Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Feast Continues with the Characters of TV's Hannibal

With my last entry, I began to discuss the television show Hannibal created by Bryan Fuller, addressing the mood of the show as well as the basic plot with as few spoilers as I could. (Beware, however, that I am not promising this post will be spoiler free. In fact, expect spoilers if you do read this post.) Therefore, in this post it's time to move on to discussing the characters that populate Hannibal, starting with the titular character.

Dr. Hannibal Lecter

Hannibal Lecter is the eponymous character and therefore the nominal center of the show, although I personally find Will Graham the far more compelling character, at least during this first season. That being said, Dr. Lecter is certainly an interesting person and, as usual for this character, is an intriguing study in opposites. Dr. Lecter has a calm, arguably cold, exterior regardless of circumstances - probably something which serves him well in his day job as a psychiatrist. He is part of the Baltimore elite, a debonair bachelor living in a pristine house with a professional-grade kitchen (of course) and working out of a beautifully furnished office that looks more like a palatial study (think of the Beast's library in the Disney version of The Beauty and the Beast) than a workplace. Dr. Lecter is knowledgeable on many subjects, uses his words sparingly and precisely, is always impeccably dressed (down to the matching handkerchief in his suit pocket), has acquaintances amongst the upper crust, listens to classical music, and attends the opera. In fact, one of the most fascinating scenes with insight into Hannibal's mind is the one in which he weeps during the opera - this from a man who is completely stoic at the sight of a gruesome murder. Which brings us to the opposite side of this man - for all his carefully maintained exterior, he is at heart a cold and calculating murderer. When it suits his needs, he changes the style of his murders, but it is nearly always brutal and almost always for the purposes of cannibalism. And this Hannibal isn't satisfied with just feeding himself from human flesh; he loves to share his culinary masterpieces with unsuspecting guests. Whenever Hannibal makes a meal on the show, I am both impressed by the presentation of his five-star-restaurant-grade dishes and repulsed by the idea of ever eating meat again because god knows what people have been serving me under the pretense of pork loin and lamb's tongue. In all seriousness, this show has been making me consider vegetarianism more so than any other argument for it ever has.

One of the things I appreciate the most about the actor Mads Mikkelsen and his expert portrayal of Hannibal Lecter is that he isn't trying to imitate anyone else's previous version of the character. In fact, Fuller noted in an interview the exact source of Mikkelsen's Lecter: "He talked about the character ... as Satan - this fallen angel who's enamoured with mankind and had an affinity for who we are as people, but was definitely not among us - he was other. I thought that was a really cool, interesting approach, because ... not that we'd ever do anything deliberately to suggest this - but having it subtextually play as him being Lucifer felt like a really interesting kink to the series. It was slightly different than anything that's been done before and it also gives it a slightly more epic quality if you watch the show through the prism of, 'This is Satan at work, tempting someone with the apple of their psyche.'" Once I read this interview, I couldn't help seeing Mikkelsen's interpretation of Hannibal Lecter through this lens. His cold exterior doesn't just protect his secret identity as serial killer; it is who he is. He simply does not care about human life because it is something so detached from himself. Lecter is the puppet master who loves to pull the strings and watch where the marionettes go; it doesn't matter if they fall or break for he will simply change the story of the puppet theater and/or incorporate new dolls into his cast. But this interpretation of Hannibal Lecter also makes that weeping at the opera scene even more poignant - is that a moment when Lecter stops being "other" and actually feels a connection with human emotion? Or is he simply putting on his own performance for the watching Franklin and Tobias?

