Series / Hannibal
aka: The Silence Of The Lambs

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Come and get it...

Hannibal Lecter: God forbid we become friendly.
Will Graham: I don't find you that interesting.
Hannibal Lecter: You will.

Hannibal is a peculiar genre mash-up of Forensic Drama and Gothic Horror created by Bryan Fuller, based on the character of Hannibal Lecter. The series follows FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) as he investigates difficult serial killer cases for Special Agent Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne). Requiring further assistance, psychiatrist Dr. Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) recommends they enlist the help of the world-renowned psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), to both consult on cases and keep Will from becoming too caught up in the horrors of his job.

Wait, did we mention Hannibal Lecter is secretly a cannibal and serial killer?

Set before Red Dragon, the novel that started the Thomas Harris books and led to the award winning film series, the show frequently leans on Hannibal's double life and his "friendship" with Will and co. as they solve grisly murders. Not only is the show notable for its writing, it also built on an infamous cocktail of Scenery Gorn and Food Porn — expect beautifully constructed meals made with Mystery Meat, and corpses mutilated in some unique and artistic ways.

Premiering on NBC on April 4th, 2013, the show was later renewed for a second season in 2014, and a third in 2015. The show quickly gained popularity by drawing Fuller and Harris fans together, and for spawning an enthusiastic fanbase that has been skillfully and gleefully mirrored by the official blog (MAJOR UNMARKED SPOILERS). As to the full arc, Fuller announced an ultimate six-season plan for the show: after the two original seasons, the third-through-fifth were to be a re-ordered, re-imagined version of the book seriesnote  before the show closed on an original ending come Season 6.

Unfortunately, as of June 2015 (and only a few episodes into Season 3), Hannibal was announced as cancelled by NBC due to unsatisfactory ratings, adding it to the pile of Fuller shows cancelled just a few seasons in. Despite no word on whether or not it would be picked up for a fourth season elsewhere, comments by Fuller and Martha de Laurentiis seem optimistic, especially so due to the ongoing outcry from the fandom.

SPOILER WARNING: Following the show's conclusion, spoilers can (and will) be unmarked for the first two seasons to prevent the page being whited out.


This show provides examples of:

