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Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.)

    Will Graham 

Agent Will Graham

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/will-graham-red-dragon_5044.jpg
"There's been a lot of bullshit about the way I think.""
Played By: Edward Norton

An FBI profiler responsible for the capture of serial killer Hannibal Lecter, and who is later assigned to capture serial killer Francis Dolarhyde.


  • Adaptation Personality Change: Is far more well-adjusted and stable than other versions of the character.
  • Consulting a Convicted Killer: He figures out Lecter would be a good starting point to "enter" Dolarhyde's mind.
  • FBI Agent: Or rather, FBI profiler.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric.
  • Genre Blind: He falls for the "Have You Told Anyone Else?" ploy with Lecter while sharing his suspicions with him. In his defense, he was exhausted and considered Lecter a trusted colleague. He also fails to predict that Dolarhyde would attack Lounds instead of him from the slander they printed in the tabloids.
  • Happily Married: To his wife, Molly, with whom he has a son. He's even able to share the details of his job with her.
  • Not So Different: The extent to which he's able to emphasize and understand disturbed killers causes him no end of inner turmoil. In particular he shares a kinship with Hannibal; they're both remarkably astute and able to read a person with expert precision, largely out of natural talent.
    Hannibal: Don't you understand, Will? You caught me because we're very much alike. Without our imaginations, we'd be like all those other poor... dullards. Fear... is the price of our instrument. But I can help you bear it.
  • Photographic Memory: Flashes of scenes from the photographs while he's working suggests he can recall visual details that he wasn't even focusing on at the time he saw them.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: He's one of very few people to give this to the actual Hannibal. Graham doesn't engage with the usual quid pro quo, meagre threats or verbal jousting that Hannibal tries to provoke.
    Hannibal: Do you dream much, Will?
    Graham: Goodbye, Dr. Lecter.
    Hannibal: You haven't threatened to take away my books yet! Give me the file, then!
  • To Know Him, I Must Become Him: Graham is such an excellent profiler because he's able to truly get into the mindset of killers, understanding their thoughts and feelings (or lack thereof).
    Hannibal: You're able to assume the emotional point-of-view of other people, even those that scare or sicken you. It's a troubling gift, I should think. How I'd love to get you on my couch.
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    Clarice Starling 

Agent Clarice Starling

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/TropeStarling_5138.jpg
"You see a lot, Doctor. But are you strong enough to point that high-powered perception at yourself?"
Played By: Jodie Foster, Julianne Moore & Masha Skorobogatov

A young FBI agent sent to consult with the infamous Dr. Hannibal Lecter.


  • Action Girl: Goes up against dangerous killers.
  • Alone with the Psycho: With frequency, due to the nature of her job. Of particular note is her encounter with Jame Gumb; she's entirely alone in a darkened basement trying to outmanoeuvre him when he clearly has the advantage.
  • Animal Motif: Lambs, of course, but also birds and horses which bring to mind images of freedom or escape.
  • Consulting a Convicted Killer: The main plot of the films.
  • Consummate Liar: It's rarely dwelt upon, but in The Silence of the Lambs, she lies to Hannibal Lecter's face and gets away with it until Chilton exposes her lies to Dr. Lecter.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: What Hannibal does to her, although she escapes mostly unscathed in Silence of the Lambs, but this is essentially her whole arc in Film/Hannibal.
  • Country Mouse: At the beginning of Silence of the Lambs, and she is constantly afraid other people can see it and will just dismiss her. Some do.
  • Daddy's Girl: She is ashamed of her father's low station, but she adored him and is still devastated by his death years later.
  • Determinator: Clarice hates bullies, and she will do whatever she can, no matter the circumstance, to avenge whatever crimes have been done.
  • Failure Knight: With dead lambs forming the center of the story's central analogy.
  • Fair Cop: Whether played by Jodie Foster or Julianne Moore, she's very attractive and men frequently hit on her.
  • Farmer's Daughter: In her backstory, though it was technically her guardians after her father's death.
  • FBI Agent: One of the most iconic representatives of the FBI in all of fiction.
  • Fiery Redhead: Downplayed, but Clarice is very strong and determined, although not always as confrontational as most examples of this trope.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic.
  • Friend on the Force: Somewhat reluctantly to Hannibal.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: By Hannibal she's become this.
  • Morality Pet: She is one of the only people Lecter is good to.
  • My Greatest Failure: She feels this way about the lambs she fails to save.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: In-universe. Clarice is actively trying to shed her strong Southern accent out of insecurity and fear that she'll be perceived as a stereotypical rube. Julianne Moore sometimes has Clarice's accent and sometimes does not.
  • Pride: Her driving motivation.
  • Southern-Fried Genius: She possess a keen insight, sharp intelligence and quick mind in addition to being pure West Virginian.
  • Worthy Opponent: Lecter considers her to be this. He's not even mad when she lies directly to his face, rather impressed. When Lecter escapes, she's not worried for a moment that he'd come after her.
    "I can't explain it...he'd consider it rude."
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: In Silenceofthe Lambs. It doesn't last.