Dr. Lecter also seems to be finally making a human connection of some sort when he begins to admit that he is feeling a friendship for Will Graham. But, of course, because this is Dr. Lecter's twisted psyche we are talking about, his being a friend to Graham is anything but helpful. Lecter is happy to hide a serious brain condition from Will just to see what will happen if he lets it run its course and wreak havoc on Graham's mental health and life. And, of course, as we know by the end of the season, Dr. Lecter has absolutely no problem with pinning his crimes on Will Graham rather than allowing Graham to come too close to solving the mystery on his own - or perhaps he does it with the exact purpose of guiding Graham toward his secret identity. Lecter-as-Satan is interested in seeing where the chips will fall when he throws a monkey wrench in to any given situation (sorry for the mixed metaphor but it says it best), even if it means that he could be compromising his own secrets. Then again, this latter supposition may be entirely off, as we've seen Lecter throughout the first season doing whatever it takes to cover up anything that might even remotely point in his direction where crimes are involved.

Lecter-as-Satan also seems to have an unworldly quality in which he is able to discern other serial killers from thin air. Tobias follows Lecter one night and sees him murder, but Dr. Lecter seems to simply intuit from a very brief encounter with the man that Tobias is a fellow serial killer. We still don't know how Hannibal and the Minnesota Shrike relate, but something tells me that Lecter may have spotted the latter's evil tendencies in a way similar to how he determined Tobias's proclivities: He simply knew by looking at the man. I could be wrong, but it just seems like the sort of thing Dr. Lecter would do.

At any rate, I definitely appreciate Mikkelsen's approach and think it adds so much depth and personality to the character. When I first saw The Silence of the Lambs more than a decade ago, I found it psychologically terrifying. In retrospect though, Anthony Hopkins's portrayal of the cannibalistic serial killer as a creepy, bone-chilling person was perhaps over the top. It's hard to imagine Hopkins's Hannibal Lecter eluding detection from a brilliant FBI profiler when he's right in front of him. But the way Mikkelsen plays Lecter, with all his cards held close to his vest as he displays an elegant and stoic exterior, it's easy to see how even Will Graham doesn't realize one of his closest confidantes is the serial killer he's seeking. Of course, since the two actors are playing the character at very different stages in his life, perhaps it's fitting that Hopkins's Hannibal uses his crimes as taunts while Mikkelsen's Lecter instead subtly plants hints to drive people away from suspecting his role in any wrongdoing.

Will Graham

As I mentioned earlier, Will Graham is the real focal point of the show for me, especially in the earliest episodes when we were still seeing so little insight into Hannibal's actions, let alone learning any of his motivations. Hugh Dancy hasn't let me down in past roles, and he doesn't disappoint here. He completely embodies the role of a character who has so much empathy that he sometimes has difficulty distinguishing himself from the killers he profiles. The flip side of that coin is he also has a well-spring of sympathy for the victims of these crimes and therefore wants very much to help them by bringing their killers to justice. Graham also feels an inordinate amount of guilt, protectiveness, and blind idealistic faith where Abigail Hobbs is concerned. Meanwhile, he can't shake the feeling of being connected to her cannibalistic murdering father, who continues to haunt him throughout the season despite being killed by Graham in the first episode. Graham also feels a deep and sympathetic connection with murderer Georgia Madchen, which is somewhat understandable given her sad fate.

As season one progressed, the nightmares Graham had after visiting particularly blood-curdling crime scenes began to turn into waking hallucinations. Other symptoms appeared that made Graham question his own mental sanity, and Dr. Lecter's not-so-subtle hints did nothing to ease his concerns. Graham's fear of becoming mental unstable is stoked by the constant stress of a new vicious murder that he must dissect in order to find the killer, and he spirals further downward. Dancy plays all of this believably, and the viewer feels increasingly concerned for him. When the viewer begins to know more than Graham does (i.e., the brain encephalitis that Dr. Lecter hides from him), the feeling is less of concern than simply great sadness. The viewer is constantly rooting for Graham because he's the good guy of the show. It's not simply that he's the hero (albeit, a somewhat unconventional one) of the show; he's just genuinely a good guy. Graham has shown his compassion and humanity over and over again as he works the various cases of cold-blooded killing. It's heartbreaking to see him feeling so alone and repeatedly turning for help to Dr. Lecter, the one person least likely to actually provide it (although he certainly maintains a good pretense of pretending to care for Will's wellbeing).