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    A-C 
  • Above Good and Evil: Hannibal seems to lean toward this view. Also Will, who in "Naka-Choko" (when he appears to have finally done something unquestionably wrong) says he's "given up" good and evil.
  • Act of True Love: Hannibal moves between Will and the window knowing the Dragon is watching them and that he might shoot in "The Wrath Of The Lamb" even though Will said he intends to "watch [Dolarhyde] change him", a.k.a. kill him. Will is supposed to do so, but when Dolarhyde goes for his dagger, Will reaches for his gun. His intent to kill Dolarhyde before he can hurt Hannibal is confirmed immediately after when Will and Hannibal defend each other during the fight, at that point hunting together.
  • Adaptation Expansion: A few flashback scenes from the books were combined with a minor change in the second Red Dragon movienote  and blown up into what Bryan Fuller describes as "missing novels" in the Thomas Harris series.
    • This is also expanded through old friendships and FBI roles being expanded upon. For example, Drs. Katz, Price, and Zeller are called on at different points in the books, but this was changed to them being direct FBI forensicists who all work as the head trio.
    • The same goes for Abigail and Garret Jacob Hobbs, who are occasionally mentioned in the books and the former of whom Will recalls briefly meeting with again after the incident. Come the TV show, Hobbs' impact on Will is thoroughly explored in the first season, and Abigail is a direct part of Will's life — to the point he even finds himself caring greatly about her.
  • Adopt the Dog: Employed halfway through the first episode, to help us like the odd and decidedly unsocial Will Graham. He may not do well in social situations or know how to get along with people, but caring for his seven rescued stray dogs proves that he's compassionate at heart — in distinct contrast with Hannibal Lecter.
  • Adult Fear:
    • In "Mizumono", Will helplessly watches as Hannibal slices Abigail's throat open, too grievously injured to protect her from the same man who had secretly kidnapped and controlled her since the first season. The episode ends with Will — horribly injured and bleeding out on the kitchen floor — desperately trying to staunch the blood flow from Abigail's throat.
    • In "The Great Red Dragon", Dolarhyde fatally maims two parents (stabbing Mr. Leeds in the neck and shooting Mrs. Leeds in the stomach), leaving them bleeding out and unable to help as he murders their children.
  • Affably Evil:
    Pimm: He couldn't envision a dignified end of life. So it's much nicer to die — for him — to die in a meadow... a head full of bees... Have you tried the honey?
    Jack: (flatly) No.
    Pimm: Couldn't bring myself to either. It seemed too morbid.
    • Matthew Brown, at least in regards to Will Graham. On the other hand, he definitely classifies as Faux Affably Evil to the bailiff he killed and to Hannibal.
  • After Action Patch Up: Hannibal takes care of Will's busted knuckles in "Naka-Choko" and again of his bullet wound in "Dolce".
  • Alone with the Psycho: It occurs several times during "Entrée" with Dr. Abel Gideon. And unsurprisingly, with Hannibal. Examples are:
    • At the end of "Entrée" with Miriam and Hannibal.
    • At the end of "Relevés", when Abigail realizes that Hannibal is a serial killer, and he reveals that he's a lot worse than her father.
    • In the Season 1 finale "Savoureux", Hannibal with Will — but to everybody else, it seems that Will is the psycho.
    • At the end of "Takiawase", Beverly discovers Hannibal's basement and reacts in horror. She flicks on the lights, which suddenly reveals him standing behind her.
    • At the end of "Naka-Choko", when Freddie Lounds discovers the shed in which Hannibal and Will have hidden the dismembered body parts of Randall Tier, she finds herself with Will who certainly appears to her as (and may in fact be becoming) a psycho.
    • In "The Number of the Beast is 666" Chilton is kidnapped and tortured (physically and psychologically) by Dolarhyde.
    • In the end of the same episode and the start of "The Wrath of the Lamb", with Reba and Dolarhyde.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Zig-zagged with Will, who is directly asked by Jack if he has an autism-spectrum disorder but doesn't elaborate much beyond saying "closer to Asperger's and autistics than narcissists and sociopaths." Bryan Fuller commented in an interview that, "[With Asperger's] you can't read social cues. He has an empathy disorder where he reads too much and it overwhelms him."
  • Ambiguously Evil: Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier. Season 3 reveals that she has a fairly messed up view of morality, preferring the idea of killing something injured instead of nursing it back to health. A flashback also reveals she initially tried to help a patient choking on his own tongue, but then became overwhelmed with the control she had over him and killed him by sliding her whole arm down his throat.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The ending. Who is Bedelia cooking her leg for? Are the two chairs placed for Will and Hannibal, who may not be dead?
    • The ending was later clarified by Bryan Fuller - Hannibal and Will did in fact survive the cliff fall and returned to eat Bedelia.
  • Anachronic Order:
    • "Antipasto" jumps back and forth between four different time periods, each with its own color palette and/or aspect ratio.
    • Season 3 in general: the first three episodes are more or less in chronological order, while the fourth takes place before the first one.
  • And Show It to You: In "Rôti", Gideon takes out several of Dr. Chilton's organs while he has him awake but under anesthesia. He doesn't quite get to his heart but probably would have if Jack hadn't shown up.
  • Animal Motif/Arc Symbol: The black deer with feathers for fur that shows up in Will's dreams. Fandom has dubbed it the Ravenstag.
    • In fact, this Animal Motif is used as a form of foreshadowing when Will spots a sculpture of a deer in Hannibal's office in "Coquilles", which Hannibal notices, suggesting that he will eventually associate Hannibal with evil. Another deer sculpture shows up in Dr. Chilton's office in "Entrée", which suggest it will be a recurring motif associated with antagonists or people who are not nearly as trustworthy as they appear.
    • Appears again when Hannibal uses the aforementioned sculpture to kill Tobias.
    • As Will's encephalitis worsens, he has increasingly frequent hallucinations of deer and buck antlers, usually in situations involving antagonists such as Dr. Gideon.
    • In "Savoureux", it turns out it represents a Wendigo, and we see it not only in humanoid form, but in place of Hannibal himself from Will's point of view when Will realizes what Hannibal really is.invoked
    • From the very beginning of the series, Will has an affinity for dogs. Like dogs, he is a naturally empathetic creature. Fittingly, Alana likens Hannibal to a cat in Season 3, noting the pride and refinement that he holds so dear.
    • The Vergers get their own prevalent Animal Motifs in Season 2, with Mason's obviously being pigs and Margot's apparently being horses. This makes sense, as Margot is rightfully insecure and craves freedom, and Mason is... a pig.
    • Season 3 seems to make a case for Hannibal and snails. Both move through life slow and methodically and take their time to consume their food.
    • Perhaps the most famous example from the Thomas Harris novels, Season 3 finally introduces Francis Dolarhyde and his obsessive connection to William Blake's The Great Red Dragon paintings.
  • Antagonist Title: Hannibal Lecter is the arch-villain; Will Graham is the protagonist.
  • Anyone Can Die: Several recurring characters have been killed, including Franklyn, Abigail, Beverly, and Gideon.
  • Arc Words:
    • "You see?", "What do you see?" or some variant, which references Will's empathy with serial killers, whether he's coming closer to being one, or whether he's coming close to noticing what's right in front of his face.
    • "This is my design" is Will's mantra whenever he's channeling at a crime scene, or explaining for his students.
    • "[He/I] wanted to see what would happen."
    • From Season 3: "Observing or participating?"
  • Armour Piercing Question:
    • As his therapist, Hannibal asks Will quite a few, notably whether Will feels so bad because killing Garret Jacob Hobbs felt so good, and how his ability to empathize with killers has been affected now that he's felt the thrill of killing firsthand.
    • Bedelia deals a couple of these to Will in the second half of Season 3: she asks whether he's really there just for the case or because he simply misses Hannibal that much, and after confirming to Will that Hannibal is in love with him, she asks Will if he is, too.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Despite Bella being a cancer patient recovering from an overdose, and Hannibal being a powerful sociopathic murderer, you can see her slapping him actually hurts him (even if not physically).
  • Artistic License – Geography: The climax of "Apéritif" has the team rush from near Hibbing, Minnesota to Bloomington, Minnesota. Either Hobbs inexplicably waited three hours after Hannibal's phone call to try to kill Abigail, or the team traveled two hundred miles in a few minutes. Although it is possible that it took some time for him to react violently towards his family out of panic.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: Hannibal, Bedelia, and Alana are all psychiatrists, but are usually providing counseling, not medication, to their patients. Typically psychiatrists would see patients about medication and treatment of mental illness, more than just talk therapy — that's a psychotherapist's job. Justified in Will's case, since his relationship with both Hannibal and Alana isn't a doctor-patient relationship in the typical sense.
    • Alana also tells Abigail that she isn't a medical doctor. Psychiatrists go through medical school, the same as any other MD. Perhaps also justified in that Alana may be trying to simplify matters for a layman/reassure Abigail that her goal is something very different from aiding her physical recovery.
  • Aspect Montage: Quite frequently in Hannibal's kitchen. Usually focusing on whatever he's preparing. Used for the crime scenes as well.
  • Autocannibalism:
    • Hannibal inflicts this on Abel Gideon in "Futamono," with more details of it revealed in "Antipasto."
    • Also, Mason Verger cuts off his own nose and eats it in "Tome-wan".
    • The Stinger for the Season 3 finale had Bedelia sitting at a table waiting in fear, her thigh cooked and steaming on a platter.
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    • In the first season finale, "Savoureux", Will is incarcerated due to overwhelming evidence that he's the copycat killer and violently insane, Abigail is presumably dead, and no one suspects Hannibal — except for Will, who knows, but won't be believed. Hannibal's the one outside the cell, by all appearances innocent of any wrongdoing and free to go on as he has before.
    • Taken even further in the second season finale, "Mizumono". Hannibal escapes to France with Bedelia, after leaving Will, Abigail, Jack and Alana to die in his house.
  • Bait and Switch: In "Digestivo", Cordell prepares to surgically remove Will's face and graft it onto Mason. But when Mason awakens, he's wearing Cordell's face, thanks to Hannibal's intervention.
  • Bang, Bang, BANG: A partial aversion to the norms of this trope in regards to volume level. In "Fromage", Will fires a gun right next to his and a murderer's ears, temporarily deafening both of them.
  • Batman Gambit: Hannibal pulls these off nearly Once an Episode, and they always work, though as of Season 2, Will (Hannibal's most frequent gambit target in Season 1) seems to have built up a tolerance.
    • Tobias Budge makes an off-color "joke" to Franklyn about wanting to play a man's vocal cords like a cello and, knowing Franklyn would hear about the murder and gossip to Hannibal about the coincidence. All of this is so Tobias can send a message via proxy to Hannibal in hopes that they can be serial killer friends.
    • Shortly after Hannibal tells Gideon where he can find Alana, he tells Will — who just regained consciousness from a seizure — that he's going to check up on Alana because Gideon is on the loose. He also stops Will from trying to go himself, telling him he needs to rest up, casually sets down Will's gun (which he previously confiscated) as well as the keys to his own car, and leaves the room saying he's going to phone Jack. A moment later, he re-enters with no intention of calling Jack and entirely unsurprised to find Will, the keys, and the gun have vanished.