    Jack Crawford 

Jack Crawford

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/TropeCrawford_3378.jpg
"Believe me, you don't want Hannibal Lecter inside your head."

Starling's mentor and the head of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit at Quantico.


  • Adapted Out/Death by Adaptation (Type 2)/Killed Offscreen: Because of the traumatic Enforced Method Acting Scott Glenn went through in the filming of Silencenote , he refused to return. Crawford was written out of Hannibal and a deleted scene establishes that he died between movies, instead of near the end of the book. It's also the reason the role got recast with Harvey Keitel for Red Dragon.
  • Badass Bookworm: As Hannibal recognises when he sends him a John Donne poem, but he's also a fierce some and admired FIB agent.
  • The Cassandra: Much of his warnings especially for Clarice not to give into Hannibal's questions about her personal life, are ignored.
  • Cynical Mentor: Clarice is a Wide-Eyed Idealist when in Silence Of The Lambs, while Crawford is her embittered Foil.
  • A Father to His Men: Especially to Starling, he does try to take care of her but often struggles, but he is concerned for her welfare.
  • FBI Agent: His position.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic.
  • Guile Hero: As befitting the severity of his position, Crawford needs to be manipulative at times, but it's almost always in service of justice.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With Starling.
  • Oh Crap: When he and his men break into the wrong house, he is clearly shocked, but also mentions one name in sheer worry.
    Crawford: Clarice!!!
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Played with. Starling is (understandably) concerned about some of his more manipulative tendencies, but he is genuinely concerned for her.
  • Stoic Spectacles: Wears these in both films he's in.

    Paul Krendler 

Paul Krendler

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/pkrendler.png
"Jesus, Starling, are you writing a book or are you catching a crook?"
Played By: Ron Vawter & Ray Liotta

Careerist Justice Department official with a vendetta against Starling


  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Compare Vawter in Silence to Liotta in Hannibal
  • Adaptational Heroism: His more overt sexism and condescending attitude are mostly removed from the film, and a scene where he openly shows disgust at Hannibal's creepy remarks towards Senator Martin is included. Of course, he's back to his normal slimeball self by the sequel.
  • Asshole Victim: Krendler goes out of his way to destroy Clarice not only because of the Buffalo Bill case (which she solved without his help) but over her rejecting his advances (twice). Then he colluded with Verger to use her to lure Lecter into the boar trap.
  • Autocannibalism: Hannibal feeds him his own brain.
  • Brain Food: He has his own brain fed to him by Hannibal.
  • Characterization Marches On: Evolves from a Flat Character in Silence of the Lambs to Clarice's nemesis in Hannibal.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Always calls out Starling with a sarcastic jab.
  • Dirty Cop: Plans to collect Verger's bounty on Lecter after using Clarice as bait.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: He make's Starling's life a living hell for not only grandslamming the Buffalo Bill case, but also he made a pass at Clarice which she rejected. Twice.
  • FBI Agent: Unfortunately, Starling's boss.
  • Handsome Lech: At least in Hannibal
  • Jerkass: He doesn't give a damn about helping people. He just wants to be glorified as a hero and profit off an easy job.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Tricks Starling into going along with Verger's plan unwittingly.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Lecter jumps him at his house.
  • Only in It for the Money: He double crosses the government and works for Verger's side when paid with a lot of money.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: He absolutely hates women and makes Starling's life hell just because he's a sexist.
  • Smug Snake: He thinks that he's such a smart guy, but Lecter breaks him down to size.

