Characters: Hannibal Lecter

aka: The Silence Of The Lambs
Characters from the film/book series by Thomas Harris focused on serial killer Hannibal Lecter. For the NBC TV Series, go to Hannibal

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    FBI Agents 

Will Graham:

  • Broken Ace: His work for the FBI caused him a great deal of physical and psychological trauma and when we last hear of him he's been reduced to a disfigured drunk.
  • Knight In Sour Armour: Despite his resentment for being constantly thrown up against the worst humanity has to offer and the toll it takes on his life, his need to save lives and do good pulls him back into detective work.
  • The Profiler: Famed in his department for being able to ascertain the psychological state of the criminal. Played a bit more realistically than some examples—his profiling isn't enough to catch Dolarhyde, and most of his successes on screen are more about luck or police work than his empathetic talents.

William Petersen's Agent Will Graham

Played By: William Petersen

  • Anti-Hero: Petersen's Graham is much more in conflict with his own inner darkness and almost seconds away from snapping than Norton's Graham.
  • Berserk Button: Graham doesn't like it when people bring up his past experience with Lecktor.

Edward Norton's Agent Will Graham

Played By: Edward Norton

  • The Ace: In The Silence of the Lambs he's said to have been the keenest hound to ever run in Crawford's pack and is a legend among the students at Quantico. Unfortunately, the events of Red Dragon leave him a...
  • FBI Agent: In the film. However, in the novel Graham worked with the FBI but was not an agent. He worked in the FBI crime lab before becoming an instructor at the academy. He only collaborated with Crawford when the situation demanded it and was given the title "special investigator" in the field.
  • Genre Blind: Falls for the "Have You Told Anyone Else?" ploy with Lecter in the beginning of the movie, and fails to predict that Dolarhyde would attack Lounds instead of him from the slander they printed in the tabloids.
  • Not So Different: One of the few accusations Lecter made that caused him pause. His intense imagination and empathy for the minds of the serial killers he hunts, as well as the measures he sometimes has to take in order to catch them, causes him to doubt his morality along this front.
  • Photographic Memory: Flashes of scenes from the photographs while he's working suggests he can recall visual details that he wasn't even focusing on at the time he saw them.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Is one of the few people to get away with this, with little to no consequence. More than once. Though somewhat subverted as one of the times does not quite work.
    Hannibal: I already suggested how, the answer's right in front of you, you looked, but didn't see.
    Graham: Bullshit, no riddles. Just tell me.
    Hannibal: No! I asked you for a small courtesy and you responded rather rudely.

Agent Clarice Starling

"You see a lot, Doctor. But are you strong enough to point that high-powered perception at yourself?"
Played By: Jodie Foster, Julianne Moore & Masha Skorobogatov

  • Consummate Liar: It's rarely dwelt upon, but in Silence of the Lambs, she lies to Hannibal Lecter's face and gets away with it until Chilton exposes her lies to Dr. Lecter.
  • Determinator: Played with; in the novels, Clarice comes from one of the historically poorest areas in the United States and loses her father and given up for adoption by her mother and later relatives. Despite this Clarice becomes a college graduate and FBI agent. In Hannibal she nearly gives up when her career nearly sacrificed until the letter from Hannibal Lecter renews her determination and re-opens the Lecter investigation. Her determination and stubbornness helps her retain her personality at the end of Hannibal the novel.
  • Face-Heel Turn: She ends up becoming Lecter's lover by the end of the series, though only in the novels, in the film series, she stays a heroine throughout
  • Failure Knight: With dead lambs forming the center of the story's central analogy.
  • Fair Cop: Whether played by Jodie Foster or Julianne Moore.
  • Morality Pet: She is the only person Lecter is good to.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Julianne Moore sometimes has Clarice's accent and sometimes does not. Justified since it was established in The Silence of the Lambs that was she was trying to lose her accent.
  • Pride: Her driving motivation.