  • Betty and Veronica: Alana Bloom's two potential love interests are troubled but ultimately heroic FBI agent Will Graham and sociopathic, manipulative, people-eating Serial Killer Hannibal Lecter. Except outwardly their roles are inverted: Will is an emotionally fragile, increasingly unstable friend she has strong feelings for but equally strong reasons why they shouldn't get involved, and Hannibal is a steady, educated colleague who shares many of her interests.
  • Big Bad: Overall, Hannibal is more of a villain deuteragonist in this series. Mason Verger is one of the main antagonists of Season 2 and he's unambiguously the Big Bad in the first half of Season 3, with Francis Dolarhyde being the Big Bad in the second half. Mason is the most consistent of Will/Hannibal's enemies, appearing in about a third of the episodes.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Cordell and Matthew Brown are good examples. Cordell imitates Hannibal's erudite language and meal planning, but in comparison to the original, he's a clear copy. Brown hopes to kill Hannibal (and almost does), but is stopped just before he takes his place.
  • Big Fancy House: Several are seen throughout the series.
    • Hannibal's exquisitely decorated Baltimore town house and office building.
    • The mansion on Muskrat Farm, the Verger family estate.
    • Dr. Frederick Chilton's mansion, complete with a walk in underground wine cellar.
    • The Lecter Estate in Lithuania.
  • Bi the Way:
    • Alana is revealed to be bisexual in Season 3 when she has a sexual encounter with Margot Verger. After the season's time skip, it is revealed she is now married to her, and the two have a child together.
    • In Season 3, Hannibal and Will are revealed to have romantic feelings for each other, and Bedelia not only confirms to Will that Hannibal is in love with him, but it then culminates in the season finale with them embracing rather intimately. In fact, it got to a point where Fuller, Dancy, Mikkelsen, and other members of the cast and crew ended up wiping away doubts of subtext by flat out saying they're in love — even if not traditionally, then to some degree.
    • Crime Magnet Anthony Dimmond flirts with Hannibal in the course of their short-lived acquaintance, and at some point asks Hannibal and Bedelia if they'd like to have a threesome, as he finds them both very interesting.
  • Bittersweet Ending: To the series. Dolarhyde is killed by Will and Hannibal. Will and Hannibal finally make amends by killing together, only for Will to end their embrace by hurling them both hundreds of feet down into the ocean. Chilton is alive but horribly injured. Jack is alive but completely alone. Alana and Margot flee the country with their son, presumably waiting for their promised visit from Hannibal. Bedelia is last seen at a table set for three, drugged, terrified, and with her own cooked leg served on a platter. However, Hannibal and Will have basically been confirmed to be alive and on the run together, and, neither Fuller nor the principal actors have ruled out the possibility of some future continuation of the story.
  • Black and Gray Morality: No one's really innocent and everyone has unexpected facets. The titular Villain Protagonist is The Corrupter as well as a cannibal, but he's acted against people who are arguably worse than he is. The other protagonist Will Graham has crossed many moral lines in pursuing/cozying up to Hannibal in an attempt to entrap him. The show's morality is so complex that two of the sleaziest characters from Season 1 — Dr. Frederick Chilton and Freddie Lounds — have heroic moments in Season 2.
  • Black Comedy: Par for the course for a show by Bryan Fuller. Most of the show is pretty grim, but there are moments of weird, twisted levity.
  • Black Comedy Cannibalism: The cannibalistic subtext in some of Hannibal's lines has a twisted sort of humor.
    • "Sorbet" takes it up to eleven in its final scene: Hannibal serves his immaculately prepared victims to his "friends" as they applaud him.
    • In "Tome-wan", a drugged-out Mason Verger eats his own nose and pleasantly remarks that it tastes like chicken gizzard.
    • Four words: "You slice the ginger."
  • "Blackmail" is Such an Ugly Word: From "Potage":
    Hannibal: I'll keep your secret.
    Abigail: And I'll keep yours.
  • The Blank: Used to chilling effect in "Buffet Froid" to represent one character's face-blindness.
  • Blatant Lies: Delivered by Mason Verger (newly disfigured and handicapped thanks to Hannibal) to Jack, in order to avoid implicating Hannibal, near the end of "Tome-wan".
    Jack: Do you find that Dr. Lecter's therapy has been helpful to you?
    Mason: I've benefitted greatly from Dr. Lecter's therapy. I'm still benefiting from it. I will always be grateful for how he's helped me. I only hope that I may repay him one day.
  • Blue and Orange Morality:
    • Hannibal considers killing someone for being rude fair retribution, and isn't completely devoid of a moral code, it's simply his own twisted version that doesn't follow society's conventions about morality.
    • Will also exhibits signs of this as his character development progresses. While a part of him tries to retain a conventional morality, another part pulls him towards a more personal moral code. For example, it becomes more and more acceptable to him that another person suffer if he thinks they deserve it (like Mason, or Bedelia and Chilton). At the same time, he forgave Hannibal after he killed Abigail and cut Will open, he doesn't seem to think Hannibal deserves to suffer, and accepts him unconditionally even though he's a serial killer and a cannibal — which for conventional morality wouldn't make sense. The fact that his criteria for who deserves pain are so personal is actually one of the things that make Will all the more dangerous and unpredictable.
  • Body Horror: Hooo boy...
    • The victims of the killer from "Amuse-Bouche". They have mushrooms growing out of their bodies, and are slowly being absorbed into the soil where they are buried. Beverly gently peels tape off the mouth of one of them. His lips slough off along with it. Then the man gasps, showing he's still alive. He dies shortly afterward, on the way to the hospital.
    • The "Angel Maker" in "Coquilles" transforms his victims by flaying their backs and raising the flaps of skin into the shape of wings. Oh, and thanks to a paralytic agent, at least one of the victims was alive for about fifteen minutes after she was skinned.
    • Almost all of "Fromage" qualifies. First, the killer literally played his victim's vocal cords, and then we find out he's making instrumental strings out of human organs to sell to the public, and the BALTIMORE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA.
    • The "totem pole" from "Trou Normand". Dear god, the "totem pole". Three guesses what it's made of.
    • The Glasgow smiles that the killer carves into the victims in "Buffet Froid". They are not technically Glasgow smiles — if they had, it would have been substantially less horrifying.
    • In "Rôti", we have two cases; a "Colombian Necktie" and Dr. Chilton having several of his organs removed while still conscious, both courtesy of Dr. Gideon and Hannibal in the second of the former cases.
    • Season 2 premiere "Kaiseki" has a killer who injects victims with silicone, stitches them in position, and coats their skin in resin in the name of preserving them like statues. The episode's victim wakes in a pit of similar corpses and unable to move without tearing his glued and stitched skin.
    • "Takiawase" has a woman hammering merrily into the eye sockets of a man while he is alive and apparently paralysed. This man is then injected with bee venom which makes his face swell horribly. And that's not even the worst part: another of her victims was merged with a bee hive, with an impressive sequence showing bees flying through the body.
    • In "Mukōzuke", we find out what happened to Beverly Katz, and it's so awful that everyone who sees it is visibly horrified: she was sliced vertically and preserved between panes of glass, like a museum exhibit.
    • Dear God, the "Tree Man" in "Futamono" is a special kind of horror. Nothing says graphic like being eviscerated alive, being stuck into a tree that is still growing, and then having most of your organs replaced with flower bouquets.
    • "Su-zakana" might mark a new high on Body Horror in this show: there is a victim that is inserted into a dead horse's womb via a Caesarean section. In one case, the victim is still alive. Then again, the series has a penchant for these kind of graphic arrangements, so this standard will likely be surpassed.
    • In "Ko No Mono", Mason has his sister Margot forcibly sterilized by having her reproductive organs removed after bribing a doctor to claim it was medically necessary.
    • Direct from the novel Hannibal, "Tome-wan" gives us Mason blissfully cutting off bits of his own face to feed to the dogs thanks to Hannibal's drug cocktail, then having his neck broken. It's especially notable in that neither the book nor The Film of the Book depict the scene in as much graphic detail as the show.
    • The folded-corpse-heart-origami-headless-wendigo of "Primavera" qualifies.
    • Mason's rather graphic face reconstruction surgery in "Aperitivo".
    • In "Digestivo", Cordell threatens to cut Will's face off without anesthesia. Followed by a sequence that implies this is actually happening... turns out it's Hannibal cutting Cordell's face off. And then he puts it on Mason.
    • Arguably, Dolarhyde's journey into the Red Dragon is an inversion of this trope. Having grown up with an exaggerated sense of his own deformity (a cleft lip) in the midst of death (his grandmother and the nursing home she ran), Dolarhyde creates body horror where there is none. Looking at his hands, he realizes he is aging and activates the Dragon as a defense mechanism against his fear of his body decaying.
    • In the penultimate episode of season 3, Dolarhyde bites Chilton's lips off and sets him on fire.
  • Body Motifs: Eyes, mouths/tongues, and ears. Will is heavily associated with eye imagery because he sees, and Hannibal with mouths for the obvious reason and because he manipulates people through speech both in his profession and out. It's also not coincidental that all the motifs are related to the senses.
  • Bookends:
    • In "Relevés", Abigail is apparently killed in the same spot where she almost bled to death in the first episode.
    • In the "Savoureux", Will falls on the same spot that Garrett Jacob Hobbs did after Jack shoots him (non-fatally) and stares at Hannibal as he says, "See?"
    • The Season 2 finale, "Mizumono", has two, both referencing "Aperitif". Firstly, Will calls Hannibal and only says "They know," just as Hannibal did for Hobbes. Secondly, as Abigail's mother figure (before her mother, now Alana) lies horrifically wounded on the front porch, Abigail's father figure (before her father, now Hannibal) cuts Abigail's throat in the kitchen as Will can only watch helplessly. Before Hannibal saved Abigail's life, now he undoes his rescue as Will again tries to hold her wound closed and is unable to.
    • The very first scene of the show has an Early-Bird Cameo by Francis Dolarhyde, who (as Bryan Fuller confirmed) committed the murder Will is investigating. The second half of the final season is centred around actually hunting and arresting Dolarhyde in fitting with the Red Dragon storyline.
    • The first and last episodes of Season 3 feature someone eating their own legs.
  • Break the Cutie: Everything that happens to Abigail Hobbs after she wakes up only seems to drive her closer to, at the very least, mental instability.
    • Will is constantly pushed to use his empathy to find serial killers, and it is slowly eroding his mental state. Hannibal is... not helping.
  • Break Them by Talking: Lawrence Wells happily surrenders because his murders are his only legacy (no children) and prison would be luxury compared to the retirement he could afford. Then Jack and Will tell him that he actually did have a child, a son that was his last victim, who was hidden from him because, Will suggests, his lover could see what kind of person Lawrence really was. By the end of that scene he's looking a lot less smug.
  • Bridal Carry: The mighty impractical way Hannibal carries an unconscious Will out of Muskrat Farm. Notably, a reference to the movies and novels' canon, where Hannibal carries an injured Clarice this way out of the same place.
  • Butt Monkey: Dr. Chilton, and how. This poor guy gets surgically disemboweled in Season 1, framed for an appalling series of murders and shot in the face in Season 2, and, after finally landing on his feet with a book deal and facial reconstruction surgery, is kidnapped by a serial killer who bites his lips off and immolates him from head to toe in Season 3. He may have some Jerk Ass tendencies, but he definitely needs a break.