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Serial Killers

    Hannibal Lecter 

The Chesapeake Ripper (Dr Hannibal Lecter)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/TropeLecter_5073.jpg
"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."
Played By: Anthony Hopkins, Gaspard Ulliel (late teen/young adult) & Aaran Thomas (8 years old)

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

    Francis Dolarhyde 

The Tooth Fairy (Francis Dolarhyde)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/TropeDolarhyde_7395.jpg
"Before me, you rightly tremble. But, fear is not what you owe me. You owe me awe!"
Played By: Ralph Fiennes

"I am not a man. I began as one, but now I am becoming more than a man, as you will soon witness."

  • Adorkable: According to Reba, most women she knows see him this way. A fact that makes him smile.
  • Ax-Crazy: Subverted and then played straight. While his crime scenes of whole families slaughtered are viewed as the work of a deranged madman, Graham insists that he was in control of every action, and knew precisely what he was doing. Played straight at the end, where Graham manipulates Dolarhyde's past abuse as a child to work him into a blind frenzy.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: He sees his murders as transformations, which make him become a superhuman monster.
  • Evil Is Hammy: When he's in full-on Dragon mode. Also qualifies as Not So Stoic, since it's a stark departure from the quiet, socially awkward person he usually is.
  • From Camouflage to Criminal: In the movie, his military training is slightly emphasized in a way not seen in Manhunter or even the novel where it's an explicit part of his backstory and previous life; Lecter tells Graham to look for military training.
  • Freudian Excuse: Not as elaborated on as in the books, but the audience is treated to both an audio flashback of his grandmother threatening to castrate him for wetting the bed, and Graham's sympathetic comments upon reading the journal that Francis described his childhood in.
  • Genius Bruiser: Dolarhyde takes his time to study his victims and meticulously plan his invasions, rather than brute force his way.
  • Gollum Made Me Do It: His relationship with Reba brings this out in him—rather than referring to himself as the dragon, he starts begging it to let her live, and attempts to stop killing. He doesn't succeed, and tells her he'd rather kill her as Dolarhyde than "bite her to death" as the Dragon.
  • Red Right Hand: Deconstructed. His cleft palate subjected him to severe abuse as a child, which is part of what eventually drove him to become a killer. He's still sensitive of it in his adulthood. The scarring remaining on his lip after years of surgery is a downplayed example.
  • Serial Killer: He targets whole families, although his principal victims are always the mothers in them (the ones he chooses to "change").
  • Shout-Out: The suit he wears when he goes to eat the original "Red Dragon" painting is an echo of William Petersen's suit in Manhunter.
  • Split Personality: Whether he felt there was a split before or after Reba isn't made clear, but he eventually starts referring to his serial killer "Red Dragon" persona as a separate person.

    Buffalo Bill 

Buffalo Bill (Jame Gumb)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/buffalo_bill.jpg
"You don't know what pain is!"
Played By: Ted Levine

"It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again."

A serial killer who murders overweight women and skins them so he can make a "woman suit" for himself.