Jack Crawford

"Believe me, you don't want Hannibal Lecter inside your head."
Played By: Deniss Farina, Scott Glenn, & Harvey Keitel

  • The Atoner: Applies in the book version of Silence. Crawford remembers that putting Will Graham through a Mandatory Unretirement during the Tooth Fairy case ended up destroying the poor man's life. He does everything he can to help Clarice avoid a similar fate.
  • Happily Married: A significant part of Crawford's arc in the books has to do with his devotion towards his terminally ill wife Bella, who passes away in Silence. When Crawford has a fatal heart attack in Hannibal, he shifts his body to Bella's empty side of the bed as he dies.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With Starling.
  • Oh, Crap: When he and his men break into the wrong house, he is clearly shocked, but also mentions one name in sheer worry.
    Crawford: Clarice!!!

Paul Krendler

"Jesus, Starling, are you writing a book or are you catching a crook?"
Played By: Ray Liotta & Ron Vawter

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Compare Vawter in Silence to Liotta in Hannibal
  • Asshole Victim: Krendler goes out of his way to destroy Clarice not only because of the Buffalo Bill case (which she solved without his help) but over her rejecting his advances (twice). Then he colluded with Verger to use her to lure Lecter into the boar trap.
  • Autocannibalism: Hannibal feeds him his own brain.
  • Brain Food: Paul Krendler has his feed to him by Hannibal.
  • Characterization Marches On: Evolves from a Flat Character in Silence of the Lambs to Clarice's nemesis and eventual meal in Hannibal.

    Serial Killers 

Dr. Hannibal Lecter

"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."
Played By: Anthony Hopkins, Gaspard Ulliel (late teen/young adult) & Aaran Thomas (8 years old)