  • California Doubling: Takes place mostly on the east coast of the United States, but is filmed in Canada.
  • Call Back:
    • In "Su-zakana", Will refers back to the page quote from Season 1, telling Hannibal he no longer wants to kill him. "Not now that I finally find you interesting."
    • "They know". Two different people warning serial killers that the authorities are coming for them in "Apéritif" and "Mizumono".
    • In "Dolce", Will's mocking "I don't believe you" to Bedelia calls back to Bedelia telling Will "I believe you" in Season 2.
    • Hannibal's "See?" at the end of "The Wrath of the Lamb" and Hobbs' "See?" in the very first episode of the show.
  • Call Forward:
    • Dr. Alana Bloom, psychologist and friend to Will Graham, has to take over his crime class for FBI cadets when Will is too distressed to teach it. We hear part of her lecture before she is interrupted, which is about how to investigate crimes involving bites, bringing to mind Francis Dolarhyde in Red Dragon.
    • Also, Will and Hannibal are talking in his Hannibal's office as Will absently peruses Hannibal's library. In Red Dragon, it's one of Hannibal's books that leads to Will discovering his secret.
    • Hannibal's comments on Will's aftershave ("It smells like it has a boat on the bottle." / "I keep getting it for Christmas.") in "Coquilles" are a reference to Red Dragon, where he is able to use the smell of Will's aftershave (among other clues) to track down his home address.
    • Hannibal is implied to have manipulated a patient into not only attacking Bedelia but also swallowing his own tongue before he could kill her. In The Silence of the Lambs, he talks the man in the next cell into swallowing his tongue, in retaliation for insulting Clarice.
    • In the final scene of Season 1, Will and Hannibal are in the opposite positions as in Red Dragon.
    • In the scene where Frederick Chilton attends a dinner at Hannibal's house, Hannibal remarks that it's nice to "have an old friend for dinner", paraphrasing the final line of The Silence of the Lambs.
    • In "Sorbet", Hannibal comments on Beverly's "educational" tip on how to track the ambulance's GPS, alluding to his escape from custody in an ambulance in The Silence of the Lambs.
    • The killer in "Kaiseki" has a hell of a lot in common with Buffalo Bill — an aesthetic interest in his victims' skin, abduction methods involving vehicles right outside their apartments, and a penchant for dumping bodies in the river.
    • A lot of the advertising for Season 2 featured Will in a face mask similar to Hannibal's famous one, and "Mukōzuke" sees him similarly outfitted — face mask, straitjacket, strapped to a wheelie cart — so that he can visit Beverly's crime scene. Likewise, the orderly's warning to Freddie — "Do not accept anything he gives you..." is word-for-word Chilton's warning to Clarice on her first trip to see Hannibal.
    • When Jack rings Hannibal's doorbell early in the morning, he remarks that the last person to be that rude was a census taker, referencing the infamous "fava beans and chianti" bit.
    • "Mizumono" ends Season 2 like the intro of Red Dragon, as Will is surprised by Hannibal, who almost kills him by slashing his belly with a linoleum knife, forcing Will to stop his insides from falling out.
  • Camera Abuse: When Will gets into the mind of Garrett Jacob Hobbs and hallucinates slitting Abigail's throat, her blood flies everywhere, spattering the camera lens.
  • Cannibal Larder: Hannibal is shown to keep the organs of the people he kills stored in his freezer for later use. An unusually-tidy example.
  • Canon Foreigner: Several, as the Adaptation Expansion leaves lots of undefined ground to cover and requires people to fill it: every killer after Garrett Jacob Hobbs, Dr. Du Maurier, Dr. Sutcliffe, Mrs. Komeda, Miriam Lass...
  • Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them: Will can't live with Hannibal, and he can't live without him.
  • Captain Ersatz: Since the show doesn't have the rights to characters introduced in The Silence of the Lambs, several of these are used:
    • Miriam Lass, for Clarice Starling. She's a plucky young FBI trainee hand-picked by Crawford to help in the hunt for a notorious serial killer.
    • Franklyn Froidevaux, Hannibal's obsessive and annoying patient, and his close male "friend" Tobias Budge are Ersatzes for Benjamin Raspail and Jame Gumb. While the former remains faithful to the book character (up to and including being dispatched by Hannibal), Budge wound up being very different.
    • Kade Prurnell, an official from the office of the Inspector-General, for Paul Krendler.
  • Cardiovascular Love: No, literally. Hannibal makes a sophisticated, anatomically correct heart origami out of a Vitruvian Man illustration, and also he actually goes and shapes a corpse into a human-sized anatomically correct heart for Will.
  • Catapult Nightmare:
    • Will suffers from one in "Apéritif", after reliving the nature of the crimes he had been profiling. He wakes up rather violently from another such dream in "Potage", soaked in sweat. His dreams get steadily worse and his awakenings more troubled.
    • In "Trou Normand", both Will and Abigail have them as their sanity gets steadily frailer.
  • Character Focus: Will Graham is the protagonist and the series tracks his character arc most prominently. Usually an episode will further his development (or degeneration) and examine different aspects of his personality — his mental state, his impoverished background, his fears, his romantic feelings for Alana, his developing trust in Hannibal and his paternal instincts towards Abigail. However, some episodes bring other characters into the spotlight in addition to Will. Their moments in the sun parallel Will's arc, probably deliberately.
    • "Potage" and "Trou Normand" focus on Abigail and her continuing struggle with the aftermath of her father's crimes.
    • "Sorbet" and "Fromage" focus on Hannibal realizing he is lonely and solidifying his attachment to Will.
    • "Entrée" and "Coquilles" focus on Jack, his reasons for pursuing the Chesapeake Ripper so intently, and a personal crisis closer to home.
    • "Rôti" focuses on Gideon's revenge against his psychiatrists for "scrambling" his identity, including Dr. Chilton who convinced Gideon that he's the Chesapeake Ripper.
    • "Antipasto" focuses on Hannibal and Bedelia and is the only episode where Will doesn't even appear.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The fishing lure we see Hannibal examine in "Œuf" initially seems just a detail to make him look creepy. But in the first season finale, "Savoureux", the lures are used to frame Will for Hannibal's murders; traces of his victims were found on the lures, as if Will had been keeping them as trophies.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Will's empathy abilities have a more practical use when he's framed and arrested as the Copycat Killer; recalling his reconstruction of Dr. Gideon's escape, he dislocates his thumb to slip off his handcuffs and escape custody.
  • The Chessmaster: While seemingly evident, Hannibal is truly revealed as this in "Yakimono". The discovery that Miriam has been brainwashed during her extended captivity means Will realizes the Ripper has planned everything up to Chilton's framing for years.
    Will: I planted the seeds and watched them grow. I cultivated a long chain of events leading to this. All of this... has been my design. It's theater.
  • Children Forced to Kill: The reason the fourth episode, "Œuf", was yanked from the schedule was because the killer of the week brainwashed children into killing their families. Bryan Fuller felt that it was Too Soon after certain events. Luckily, it wasn't cut from international broadcasts, and made available later.
  • Christmas Episode : Albeit a grim one, "Œuf" takes place at Christmas time.
  • Combat Pragmatist: A staple in every fight in the series.
    • Hannibal isn't above playing dirty in his occasional scuffle, what with the risk he's at if he's caught. In "Fromage", he even snaps Tobias' elbow in a ladder before budgeoning him with a statue, and in "Takiawase" he flips off the lights so he can throttle Beverly.
    • In the fight between Jack and Hannibal in Season 2, kitchen knives, dishclothes, shards of glass, pans, and a fridge door are all used as weapons by the two combatants.
    • Used to its logical extent by Jack when fighting Hannibal in Italy. He sneaks up on his foe after taking off his shoes and playing covering music, disarms him, throws him through two glass cabinets, maims him with a meat hook, and then keeps his enemy on the ground while he repeatedly punches him in the face. His victim only has the chance to throw one decent blow, and it misses.
  • Contagious Cassandra Truth: Hits no less than five characters in Season 2 as Will slowly begins to convince people of Hannibal's true nature:
    • "Sakizuki" has first is Bedelia du Maurier, who is correctly scared shitless of Hannibal and skips town.
    • Second is in "Takiawase" with Beverly Katz, who gets murdered by Hannibal.
    • "Yakimono" has Chilton, whose dawning realization prompts Hannibal to set in motion the Frame-Up of Chilton he'd been plotting for two years.
    • "Kō No Mono" has two with Jack confirmed as in the loop with Will, and also has Alana finally believe him when she sees Freddie.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The episode "Entrée" has a few notible examples, as it transfers some events, descriptions and dialogue from Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs, such as Chilton's description of Hannibal, Clarice Starling's characterisation, and the circumstances of how Hannibal was discovered to be the Chesapeake Ripper.
    • "Su-zakana" has two major instances: the bird found inside the victim is a starling, and Hannibal being seen comforting a lamb during one shot.
    • In "Kō No Mono", the birds in Hannibal's opening meal are ortolans, an endangered delicacy that act as a key Chekhov's Gun in Hannibal Rising.
    • In "Digestivo" there's even Lecter drawing a parallel between stable elements and Chiyoh, with him telling her she'd fall "between iron and silver" the same way he does to Clarice in the books.
  • Continuity Reboot: The show isn't a prequel to the films, but an adaptation of Red Dragon that exists in its own continuity and makes changes to some of the characters and events (i.e. Freddie Lounds is now a woman named Fredricka).
    • Bryan Fuller's original plan was to include book villain Mason Verger in the second season, directly adapt Red Dragon in Season 4 and do The Silence of the Lambs in Season 5. Instead, Fuller opted to move his adaptation of "Red Dragon" up to the second half of Season 3 — which also includes adapted material from Hannibal and Hannibal Rising. NBC's dropping of the series in June 2015 rendered discussion of future season plans moot.
  • Cop and Scientist: With Will the cop (or, rather, FBI, but it's close) and Hannibal the scientist.
  • Cradling Your Kill: In "Entrée", Hannibal nuzzles and kisses the top of the head of a victim he's suffocating, almost like a parent kissing a child goodnight.
  • The Croc Is Ticking: Awful scratching, irregular drumming, and an awful buzzing noise — along with the drone of an aboriginal instrument called a bullroarer — always foretell the appearance of the feathered stag in Will's hallucinations, which alludes to the fact that a sinister evil is stalking Will. In Season 2, this carries over to the wendigo.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Inverted in "Mukozuke", in that it's actually Hannibal with his arms outstretched (and also his forearms slashed nearly to the bone, and a noose around his neck.)
  • Cruel Mercy:
    • In "Takiawase," after Hannibal promises to assist Bella in committing suicide at her request and momentarily allows her to drift into a painless death, he flips a coin and decides to revive her, prompting an angry response from his patient. Later in the season, her health is shown to have deteriorated considerably.
    • Also the case for Clark Ingram, Peter's social worker, who the latter opted to knock out and stuff alive into a horse's uterus rather than kill him in "Su-zakana."
  • Cry into Chest:
    • Abigail cries into Hannibal's chest in "Trou Normand" after revealing that she helped her father lure out his victims.
    • An especially emotional version of this happens in the Season 3 finale. Will isn't crying per se, but he still lays his head on Hannibal's chest, overwhelmed after killing Dolarhyde with him and seeking comfort from his beloved.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Jack versus Hannibal round 2. Hannibal doesn't even land a hit, and is forced to hobble away with serious wounds, and only survived due to luck.