  • Adaptation Distillation: He gets a lot of background and development in the book, all of which is cut from the film.
  • Adaptational Heroism: While he's hardly a good person in either medium, the movie doesn't indicate that he's killed anyone but these young women for their skin (approximately 5-6). In the book, his first murder was of his grandparents (at age 12) and he'd been been killing women for years before beginning this spree.
  • Adaptational Villainy: During at least one scene in his basement, we see that he has a swastika flag spread out on his bed. Whatever Bill's many, many flaws, not once did the novel ever indicate that he was a racist.
  • Animal Motif: Moths, in particular the 'Death's Head Moth' which he sees as symbolic of himself.
  • Berserk Button: Hurting his dog is a very bad idea. In his own words:
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Repeatedly watched a video of his mother. . .as a ritual before killing a victim.
  • Freudian Excuse: Alluded to. Hannibal himself states "Buffalo Bill wasn't born a criminal; he was made one by years of systematic abuse."
  • Genuine Human Hide: His ultimate goal is to make a woman suit out of real women.
    • Look really hard when he's dancing around naked wearing female makeup in the "Goodbye Horses" scene. Many first-time viewers are so shocked by this imagery that they don't look at the smaller details. Look really closely at his hairline, and note the jagged edges of flesh. Earlier in the movie in the autopsy scene they mention in passing that he scalped his last victim. He scalped her, with the hair still attached to the flesh, tanned out the inside, and he is literally wearing a woman's severed scalp like a wig.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Genuinely loves his pet poodle to the point where he all but has a breakdown when Catherine holds her prisoner and his willing to sacrifice the skin and hair he covets so much to ensure her safety.
  • Lack of Empathy: He desperately wants to have this, but he has to dehumanize his victims in order to kill them, cares about his dog, and has a flash of guilt while Catherine pleads for help.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Buffalo Bill.
  • Serial Killer: Kidnaps women and skins them.
  • Sissy Villain: He acts effeminate and has had some minor work done to make him look more like a woman.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Bill collects his victims by acting as a handicapped person lifting a heavy object, then bludgeoning them to unconsciousness when their guard is down.

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Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane Staff & Inmates

    Frederick Chilton 

Dr. Frederick Chilton

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/TropeChilton_8410.jpg
"Oh my, does he hate us. Thinks I'm his nemesis."
Played By: Anthony Heald

Director of the hospital and Lecter's de facto jailer.


  • Adaptational Heroism: The movie removed many of his Kick the Dog moments. In the novel he says that Clarice is sleeping with Crawford to advance her career, tells Lecter that if he doesn't reveal Buffalo Bill's identity they'll send him to an institution where he'll be tortured and raped, is openly dismissive of Boyle and Pembry and tries to blame Clarice for Lecter's escape.
  • Arch-Enemy: Subverted. Chilton smugly tells Clarice that Lecter considers him one. The truth is Lecter regards Chilton as little more than a nuisance.
  • Asshole Victim: Considering that his behavior not only obstructed the Buffalo Bill investigation but put Clarice and Catherine in danger, the idea of Lecter exacting vengeance upon Chilton is both scary and gratifying.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Towards a Serial Killer, no less. He's smart enough to put Lecter in restraints first, but it's still monumentally dumb considering how much of an Evil Genius he knows Lecter is.
  • Death by Adaptation: While his death is implied to the point of almost directly stating it in the film, in the book he's under guard by the FBI and Hannibal can only send him a threatening letter promising retribution at some point in the future. Of course, by Hannibal, he's been bumped off anyway.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Hannibal shows us that he had a fiancee who greatly misses him.
  • Failed a Spot Check: As Clarice's Threshold Guardian, Chilton goes through all of the hospital's security measures concerning Lecter, specifically banning pencils and pens from Lecter's cell. The reason Lecter escapes is because Chilton has left his own pen in the cell.
  • It's All About Me: Chilton has no interest in uncovering the secrets of Hannibal's mind to further the field of psychiatry or possibly help unveil Buffalo Bill's identity; he just wants to get famous for writing a book about him.
  • Jerkass: Makes a sleazy pass at Clarice? Check. Frequently taunts the Evil Genius? Check. Illicitly records Clarice's conversations with Lecter, leaks the FBI's deal with Lecter, then hogs the spotlight as the plan's brainchild? Check. Puts both Clarice and Catherine Martin at the mercy of Buffalo Bill in the process? Check. Becomes the only character in the story that we want Hannibal to kill horribly? Checkola.
  • Karmic Death: "I do wish we could chat longer Clarice, but I'm having an old friend for dinner."
  • Lack of Empathy: Perfectly willing to risk lives if it makes him feel important.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Though not very good at it.
  • MD Envy: Not actually a doctor.
  • Only in It for the Money: All Chilton cares about is getting famous by writing a book about Hannibal.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Chilton's ego is far greater than his actual competence.
  • Smug Snake: Chilton is smug, arrogant, and overconfident about his almost nonexistent intelligence.
  • Threshold Guardian: For Clarice. His smug attitude and come-ons are mixed with genuine warnings about Lecter's true nature, foreshadowing how Clarice has to deal with politics, misogyny, and disturbing violence in her chosen career.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Constantly bullying and taunting Lecter. Sure, he was locked up, but did Chilton really believe he wouldn't seize his first opportunity?