  • Affably Evil: Usually unfailingly polite... providing the company is polite in return.
  • A God Am I:
    • During his conversation with Will Graham in Red Dragon, he reveals this to be the root of his pathology.
    • In Hannibal (film version), there is a recurring theme of comparing Hannibal to Jesus, complete with a Crucified Hero Shot and Pietà Plagiarism. The comparison, however, is not favourable: Hannibal compares Commandatore Pazzi to Judas for betraying him for avarice, and, by extension, himself to Jesus, forgetting that Judas decided to betray Jesus only after he said in Gethsemane (a soup kitchen, no less), ‘There will always be poor people, but only one of me,’ and that he himself, well, eats people.
  • Anti-Villain: Type I - Although this depends largely on personal interpretation. His targets are usually people who are impolite, or those he feels in some way that their death would be a service to the population at large. But he is not above killing those who would try to capture him, prevent him from escaping capture, and, when trying to secure a job in Florence, killing the man who's job he intends to take. His murders are exceptionally vicious, especially his "wound man" killing. That said, he is not without sympathetic qualities, and is a gracious, courteous host, unless you get on his bad side.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Was retconned into being Lithuanian aristocracy.
  • Ax-Crazy: A particularly civilised example.
  • Bait-and-Switch Amputation: At the end of Hannibal (film), Hannibal is forced to cut off either his own hand or Clarice’s with a kitchen knife to escape. He is shown bringing down the knife, followed by Clarice’s painful expression; the next scene shows she still has both hands, and the final scene shows Hannibal struggling to eat with one hand.
  • Belated Backstory: First appeared in 1981 but his backstory wasn't given until 2006, 25 years later.
  • Berserk Button: Just try to insult or harm Clarice Starling (or children), and see how long you last. Remember what happened to Miggs, Chilton, and Krendler? Yeah, that's right. In his own words: "Discourtesy is unspeakably ugly to me." Being an asshole is a good way to get you in Lecter's bad book. In Red Dragon he feels that Will Graham has insulted him in their meeting so he unleashes Dolarhyde on his family.
  • Big Bad Friend: Acts like this in the opening for the Red Dragon movie, where he seems legitimately sad about attacking Graham, whom he honestly seemed to like. Apparently, he's a really sore loser, because when he and Graham meet again, it's pretty clear that he now hates the guy.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Lecter's personal ethics are bizarre. Murder, torture, cannibalism and mutilation are fine, but sexual assault and rudeness are punishable by death. What Lecter considers to be rude behaviour is unclear as he himself insults, ignores and talks down to people. And murder could be seen as being pretty rude as well. Furthermore, his definition of evil is to defy the rules of society and he made the deliberate choice to be evil by rejecting societal norms.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He is incarcerated, but still writes highly respected articles for psychiatric journals.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Much moreso in the book than the movie. Dr. Lecter does not live in an obvious delusional fantasy (as Jame Gumb and Francis Dolarhyde do) and he rejects his Freudian Excuse (the death and consumption of his young sister). He derides psychology and behavioural sciences. He corrects Starling when she labels him as "destructive," telling her that he is most definitely evil.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He bites a guard on the face, then pepper sprays him, then bludgeons the guard's friend to death with a truncheon — friend who is unarmed, and has his hands handcuffed to the cage bars. Then listens to Johann Sebastian Bach's The Goldberg Variations, recorded by Glenn Gould in 1955.
  • Commonality Connection: Although he and Lady Murasaki are strangers when they first meet, they gradually bond over their mutual loss of family due to war, as they are now the only two surviving members. This is lampshaded by Inspector Popil.
  • Dissonant Serenity
    "His pulse never got above 85, even when he ate her tongue."
  • Due to the Dead: He buries Mischa's bones in her copper bathtub, and he leaves behind one of his mother's brooches as an offering.
  • Dumbstruck: The young boy becomes mute after losing Mischa. He is so traumatized by the event that he only starts speaking again after he meets his aunt 8 years later.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Emphasized during his escape.
  • Enemy Rising Behind: Does this.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Is genuinely disgusted with Mason, Chilton and Krendler. This is a major part of his character. He may be a murderer, a sadist and bit of an ass, but he can't stand exceptional rudeness or discourtesy.
  • Evil Cripple: At the end of Hannibal (film version), he severs his own hand to escape arrest, sparing Clarice the same fate. Although by this point he may or may not have gone through a Heel-Face Turn.
  • Evil Tastes Good: Besides the obvious, in the novel he hurts Senator Martin with a line ("Toughened your nipples, didn't it?" in the movie), "takes a sip" of her pain and thinks it is delicious.
  • Evil Is Petty: The whole dinner and a show he had Graham arrange in exchange for his help was done all to piss Dr. Chilton off. Even Barney and another orderly laugh at it.
  • Failure Knight: He is haunted by his inability to protect Mischa.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Lecter. He gets away with being both this and Affably Evil; Faux Affably Evil is for the people he's messing with. Or plans to eat, or serve. Or is eating or serving. Played straight when he is genuinely pissed off at a person.
  • First Love: Lady Murasaki is the first woman he falls in love with.
  • Freudian Excuse: Initially this notion was defied by Lecter himself, saying that nothing happened to him but instead he happened, but thanks to retconning. His sister was fed to him by Nazi Cannibals when he was a child. As executed, it made everything else about Lecter mention by others (like Doemling) mesh better (and completed the Failure Knight analogy hinted at since the previous book), but the extension of it into a full story makes Lecter’s initial characterization as pure evil somewhat more ambiguous, as a few passages in Hannibal imply he resented his sister and was actually inspired by her murder, feeling awe at the extent that evil can reach.