Despite all this (or perhaps because of this), Graham's background is the one I'd most like to have fleshed out in the upcoming season. Through little hints dropped here and there, we know that Graham used to be a cop before becoming an FBI lecturer. But it had been some time since Graham had been in the field before Jack Crawford came knocking at his door. Other than that, we don't know many details of Graham's past professional life and his personal life is pretty slim on details as well. We know that he's currently single, has a plethora of stray dogs he's adopted, likes to fish, used to fix boat engines back in Louisiana as a teen, and is arguably on the autistic spectrum toward the Asperger's side. Whether he has any living family is debatable - certainly no one ever appears for him and his support system seems virtually nonexistent, which is all the more lamentable when he feels himself beginning to crack.

In addition to getting more backstory, which is my hope, I feel certain that season two will bring more forward character development for Will Graham. And he sits imprisoned for crimes he now knows were committed by Dr. Lecter, Will is going to have to prove himself as being able to convince others of his sanity and by finding the evidence to condemn Hannibal, thereby exonerating himself. Of course, I want to see Will cleared of all false charges, but I'm also a bit concerned as to where the story will go if we already see Dr. Lecter in prison this early in the game. Fuller apparently has an ambitious seven season arc planned in his mind, which will eventually - by season four, in fact - get to the source material we've already seen on the silver screen, so I trust that he knows what he's doing. In the meantime, I'm definitely curious to see where this roller coaster is going to take us next. Within a teaser video, Fuller notes that while the first season was a game of cat (Hannibal) and mouse (Will), the second season will be a game of cat and cat. I for one am interested to see how that will play out.

Jack Crawford (and to a lesser extent, Phyllis "Bella" Crawford)

Jack is the linchpin of the series in many respects for making Will Graham and Dr. Lecter come together as well as for taking Graham out of the classroom and exposing him to horrific crimes firsthand. Some time is given to developing Crawford as a character, but I think still more could be done. Crawford is clearly a sympathetic man who tells Will from the outset that he will be there for him. But when push comes to shove, he's nowhere around when Will needs him. His locker room style speech, in which he provokes Will to be a quitter but says it will haunt him, is arguably the opposite of supporting Will. In fact, by the end of season one Crawford seems to be actively working against Graham (of course, fueled with false information given by Hannibal). Given his own potential guilt in the situation as well as his position as head honcho in his department (and therefore first to be blamed by the even higher ups), it's not absurd for him to have this reaction. Nonetheless, it's disappointing to see someone who claimed to be there for Will to turn around so quickly to be against him. However, Crawford keeps his emotions far from his sleeve, so what he's feeling at this time still remains to be seen. I have hope that we'll see more of him - both physically obviously but also a deeper look into his character - in season two.

That all being said, there were two situations in season one where we really got insight into Crawford's mentality. The first came when we learned that there was some marital trouble between Jack and his wife, whom he calls Bella for her beauty. Bella reveals in a secret session with Dr. Lecter that she has terminal lung cancer but hasn't been able to tell Jack yet. Jack knows something is wrong but doesn't suspect anything close to the truth. As Crawford and Will question a serial killer's wife and she describes how his cancer caused him to drift away from the family, we see the light bulb go off for Jack. It's such a wonderful moment of acting from Laurence Fishburne - we see Crawford come to a stunning and horrifying realization, thinking through its ramifications, and then having to put on a professional face to finish up his job but not before he starts to tear up a little. This moment also highlights an important aspect of Crawford - he's a profiler himself and one who has done remarkably well for himself. This fact is often eclipsed when Will Graham arrives on a crime scene and imagines much more about the killer than anyone else there has reasoned out yet. Unfortunately, the cancer subplot is one that gets left along the wayside as the rest of the season speeds along toward its tragic conclusion. We really don't hear of Bella's cancer again let alone see her on screen. However, knowing that Crawford has this personal crises lurking in the background makes it more understandable that he is not as available to support Will as he thought he would be back when he promised Graham to be by his side should the going get tough.