    Barney Matthews 

Barney Matthews

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/TropeMatthews_6531.jpg
Played By: Frankie Faison

  • Almighty Janitor: the only intelligent nurse at the asylum.
  • Black Best Friend: He's the closest thing Hannibal has to a friend while incarcerated, and is the only staff member at the Baltimore Hospital whom Lecter was on consistently good terms with.
  • Morality Pet: For Lecter, who likes Barney and treats him with courtesy.
  • Nice Guy: You have to be a hell of a likable person for Hannibal Lecter to take a positive shine to you, which does not involve being manipulative.
  • Threshold Guardian: For Clarice, in a much kinder way than Chilton — he reassures her both of the dangers she faces, and that she is up to the challenge.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Starling questions why he sold information to Mason Verger on Hannibal. He admits that he wanted money, but he's not a bad guy.
  • Worthy Opponent: Lecter appears to view him as this, as he has immense respect for Barney's courtesy, professionalism, and devotion to keeping him behind bars. Telling, Hannibal is only able to escape when Barney is not one of the ones monitoring him.

    Multiple Miggs 

Multiple Miggs (I. J. Miggs)

Played By: Stuart Rudin

A patient at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. He occupied the cell next to Dr Hannibal Lecter.


  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Miggs throws his, uh, "product" at Clarice as she leaves.
  • Driven to Suicide: Hannibal spends an entire night whispering not-so-sweet nothings into Miggs' cell, driving him to kill himself.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: He has very little presence, but his poor treatment of Starling irritates Hannibal enough that he invites Clarice back for a further consultation just to make up for it. If it weren't for Miggs' and his philosophy of self-love and sharing, many of the events of the film would not have occurred.

Other Characters

    Roden & Pilcher 

Roden & Pilcher

Played By: Dan Butler & Paul Lazar

  • Horny Scientist: Pilcher tries to awkwardly flirt with Clarice. Roden is a little more professional.
    Starling: Are you hitting on me, doctor?
    Pilcher: Yes.
  • Those Two Guys: They're only seen together.

    Catherine Martin 

Catherine Martin

Played By: Brooke Smith

    Sen. Ruth Martin 

Senator Ruth Martin

Played By: Diane Baker

    Ardelia 

Ardelia Mapp

Played By: Kasi Lemmons

    Mason Verger 

Mason Verger

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/TropeVerger_5197.jpg
"When the fox hears the rabbit scream he comes a-runnin'... but not to help."
Played By: Gary Oldman