  • Insufferable Genius: As Jack Crawford puts it to Starling, "He's very likely right, and he could have told you why, but he wanted to tease you with it. It's the only weakness I ever saw in him — he has to look smart, smarter than everybody. He's been doing it for years."
  • Karma Houdini: In spades, though Thomas Harris admitted he had grown to like his character so much this trope became inevitable. At the end of the Hannibal novel Lecter even finally settles down with Starling following the events of the novel.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: More often than not, his victims do have it coming.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: "'M' FOR MISCHA! 'M' FOR MISCHA! 'M' FOR MISCHA!"
  • Kubrick Stare: This is his default expression when revving up the creepy.
  • Life or Limb Decision: At the end of Hannibal (film), after Hannibal locks her to the fridge, Clarice handcuffs him to herself as the police is on its way. He grabs a kitchen knife and threatens her with it, but ultimately cuts off his own hand to escape.
  • Love Confession: He reveals to Lady Murasaki that he loves her, but she rejects him.
    Hannibal: I love you.
    Lady Murasaki: What is left in you to love?
  • Narcissist: Is convinced of his superiority to everyone around him and doesn't mind telling them.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Requests an hour in private with the Tooth Fairy casefile, which includes gruesome crime scene photos. Will knows that most of the time was spent with the pictures. Is also morbidly fascinated with church collapses, medieval torture instruments and cannibalism. Hannibal explicitly describes the pleasure he feels when he sees Starling consume the brain of Paul Krendler.
  • Noble Demon: Grutas and his gang are so awful that they make Hannibal seem heroic in comparison.
  • Nominal Hero: All of his victims in Hannibal Rising are war criminals, but Hannibal wants them to die for hurting his family.
  • Not So Stoic: When Miggs throws his semen at Clarice Lecter bellows down the hall at her. In the novel Clarice comments on how rare it is to see him agitated.
  • Pet the Dog: For Clarice, but he is also genuinely fond of Barney and Sammie. Was also Knight Templar Big Brother to Mischa.
  • Pretty Boy: When played by Gaspard Ulliel in Hannibal Rising.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: In the books, he is described as having maroon (brownish-red) eyes. He appears with bright red eyes in some posters for Hannibal and Hannibal Rising.
  • Red Right Hand: Lecter has a sixth finger on his right hand, as well as maroon eyes that appear red in bright light.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: He goes on one in Hannibal Rising against all of the men who had killed his beloved baby sister.
  • Sadist: It is strongly implied that most of his victims were tortured to death in various elaborate and particularly gruesome fashions; beyond that, he is a Manipulative Bastard par excellence who messes with peoples heads and gives them cutting Hannibal Lectures For the Evulz.
  • Serial Killer: Killed nine people in his initial rampage and critically wounded two others (one survivor was Mason Verger, the other is in a mental institution).
  • Shipped in Shackles: Lecter, with his iconic mask, is the Trope Codifier. Many franchises have imitated the image as shorthand to indicate Lecter-inspired characters.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Was a minor character in the book and has limited screen time in the movie, but he is a major force in moving the story forward.
  • The Sociopath: Subverted as Lecter is capable of empathy.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Definitely counts in relation to Starling.
  • The Stoic: Taken to extremes during his rare acts of violence. When he brutally attacked a nurse, which involved breaking her jaw to get to her tongue, his pulse never got above 85 bpm. Even during his escape he mostly looks bored (save for one brief second where he wears a terrifying Slasher Smile).
  • They Call Me Mister Tibbs: Hannibal Lecter, M.D. and don't you forget it. Did you know Dr. Chilton has no medical degree?
  • Timeshifted Actor: The younger version of the character is played by Gaspard Ulliel and Aaran Thomas in Hannibal Rising.
  • Tragic Keepsake: In Hannibal Rising, he has photographs of his family, Mischa's teddy bear, his mother's letters and pearl necklaces.
  • Troll: The Dinner and A Show scene in Red Dragon was all just to tick off Dr. Chilton for removing his books and toilet seat. This antic caused the normally stoic Barney and a fellow orderly to laugh.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Mischa. He had made a promise to his sister's memory that he would avenge her death, and absolutely nothing, not even his aunt (who he does love), can dissuade him from carrying out his goal.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Lady Murasaki.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Before World War II, he was a cute and caring child.
  • Villain Protagonist: In Hannibal and Hannibal Rising (although in the latter he's more of a Noble Demon and Nominal Hero).
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Lecter speaks with a weird blend of American and European accents that is very difficult to place.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: His idyllic life was shattered when his parents were murdered and he and his little sister were abducted by German deserters who ate his sister and fed him some of her in a broth. No wonder he's Ax-Crazy.
  • Wicked Cultured: His pathology is centred around this trope, as he eats (and serves) his victims as exquisite meals, apparently to prove how much better he is than them; or, in Starling's words, "show his disdain for those who exacerbate him" (or, sometimes, to perform a "public service"). Apart from this, and a more general love of fine dining and drink, he enjoys classical music, is a highly talented artist, and has sufficient knowledge of Dante, the Rennaisance and Renaissance literature to get a temp job as a library curator at a Florentine museum, and impress the board enough to nearly make it permanent.
  • Worthy Opponent: He considers Will Graham to be this, even after his incarceration.