The second situation that shows off Crawford's personality is when the Chesapeake Ripper case resurfaces. We learn that this was one of Crawford's cases that went cold and the killer eluded him; worse still, a young cadet who Crawford pulled out of training to work on this case was murdered by the Ripper as a result. Thus, we see Crawford struggling with his own guilt and becoming obsessed with finding the Chesapeake Ripper once and for all. The Ripper - who we know is Dr. Lecter, a man even closer to Crawford than ever - plays on the harp strings of Crawford's conscience, sending him messages of the trainee's dying words to get under his skin. It certainly does and in moments of weakness, we see Crawford having nightmares that rival Will's nighttime fears.

One last side note on Jack Crawford: as the show progressed into the winter months, Crawford began walking around more often in a trench coat and fedora-style hat. He looked the very picture of a film noir detective and also reminded me of Pushing Daisies's private eye Emerson Cod, which just made me happy. With that silly note aside, let's move on to the "lesser extent" of this part. Crawford's wife Bella is an interesting character of whom the viewer unfortunately sees little. She's a NATO worker who has been married to Jack for some time, presumably happily all that time. When she gets her cancer diagnoses, she shuts down and refuses to talk to her husband, deciding instead to confide in Dr. Lecter - albeit a psychiatrist but also one who works with her husband. But perhaps telling such a burdensome secret to a person she's only met once is less emotionally upsetting to her than talking to someone who cares for her and for whom she loves very much. I think it would be telling to see what Bella was like before her cancer diagnosis for the present Bella is very cold and is actively trying to emotionally stonewall those who love her. And here's one more Pushing Daisies connection before moving on to the next character: Bella Crawford is played by Gina Torres, who also played the role of Emerson's former love interest Lila Robinson.

Dr. Alana Bloom

Dr. Bloom is another character I'd like to see more fully developed in the coming season. Although she is member of the regular cast and shows up in most episodes, she often seems more like a vehicle to move the show in one direction or another than a character in her own right. Dr. Bloom is an FBI psychiatrist who works on cases and in the classroom, thus having a history with Will Graham previous to the pilot episode. She is the one who first recommends Dr. Lecter to Jack Crawford as someone to act as the unofficial psychiatrist to Will Graham; she also serves as a potential love interest. These two facts seem to be her biggest functions in the show, but Dr. Bloom has other important roles to play. Despite obviously respecting Dr. Lecter so much, she is not afraid to disagree with him when Jack asks for their help on a particular case. Dr. Bloom worked on the original Dr. Gideon case (more on this later), which heightens her role (and threatens her safety) in the episodes where he appears.

She is also the closest thing Will has to a friend, although he clearly feels more for her than just friendship, which is perhaps why the Dr. Alan Bloom of the books became the Dr. Alana Bloom of the TV show. As the season progresses, it's clear that she also feels more for him although she's not ready for a relationship with him (or anyone else for that matter). Although I'm not usually much of one for romances, the scene in which they kiss for the first time made me feel all gushy and "aww" for them, even if nothing came out of it. Nonetheless, I was rooting for them to get together then and I'm still hoping it's something that can come to pass later on in their lives. For a show with so much darkness and depravity, it would be nice to have some relief for that. Likewise, for characters who have such sadness around them always, the viewer wants them to have a happy ending in there somewhere, somehow.

Incidentally, there's also an earlier scene in which Dr. Lecter makes some wry comment toward Dr. Bloom and she responds that he's being just like Will by trying to "flirtatiously change the subject." As this occurs before the episode with the on-screen kiss between Dr. Bloom and Graham, it's a moment that allows you to realize that Dr. Bloom is intuitive enough to read Will's feelings for her even if she hasn't otherwise let on to this fact at this point in the series. It's also a very telling moment for Dr. Lecter and his personality. Whenever Will would make flirty comments towards Dr. Bloom, you could tell that underneath the grin he puts on as a front, he really means this stuff - perhaps he's even secretly hoping that Dr. Bloom will call his bluff and agree with him wholeheartedly. But when Dr. Lecter makes his supposedly flirtatious remark, he comes across then as more asexual than in any other moment in the show. It's as though he's simply reading a line that he thinks he should say at this moment, as though he's been studying humans from a distance and now tries - and fails - to recreate their speech patterns.