  • A Man Of Wealth And Taste: Only pays for the best if he finds it pleasing.
  • Asshole Victim: He's understandably outraged at what Hannibal did to him, but there's little doubt he deserved all of it.
  • Bad Boss: To his underlings, particularly the much-belittled Cordell.
  • Big Bad: Of Hannibal.
  • Collector of the Strange: As part of his obsession with Hannibal, he collects memorabilia connected to him like his infamous mask.
  • Composite Character: Like Buffalo Bill before him, Verger combines elements of a few Real Life cases. There was an actual incident of a man cutting his own face off and feeding it to dogs while under the influence of drugs and his use of pigs to dispose of bodies invokes the notorious Canadian serial killer Robert Pickton. His molesting children at a camp he founded and using his wealth to get away with it recalls the persistent, though never proven, allegations against Michael Jackson.
  • Dark Lord on Life Support: He's been hooked up to multiple machines and is confined to a wheelchair, but still acts as the Big Bad of the film.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Always point out how stupid his underlings are.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Before his disfigurement, Verger was explicitly a pedophile who targeted children of both sexes, and tried to seduce Hannibal himself.
  • Eaten Alive: He gets Fed to Pigs after being betrayed by Cordell.
  • Eccentric Millionaire: Villainous example. He throws around his money on sick things for his own entertainment.
  • Evil Cripple: Even from a chair, he still gets off on emotionally abusing children and plotting revenge.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Jokes about how he tortures others and got his face disfigured.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly: Courtesy of Lecter's torture on him.
  • Evil Old Folks: For an old man stuck in a wheelchair he's the sickest character in the film series.
  • Facial Horror/Nightmare Face: As you can see in the image, Hannibal brutally disfigured him.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Puts on the guise of a kind, rich business man, but he's really a sadistic monster who wants revenge on another criminal.
  • Fed to Pigs: His ultimate fate.
  • Jerkass: He treats everyone in the movie, including his own men, like shit.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard/Karmic Death: Eaten by the pigs he wanted to feed Lecter to.
  • It's All About Me: His whole motivation for fighting Hannibal is because of what he's done to him.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: He got away with molesting children years ago, but Hannibal decided to punish him for it. However, he survives Hannibal's attack and plots his revenge. Too bad Lecter is a Manipulative Bastard who outsmarts him.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: His whole plan is to do this to Lecter.
  • Large Ham: What else did you expect from Gary Oldman.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Devises the whole plot of Hannibal so he could get revenge.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Not by choice, since he can't move.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: He looks like an old man, but he still gets giggles out of torturing people.
  • Revenge Before Reason: He lets his obsession with Hannibal cloud his judgment and is killed by one of his own men because he disregarded his safety.
  • Rich Jerk: Uses his money to influence others and spend on his revenge plan.
  • Rich Idiot with No Day Job: He was born into great wealth, which gave him the time to develop his sadistic habits.
  • Sadist: Loves harming children and plans to make Hannibal suffer being Eaten Alive slowly.
  • The Sociopath: Disregards the lives of others in his agenda for vengeance.
  • Smug Snake: He thinks that he's above Hannibal and will be the one to defeat him.
  • Stalker Without a Crush: Obsessed over getting Hannibal Lecter so he could get swift vengeance on him.
  • Would Hurt a Child: His past involves him molesting children.

    Rinaldo Pazzi 

Chief Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/TropePazzi_3479.jpg

  • Animal Motifs: Pazzi washes the pickpocket's blood off his hands at a fountain shaped like a boar's head. The very next scene reveals Verger's intention to have Lecter Fed to Pigs.
  • Anti-Villain: He wants to capture Hannibal Lecter for reward money, but mostly because he wants to provide a better life for his wife, and it's implied he doesn't feel respected at work. He does some very wrong things, but it's seemingly out-of-character, if nothing else.
  • Butt-Monkey: Abused throughout the film.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: "Bowels in or bowels out, like Judas? I'll decide for you, if you'll permit me."
  • Dirty Cop: Partners with Verger's henchmen to capture Lecter, eager to collect a $3 million bounty.
  • Hero Antagonist: Subverted. He begins as this, being a police officer trying to solve a murder and hunting a serial killer, but he crosses the line into Anti-Villain territory once he decides to try and collect the bounty on Lecter rather than do his job and arrest the man.
  • Ironic Echo: Dies the same way and in the same location as his ancestor 500 years earlier. Invoked by Lecter who intentionally chose to kill him like this.
  • Mugging the Monster: Compels a pickpocket to mug Lecter, in order to acquire a fingerprint.
  • Out, Damned Spot!: Lecter lethally stabs a pickpocket Pazzi set upon him; Pazzi finishes him off to cover his tracks by forcing him to bleed out, then washes his bloody hands in a nearby fountain- he is now just as guilty of the murder as Lecter is.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: And he's aware of it.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Is said to have worked on the case of Il Mostro, a Real Life Serial Killer active in Florence in the 1970s and 1980s. However, in context this seems to be a different, still-at-large killer with the same title, possibly Lecter himself.