Dr. Hannibal Lektor

Played By: Brian Cox

  • It Amused Me: Pitted Graham and Dolarhyde against each other just for fun.

Francis Dollarhyde

  • A God Am I: Demands awe from his victims.
  • Antagonist Title: An indirect example. "Red Dragon" is actually a shorthand for the painting "The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed In Sun" that figures into the plot. Francis Dolarhyde, the villain, believes himself to be representative of it, and develops a murderous split personality that identifies itself as the Dragon.
  • Blind and the Beast: Falls in love with Reba McClane partly because she's blind and can't see his harelip, although it's strongly implied that most women he knew were attracted to him already. He just thinks of his harelip as being a much greater problem then it actually is.
  • Big Bad: Of Red Dragon and its adaptations, as he is the one Will Graham is trying to catch.
  • Break the Cutie: Francis Dolarhyde's whole childhood seems to revolve around this.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: As a child, when it was perfectly normal. His grandmother viewed it differently, threatening to castrate him. It becomes something of a Berserk Button for him.
  • Broken Pedestal: Is a great admirer of Dr. Lecter but is disappointed by Lecter's response to his note. He feels that by giving him Graham's home address Lecter is implying that it is possible for him to be harmed by Graham and Dolarhyde determines that Lecter understands him little more than the rest of society.
  • Control Freak: He has this reputation at work and it is mentioned a few times that he raises Hell at the lab when technicians make minor mistakes. It's possible that this is done out of mere professionalism but odds are it has to do with him choosing his victims through their film footage and requiring them to appear at their best.
  • Freudian Excuse: Subject to severe abuses as a child from his grandmother. Graham even notes that he feels sorry for the boy Francis used to be when reading his journal. Deconstructed by Graham late in the film.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: His murder of Freddy Lounds.
  • Kill It with Fire: How he kills Lounds.
  • Red Right Hand: Francis Dolarhyde's harelip, which played a major role in his descent into madness due to his being cruelly mocked and shunned. Dolarhyde's yellow eyes may also count. As an impressive piece of detail, it is briefly noted that his mother also had them.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Francis Dolarhyde has his huge scrapbook of crazy going back to childhood, with photographs and journal entries. It also features clippings from the time of Lecter's arrest and trial.
  • Serial Killer: Wipes out entire families.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: Defied in-universe by Graham. He acknowledges that Dolarhyde was abused and that the child he used to be deserves pity for having had to endure it, but he also states that Dolarhyde, as an adult, deserves no sympathy whatsoever and is a selfish, disgusting excuse for a human being.
  • Verbal Tic: Dollarhyde avoids words with "S" sounds, as his cleft palate makes them difficult to pronounce. He always says "Um hmmm" instead of "yes." Graham picks this tic up halfway through the novel.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Dolarhyde is pretty feeling good about his Becoming until he meets Reba and realizes it's possible for people to like him as a man without the whole "Red Dragon" thing. This causes his mind to split in two and he becomes even more unstable. Instead of being the identity he is becoming The Dragon is now a spiritual being who can move freely through space and physically harm people. He starts yelling to himself uncontrollably and having emotional outburts. In the end The Dragon wins and kills the Dolarhyde identity.

Tom Noonan's Francis Dollarhyde

Played By: Tom Noonan
  • Dark Is Evil: Has a very odd-looking and scary appearance that's all-too-appropriate, considering how he fills his time.
  • Mysterious Past: We know something happened in his childhood that put him on the road to being a killer, but unlike Fiennes' Dolarhyde, we have no idea what.
  • Not So Different: With Graham, considering how good Graham is at getting into his head and understanding him. The main difference is that Graham keeps whatever bad tendencies he has in check (though not without difficulty), while Dolarhyde...
  • The Stoic: Even when he's trying to kill Reba, he has a very calm, calculated demeanor. That said, in the middle of the film, he is seen crying when he realizes that he's fallen in love and hints that he'd like to stop murdering people.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Wears a mask when he gives his Motive Rant to Freddy Lounds, implying that he intends to let him go; Freddy even thinks that he'll be safe as long as Dollarhyde doesn't take it off. He turns out to be very, very wrong.