Like with Will Graham and Jack Crawford, we don't get a ton of backstory on Dr. Bloom. There's little information given on her personal life or what she does outside of the FBI. This is something I'd like to see more of in the next season, especially if she and Graham do eventually get together as a couple. Despite not a lot of depth in the source material, I give lots of props to Caroline Dhavernas for filling this role with so much passion. The scene in the series finale in which she sits in her car alone and mutely screams over and over again was one of the most poignant moments in a very emotional episode. In fact, I'm embarrassed to say that she so fully entered this character that I didn't even realize I was watching the same actor who portrayed the main character in Wonderfalls.

Abigail Hobbs

Abigail Hobbs is an incredibly complicated character who adds so much depth to the show. The daughter of a serial killer who was nearly killed by that same man, she is emotionally damaged as well as physically injured by the evil acts her father committed. It is perhaps because of this that she is so lost and willing to cling on to anyone, even Hannibal Lecter. Despite realizing that her father's last phone call came from Lecter, Abigail trusts Hannibal completely - far more than she trusts Will, who is actually the one interested in her wellbeing rather than protecting his own interests. Abigail also latches on to Dr. Bloom, but it's only to Dr. Lecter that she will confess her darkest secrets. Abigail's troubled soul really amped up the emotional impact of Hannibal, and it's sad that her character will most likely not be appearing again in the second season.

Freddie Lounds

Another complicated character, Freddie Lounds is a crime reporter working for the blog TattleCrime. In the beginning of the series, she is especially antagonistic toward Will Graham, calling him insane and writing that he can catch psychopaths because he is one himself. As the first season proceeds forward, Lounds becomes closer to Abigail and intends to help her write a book about being the daughter of an infamous serial killer. Freddie's dubious information-collecting methods and tabloid writing mean that sometimes she is hampering police investigations while other times she is actually helping out the FBI. Meanwhile, her motivations are never entirely clear: Is she doing this just for money and infamy? Or does she also believe that her actions will help to take down criminals and thus bring justice? Usually, it seems like the former but at times the latter seems to prevail. For instance, she seems more sincerely concerned with Abigail's finding closure than Dr. Lecter does. Actor Lara Jean Chorostecki does a great job with this character; the scene that she really nails on the head is when Dr. Gideon kidnaps Lounds and forces her to be his assistant as he dissects the still living Dr. Chilton. She appears cool, calm, and collected yet you can still read the fear and concern underneath the facade she puts on to make it through the situation.

An interesting thing about this character is how Hannibal creators decided once again to play with the cannon. In the original novels and movies, Freddy Lounds is a male reporter who is described as unattractive and slovenly. Here Freddie is a beautiful woman with good taste and perfect grooming. As the world of Hannibal is already very male-centric with Will and Hannibal taking up most of the screen time, it feels right to inject another woman into the story. In fact, Fuller says as much in an interview: "I wanted to have more of a [gender] balance. In the last six episodes, I was so happy with the richness of the female characters and how they were representing many different points of view of the world’s stories." It's not the 1970s anymore; women are crime reporters as often as men are and are just as determined to get to the story no matter what cost, so this was a brilliant move on Fuller's part. In an interview, Chorostecki notes how Fuller told her the newly imagined Freddie Lounds was based on Rebekah Brooks, the real-life tabloid news editor who scandalized a nation when accusations emerged that she hacked victims' voicemails to get the scoop. Chorosteck goes on to explain: "I went home after this meeting and read a great Vanity Fair article about Rebekah Brooks ... and it was a great kind of insight into who Freddie might be. She’s a younger version and I call her spirited. She’s unflappable and she ignores the rules at every point possible, if she needs to. And she’s really good at her job, so I think that’s something. She sometimes fails, but she always manages to find her way around things." Freddie Lounds is such a rich character, with a whole depth of motivations and history to explore yet, that I'm sure we'll be seeing more of her in season two as well.

Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier

Dr. Du Maurier is a new addition to the characters of the novels and thus a way to play with the cannon, keeping viewers on their toes. She is yet another complex character whose motivations are murky at best. Dr. Du Maurier serves as Dr. Lecter's own personal psychiatrist, and indeed is his very own all alone, for after being attacked by a patient, Dr. Du Maurier went into retirement. Dr. Lecter refused to take a referral for another psychiatrist and now goes to Dr. Du Maurier's house to continue his sessions as her one remaining patient. This is a mystery that continues to simmer; there is clearly a lot more going on with this backstory of the attacking patient who knew both Drs. Du Maurier and Lecter. What role Hannibal played in either orchestrating or stopping the attack (or in all likelihood, given Hannibal's nature, both) remains to be seen. The relationship here is tense: Dr. Du Maurier is clearly comfortable enough to continue seeing Lecter as a patient even in her own home but in the very first episode in which she appears, she says in no uncertain terms that they are not friends - despite Lecter noting that they are friendly. Dr. Du Maurier seems to know or at least sense that Hannibal is dangerous, but she does not seem to be concerned that he is a threat to herself. Of course, we know that Hannibal has no concern when it comes to hurting or killing someone close to him if it will suit his purposes, so Dr. Du Maurier might want to take notice.

Again, I thought it was a good move to add some more female members to the cast to help round it out. Dr. Du Maurier is a compelling character because she appears equally fragile and tough all at once, as though this attack on her both rattled and strengthened her at the same time. This seems like a very true-to-life response, although we'll have to know more of the attack details to see if this supposition of mine is correct. Dr. Du Maurier has only shown up in a handful of episodes so far, though I suspect we will see more of her as we delve into this secret shared by her and Hannibal. (Indeed, a very brief teaser for the second season has Dr. Du Maurier popping up several times.) She is expertly portrayed by Gillian Anderson, who plays Du Maurier as almost emotionless so placid is her face and calmly evenly her voice, thus hiding anything that might betray this secret history. It was actually a headline about Gillian Anderson taking on this role that first alerted me to the existence of this show and made me a bit curious to find out what it was all about, although it was discovering that Fuller was at the creative helm that made me decide to start watching it.

Beverly Katz

Perhaps the influence of CSI has been so great that no crime procedural show in the modern era can exist without someone somewhere analyzing to death every scrap of anything left behind at a crime scene. Hannibal seems to be no exception to this trend. This is all well and good, but there are already enough shows out there that do this and the introduction of the next three characters I'm about to discuss do little to add to the complexity of Hannibal's world. Beverly Katz is one of three FBI crime scene investigators who interact with Will Graham when he's on a case. She's the one who is the most interested in Graham's ability to get into the minds of serial killers, provides helpful advice to him when she can, and seems occasionally to get through his emotional barriers to act as a friend. But for the most part, she's a pretty blasé character with no real depth of her own. Nevertheless, she is a series regular, and I struggle with determining why she was considered as an essential character on the show. The times when she acts as a sounding board for Graham could just have easily been times he turned to Dr. Bloom if Beverly were not a character on the show. At times, I think she was meant to serve as the "comic relief" of the show as she frequently has a snarky comment to make at a crime scene. But generally the dark humor she spouts comes across more as a sad testimony to how hardened the crime scene investigators are to the horror they see than as something actually humorous. By the final episodes of season one when Will is spiraling further down his personal descent, this character finally felt useful for me because her former almost permanent smirk is replaced by deep-seated worry about Graham becoming mentally unstable. Portrayed by Asian-American actor Hettienne Park, Beverly also brings some much-needed racial diversity to a show that is largely populated by Caucasians.