    Cordell Doemling 

Dr Cordell Doemling

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/TropeDoemling_721.jpg
"One's eyes adjust to the darkness."
Played By: Željko Ivanek

    Reba Mc Clane 

Reba McClane

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/TropeReba_3416.jpg
"If there's anything I hate worse than pity, it's fake pity."
Played By: Emily Watson

  • Blind and the Beast: Francis Dolarhyde falls in love with her partly because she's blind and can't see his harelip, although it's strongly implied that most women he knew were attracted to him already. He just thinks of his harelip as being a much greater problem then it actually is.
  • Break the Cutie: Her final meeting with Dolarhyde has him put a shotgun up to her face, making sure she can feel for it and know exactly what he's pointing at her, and then while she's tearfully begging for him not to kill her, he tricks Reba into thinking he's committed suicide before leaving her to escape his burning house alone. All things considered, she handles it better than most people would.
  • Disabled Love Interest: For Dolarhyde. Unlike most examples, her blindness isn't played up as Inspirationally Disadvantaged, and it's implied Dolarhyde prefers her specifically because she can't see his lip.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Dolarhyde tries to save Reba from this (being bitten to death by "The Red Dragon") by shooting her in the face. He can't bring himself to do it.

    Molly Graham 

Molly Graham

Played By: Mary-Louise Parker

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

    Freddy Lounds 

Freddy Lounds

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/freddy-lounds-red-dragon_8340.jpg
"Remember, if I scratch your back, you scratch mine."

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

    Ralph Mandy 

Ralph Mandy

Played By: Frank Whaley

  • Boom, Headshot!: Dolarhyde shoots him in the face.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Ralph thinks he’s irresistible to women, and is totally oblivious to the fact that Reba, the target of most of his flirting, hates him.
  • Jerkass: He can’t take no for an answer and is just generally obnoxious.

    Bill Boyle 

Lt. Bill Boyle

Played By: Charles Napier

A police officer placed in charge of guarding Lecter after Lecter is moved to Memphis.


  • Ascended Extra: A minor case; he outranks Pembry in the film and does most of the talking for them, while in the book Pembry is in charge and Boyle is little more than a Red Shirt.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Boyle is first bludgeoned by Lecter with his own baton, and then crucified to Lecter's cell.
  • First-Name Basis: He and Pembry call each other "Bill" and "Jim" respectively.
  • Jerkass: Boyle is uncooperative and passive-aggressive towards Starling and threatens to beat Lecter with his baton for mildly annoying Boyle by asking for a second dinner. And this is ignoring his incompetence.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: For all his abrasive behavior, he still obeys Hannibal's request to mind his drawings, and makes a desperate attempt to warn Pembry when Hannibal escapes.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The abrasive and gruff red to Pembry's polite and reserved blue.
  • Those Two Guys: With Pembry.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Uses a simple pair of handcuffs to detain Lecter. He pays dearly for this.

    Jim Pembry 

Sgt. Jim Pembry

Played By: Alex Coleman

  • Adaptational Name Change: Called Jim in the film, even though his name tag identifies his initials as T. W. in the book.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: A rather gruesome example. Lecter slices off Pembry's face and switches clothes with him so that he is mistaken for Pembry. By the time this has been discovered, Lecter is long gone.
  • Facial Horror: Lecter slices off his face as part of his escape.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The polite and reserved blue to Boyle's gruff and abrasive red.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: He gets little characterization or screen time, but Pembry is key to Lecter's escape.
  • Those Two Guys: With Boyle.

    Lady Murasaki 

Lady Murasaki Lecter

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lady_murasaki_797.jpg
Played By: Gong Li

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

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