Ralph Fiennes' Francis Dolarhyde

"Before me, you rightly tremble. But, fear is not what you owe me. You owe me awe!"
Played By: Ralph Fiennes

  • Adorkable According to Reba, most women she knows, see him this way. A fact that makes him smile.
  • Ax-Crazy: Subverted and then played straight. While his crime scenes of whole families slaughtered are viewed as the work of a deranged madman, Graham insists that he was in control of every action, and knew precisely what he was doing. Played straight at the end, where Graham manipulates Dolarhyde's past abuse as a child to work him into a blind frenzy.
  • Freudian Excuse: Not as elaborated on as in the books, but the audience is treated to both an audio flashback of his grandmother threatening to castrate him for wetting the bed, and Graham's sympathetic comments upon reading the journal that Francis described his childhood in.
  • Gollum Made Me Do It: His relationship with Reba brings this out in him—rather than referring to himself as the dragon, he starts begging it to let her live, and attempts to stop killing. He doesn't succeed, and tells her he'd rather kill her as Dolarhyde than "bite her to death" as the Dragon.
  • Red Right Hand: Deconstructed. His cleft palate subjected him to severe abuse as a child, which is part of what eventually drove him to become a killer. He's still sensitive of it in his adulthood. The scarring remaining on his lip after years of surgery is a downplayed example.
  • Serial Killer: He targets whole families, although his principal victims are always the mothers in them (the ones he chooses to "change").
  • Shout-Out: The suit he wears when he goes to eat the original "Red Dragon" painting is an echo of William Petersen's suit in Manhunter.
  • Split Personality: Whether he felt there was a split before or after Reba isn't made clear, but he eventually starts referring to his serial killer "Dragon" persona as a separate person.

Jame Gumb AKA Buffalo Bill

Played By: Ted Levine
"It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again."
  • Freudian Excuse: Alluded to.
  • Genuine Human Hide: His ultimate goal is to make a woman suit out of real women.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Genuinely loves his pet poodle to the point where he all but has a breakdown when Catherine holds her prisoner and his willing to sacrifice the skin and hair he covets so much to ensure her safety.
  • Serial Killer: Kidnaps women and skins them.
  • Sissy Villain: He acts effeminate and has had some minor work done to make him look more like a woman. The book notes that rather than looking like a woman he just looks like a man inclined to fight with his nails.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Implied to be one. Hannibal himself states "Buffalo Bill wasn't born a criminal; he was made one by years of systematic abuse."
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Bill collects his victims by acting as a handicapped person lifting a heavy object, then bludgeoning them to unconsciousness when their guard is down.

    Others 

Dr. Frederick Chilton

"Oh my, does he hate us. Thinks I'm his nemesis."
Played By: Benjamin Hendrickson, Anthony Heald

