Season 1 and 2 spoilers ahead! Only spoilers from Season 3 should be blanked out.
Season One Killers
Garrett Jacob Hobbs AKA "The Minnesota Shrike"
Garrett Jacob Hobbs was a pipe threader who lived in Bloomington, Minnesota with his wife Louise and his daughter Abigail. It is believed that Hobbs suffered a severe psychological break over Abigail's impending departure for college, and over the course of eight months, he allegedly murdered and cannibalized eight young Minnesota college students — all of whom bore a striking resemblance to his daughter. These murders earned Hobbs the nickname "The Minnesota Shrike".
When he was secretly informed by Hannibal Lecter — a man whom he had never met — that he had become the prime suspect in the Shrike case, Hobbs killed his wife and was about to kill his daughter when Will Graham arrived at the Hobbs residence and shot him to death.
- Arc Villain: Of Season 1. All the problems Will's having relate back to Hobbs.
- Apologetic Attacker: He returns one of his victims to the place where he found her because of his inability to "honor" her and use every part of her body, as intended, due to her liver cancer.
- Ascended Extra: He is a Posthumous Character in Red Dragon where he is the first of two Serial Killers Will caught prior to the story (the second was Hannibal). He retains elements of his novel counterpart — he targets college-age girls, he kills his wife and he tries to kill his daughter before Will shoots him dead. In both cases the experience leaves Will psychologically shaken, and in the book checks himself into a mental institution to recover. In the series, that still happens, but Will is involuntarily locked up for a very different reason, with Hobbs only tangentially involved. Also, in the book, Hannibal had nothing to do with his case, never called the house, and he only realized the game was up when Will arrived to question him. His crimes and motives are not detailed, and he was likely intended to be no more than a bogstandard Serial Killer who murdered girls For the Evulz, rather than a twisted cannibal perversely obsessed with keeping his daughter forever.
- Balding Of Evil: Beneath his shiny dome is the brain of a dangerous killer.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The reason he returned one of his victims to her bed after killing her, since he found out that he wouldn't be able to eat her cancerous liver — and thus would not be "honoring" her death. Explained in a flashback: he tells Abigail after she shoots her first deer that if they don't use every part of the deer, "It's just murder."
- Gunman with Three Names: The show has a habit of saying everyone's full name, and Hobbs is no exception, though he is the only character with a repeated middle name.
- Knife Nut: Hobbs tended to use knives, although he wasn't averse to guns.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Unusually, however, he only performs it after death, mounting his victims on antlers like meat on hooks.
- Incest Subtext: His obsession with killing and eating girls who look like Abigail in order to "keep [some part of her] inside" definitely crosses into this territory. It seems like he sublimated his desire for his own daughter by killing girls just like her.
- Posthumous Character: After his death, Will starts seeing him in hallucinations, and his actions haunt Abigail, who is accused of being an accessory to his crimes.
- Serial Killer: Of the first episode.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Hobbs is alive for exactly the first episode of Season 1; from there on, barely an episode in the season goes by without the mention of his name. His daughter becomes a major recurring character and Hobbs appears frequently in Will's hallucinations.
Owner of the Chordophone String Shop in downtown Baltimore, Tobias Budge had long been killing men in secrecy, removing their intestines and treating them the way a string maker would treat catgut. Tobias would then sell his "authentic" handmade instrument strings in his shop.
- Ambiguously Gay: Tobias is very cultured and well dressed and targets exclusively male victims. His orientation isn't elaborated on but it's just enough to make you wonder. Lampshaded when Hannibal directly asks Franklyn whether his interest in Tobias is sexual.
- Birds of a Feather: He and Hannibal. Ultimately, Hannibal rejects Tobias's potential friendship in favor of his Opposites Attract relationship with Will Graham. This does not end well for Tobias.
- Combat Pragmatist
- Elegant Classical Musician: The best-dressed character next to Hannibal.
- Instrument of Murder: Steel strings; used for everything from cutting to whipping to improvised garroting.
- Mad Artist: Of the musical kind. He turns his victims into musical strings similar to catgut.
- Scary Black Man: But not in the usual way. Tobias is reserved and calm in an extremely off-putting and intimidating way.
- Serial Killer: Tobias has been spending his evenings killing people to harvest their intestines.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Tobias is frequently dressed to the nines.
- The Sociopath: He kills without hesitation or remorse, and never shows true emotion.
- Waistcoat of Style: As part of his usual ensemble.
- Wicked Cultured: Witty, urbane, well-dressed with a passion for classical music. Also a vicious murderer.
Dr. Abel Gideon
Abel Gideon was a respected Baltimore surgeon who murdered his wife and her family one Thanksgiving. Committed to the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, Gideon proved himself to be a cooperative prisoner who was responding well to therapy.
Two years after he was incarcerated, however, Gideon murdered a night nurse in the style of the elusive serial killer known as the Chesapeake Ripper. In the wake of this crime, Gideon readily admitted to being the Ripper. However, the truth comes to light that Gideon was simply convinced of this by Chilton, who was hoping to squeeze some fame from having the notorious murderer already in his asylum. He escaped, murdered several of the doctors who had analysed him, captured and non-fatally mutilated Chilton, and was then badly wounded by Will and returned to incarceration.