Z and Jimmy

Tweedledum and Tweedledee here round out the trio of crime scene investigators who interact with Will regularly on cases. For some reason, despite appearing in nearly every single episode of the show thus far, these two actors are listed as "guest stars" every week rather than series regulars like Hettienne Park. Portrayed by Aaron Abrams and Scott Thompson respectively, Z and Jimmy also seem like they are there to serve as the comic relief (especially given that Scott Thompson is known more as a comedian than an actor). However, just like with Beverly Katz, I don't necessarily find them that entertaining. Take a snippet of conversation between the trio and Will as they discuss the bodies left behind by the Angel Maker serial killer:

Beverly Katz: "Death makes angels of us all and gives us wings where we had shoulders smooth as raven's claws."
Brian Zeller: Robert Frost.
Will Graham: Jim Morrison.
Beverly Katz: Even a drunk with a flair for the dramatic can convince himself he's God. Or the Lizard King.
Jimmy Price: God makes angels. Jesus was fond of fishermen. Are we talking hardcore Judeo Christian upsetting, or just upsetting in general?
Will Graham: This is a very specific upsetting.
Brian Zeller: Increased serotonin in the wounds is much higher than the free histamines, so, uh... she lived for about fifteen minutes after she was skinned.
Jimmy Price: Powder residue on the neck of the soda bottle shows Vecuronium - scotch and soda and a paralytic agent.
Brian Zeller: Kneeling in supplication at the feet of G-dash-D.
Jimmy Price: Supplication is the most common form of prayer. "Gimme, gimme, gimme."

This quick exchange is no doubt meant to be funny but it mostly came across as callous, with only Will's doubly meaningful line of "This is a very specific upsetting" reminding us that these are people who have been horribly treated both in the manner of their murder and the desecration of their bodies after death. Like I said earlier, Will is always the one to provide the context and the human compassion in every case.

But I do have to admit that the two of them finally being stunned into silence by the revelation that Will might be a serial killer within their midst made that moment even more hard hitting. If they hadn't been goofing around at previous crime scenes, their reactions wouldn't have been so priceless. Nonetheless, their roles are so limited that I didn't know Z's full name was Brian Zeller or even have any idea with Jimmy's name was at all until I looked up the show's cast. In an early episode, Z remarked something to Freddie Lounds about her using him for information, which gave the impression that we might learn more about him outside the crime scene/crime lab, but so far that has not been true. Maybe these characters will get larger roles with deeper characterizations in the future; if not, I don't see much of a point of them being around and would be fine with them slowly fading away into the background.

Dr. Abel Gideon

Portrayed by the always wonderful Eddie Izzard, Dr. Abel Gideon is a patient at a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane, where he ended up after murdering his wife and her entire family. While there, Dr. Gideon becomes convinced that he is the Chesapeake Ripper, opening up a Pandora's box of mayhem after he kills a hospital nurse using the modus operandi of the Ripper. The real Chesapeake Ripper (aka Hannibal Lecter) can't stand by idly and let an imposter tarnish his good name so he is compelled after years of (seemingly) inactivity to kill again. Dr. Gideon is a horribly wicked character who it's just so hard to hate despite his evil acts. His genuine confusion as to whether he is the Chesapeake Ripper or not makes it abundantly clear just how mentally ill he really is. His hatred of the psychiatrists who did little to help him is perhaps understandable; his desire to brutally kill them as a result is not. His witty repartee belies his true intelligence hidden under the haze of mental illness. Izzard did wonders with this character, making him at turns laughable, pitiable, and horrifying. Although he's mostly served his purpose on this show, I wouldn't mind if Dr. Gideon popped up again on Hannibal in the future.