  • Adaptational Heroism: The movie removed many of his Kick the Dog moments. In the novel he says that Clarice is sleeping with Crawford to advance her career, tells Lecter that if he doesn't reveal Buffalo Bill's identity they'll send him to an institution where he'll be tortured and raped, is openly dismissive of Boyle and Pembry and tries to blame Clarice for Lecter's escape.
  • Arch-Enemy: Subverted. Chilton smugly tells Clarice that Lecter considers him one. The truth is Lecter regards Chilton as little more than a nuisance.
  • Asshole Victim: Considering that his behavior not only obstructed the Buffalo Bill investigation but put Clarice and Catherine in danger, the idea of Lecter exacting vengeance upon Chilton is both scary and gratifying.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Towards a Serial Killer, no less. He's smart enough to put Lecter in restraints first, but it's still monumentally dumb considering how much of an Evil Genius he knows Lecter is.
  • Brainy Brunette: Subverted. While he loves to put on a show of this, his fumbling incompetence is dangerous. Lecter makes a Sophisticated as Hell joke about his hair color and intelligence, obliquely calling him a shithead.
  • Failed a Spot Check: As Clarice's Threshold Guardian, Chilton goes through all of the hospital's security measures concerning Lecter, specifically banning pencils and pens from Lecter's cell. The reason Lecter escapes is because Chilton has left his own pen in the cell.
  • Jerkass: Makes a sleazy pass at Clarice? Check. Frequently taunts the Evil Genius? Check. Illicitly records Clarice's conversations with Lecter, leaks the FBI's deal with Lecter, then hogs the spotlight as the plan's brainchild? Check. Puts both Clarice and Catherine Martin at the mercy of Buffalo Bill in the process? Check. Becomes the only character in the story that we want Hannibal to kill horribly? Checkola.
  • Lack of Empathy: Perfectly willing to risk lives if it makes him feel important.
  • Threshold Guardian: For Clarice. His smug attitude and come-ons are mixed with genuine warnings about Lecter's true nature, foreshadowing how Clarice has to deal with politics, misogyny, and disturbing violence in her chosen career.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Constantly bullying and taunting Lecter. Sure, he was locked up, but did Chilton really believe he wouldn't seize his first opportunity?

Catherine Martin

Played By: Brooke Smith

Senator Ruth Martin

Played By: Diane Baker

Ardelia Mapp

Played By: Kasi Lemmons

  • Only Sane Woman: Is probably the only consistently likeable character besides Crawford and Barney in the entire book series.

Barney Matthews

Played By: Frankie Faison

  • Black Best Friend: Probably the only staff member at the Baltimore Hospital whom Lecter was on consistently good terms with.
  • Karma Houdini: Margot Verger and he are minor examples, with Margot getting away with killing her brother Mason in the book and Barney knowing about it and gets away with helping bury that knowledge, though since Mason Verger is an Asshole Victim par excellence, it's hard to hate them for this.
  • Ignored Enamored Underling: Has feelings towards Margot that he tries to act upon in Hannibal, but he accepts it when she rejects him.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The final scene of the book version of Hannibal sees Barney visiting Buenos Aires and seeing Hannibal and Clarice at the opera. He immediately fears for his life and flees.
  • Threshold Guardian: For Clarice, in a much kinder way than Chilton — he reassures her both of the dangers she faces, and that she is up to the challenge.

Mason Verger

"When the fox hears the rabbit scream he comes a-runnin'... but not to help."
Played By: Gary Oldman

  • Asshole Victim: To Hannibal who crippled and disfigured him. Not that you feel sorry for him because of his actions.
    • The the film, his own doctor pushes him in.
  • Cain and Abel: The Cain to Margot's Abel. He raped her repeatedly and bit her, then after his disfigurement he keeps her around to torment her in other ways.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Before his disfigurement Verger was explicitly a pedophile who abused his younger sister as well as other people, and afterwards still gets off by psychologically breaking them.
  • Fed to Pigs: In the movie. In the novel, his death manages to be even more gruesome as Margot takes his pet eel and forces it into his mouth, essentially letting it eat him from the inside out.

Margot Verger:

  • Adapted Out: Was entirely omitted from the movie. As such the manner of Mason's death is entirely different.
  • Brawn Hilda: Her use of steroids earlier in life left her infertile, which is why she needs her brother's sperm to impregnate her girlfriend with an heir to the family fortune.
  • Butch Lesbian: Though her scene with Barney in the showers imply that she may actually be bisexual.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Margot Verger takes very messy revenge on her brother Mason, who had sexually abused her when she was younger, and manages to make sure that her family will have access to the family's fortune by getting his sperm so she can impregnate her girlfriend with a blood-related heir
  • Karma Houdini: She and Barney are minor examples, with Margot getting away with killing her brother Mason in the book and Barney knowing about it and gets away with helping bury that knowledge, though since Mason Verger is an Asshole Victim par excellence, it's hard to hate them for this.