    D-G 
  • Darker and Edgier: Most of Bryan Fuller's shows are black comedies concerned with death, but Dead Like Me and Pushing Daisies balanced the dark and the whimsical (the latter being unafraid to cross over into cutesy), whereas Hannibal tips the balance far in favor of dark. Minus the whimsy, the humor is more of the "what the hell did I just laugh at?" variety.
  • Deadly Pharmacist: The Gardener induces his "fertilizers" into diabetic comas. It turns out that he's a pharmacist who selects diabetics who come to pick up their medicine.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • In Season 1's finale, "Savoureux", Abigail Hobbs dies despite surviving in the books. Subverted in Season 2, but, in the Season 2 finale, "Mizumono", this happens to Abigail again as, despite being revealed as alive, she is fatally wounded. Subverted again in Season 3's second episode, "Primavera", as it is revealed she in fact survived the attack, only to be un-subverted at the end of the same episode when it was revealed she was just a figment of Will's imagination. It adds a whole new, heartbreaking meaning to Will's claim in Red Dragon that he had "been to visit her."
    • Beverly Katz appears in Red Dragon, but is killed long before those events play out in this version.
  • Death Is the Only Option: The only one Will sees after admitting he loved the brutal pack hunting he just did with Hannibal.
  • Decomposite Character: As the rights to Clarice Starling are held by MGM, her character is split into two. Clarice's role as Jack's young protege is taken over by new character Miriam Lass while Clarice's complicated relationship with Hannibal is given to Alana and Will.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: A theme in "Futamono" is a deconstruction of the third act of a psychological thriller, and "Shiizakana" is a deconstruction of the slasher movie.
    • The first season could arguably be seen as a deconstruction of Hannibal's Draco in Leather Pants status in popular culture, through Bait the Dog. Hopkins' adaptations in particular often made Hannibal sympathetic through his Affably Evil nature, and the fact that many of his victims were Asshole Victims. While this Hannibal has these traits to an extent, the show slowly draws attention to the more selfish motives behind his crimes, and doesn't shy away from or downplay how his actions end up affecting good, genuinely decent people, like Will.
  • Deliberately Monochrome:
    • The flashbacks depicting Jack and Miriam Lass in "Entrée" come close, being heavily desaturated — but some color, most noticeably red (as in blood), is still discernible.
    • Also the flashback scene at the end of "Trou Normand" where it shows that Abigail did indeed help her father murder those girls by acting as bait.
    • In "Antipasto", the same color scheme is used during flashbacks between Hannibal and Abel Gideon.
  • Dénouement: Season 2 continues to tie up several points from the previous season, such as in "Takiawase", where Will's degrading health is finally explained; he remembers Hannibal controlling him by encouraging his encephalitis, and by making him photosensitive (to give him seizures).
    • Season 3 does the same for Season 2, with the first half being dedicated to resolving the plot points introduced in "Tome-wan" and "Mizumono".
  • Depraved Bisexual: Mason Verger qualifies, but given that he's far from the only major bi character (Alana is currently in a same-sex relationship and Word of God has stated that Hannibal is interested in "all aspects of the human experience"), the unfortunate implications of the trope are pretty well averted.
  • Diagonal Billing: Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen are given equal billing in the opening credits, with their names alternating positions from episode to episode.
  • Disapproving Look: In "Takiawase", this reaction occurs among a number of others as Jack and his team discover just how much of a nutcase the episode's killer is.
    Pimm: I protected these people. I protected them from hopelessness... and that's beautiful. (grins)
    Jack: (stares)
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Hannibal shoves a long, thin object down Will's throat to force him to do something against his will, for which he will be blamed afterwards. Will even has a traumatic flashback to it later, which makes it seem extremely similar to a situation of Rape as Drama.
    • Will's methods for dealing with Hannibal in the second season are essentially seduction. "You gotta make [a fish not interested in the bait] bite, even though he's not hungry. [...] You have to create a reality where only you and the fish exist. Your lure is the one thing he wants, despite everything he knows." He in turn plays up his vulnerability and his twistedness to appeal to Hannibal and keep him interested.
      • "Tome-wan" confirms this: Will and Jack openly discuss capturing Hannibal, and Will reassures Jack that he's "a pretty good fisherman".
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Reba, like many blind people, doesn't want any pity, and tells this to Dolarhyde in no uncertain terms when they first meet. Dolarhyde, who's very sensitive about his cleft palate scars, seems to appreciate this attitude.
  • Doomed by Canon:
    • As a prequel series, this is to be expected. Note, however, that the setting means they're probably worse off alive; a prime example of this is in "Rôti", as Chilton is required to survive and remain a recurring antagonist, which means he's found semi-conscious and partially eviscerated instead of dying at Gideon's hands.
    • Also subverted on occasion, with book and film characters (albeit not the starring ones) occasionally dying. Especially notable in Season 2 is Beverly Katz, who acted as a forensicist during the events of the Red Dragon novel. Later on, during the series' adaptation of Red Dragon, Chilton is set ablaze in a wheelchair instead of Freddie Lounds.
    • The canon also gives us Mason Verger's ultimate fate.
    • Inspector Pazzi. We know he's doomed from his first appearance.
    • Dolarhyde doesn't survive Season 3, though the circumstances of his death are different.
  • Double Entendre: Mostly of cannibal variety.
    Hannibal: Next time bring your wife. I'd love to have you both for dinner.
    • Season 3 expands this by sexual innuendos:
    Bedelia: My husband has a very sophisticated palate. He's very particular about how I taste.
    Dimmond: Is it that kind of party?
    • This gem later in the season:
    Hannibal: You've come to wag your finger?
    Alana: I love a good finger wagging.
    Hannibal: Yes you do. *beat* How is Margot?
  • Dramatic Irony: The audience knows that Hannibal is a cannibalistic serial killer, but none of the other characters do - yet.
    • In "Potage", Will gives his FBI Academy students a lecture on the Minnesota Shrike copycat murder, which he believes was committed by a far more dangerous and sadistic killer who'll be harder to catch. Naturally, Hannibal drops in for the last few minutes and watches keenly.
    • In the same episode, Abigail wants to recreate the morning of her parents' deaths, telling Alana "You can be my mom," and Will "You can be my dad," before turning to Hannibal and saying, "And you be the man on the phone!" Hannibal, of course, did call Garrett Jacob Hobbs to warn him that he was about to be discovered as the Minnesota Shrike. And in a strange way, Will did "become" her father using his gift of empathy.
    • In "Kaiseki", the episode opens with a Flash Forward to Jack attacking and fighting Hannibal, which ends with Hannibal seriously wounding Jack and pursuing him. Returning to the present, the duo then proceeds to enjoy lunch together and discussing Will's guilt, which will presumably cause their fight in twelve weeks.
  • Driven to Suicide: Season 2 has Bella Crawford, not that it works. Only Hannibal could make saving someone's life an act of such evil.
  • Dull Surprise: Hannibal's reaction to Mason casually stabbing his office furniture in "Tome-wan." Given Hannibal's usual stoicism, however, this particular use of the trope rather effectively conveys his revulsion.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Yeah, these people have issues. Most are FBI agents, which means regular exposure to the worst of humanity. A couple are psychiatrists, which has its own special neuroses as a profession. The rest are victims or killers. And then there's Will. The cannibalistic serial killer is probably the most together one of the bunch.
    Freddie: Here we are, a bunch of psychopaths helping each other out.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Expected for a prequel series. Bryan Fuller has confirmed that this even overlaps with minor details, such as a serial killer lecture Alana gives in the first series matching Francis Dolarhyde's modus operandi. invoked
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Alana and Margot decidedly came out on top, despite the final season being full of hints that Hannibal would kill them both.
  • Embodiment of Vice: The Wendigo, which the stag turns out to be, is traditionally an embodiment of gluttony/greed. Hannibal is also somewhat obviously an embodiment of pride, given his noticeable displays of various forms of superiority to other characters and constantly flashy attire.
    • Mason is essentially the anti-Hannibal, in that he's equally murderous but lacks Hannibal's twisted code of honor. Rather than committing evil deeds based on Blue and Orange Morality, he does what he does out of a sheer delight in the suffering of others.
  • The Empath: A non-supernatural version (to a degree; the ability is exaggerated to the point of being a super power) — the "pure empathy" that Hannibal describes in him leads Will to uncannily accurate crime scene readings. It also really sucks for him, as the impressions he gets of the killers linger in his nightmares and gradually change his personality.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • In "Entrée", Jack gets the help of Freddie Lounds to try to provoke the Ripper into action.
    • Season 2 has Will and Hannibal (albeit grudgingly for the former) vs. Mason Verger.
    • Season 3 features Alana teaming up with Mason Verger to capture Hannibal, then later assisting Hannibal in order to stop Mason from killing Will. In the series finale, Will and Hannibal also team up to kill the Red Dragon, although they're clearly allies by this point.
  • Erotic Eating: The scene where Will and Hannibal eat ortolans was shot to invoke oral sex.
  • Evil Is Petty: Mason constantly mocks Alana for her previous relationship with Hannibal, largely in the form of snide blowjob jokes.
  • Expy:
    • Dr. Abel Gideon is one for Hannibal, with many phrases from the book used about Hannibalex.  being used about him.
      • Much of Abel Gideon's character is a homage to Anthony Hopkins' portrayal of Hannibal Lecter. The name 'Gideon' is a reference to Hannibal's original name in the script for Silence of the Lambs before they knew they could use Hannibal's name due to rights issues.
      • In "Rôti", Gideon sits down across a table from Hannibal, demonstrating a clear contrast between the Anthony-Hopkins-like characterization adopted by Eddie Izzard as Gideon and Mads Mikkelsen's own take on Hannibal. The irony is palpable; Gideon has been made to believe he was the Chesapeake Ripper, so Izzard imitates the acting style of the original Chesapeake Ripper as played by Hopkins.
    • Miriam Lass, an eager-to-please and brilliant trainee under Jack, seems a clear-cut Clarice Call Forward; much of the dialogue between her and Crawford echoes that between Clarice and Crawford at the start of the film... with the twist reveal that she discovered Hannibal was the Ripper in the same way Will did from the books (with the diagram of Wound Man). She just didn't make it to a phone before Hannibal found her out too.
      • Miriam Lass is also this for Will Graham, of all people. The way she discovers the identity of the Chesapeake Ripper is the same way that Will Graham did in the novels.
    • Garrett Jacob Hobbs is clearly meant to be one of infamous Real Life Serial Killer Ed Gein, going by his hunting themes and desire to use all parts of his victims.
    • Between James Grey's method of abducting his victims, his value of their skin, and his similar name, he is very reminiscent of Jame Gumb.
    • Matthew Brown's a serial killer who occasionally slurs his speech with an obsession with an (alleged) serial killer already incarcerated and goes to kill someone under his direction. In other words, he seems to have been inspired by Francis Dolarhyde. ***He is also an orderly at Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane like Barney Matthews, whose name sounds similar.
      • However, despite some viewer speculation, it has been confirmed by the writers that Matthew is not the Red Dragon.
    • Franklyn Froidevaux has similarities to the book character Benjamin Raspail, one of Hannibal's patients who he killed for being whiny and annoying.
  • Eye Scream:
    • "Entrée" has Will put himself in the mind of a killer who gouged out a woman's eyes with his thumbs.
    • "Takiawase" continues the trend, with a killer who performs twisted lobotomies by sticking metal pins in people's eyes.
  • Fan Disservice: It's a safe bet that whenever nudity shows up it'll be this, from a naked girl impaled on a stag's antlers to a mural of naked people stitched together (without pixellation, even).
    • On the subtler side there's Hannibal's scene in "Futamono" Talking in Bed the morning after with Alana, which in any other context would be sweet but, given who one party is, becomes nightmarish.
    • The general consensus among viewers is that most sex scenes in the show are uncomfortable to watch; particularly the long, drawn out fivesome in "Naka-Choko," despite most of the participants being quite attractive. This is quite deliberate, given that one participant is a serial killer and another is only there so she can get pregnant to escape her insane brother. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Festering Fungus: Invoked by the pharmacist who grew mushrooms in the bodies of the diabetic victims he buried.
  • Fire/Water Juxtaposition: Hannibal and Will are associated (using scenery, favored environments, perception or their tools) with fire and water, respectively, which symbolizes their respective natures. Hannibal is often filmed in front of his fireplace, just loves flambé cooking (using alcohol on a hot pan to create a jet of flame to cook the food), describes Will's illness/madness — which he cultivates — with fire metaphors (such as oil spill), and has used fire as a murder weapon. He's brilliant and eye-catching, vital, loves life, but he's terribly destructive and changes whatever he touches; the deliberate Lucifer inspiration makes it all the stronger (since Lucifer means 'light-bringer', and is, of course, associated with hellfire). Will is a fisherman; sweats a lot; likes and repairs boats; is filmed in the shower; hallucinates rain, floods, trickles, waves and cliffs of ice (including one when he outright dissolved in water); and retreats to a serene mental river in Season 2. His empathic gift means he takes the shape of others like water in a vessel, and he can seem deceptively dreary and cold, as well as easily "diluted" and diverted, subject to constant change and motion — always from without. Someone can't touch him without changing him. That doesn't mean he's not dangerous, too, in his own way. Fittingly, he kills Hannibal with water.
    • In "Mukōzuke", where was Hannibal nearly killed on Will's request? At a swimming pool. The episode also had the repeated symbolism of water with blood seeping into it.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Foil: Similar to the books, Will and Hannibal are foils of each other.
    • As of "Sakizuki", Bedelia seems to be the good counterpart to Hannibal's "intelligent psychiatrist" role, especially so when she becomes the first character to outsmart and evade him.
  • Flash Forward: The Cold Open for the Season 2 premiere, "Kaiseki", is a brutal fight between Hannibal and Jack that ends on a cliffhanger; no context is given, and we immediately jump back 12 weeks to a Jack and Hannibal sharing a friendly meal together.
  • Food Porn: Hannibal prefers to cook his own meals, even the conventional ones, and he's a gourmet-level chef (detailed here). Hence, all the food we see him prepare looks utterly delicious, be it roast "beef", "sausage" and egg, or human lungs. It's subtly yet potently suggested that any time Hannibal serves any guest any kind of meat, it's human. It's essentially Food Porn Fan Disservice — the fact that it all looks so damned mouth-watering despite this makes everyone in the audience feel like they're Humanitarians by proxy.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in "Sorbet", in which Hannibal throws a fancy dinner party and the camera pans up the table, showing how it's laden with terrifyingly delicious-looking human organ meats, before finally showing Hannibal give a short but sweet speech:
      Hannibal: Before we begin eating, you must all be warned: Nothing here... is vegetarian. Bon appétit.
    • Even Hannibal's storage of wine and beer are made with human parts.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • At some point — maybe not in the series itself, but inevitably — Hannibal will be exposed as a serial killer by Will and imprisoned in Chilton's asylum, and and Will would be forced to retire from the FBI.
    • According to early interviews, Fuller has roughed out several years worth of plot, calling Season 1 the "bromance" between Hannibal and Will, and Season 2 "the ugly breakup", while Season 4 is "basically Red Dragon", which in turn might possibly feature Freddie Lounds' death, if they plan to kill her off in the series.
    • A more minor example, independent from the books, is the flash-forward at the beginning of Season 2, which confirms that neither Hannibal nor Jack will be meeting their demise in the interim.
    • The fate of Mason Verger is essentially true to the book version.
  • Forced to Watch: Dr. Gideon not only performs a local anesthetic vivisection on Chilton (i.e. gutting him whilst he's semi-conscious), but he kidnaps Freddie and forces her to watch and manually keep Chilton breathing.
  • Frame-Up: Hannibal does this a few times throughout the series. Season 1 ends with Will imprisoned in the Baltimore State Hospital for Hannibal's killings, and in "Yakimono" Chilton finds himself the target of the Chesapeake Ripper manhunt after Hannibal leaves the corpse of Abel Gideon and a few FBI agents at his house.
  • Freak Out: In "Trou Normand", Will has a borderline panic attack when he suddenly finds himself in Hannibal's office, having no memory of how he got there, and having lost at least three hours. This is not helped by his discovery the next day that he was apparently acting completely normal during his black-out, to the point that Crawford didn't notice anything at all different about him, meaning that presumably he gave a summation of what he saw, helped build the profile and innocuously took his leave without acting unusually in any way — or, at least, any more unusually than Will tends to act at crime scenes.
  • Full-Name Basis: Will Graham, Jack Crawford, Garret Jacob Hobbs, Alana Bloom... every character but Hannibal usually gets this treatment.
  • Garden of Evil: One killer has a garden out in the forest where he grows mushrooms on the bodies of people he's induced into diabetic comas.
  • Gaslighting:
    • In "Buffet Froid", we find out that Will has encephalitis, so at least some of his issues are due to physical problems with his brain, not just psychological ones. Hannibal makes sure he doesn't find out, and continues to lie to him about what's real and what isn't, so he can push Will further.
    • Neal Frank realized that Hannibal was also doing the same to him and cut off their patient-therapist relationship. Hannibal sends him to Bedelia instead, and Bedelia recommends the same treatment to him. An upset Neal starts choking and dies.
  • Gender Flip: Freddy Lounds and Alan Bloom, both male from the books, are now Fredricka "Freddie" Lounds and Alana Bloom.
  • Genius Bruiser: Hannibal Lecter.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • The painting in Hannibal's dining room is Leda and the Swan by François Boucher. It depicts the mortal woman Leda and the god Zeus, who has taken the form of a swan to do what Zeus always does with mortal women. Check out the painting online. The show depicted it totally uncensored. This may well be the first time nudity of that level (not to mention the blatant swan-placement) has slipped by the censors on one of the Big Three networks. By the second season, it pinged the radar, so Leda's now draped in cloth and the swan's head is elsewhere. Still, it sure took them a while.
    • Interestingly, it was straight up subverted for the scene of Mason Verger slicing off his own face. Rather than argue with the network over what could or could not be shown, before filming the episode Fuller went to the censors, laid out exactly what the scene involved and asked straight-out how it could be depicted. They told him "Darkness is your friend." The result is in "Tome-wan."
  • Gilligan Cut:
    • When discussing organ harvesting as a possible motive for the organ removal of murder victims. Missing intestines prompt Zeller to suggest looking for someone with a short bowel, "or the Ripper's making sausages." Cut to Hannibal in the kitchen making sausage.
    • Alana suggests that Will needs a fool to help him in his plan to catch Dolarhyde. Cut to Chilton.
  • Glasgow Grin: Georgia Madchen inflicts this on her victims, and Hannibal performs a rather elaborate variation on Mason Verger.
  • A Glass of Chianti: When Alana visits Hannibal's office, she requests a beer. He provides it (in a special variety he brews in wine barrels to give it certain subtle flavors), but for himself pours a glass of wine. Red, naturally.
  • A God Am I: Jack seems to enjoy Hannibal comparing him to God just a little too much in "The Number of the Beast is 666." Possibly a result of the Sanity Slippage that nearly every major character has experienced over the course of the series.
  • God Is Evil: Discussed. This is Hannibal's view: "Killing must feel good to God too-he does it all the time."
    • Later, he speculates whether, if God exists, his killing people could actually be called "good" or "evil".
    • In "Ko no Mono" Hannibal also states that his own "modest actions" pale in comparison with God's.
    • Discussed once again in "Tome-wan", where Hannibal speculates that to God innocence is offensive, thereby explaining the suffering of innocents.
  • Gorn: Many of the killers leave their victims in states that you just can't look away from. And then there's Hannibal in the kitchen...
  • GPS Evidence: In "Sakizuki", after finding corn residue caught in the cracked resin on the victim's skin, the FBI — and Hannibal, separately — track the killer's hideout by simply traveling upstream until they find corn.
  • Green-Eyed Monster:
    • Will and Jack both think that if they act as if they believe that Abel Gideon is the Chesapeake Ripper, it will provoke the real one into proving them wrong. Hannibal's actions show that they're right; even though he is most likely aware of the plan, it clearly infuriates him to see someone else take credit for his crimes.
    • It's insinuated in Season 2 that one of the reasons Hannibal is so obsessed with Will is that he's actually envious of Will's empathetic abilities.
    • As Will's and Hannibal's relationship grows more romantic in Season 3, they become jealous of each other's partners. Will behaves rather aggressively towards Bedelia, while Hannibal goes as far as try to get Will's family killed.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: Used to add unease when Hannibal is cooking — since Hannibal is infamous in real life for being a cannibal, gratuitous close-ups up are frequent when meat is being prepared.
    • Also used more frequently as of Season 2. The premier often uses a Notice This shot to draw attention, and this overlaps with dead bodies and even of Hannibal's cheek when he's being swabbed for DNA. Also done with Will remembering Hannibal setting him up, which comes with graphic shots inside of Will's esophagus.