Dr. Frederick Chilton

Dr. Chilton is an important character in the Hannibal Lecter cannon, but here he has only shown up in a couple of episodes so far. Nonetheless, he played an instrumental role in Lecter's life by being the psychiatrist to convince Dr. Gideon that he was really the Chesapeake Ripper and thus resulting in Lecter's subsequent rampage to show the world that the real Ripper was still at large. Dr. Chilton is a very unlikeable character not only for driving a patient to believe himself to be an even worse murderer than he is, but also for antagonistically taunting Will about his ability to see through the eyes of a serial killer. Nevertheless, he doesn't deserve the fate he got of being nearly eviscerated to death at the hands of Dr. Gideon. And despite being a character so easy to dislike, I did enjoy the interactions between him, Dr. Lecter, and Dr. Bloom in which they discussed various aspects of psychotherapy and criminal psychology. I doubt that we've seen the last of Dr. Chilton in this series, so I hope than when we see him again, we'll get more of the psychological talks and less of the cruelty. After nearly being murdered, perhaps Dr. Chilton will have toned down his haughty attitude. Pushing Daisies fans will be recognize Raul Esparza, the actor who plays Dr. Chilton, as Alfredo from season one of that show. Kudos to him for displaying his acting chops with a character so very different from the sweet door-to-door salesman of homeopathic mood-enhancers with a secret hankering for Olive Snook.

Georgia Madchen

Georgia Madchen was both one of the creepiest and most pathetic of the killers to appear on the show so far. Unlike the others, she is not a serial killer but a mentally ill woman who murdered one person so viciously that Will was called in on that case. Still, she's the one who is the most spine-chilling and haunting, perhaps because of her disheveled appearance and inability to see clearly, even if in a warped way. Although she only showed up in a couple of episodes and won't appear in future ones, Georgia Madchen was such an engaging character that I feel it wouldn't be right to walk away from this post without mentioning her briefly. Georgia has a very rare psychological disorder that affects her perception. For starters, she doesn't even realize that she's still alive. Georgia also can't see the faces of others, which is what caused her to rip apart the face of her friend when she murdered her. She has been/feels abandoned by her mother and the professionals who can't find a cure for the mental illness she's had since childhood. When Will is able to see into her mind clearly and figure out her motives for killing a childhood friend, she becomes obsessed with Will and stalks him, not with the intention of hurting him but so that she can find out if she really is still alive. This ends up being her undoing as she stumbles across Dr. Lecter in the process of murdering someone in order to frame Graham. He doesn't realize - or at least not right away - that she couldn't see his face so he kills her as well, pinning that murder on Will also. Besides her rare mental illness, one of the other interesting things about Georgia Madchen is that she is played by Ellen Muth, star of Bryan Fuller's show Dead Like Me, in which she played a character also named Georgia who was actually dead.

In addition to Ellen Muth and those I've mentioned above, three other actors who made appearances in Hannibal also had roles in Fuller's past TV shows: Ellen Greene (Aunt Vivian in Pushing Daisies) made a brief appearance as one of Hannibal's socialite acquaintances, Molly Shannon (a guest star on Pushing Daisies) guest starred in an episode where she coached young children to kill their biological families (one of those episodes where the killer's motivations were never fully explained to my satisfaction), and Chelan Simmons reprised her Wonderfalls role of Gretchen Speck in episode two of the first season of Hannibal. My personal favorite crossover tidbit is that there's talk of an upcoming guest star who will play the role of an acupuncturist named "Katherine Pimms" - the pseudonym used by Chuck's character in Pushing Daisies whenever she went undercover.

All of these appearances suggest that we'll see other fan favorites from the "Fullerverse" in Hannibal's season two. Personally, I think I'd love to see Lee Pace make a guest appearance on a future episode; with his acting prowess, he'd be sure to do great in any role given to him. But then again, given that his likely choice of roles would either be serial killer or victim, I'm not sure I want to see "Ned" tainted in that way. In all likelihood though, we'll be seeing him as Fuller has already noted that he originally intended to find a place for Lee Pace in season one.

How about you, dear reader? Is this anyone you'd like to see guest star on Hannibal in the upcoming season(s)? What characters would you like to see further developed? Where do you want the plotlines to go? Pray, do tell!

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