Chief Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi

Played By: Giancarlo Giannini

  • Animal Motifs: Pazzi washes the pickpocket's blood off his hands at a fountain shaped like a boar's head. The very next scene reveals Verger's intention to have Lecter Fed to Pigs.

Dr Cordell Doemling

"One's eyes adjust to the darkness."
Played By: Zeljko Ivanek

  • The Dragon: To Mason Verger who he takes care of.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Throws his patient, Mason Verger, to the pigs when Hannibal tells him that he will take the fall.

Reba McClane

"If there's anything I hate worse than pity, it's fake pity."
Played By: Joan Allen, Emily Watson

  • Blind and the Beast: Francis Dolarhyde falls in love with her partly because she's blind and can't see his harelip, although it's strongly implied that most women he knew were attracted to him already. He just thinks of his harelip as being a much greater problem then it actually is.
  • Disabled Love Interest: For Dolarhyde. Unlike most examples, her blindness isn't played up as Inspirationally Disadvantaged, and it's implied Dolarhyde prefers her specifically because she can't see his lip.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Dolarhyde tries to save Reba from this (being bitten to death by "The Red Dragon") by shooting her in the face. He can't bring himself to do it.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: With Dolarhyde, who despite being an Ax-Crazy serial killer, clearly loves and respects her.
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Reba. While blind, she is otherwise portrayed as relatively normal. In particular, her coworker's lusting after her is never portrayed as being out of pity or because of some fetish, just typical horndog behavior. Explicitly deconstructed in the novel where Reba mentions in internal monologue how her condition mostly just draws all the codependent people out of the woodwork.
  • Morality Pet: for Dolarhyde.
  • Twofer Token Minority: She lampshades this.

Molly Graham

Played By: Kim Greist, Mary-Louise Parker

  • Mama Bear: She kills Dolarhyde to protect her childre n.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In the beginning of the movie she doesn't even know how to use a gun. By the end of it she kills Dolarhyde with a bullet to the forehead as he was getting up from Will's earlier shots.

Freddy Lounds

Played By: Stephen Lang, Philip Seymour Hoffman

  • Asshole Victim: Played with. Everything that the audience learns about his character displays him as a smug asshole, but the scene right before his death with him humiliated, begging helplessly for his life in fear, disgusted and horrified by Dolarhyde's "slideshow", and dying in a fashion that was extraordinarily painful and protracted, generates at least some sympathy for the poor man.
  • Going for the Big Scoop: He's not satisfied with just any news story—he has to pursue insulting pieces on narcissistic, high profile serial killers like Lecter and Dolarhyde.
  • Jerkass: He went as far as taking pictures of Graham in the hospital after getting stabbed by Lecter for his paper, and has no qualms about writing pure lies just to sell copies.
  • Kill It with Fire: How he eventually dies—glued to a wheelchair, set on fire, and left to roll down the street by Dolarhyde.
  • Paparazzi: Hounds Will Graham to get news from him.

Lady Murasaki Lecter

Played By: Gong Li

  • Commonality Connection: Although she and Hannibal are strangers when they first meet, they gradually bond over their mutual loss of family due to war, as they are now the only two surviving members. This is lampshaded by Inspector Popil.
  • Damsel in Distress: She becomes this after Grutas kidnaps her.
  • Famous-Named Foreigner: Her character was named after the historical figure Lady Murasaki Shikibu, who was the author of The Tale of Genji.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: She knows how to use a katana, and she teaches this skill to Hannibal.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: She is beautiful by traditional Asian standards.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Hannibal.
  • Widow Woman: When Hannibal meets his aunt for the first time, he learns that his uncle Count Robert Lecter had passed away nearly a year ago.
  • You Remind Me of X: Variant 3. She tells Hannibal that he looks just like his uncle. Since the young man is physically reminiscent of her late husband, she appears to be projecting some of the feelings she had for Robert on to her nephew.


Alternative Title(s):

The Silence Of The Lambs, Red Dragon, Manhunter, Hannibal Rising