    H-O 
  • Halfway Plot Switch: The first half of the third season revolves around the hunt for Hannibal in Italy (based upon the novel Hannibal). The second half jumps ahead a few years to the investigation of the Tooth Fairy (based on Red Dragon).
    • Also an example in the second season. The first half revolves around Will's attempt to be freed from prison and expose Hannibal, while the latter half focuses on both the Verger siblings, and Will's continued attempts to have Hannibal's crimes discovered.
  • Hallucinations:
    • Will suffers from them very often, such as in "Coquilles" when he has a conversation with the "Angel Maker", even though the man's just killed himself.
    • In "Sorbet", Jack has one of Will on a morgue table, looking like a corpse, complete with autopsy scar, and missing the same arm cut from Miriam Lass's body.
    • In "Fromage", Will repeatedly hallucinates hearing trapped or hurt animals, and in "Trou Normand" we see him lecturing to his class until Alana comes in and asks if he's rehearsing. He then realizes the room is empty.
    • Following this point, the hallucinations grow so frequent that there's no point listing individual examples.
  • Harassing Phone Call: Jack gets some in "Entrée". But instead of a voice being on the other line, it's a recording of Miriam Lass.
  • Hate Sink: In Season 1, Freddie Lounds. In Season 2, Mason Verger.
  • He Knows Too Much: Chilton, Bedelia, Will, Beverly, and Miriam.
  • Heroic Dog: Winston follows Will and tries to nudge him awake when he starts sleep walking. The second time, the dogs' barking woke him before he sleepwalked himself off his own roof. In a later episode, the dogs' worried grizzling wakes Will up and alerts him to the fact that Georgia Madchen is under his bed.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Yup. An extended Gag Reel is on the Season 1 DVD for those who wish to enjoy Mads Mikkelsen repeatedly failing to catch a potato.
  • Hired to Hunt Yourself: At one point Jack asks Hannibal if he would "Help (us) catch the Ripper," not knowing, of course, that Hannibal himself is the Chesapeake Ripper. Hannibal's response: "How could I refuse?"
  • Hope Spot:
    • In "Entrée", Jack describes hearing Miriam Lass' voice, which turns out to be a recording as being this for him, since for a moment he honestly believed she was still alive.
    • In Season 2's "Futamono", the above is subverted, where it is revealed that Miriam is alive.
    • In the first season finale, Alana discovers that Will is suffering from a neurological disorder he isn't aware of. It seems ripe for a Pulling The Thread storyline that will prove Will's innocence and perhaps expose Hannibal's malfeasance... but no, Hannibal effortlessly spins it to avoid all blame and reinforce the Frame-Up.
  • Hollywood Nerd: As seen in "Sorbet", Will has the torso musculature of a Greek god. He may be scruffy and his cold demeanor be off-putting, but that is one hot FBI profiler. Also applies to the other forensic lab rats, especially Beverly Katz and Brian Zeller.
  • How We Got Here: The first episode of Season 2, "Kaiseki", opens with Jack and Hannibal fighting, with Hannibal wounding Jack before it flashes back twelve weeks to the ending of the previous season.
  • Human Resources: Hannibal and other murderers are shown eating people beyond just carving them up, such as one killer who places victims in diabetic comas so to grow mushrooms on their decaying bodies. Heavily implied too when Hannibal is shown serving mushroom tea and beer, which is presumably made the same way.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Meta-example. Jack states that he first met Will at the opening of the "Evil Minds Research Museum". He says that Will didn't like the name because he felt "the title mythologised banal and cruel men who didn't deserve to be thought of as supervillains", even though Hannibal and many other killers on this show are portrayed exactly as that, as they are far more competent and dangerous than most Real Life serial killers and their murders are much more elaborate and even artistic.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Abigail's reaction when she remembers that her father let nothing from his hunts go to waste... so he would have fed his family meat from his victims.
    • Considering that people dining with Hannibal happens Once an Episode (and in "Sorbet", involves a roomful of one-percenters who rave about previous feasts), we seriously don't know how to DESCRIBE what the reaction to Hannibal's arrest will be; since the books only touch on this briefly,note  how this unfolds on screen has yet to be seen.
      Hannibal: Oh, but the feast is life. You put the life in your belly and you live.
    • Will has a rather restrained (but still horrifying) case in "Takiawase", when he realizes just what Hannibal's been doing with the trophies from his kills, flashing back to the "protein scramble" of homemade sausage and eggs that Hannibal served him back in the pilot.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Reflecting Hannibal's liking for fine food (and the rude), every episode title is based upon foods and culinary terms:
    • The first season episodes were French terms, listing out the various courses of an Haute-Cuisine dinner in order: "Apéritif" (the pilot), "Potage", "Œuf", "Entrée", etc.
    • The second season uses Japanese terms for its episode titles, such as "Kaiseki" (first episode, named after a formal, multicourse Japanese meal), and the rest of the season's episodes form a list of the 12 courses of a winter Kaiseki dinner: "Takiawase", "Yakimono", etc...
    • The third season uses the courses of a formal Italian dinner, based on where most of the season was set. The second half of the season is named after the four Great Red Dragon paintings by William Blake.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Dr. Hannibal Lecter, obviously. Also, the Minnesota Shrike, who displays Hannibal-like tendencies when he guts and removes the liver from one victim... then sews it back in when he notices it's cancerous because, as Will realizes through his gift, "There was something wrong with the meat."
    • Everyone who eats or drinks something that Hannibal puts in front of them — which is most of the cast by this point (even Will's dogs, who just love the doctor's homemade sausage).
  • Impersonating an Officer: Dolarhyde steals a police car, which enables him to approach the convoy transporting Hannibal without attracting attention. He then kills the officers and FBI agents escorting the prison van by shooting them through the cruiser's window.
  • Impossibly Delicious Food: Everyone who tastes Hannibal's cooking seems to love it, despite (or because of) the fact that his meals are — unbeknownst to them, of course — nearly always human flesh.
  • Improvised Weapon: Hannibal is a great fighter, and uses whatever is at hand, including the refrigerator door and his cooking apron.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: One of the Gardener's would-be victims in "Amuse-Bouche" is Gretchen Speck (she dropped the Horowitz in the divorce). She's even played by the same actress.
    • And in true Bryan Fuller fashion, Celebrity Paradox kicks in here, as Caroline Dhavernas is in both. As different people.
    • Ellen Muth shows up as a "Mulholland Drive type reinterpretation" of George from Dead Like Me. Her character, Georgia Madchen, last name translates roughly to "Lass", and she has Cotard's syndrome, believing she is dead but still existing in some form, like Georgia Lass in Dead Like Me.
      • George and Reggie's last name on Dead Like Me was Lass. A "Miriam Lass" shows up as one of Jack's proteges.
  • In Love with the Mark: What prevents Will from wanting Hannibal dead or captured at the end of Season 2, and Hannibal from killing Will after his betrayal in the same episode. Although at the time of the events the romance was still purely subtextual, by the time it's become textual at the end of Season 3 it's been made abundantly clear that this was the reason.
    • The same happens again at the end of Season 3 when neither Hannibal nor Will are capable of killing the other despite the fact that by doing so the killer might survive. Because they cannot do this, they end up in a scenario where they will likely both die when Will pushes them over the cliff together and Hannibal does nothing to stop him.
  • Internal Reveal: Unless someone had been completely isolated from popular entertainment for twenty years, it's no secret what Hannibal Lecter really is, and even if that were the case his special diet is revealed to the audience in the very first episode. Part of the drama is waiting to see how/when Will will discover it.
  • Ironic Echo: Will echoes his "I don't find you interesting" speech to Hannibal in Season 2:
    Will: I don't want to kill you anymore, Dr. Lecter. Not now that I finally find you interesting.
    • On returning to the Hobbs residence in "Savoureux", Will asks Hannibal if they're going to re-enact the crime, echoing Abigail's question from "Potage". Events indeed unfold like a re-enactment — the scene ends with Will fetched up in the corner of the kitchen, bleeding from a bullet wound, whispering Garrett Jacob Hobbs' haunting refrain: "See? See?"
    • Season 1's "Rôti" features Will's desperate, pleading "Please don't lie to me" to Hannibal, begging his friend to bring him back to reality as he slips into a seizure. Later, in Season 2's "Su-zakana", Will confronts Hannibal with "Don't. Lie. To. Me." in the midst of a therapy session, informing Hannibal that he won't put up with his continuing dishonesty.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Will goes from doing some morally ambiguous, but still understandable things, (such as trying to have Hannibal killed) to something unambiguously evil in the episode "Naka-Choko". He takes that much further during the course of Season 3 until in the end he gives fully into his murderous side: he brutally kills Dolarhyde side by side with Hannibal and he enjoys it, telling Hannibal what they just did is "beautiful".
  • Jury Duty: Beverly tries and fails to get out of it off-screen. During "Relevés", it causes her to be away during a major turn in the Chesapeake Ripper case, at a time when Will could really have used the support, before Jack finally gets her out of it.
  • Killed Offscreen: Abigail Hobbs in Season 1's "Relevés", then subverted, followed by Beverly Katz in Season 2's "Takiawase".
  • Kink Meme: Found here.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Season 2 introduces Mason Verger, who has spent a lifetime abusing his sister Margot, who depends on him for her money, up to and including forcing a hysterectomy on her and ensuring that the doctors leave a big scar to brand her. Hannibal arranges for him to suffer a comparable level of harm, leaving him facially disfigured, paralyzed below the neck, and dependent on Margot.
  • Leitmotif: The Goldberg Variations Aria by Bach, recognizable as the classical music playing after Lecter attacks his guards in Silence of the Lambs. It appears normally as one of Lecter's themes as well as in a slowed, softer variation for Will Graham (such as when he first rescues and bathes Winston in the pilot). This then later returns for the penultimate episode of season two (albeit slowed significantly and then composed over), and for season three it expands on that by having the low tempo version reappear as a softer choir version for a dual motif for whenever Lecter and Graham cross paths.
  • Love Informant: Bedelia acts as this to Will when she confirms that Hannibal is in love with him.
  • Love Theme: "Love Crime" is the official love theme for Will and Hannibal. It's played in their final scene together. An instrumental tune that sounds like part of that song can also be heard at other crucial points in season three, for example at the end of "Antipasto" when the heart sculpture for Will is first displayed in the church, or at the end of "The Great Red Dragon" when Hannibal and Will meet again for the first time after three years.
  • Love Will Lead You Back: Will is very clear in "Digestivo" that he doesn't want to think about Hannibal anymore or know where he is or what he is doing. Hannibal makes it so Will knows exactly where he is, hoping this will happen. Despite all of Will's claims to the contrary, this is de facto what happens.
  • Mad Artist: The show is brimming with them. Hannibal carries out his copycat murders in a very artistic fashion. Another serial killer arranges human body parts into a totem pole, while another installs the bodies of his victims in an eye-shaped "mural".
  • Magic Realism: It's subtle, but quite possible to read the series this way, especially given Bryan Fuller's past works. Hannibal could be a fallen angel who finds humankind both intriguing and delicious. Will's empathic gift could be some type of second sight. The proliferation of gruesomely beautiful crimes around the setting could be due to some sort of dark influence drawing and aggravating those tendencies in people who are already murderous (possible Hannibal himself, if you run with the Satan parallels). There will never be explicit confirmation of any of these things, but the series can be readily viewed through that lens if you want.invoked
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • Hannibal Lecter in spades. It seems obvious, but the premiere of Season 2 has made it even more so. Hannibal wants Will to act on his darkest urges (or, as he calls them, "inspirations") to manipulate and kill. Will knows that Hannibal was the copycat killer, but is imprisoned for those crimes. Therefore, Hannibal has effectively put Will in a position where he has to perform some dark deeds in order to get revenge on Hannibal.
      • Intersecting with his Psycho Psychologist and Morally Ambiguous Doctorate tags it's begun to be suggested that while acting as a therapist Hannibal "treats" patients by helping them to realize and act upon desires that would, in general society, be deemed as destructive. This is evidenced in his treatments of Will, Margot, and Randall Tier.
      • Subverted towards Will. While Hannibal initially tries to manipulate Will, and will keep trying to influence him throughout the series, Bedelia points out that Will since getting out of jail is well aware of this, and she's right. In fact, while Will is definitely subject to the pull Hannibal has on him, the kind of manipulation that Hannibal used on a lot of his former patients doesn't work on him, and in the second half of Season 2 he gradually eliminates the power imbalance.
    • Will. Although it might not look like it, Will can be as apt as Hannibal at manipulation. He had a plan to make Hannibal kill Mason so he'd be caught in the act, and he succeeded at making Hannibal turn himself in by rejecting him — which he claims he did on purpose to get that result. Another example is putting the hand on Chilton in the picture, imagining this move would make the Dragon go for Chilton and get Chilton punished karmically for what he wrote on Hannibal, as he later admits to Bedelia. This is not a direct manipulation of Dolarhyde, but it's a manipulation of events and of unsuspecting people (Chilton) so that Will's likely to obtain a wanted result.
  • The Marvelous Stag: Except that the stag in the show is more haunting than magical.
  • Mathematician's Answer
