured. Will emptied his gun clip into Garrett Jacob Hobbs, the first time he had ever had to kill someone. This haunts him throughout the season; he sees Hobbs in his visions when profiling and in his nightmares. Abigail is dealing with the fact that her father was killing these young women who looked much like herself because he actually wanted to kill her. We also learn later in the season that Abigail was her father's bait for the women he killed, further adding to her trauma.

Will was only able to properly understand Hobbs because of a copycat killing that showed him everything the Minnesota Shrike was not. This was a "gift" from Hannibal Lecter, helping someone he considers a friend. This is only the first of many people Hannibal kills this season. 

Season one continues in a downwards spiral for Will Graham. He enjoyed killing Hobbs, and that enjoyment frightens him because he sees that same enjoyment in so many of the killers he profiles. All the while Hannibal Lecter continues to manipulate Will. When Will really begins to lose his mind—headaches, lost time, fevers—Hannibal learns that it is because Will is suffering from an acute form of encephalitis.

Instead of having him treated though, Hannibal continues to push Will to the edge, perhaps simply to see what would happen. He ends up framing Will not only for the copycat killing and several others, but also for the death of Abigail Hobbs. We learn through Hannibal's conversations with Dr. Du Maurier that he is obsessed with Will Graham. Will is his favorite topic of conversation. And for many reasons that we don't fully understand, he has decided to destroy Will's life. Only at the very end of the season does Will come to realize that evil that haunts his dreams is really Hannibal Lecter. Will attempts to capture or perhaps kill Hannibal, but Jack Crawford intervenes.

The season ends very appropriately with Will incarcerated in the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, in the same cell that will one day hold Hannibal Lecter.

Season Two

The second season of Hannibal begins with Will Graham still locked away for a series of killings only he, Hannibal Lecter, and the audience know he is not responsible for. Will has a great deal of missing time and confusion due to his encephalitis (and Hannibal's manipulation of it), but is desperate for the Truth. He knows Hannibal has done this to him, but has no memories, not to mention evidence, to prove this to himself or others. 

None of Will's colleagues will believe him when he says that he is innocent and Hannibal has done this to him. The only person who does believe him is Bedelia Du Maurier. Both Bedelia and Hannibal were involved in the death of one of her patients and throughout his therapy, Bedelia has come to realize that Hannibal is more dangerous than she first thought. Realizing the cruelty that he is capable of, she breaks off their therapy and leaves town, but not before visiting Will in his cell and telling him that she believes him. Later that night Hannibal breaks into Bedelia's house to kill her, but finds only a bottle of her perfume in the chair where she normally sat during their sessions. 

When Will comes to the conclusion that none of his colleagues will believe that he didn't commit the crimes he is accused of, he realizes that he must find another way to prove himself. He feigns regret at accusing Hannibal of murder, and asks for his help in accepting the "truth". Meanwhile, Will has his coworker and friend Beverly Katz working on proving his innoncence in exchange for his help on the BSU's current cases. However, this doesn't last long as when she becomes curious and closely investigates Hannibal Lecter, he quickly finds out and kills her. 

With Will Graham's trial approaching, Alana Bloom and Jack Crawford are still having trouble accepting that Will is a cold-blooded killer. Hannibal joins their efforts to free Will. During the trial, a fan of Will's supposed work kills a man using the same methods from two murders Will is accused of. This copycat killer is later revealed to be one of the orderlies at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Ciminally Insane. Still trying to prove his innocence, and angry at Hannibal for all that he has done, Will tasks his copycat with killing Hannibal Lecter. 

This plan ultimately fails, but serves to anger Hannibal, Jack, and Alana. Hannibal gets his revenge on Will by pursuing Alana Bloom, who had previously been Will's love interest. Jack, still doubtful that his friend could be what the evidence suggests, slowly starts to come around to the idea that Hannibal Lecter could in fact be the cannibalistic Chesapeake Ripper. 

Eventually Hannibal Lecter decides to basically un-frame Will for the murders he himself committed by using unique signatures that had previously been tied to Will in new murders. Hannibal then frames fellow psychiatrist Frederick Chilton as the Chesapeake Ripper because Chilton began to realize the truth about Hannibal.

After his release from prison, Will asks Hannibal to re-start their therapy sessions. It seems Hannibal wants to make Will into a killer like himself, seeing some of his same traits in Will's character. During this time, Will and Jack work to keep up apperances with Hannibal while simultaneously investigating him. Will works to gain his psychiatrist's trust, seemingly becoming more and more of a killer. At one point, Will brings Hannibal a leg of meat supposedly from a mutal acquaintance that he has killed. Will's motivations become quite murky during this time, but it only adds to the suspense that the season is building up to. 

Jack Crawford becomes tired with the length of time it is taking him and Will to bring down Hannibal Lecter. This is when the lovely Dr. Bedelia comes back to the show. She warns Jack and Will that even with the trap they've set for Hannibal, it's likely the notorious Chesapeake Ripper will subvert their plans.

Season two culminates in a rather brutal fight when Hannibal attacks Jack, who has come to confront him. Jack ends up bleeding from a neck wound, locked in Hannibal's pantry. Enter Alana Bloom. Alana walks into the middle of Hannibal attempting to break down the pantry door. She tries to shoot him, but finds the gun empty of bullets, courtesy of Hannibal. Lecter chases after her, and she only just escapes upstairs.

What she finds there is the long presumed dead Abigail Hobbs. Instead of being grateful for rescue, and assumably due to brainwashing on Hannibals's part, Abigail pushes Alana out of a second story window to her possible death. She lays bleeding on the ground outside in the rain. Will Graham arrives for dinner to find this tragedy in the midst of unfolding. Alana tells him that Jack is already inside, so he rushes in to face Hannibal. 

Will enters Hannibal's kitchen to find Abigail Hobbs alive and probably not well. Hannibal appears behind Will, grasps Will's face, and slices open Will's abdomen with a knife. He tells Will that he forgives him, takes Abigail's hand, and then slits her throat.

Hannibal leaves Baltimore with four people bleeding to death in his wake. He gets on a plane and is seated next to none other than Bedelia Du Maurier. 


We hope that this has refreshed you on some of the details of the overarching plot lines of Hannibal. If you haven't watched the series yet though, you should do so before watching season three. The show is fantastic and worth the time. Plus, you must meet Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier. She is a fascinating character that only gets better with time. 

Season three of Hannibal premieres tonight on NBC at 10pm. Tune in to see just how far Hannibal Lecter can push Bedelia Du Maurier's conscience.