    Hannibal: Am I your psychiatrist, or are we simply having conversations?
    Will: 'Yes', I think, is the answer to that.
  • Meaningful Echo: Season 2's second arc combines a significant example this with foreshadowing for "Mizumono". Specifically, Hannibal compares the effect of Abigail's death to the shattering of a teacup. Mentioning how he wishes he could reverse time to fix it, the grand finalé has Hannibal effectively do so; following Will's betrayal, however, Hannibal mentions smashing the teacup again, and slashes Abigail's throat in front of Will, again severely damaging Will in a seemingly irreparable way.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Abigail Hobbs shares her name with a fourteen-year-old girl who, along with her father William, was accused of witchcraft in the Salem witch trials.
    • Bedelia Du Maurier doubles as this and a Shout-Out; Daphne Du Maurier specialized in stories of psychological manipulation.
    • Franklyn Froidevaux, being a Benjamin Raspail Expy, got his first name from "Benjamin Franklin," and his last name is a street that runs parallel to Raspail in Paris.
    • The killer from the first two episodes of Season 2 whose victims form a flesh-tone color palette is named James Gray, while his last victim is named Roland Umber.
    • Matthew 27:3-10 describes the suicide by hanging of Judas Iscariot. After subduing and accusing him of betraying Will, Matthew Brown tortures, crucifies, and then hangs Hannibal.
    Matthew: Judas had the decency to hang himself in shame at his betrayal. But I thought you needed the help.
    • Speaking of Matthew Brown, he is an orderly whose name almost sounds like a reversed version of Barney Matthews, the orderly from The Silence of the Lambs. Seems fitting since he tries to kill Hannibal whereas Barney is civil to Hannibal.
    • The man who takes care of animals in "Su-zakana" is named Peter Bernardone. Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, was born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone.
    • In "Shiizakana", the killer is named Randall Tier, and is obsessed with animals. "Tier" is German for "animal."
    • As in the books, Mason Verger's name combines the name of a religious group associated with power and secrecy with a last name meaning a layperson assistant in church rites, reflecting the Verger family's power and secrecy, its association with the church (Southern Baptist, in this instance), and Mason's inferior but useful skills as a sadist and manipulator when he is drawn into the "game" between Will and Hannibal.
  • Meme Acknowledgment: It got to the point where, by the third season, even Bryan Fuller himself was using the term "murder husbands" to describe Will and Hannibal's complex relationship. invoked
  • Middle Child Syndrome: It's used as a plot point to identify the killers in "Œuf".
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: Will has a non-supernatural variation; Hannibal describes him as having "pure empathy," which allows him to understand and get inside the head of anyone, even people who disgust or terrify him. Naturally, as an FBI profiler, he encounters many such minds and suffers greatly for his "gift."
  • Monster of the Week: The serial killers are used as this, but it doesn't happen every episode.
  • The Mountains of Illinois: Wolf Trap, VA, where Will lives, is nowhere near as remote and spacious as the show portrays it. In fact, the county in which it resides (Fairfax) is the most populous county in Virginia and in the Baltimore-DC metropolitan area; it is most certainly not "the middle of nowhere" as Will describes it in "Naka-choko".
  • Mr. Exposition: In Season 1, Will alternates investigating serial killers with teaching about them at the FBI academy, and his lectures are a useful tool for giving the audience background information on crimes and killers that weren't shown on screen.
  • Multi-Part Episode:
    • "Apéritif/Amuse-Bouche/Potage": The Minnesota Shrike case and Abigail's coma.
    • "Sorbet/Fromage": Hannibal coming to grips with his desire for friendship, and just who he sees as a potential friend.
    • "Relevés/Savoureux": The final stages of Hannibal's plan to break Will down completely are set in motion.
    • "Kaiseki/Sakizuki": The beginning of Will's incarceration, the end of Bedelia's professional and personal relationship with Hannibal, and the hunt for the killer who preserves his victims' bodies in resin.
    • "Shiizakana/Naka-Choko/Ko no Mono/Tome-wan": Will and Hannibal seem to become explicitly partners in crime, Will and Jack set to work in earnest trying to lure and catch Hannibal, and the abusive relationship between Mason and Margot Verger is spotlighted.
  • Murder-Suicide: Arguably what Will tries to do in "The Wrath of the Lamb" as a last attempt to save himself/his and Hannibal's potential future victims knowing that he won't be able to stop, but so that he and Hannibal can still die in each other's arms. According to the cliffhanger and Word of God, it fails. They survive and are now on the run together.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Hannibal tries to do this to Molly and Walter by proxy through Dolarhyde.
  • Mushroom Samba:
    • In "Œuf", Hannibal uses psychotropic mushrooms in a tea as a means to treat Abigail. She hallucinates that Hannibal and Alana are her father and mother.
    • An even darker example occurs in "Tome-wan" when a cocktail of very powerful drugs helps induce severe hallucinations, giddy euphoria, and self-mutilation and autocannibalism in Mason Verger.
    • In "Dolce" a drugged-up Will hallucinates his and Hannibal's faces growing out of Wendigo horns, then blurring together like two puddles of ink.
  • Mystery of the Week: Subverted at least as often as used. There are some one-off killers, but it's also quite common for a killer to be significant for two episodes (often because the FBI has to deal with the complications of his death).
  • Mythology Gag:
    • During the development process of The Silence of the Lambs, the name Dr. Gideon Quinn was used for the character of Dr. Hannibal Lecter due to Dino DeLaurentiis owning the rights to the name. He later allowed the makers to use the real names for free. In the series, Eddie Izzard plays a serial killer named Dr. Gideon.
    • In "Buffet Froid", Hannibal reveals that he and Dr. Sutcliffe, a neurologist, went to study at Hopkins, either referencing the books or the relevant actor.
    • Much of the depiction of Will's house in Wolf Trap and his home life, and the descriptions of them given to other characters, comes from Thomas Harris' accounts of where and how he lived while writing Red Dragon (i.e. collecting stray dogs, going on long walks at night, the house looking like "a boat at sea").
    • Some scenes or chunks of dialogue are taken straight from the books — Will fantasizes about killing Hannibal the same way a Nazi dies in Hannibal Rising, Hannibal delivers the "fox hears a rabbit run" bit in the Season 2 finale, etc.
  • Nay-Theist: Hannibal, who appears to believe in a god much like himself — one that deeply enjoys killing people.
  • Never Found the Body:
    • In "Relevés", not only is Abigail given a suspiciously off-screen "death" by Hannibal, but the next episode "Savoureux" has the only confirmed piece of Abigail found revealed as the ear Will vomits up. In the Season 2 finale, it's revealed that she had been alive and under Hannibal's control the whole time.
    • Hannibal and Will disappear into the ocean. Justified since they survived their fall and are now on the run.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The promos for "Futamono" showed Hannibal seducing Alana, and implied that he was only doing so as petty revenge against Will. In the actual episode, Hannibal does it to establish an alibi for himself, though it's still very possible that he also did it to spite Will.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: After the Time Skip in Season 3, episode eight and onwards takes place in mid-2018.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Currently Dramatic Irony, but there's going to come a point where Jack realises how many lives he could have saved by letting Matthew Brown hang Hannibal instead of saving him.
  • The Nose Knows: Hannibal is well established as having an exceptional sense of smell; not only can he correctly guess the make of perfume or aftershave that people are wearing, he claims to be able to tell if they're ill from their scent: "I knew my teacher had stomach cancer before he was even diagnosed." This was used as foreshadowing for Bella Crawford's lung cancer diagnosis in "Coquilles", and to hint that Hannibal smelled Will's encephalitis months before his symptoms developed.
    • In Season 2, he uses his sophisticated sense of smell to solve crimes. For example, he detects the scent of a cornfield on a dead body, leading him to realize that the victim escaped from a corn farm before dying.
    • Also in Season 2, after Bedelia claims that Hannibal is dangerous, he shows up at her house in his plastic murder suit to find Bedelia has emptied her house apart from some of the larger items (such as furniture). Her perfume bottle is left behind, left in plain sight so Hannibal knows that she knew he would come, and that he can't find her with his senses.
    • Continuing with Season 2, Hannibal realizes Will has betrayed him when Hannibal picks up traces of Freddie's scent on Will.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Like in the books, Hannibal is said to be Lithuanian. Mads Mikkelsen just uses his natural Danish accent, however.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: "Takiawase" never shows us what Beverly discovered in Hannibal's basement that scared her stiff.
    • After the season finale, Bryan Fuller confirmed that it was Abigail. (But that may not have been all she saw.)
  • Not So Different: In "Entrée", Freddie and Will snidely mention to each other that, in the list of professions psychopaths are disproportionately drawn to, journalism is number six and law enforcement is number seven.
    • Especially interesting is that chefs are number nine on the list, yet therapists are on the inverse as the third least common profession for psychopaths. Considering the mix, Hannibal is probably not a psychopath, but something worse.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Matthew Brown speaks with a lisp, walks with a slouch, and behaves like a twitchy, absent-minded orderly who's just trying to go about his job like any other normal person. In reality, he is Will's secret admirer and an intelligent, well-built, calculating murderer whom nobody suspects, not even Hannibal.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • Subverted. At the end of "Shiizakana", Will's killing of Randall Tier takes place off-screen, but the next episode goes back and shows it (albeit with Will imagining the Wendigo/Hannibal in Randall's place).
    • "Digestivo" avoids showing Hannibal killing Cordell and rescuing Will, for the sake of a Bait and Switch on the viewers.
  • Offscreen Villainy: Hannibal kills several people over the course of the first season, but we only ever see him helping out on cases... or cooking. All but a handful of killings are implied more than seen. Naturally, this makes him all the more creepy and his extremely rare violent moments all the more terrifying. Example; in "Buffet Froid", he serves a guest jamón ibérico ham - but can't help saying;
    Hannibal: Is the pig, once fattened and slaughtered and air-cured, really superior to any other pig, or is it simply a matter of reputation preceding product?
    Sutcliffe: It's irrelevant. If the meat-eater thinks it's superior, then belief determines value. (eats the hell out of what he chooses to believe is hundred-dollar ham)
    • The same exchange heavily implies that Hannibal force-fed a human being corn oak acorns for a year, then slaughtered them and hung the legs up to cure.
  • Oh Crap!: Chilton has a pretty epic freakout in "Yakimono", when the true extent of Hannibal's frame-up is revealed and FBI agents are found butchered throughout his home.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Any time anyone speaks to Hannibal.
  • One True Love: As it progresses, the show revolves more and more around the idea that this is what Hannibal and Will are for each other. Both Will and Hannibal believe the other is this for them, as reluctant as Will is to face the consequences of that notion. Similarly, the narrative favors the idea that they cannot find another person whom they ultimately would want to be with more than each other, and that one could never stop being drawn to the other, because they accept each other unconditionally and understand each other so profoudly and uniquely. This is both their salvation and their damnationwhole new levels of it.
  • Only Barely Renewed: The show was given the 10 o'clock Thursday time slot, which is notorious at NBC for getting bad ratings that often lead to shows' untimely deaths (for context, the show Hannibal replaced was Do No Harm, which had the lowest premiere ratings in TV history). Predictably, despite good reviews, the show had below-average ratings and there was much speculation that it would either be cancelled or moved to a different network. However, thanks to large DVR numbers and an incredibly passionate social media fanbase, NBC decided to renew it for a second season, and later even a third.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Bella Crawford's real name is actually Phyllis — but, as she says, Jack only calls her that when they're arguing. He gave her the nickname when they met in Italy; appropriate, as it's Italian for "beautiful woman".
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In "Mukōzuke", Freddie tells Jack not to enter a crime scene out of what appears to be genuine compassion.
  • Opposites Attract: Played with. Hannibal is incredibly fascinated with Will's empathy and it seems that Will's empathy is one of the reasons he's so deeply in love with him. It's suggested multiple times that it's because of the great potential for goodness and cruelty he sees in that empathy, rather than simply because it's something he doesn't have, but it's still worth noting that Will's empathy is diametrically opposite to the way Hannibal sees the world. Funnily enough, one of the other reasons Hannibal and Will love each other so much seems to be that they are so similar in being different from everybody else.
  • Organ Theft: Hannibal deliberately suggests that this is the modus operandi of the "killer" of "Sorbet", who was a trainee-doctor trying to make a quick buck taking non-vital organs from his patients to sell, but unfortunately lacked the training/skill to keep them alive afterwards. Conveniently, this allows the Chesapeake Ripper (Hannibal) to murder several people for their organs without the crimes being attributed to him.
  • Orgy of Evidence: In "Savoureux", Will deduces that he was being framed because while he might believe he was capable of killing Abigail in his increasingly confused mental state, there was no way he'd accept that he was also responsible for the murders of the copycat killer.
  • Otherkin: The killer in "Shiizakana" appears to be one, genuinely believing himself to be an animal and creating a suit with bear fangs/teeth attached which he can attack people with. Of course, most otherkin would not want to claim any kinship with him.

    P-Z 
  • Parental Incest: Garrett Jacob Hobbs was, shall we say... a tad obsessed with his daughter. Not quite in the way the trope suggests, but the way he did go about it isn't any less disquieting.
  • Parental Substitute: Hannibal in particular seems to be becoming this for Abigail. And then she hallucinates that Hannibal is her father and Alana is her mother when drugged up on mushrooms. Alana is aware of this as a definite risk, and is trying to prevent it from happening, as it would not benefit Abigail's long-term good to replace her parents with her doctors.
    • Made more explicit in "Trou Normand" wherein Hannibal is convincing Will to lie about Abigail's involvement in the murder of Nicholas Boyle and describes the two of them as "her fathers."
    • In "Relevés", Will takes on the role of her father in his more sinister aspect.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: The victims of the "Angel Maker" aren't as innocent as they appear to be. It turns out the couple are on a "most wanted" list and are described thus: "he liked to rape and murder, she liked to watch," and the security guard was actually a convicted felon. It's left ambiguous as to how Budish knew about their crimes, or if he knew.
  • Perverted Sniffing: Repeatedly shown in the promos when Hannibal does this and Will asks, "Did you just... smell me?" The scene in question is taken from "Coquilles".
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • Having Freddie be a well-known blogger rather than a print tabloid reporter makes much more sense given the reality of the newspaper industry these days. It also means that her stories can have an immediate impact on the plot rather than having to wait for her to submit the story and for it to be published.
    • Similarly, Francis Dolarhyde's method of selecting victims is updated since very few people are transferring home movies from film to videotape these days. He now finds them through the vague avenue of "social media".
  • Pragmatic Villain: In "Fromage", when a killer questions why Hannibal invited him to dinner:
    Hannibal: I was going to kill you. I didn't poison you, Tobias. I wouldn't do that to the food.
    • When Hannibal is killing intending to eat the victim, he minimizes their stress and suffering. He's not showing them kindness: a stressed animal releases hormones that cause the meat to taste off. When he's killing for other reasons (self-defense, to dispose of a threat, to frame someone, or to imitate another killer) he will readily be as brutal and violent as required.
  • Psycho Strings: Used throughout the score, and they go into overdrive when we enter Will's mind.
  • Queer Romance: As romances betwen two guys tend to be.
  • Rain of Blood: In "Potage", the body of one of Abigail's friends is found this way, blood seeping through the floorboards above.
  • Red Right Hand: Not really a flaw, but Hannibal parts his hair on the right instead of left. People tend to distrust men who do that subconsciously. Played with with Bedelia, who parts her hair on the left instead of right (the effect is reversed for women), who points out to Hannibal that someone might notice his "pattern" of picking potentially violent patients, implying she understands that he's trying to encourage serial killers, but disappears in a hurry when she realizes he is in fact very dangerous. Alana parts her hair on the left, but is entirely heroic. Could be more of a psychiatrist thing, actually, indicating their conflicting views and the problematic issue of choosing whose side to take.
  • Regularly Scheduled Evil: The Chesapeake Ripper kills three people around every two years. The audience, but not the FBI, later learns why: that's when Hannibal is hosting his dinner parties. Of course, he actually kills a lot more often than that; he just doesn't kill in that style.
  • Religious Horror: Hannibal Lecter is portrayed as a satanic figure, deceiving, corrupting, and destroying those around him. To boot, Season 2 abounds with religious references. When Hannibal installs James Grey in his own human "mural", it is intended to reflect the light of God from above. When Hannibal looks down on the mural from the opening of the grain silo, it's reminiscent of medieval art in which God looks down on Earth from above. Hannibal refers to Matthew 26:69-75 in "Hassun", telling Jack that he cannot deny Will a third time. Finally, in "Mukōzuke", Matthew Brown arranges Hannibal like Jesus on the cross and nearly hangs him for being a Judas.
    • Mads Mikkelsen plays Hannibal Lecter as if he were Lucifer, so the whole series serves as this if one sees Hannibal as a literal Satanic figure.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The fandom really loves Will's dogs, especially Winston.
  • Romance Arc: Although the show starts off looking like a procedural, it slowly reveals itself as (or evolves into) a big prolonged example of this, with the relationship between Will and Hannibal taking the central focus.
  • Rule of Drama/Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: Some of the logistical aspects of the murders strain credibility. Officially, Hannibal has secret steam tunnels under his house, but the other killers have no such benefits.
  • Rule of Symbolism: There are a lot of visual metaphors on this show, sometimes shown through Will's hallucinations and thoughts, and other times shown through the Monster of the Week's crimes.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Beverly Katz.
    • In "The Number of the Beast is 666", Frederick Chilton is severely mutilated, demonstrating that Francis Dolarhyde has been consumed entirely by the Dragon.
  • Sarcastic Confession: Often paired with Dramatic Irony, what with Hannibal being one of the most famous fictional cannibals/sociopaths. Also notably invoked in the Season 2 premiere:
    Chilton: [Will Graham] tells everyone that you are a monster.
    Hannibal: (smiling) Well, in that case, you're dining with a psychopathic murderer, Frederick.
  • Scare Chord:
    • The highly unsettling opening title sequence. Watch here.
    • The lingering, far-too-intimate shot of the opera singer's vocal cords in "Sorbet" is a literal one. Same goes for the MO of the murderer in the following episode "Fromage", who posed a victim like a cello and exposed his vocal cords to use as strings. Which Will, in his empath-trance, gets to play. Sleep well.
  • Scenery Porn: If a scene isn't gruesome, it is frankly gorgeous to look at. Sometimes, even the most gruesome scenes are gorgeous in their arrangement, detail and color, like works of art exploring variations on red-brown.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Bedelia Du Maurier is savvy enough to get the heck out of dodge after she refuses to be Hannibal's psychiatrist anymore — which proves to be very wise, since he breaks into her house clearly dressed to kill her.
    • Alana, Margot and their son go into hiding when Hannibal escapes.
  • Second Act Break Up: The reason Hannibal ends up turning himself in.
  • Secret Keeper:
    • Hannibal and Abigail become this to each other in Season 1. She knows he called her house, he knows she killed someone and helped hide the body.
    • In "Trou Normand" Will figures it out, but Hannibal persuades him to stay silent, thus bringing him into the circle.
  • Serial Killer: Obviously.
  • Serial-Killer Killer: Hannibal murders Tobias and Georgia in Season 1, and the "muralist" killer in Season 2. However, he does these to protect/aggrandize himself rather than satisfy a desire for vigilante justice.
  • Setting Update: Due to the story's contemporary nature, the show takes place in the 2010s instead of Red Dragon's 1980s.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: Unlike Seasons 1 and 2, which take place solely on the east coast of the US, Season 3 takes place in France, Italy and Lithuania in addition to the states.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns:
    • As Will slowly descends into madness, the Black Comedy is gradually toned down. Naturally, this sets up the very bitter ending to the first season well.
    • This is becomes inverted in Season 2, which is arguably even darker than Season 1 but considerably funnier than the first. It is worth noting, however, that as the season goes on the two comic relief characters (relatively speaking) suffer greatly from Hannibal's proximity, Chilton is shot through the face, and bringer of Black Comedy Mason Verger is quite deservingly mutilated by Hannibal.
  • Shoot the Money: The first half of Season 3 takes place in Florence, and they make sure to show practically every major city landscape.
  • Shown Their Work: In regards to the Food Porn/Gorn the show revels in, as well as many of the details regarding food itself. Hannibal's food preparation methods, ranging from how he uses his cutlery, the way he stirs food in a pan, his cooking methods, the presentation of the food, and even the apropos of what the dish is meant to represent, are so intentionally detailed that the blog of the show's food stylist is dedicated to not only how the food is made to resemble human flesh, but how to prepare it.
  • Significant Sketchbook: In "Buffet Froid," Hannibal asks Will to draw a clock face in a sketchbook. When he draws it, he thinks he sees a perfectly normal clock face, but Hannibal sees the numbers and hands jumbled up. This is an actual test used by psychiatrists to detect cognitive dysfunction. In "Savoureux," Alana asks Will to repeat the test to prove that he is mentally ill and did not consciously commit the murders for which he is accused, but the evidence is negligible as they realise he could have faked the test. Hannibal produces a normal drawing of clock face which he shows to Alana, claiming it was drawn by Will, when in reality he drew it himself.
  • Sleep Cute: A very, very strange one at the end of "Apéritif". Made decidedly sinister at least for the audience, with Hannibal falling asleep by Abigail's sickbed, holding her hand. Less creepily, Will falls asleep in the same room, and at one point awakens to discover that Alana arrived, wrapped him in a blanket, and began to read aloud to Abigail.
  • Sleepwalking: By "Coquilles", Will develops a bad case of this, waking up in the middle of nowhere and having to be picked up by a cop car. Later in the episode, the sound of his dogs barking wakes him up, to find he somehow managed to get out onto the roof.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Freddie Lounds. Chilton takes her place as Dragon bait, though he survives the treatment.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Millennium.
  • Stout Strength: Jack Crawford looks as if he's let himself go a bit while working behind a desk, but he is still incredibly strong.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Beverly Katz is killed and put on gruesome display for the others to see. Bryan Fuller has actually stated that she was created specifically to be killed off and provide angst for Will. In fact, it was going to happen in Season 1, but then they decided to develop her more so her death would provide even more angst.
    • However, Hetienne Park, who played Katz, went on record as saying that she didn't believe her character had been simply "fridged". Read her argument here.
  • Survival Mantra:
    • "It's [time], I'm in [location] and my name is Will Graham."
    • In "Savoureux", "I know who I am."
  • Taking You with Me: Will embraces Hannibal after they kill Dolarhyde together... and hurls them both off of a cliff.
  • The Family That Slays Together: What Will, Hannibal and Abigail were supposed to become if Will and Hannibal's plan at the end of Season 2 had succeeded.
  • Theme Naming: Most episodes are named after dishes, with Season 1 being French cuisine (e.g. "Potage" and "Coquilles"), Season 2 being Japanese cuisine (e.g. "Kaiseki" and "Sakizuki"), and the first half of Season 3 being Italian cuisine ("e.g. "Antipasto", etc.).
    • This changes in the second half of Season 3, where the episodes are named after William Blake paintings ("The Great Red Dragon", "and the Woman Clothed in the Sun", "and the Woman Clothed With Sun", etc.).
    • One killer who chose victims based on skin tone in order to make a color palette was named James Grey. One of his victims was Roland Umber.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: What happens to Dolarhyde in "The Wrath Of The Lamb". The guy is beaten savagely by Hannibal and Will, stabbed twice in the legs, twice in the back, axed in both knees, then stabbed and cut across the stomach at the same time his throat is ripped out. Needless to say, he doesn't survive the treatment.
  • They Do: Now with compulsory bloodbath.
  • Those Two Guys: Jimmy Price and Brian Zeller.
  • Threat Backfire: Will's threat to Freddie only gives her another quote to work with in writing him off as a lunatic.
  • Three-Way Sex: A strange variation on this, as the people involved (Will, Hannibal, Alana, and Margot) aren't all having sex with each other, but through a kind of Imagine Spot, the audience sees it this way.
  • Time Skip: Two in the third season. The first takes place in "Antipasto", which is set a few months after the events of "Mizumono". The second, in "The Great Red Dragon", is three years, skipping from 2015 to 2018.
  • Tonight, Someone Kisses: The trailer for "Futamono" shows Alana in bed with Hannibal. A delightfully twisted version of this trope, or possibly done not as an enticement but a fair warning.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • In "Sorbet", we are introduced to one of Hannibal's patients, Franklyn, and his "friend" Tobias. The promo for "Fromage" gave away that Tobias was a killer too, and he and Hannibal wound up attacking each other.
    • The Season 2 trailer seems to give away that Jack and Alana will discover Hannibal's secret, and he will try to kill them, as well as the Wham Line by Bedelia where she tells Will she believes his claims about Hannibal.
    • The promo for "Mukozuke" reveals that Will's attendant in charge of transporting him to and from trial killed the bailiff.
    • The trailer for "Primavera", the second episode of Season 3, reveals that Will, Jack, and Alana all made it out of Hannibal's house and have tracked him down to Florence.
  • True Love Is Exceptional: Will starts the series infatuated with Alana, who is arguably one of the sanest characters in the series. Stable, heart of gold, idealistic — Will seems to look for this in general. Molly is also a bright-spirited person who seems fundamentally good, and she's not involved with crime. It turns out Will's One True Love in the end is a psychopathic serial killer.
  • TV Genius: Hannibal is a psychiatric genius, polymath, and ex-surgeon.
  • Twisted Christmas: The Frist household in "Œuf".
  • The Unfettered: Most of the killers on the show qualify as this, though Hannibal is their unfettered king. No morality or threat of capture stops him from eating and manipulating people for his pleasure.
  • The Un-Smile: After Will suffers a seizure in "Rôti", Hannibal guides him through a simple series of tests for possible stroke victims (that are used in reality by non-cannibal medical professionals). The last test is getting the subject to smile to check their facial muscle control. Will's not really a smiley individual at the best of times, but the expression he makes in this instance (when he's swaying on his feet, soaked in sweat, pale as a corpse, and about as cheerful as a high-casualty train wreck), despite ticking all the boxes for "smile", is nightmarish. And what makes it even more chilling is the way Hannibal smiles back in genuine pleasure.
  • Unfamiliar Ceiling: Will passes out at Muskrat Farm at some point after Cordell telling him he's going to remove his face without anesthesia and before he and Hannibal getting out. He reawakens in his bed in his house in Wolf Trap, safe and redressed — Hannibal's work.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: All right, not so much unwitting, but so far Freddie has unintentionally managed to sic two threats on Willor someone close to him. Time will only tell if she keeps up this track record...
  • Villain Episode: In Season 1, the two-parter "Sorbet/Fromage" is this for Hannibal and "Rôti" is this for Dr. Abel Gideon.
  • Villainous Cheekbones: The second clue that Hannibal is a bad guy. First is that his name rhymes with cannibal.
  • Villainous Rescue: In "Dolce", Will faces death as Hannibal begins cutting his head open in order to eat his brain. Some time later, Will awakens and realizes he was saved by... Mason Verger.
  • Walking Spoiler: Bryan Fuller's twitter prematurely revealed that the villain of Season 2 is Mason Verger. Readers of the book know that, even with the unique canon of the series, things won't work out well when Hannibal gets his hands on him.invoked
  • Webisode: "Œuf" was cannibalized (their words) into one and put online for reasons already detailed above.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Savoureux", the first season finale. Abigail is implied to have been killed by Hannibal. Bedelia is revealed to know something about what Hannibal does. Hannibal frames Will for Abigail's murder, as well as the Copycat Killer murders. Jack is forced to shoot Will when Will threatens Hannibal with a gun. Will figures out what Hannibal really is, and is committed to the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Alana is grief-stricken and guilt-ridden for Abigail's death and Will's apparent tumble over the edge, in spite of all her warnings and all her efforts to help him. Even Will's dogs are taken into custody. No one comes out of this episode unscathed. Except for Hannibal.
    • "Takiawase": Beverly Katz is killed after discovering Hannibal's secret.
    • "Futamono": One of Hannibal's murders exonerates Will and Miriam Lass is discovered alive by Jack.
    • "Yakimono": Frederick Chilton is framed by Hannibal for his crimes, and then shot by Miriam.
    • "Tome-wan": Mason Verger gets his just (and extremely gruesome) desserts, and afterward, Hannibal declares that he will reveal his true self to Jack.
    • "Mizumono": Hannibal leaves Jack, Will, Alana and Abigail to die in his house after psychologically and physically tormenting every one of them. Once again, Hannibal is unscathed, though he has fled the country.
    • "Contorno": At long, long last, Jack gives Hannibal what he deserves, beating him to a bloody pulp and throwing him out of a window.
    • "Digestivo": Mason dies and Hannibal surrenders to the police.
    • "The Number of the Beast is 666": Chilton is mutilated and set on fire by Dolarhyde.
    • "The Wrath of the Lamb": Hannibal and Will kill Dolarhyde in a brutal melee, before embracing each other and throwing themselves off a bluff to their deaths. However, there are no bodies at the bottom...
  • Wham Line:
    • "Trou Normand": "I helped him." Abigail admits to Hannibal that she really did help her father kill the girls, because she sensed that it was her or them.
    • From "Sakizuki": Bedelia whispering "I believe you," to Will.
    • "Futamono": "Miriam."
  • Wham Shot:
    • "Savoureux": When we last see Will, he's institutionalized in an asylum.
    • "Takiawase": When investigating Hannibal's basement, Beverly turns on a light switch and we see that Hannibal is standing behind her.
    • In "Futamono", Jack peers down into a pit in one of Hannibal's abandoned lairs, and finds Miriam Lass alive and missing an arm.
    • In "Yakimono", a literal wham shot occurs. Chilton is shot by Miriam after extensive brainwashing by Hannibal.
    • The end of "Ko no Mono" reveals that Freddie Lounds is still alive.
    Freddie: "How was my funeral?".
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • After Hannibal prevents Will from killing him, Clark Ingram is never seen or mentioned again.
    • What exactly became of Miriam Lass after "Yakimono" (presumably, psychiatric care) is never directly confirmed onscreen, at least not as of the middle of Season 3.
  • Will They or Won't They?:
    • In Season 1, Alana shows romantic interest in both Will and Hannibal, but keeps her distance for various reasons. By the middle of Season 2, Alana and Hannibal are lovers.
    • Between Will and Hannibal in Season 3, mostly as a result of Will's Moral Dilemma about admitting he enjoys killing, which makes him keep his distance from Hannibal. In the Season 3 finale, Will reveals through his actions that he reciprocates Hannibal's feelings and they finally share a tender embrace after the joint killing of Dolarhyde.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Concern for Will's mental health as a profiler, if he happens to "get too close" when empathizing with killers, prompts Jack to compel Will into therapy with psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter.
  • Wreathed in Flames: Elliot Budish, the "Angel Maker", sees each of his victims crowned in flame. While obviously a hallucination brought about by his brain tumor, it hints at the demon within.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: Because MGM owns the rights to Silence of the Lambs.
  • Xanatos Gambit:
    • In Season 1, Hannibal sends Gideon after Alana and then Will after Gideon. No matter the outcome, Hannibal would have come out ahead. Will seriously wounds Gideon, removing Hannibal's plagiarist but leaving Hannibal's hands clean, and making Will even more unstable; however, had Gideon killed Alana, Will would have been guilt-ridden and (again) less mentally stable, forcing Will back to Hannibal for help.
    • Hannibal pulls another major instance in Season 2's "Futamono". Worried that Jack is on to him, Hannibal murders several people but holds an animal meat dinner party which, in the event Jack tests his food for human DNA (which happens), Jack would be thrown back off the trail. Then, in order to abduct Abel Gideon, Hannibal sleeps with Alana Bloom, whom he apparently drugs unconscious in order to keep her asleep, while he kidnaps Gideon; when Jack then tries to pin Gideon on Hannibal, he has Alana provide his alibi for the night, completely debunking the claims that Hannibal is the Chesapeake Ripper.
    • In "Shiizakana", Hannibal sets Randall Tier on Will. If Randall kills Will, Hannibal removes his greatest threat. If Will kills Randall, Hannibal has furthered his corruption because he knows that if Will gets a chance to kill, he'll start to enjoy it.
    • Will pulls one of his own in "Ko no Mono" by refusing to kill Mason and instead setting him against Hannibal; no matter who wins, Will gets some measure of revenge on an otherwise untouchable person he has good reason to loathe.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Season 2 begins to become one between Hannibal and Will. Hannibal seems to be attempting to strike a balance between continuing to manipulate Will, without pushing his insanity or manipulating the evidence to the point where he'll be found viable for the death penalty, while Will intentionally plays everyone's perceptions of his psychosis to manipulate them from behind bars in order to set Hannibal up for his inevitable fall.
  • You Didn't Ask: Used cleverly in "Su-zakana". Will finds Peter sewing up a dead horse, and Peter confirms he placed Clark inside, so he could feel how his victims felt. It's several minutes until Peter clarifies he didn't kill Clark before putting him inside.
  • You Just Told Me: In "Naka-Choko", this is how Freddie learns of Alana's relationship with Hannibal.


I leave the series deconstructed, and end on a stinger quip. The pieces glitter before me. All is orderly. Catalogued. Defined and dissected. This is my design.

Alternative Title(s): The Silence Of The Lambs

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/Hannibal?from=Series.TheSilenceOfTheLambs