- Affably Evil: He was apparently doing quite well in the asylum. Until, of course, he violently murdered a night nurse. Other than that, he's polite and witty. He also tries to make casual chit-chat with two of his guards, even making light jokes about having murdered his wife. He then kills them both.
- An Arm and a Leg: In Season 2, after abducting Gideon, Hannibal chops off his legs and an arm and serves them to him.
- Beard of Evil: A little Van Dyke. He shaves it for Season 2.
- Big Bad Wannabe: He isn't the Chesapeake Ripper, and it's hinted at that he was manipulated into acting like him by Chilton.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: Invokes this when offering vital information to Alana in gratitude for her habitual courtesy towards him.
- Black Comedy: Many of his quips and one-liners certainly count as this.
- Deadly Doctor: He was a renowned transplant surgeon prior to killing his wife, and demonstrates that his skills have not gotten rusty when he nabs Chilton and starts vivisecting him.
- Deadpan Snarker: Taunts Will, Chilton and the rest of the hospital staff. Would you expect any less from an Eddie Izzard character?
- Expy: A deliberate one for Anthony Hopkins' portrayal of Hannibal Lecter, who similarly spoke with a Mid-Western accent and was more inclined to sassy one-liners. Gideon acts as an interesting contrast to this series' interpretation of Hannibal, and an in-series joke when he is mistaken for the Chesapeake Ripper.
- Face Death with Dignity: When Hannibal serves up Gideon's limbs over several days, Gideon doesn't show a single hint of fear. He eats himself and compliments Hannibal's cooking, even gently mocking Hannibal for his obsession with Will during one meal. That takes major balls. Even Hannibal seems impressed.
- I Taste Delicious: After Hannibal amputates Gideon's legs and prepares a dish made from his flesh, he compels Gideon to sample some. Gideon thinks it's delicious.
- It Amused Me: A possible motivation for his actions in Season 2.
- Killed Offscreen: Hannibal kills him off-screen following his morbid last meal. His body is later found in Chilton's house.
- Loss of Identity: By the end of his story arc in Season 1, he's fallen fully into this.
- Mad Doctor: Just ask Chilton and Freddie Lounds.
- Manipulative Bastard: In Season 2.
- Meaningful Name: The name "Abel" foreshadows his behavior is due to being someone else's victim, though his behavior is otherwise much more similar to Cain. The name "Gideon" comes from an original draft of the script of Silence of the Lambs, in which the Hannibal Lecter character was renamed Gideon Quinn, again referencing how his behavior mimics that of Hannibal Lecter in the films. In essence, both names refer to characters to who play second fiddle to their more famous counterparts — Abel to Cain, Gideon to Hannibal Lecter.
- Not Quite Dead: As revealed in Season 2. Turns out Will's shot to the head wasn't as fatal as it appeared, something he snarks about.
- Not So Different: From Will. Gideon abandons his glibness and cruelty to truly confess to Will his own confusion and pain at the loss of his identity.
- Pet the Dog: According to Bryan Fuller, he genuinely wanted to prevent Will from becoming a killer in Season 2. Why he did so is anyone's guess, considering Will tried to kill him.
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: He speaks in a very slow, disarming tone, echoing the traditional depiction of Hannibal.
- The Sociopath: Sociopathic enough that he murdered his wife and his in-laws, and two guards to escape. But perhaps not enough to be the Chesapeake Ripper.
- The Stoic: One of his defining features is his unflappable demeanor.
- Troll: Twice he brings up the idea of murdering random people to guards around him. The first time he has a reason, as a way to escape. The second time it's just for the hell of it and results in him getting his back broken.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Years of psychoanalysis from scores of quack doctors combined with Chilton convincing him that he was the Chesapeake Ripper has left him without any certainty of who he really is. His quiet scene with Will reveals that he's actually scared and confused about this.
A disturbed young woman and murder suspect.
- Ax-Crazy: Due to her mental illness.
- Body Horror: Large bits of her skin are coming off. When Will confronts her and seizes her arm, her skin sloughs off in his hand. When she is apprehended and rushed to the hospital, her skin condition is so severe that she is treated as a burn victim.
- The Blank: How others appear to her, due to a neurological condition that prevents her from recognizing faces. When she walks in on Hannibal after he murders Dr. Sutcliffe, his facial features appear flat and skull-like to her.
- Death by Irony: The hospital treated her like a burn patient and put her in an oxygen chamber. When she combed her hair, a static spark caused the chamber to ignite, leaving her to burn alive.
- Enfant Terrible: How her long-suffering mother saw her when she exhibited symptoms of severe mental illness in her youth. Georgia spoke of homicidal thoughts, believed she was dead, and occasionally lashed out violently.
- Frame-Up: Hannibal Lecter frames her for Dr. Sutcliffe's murder.
- Glasgow Grin: She inflicts this on her childhood friend during a murder.
- Ill Girl: A particularly horrific example given her numerous conditions, which are both physically and mentally crippling.
- Kill It with Fire: Hannibal slips her a plastic comb that makes a spark while she's inside an oxygen-rich chamber to cure her physical condition.
- Non-Malicious Monster: She's pure Nightmare Fuel when we meet her, but "Relevés" makes it clear that she had no idea what she was doing when she killed her friend, and is simply a very sad, sick girl who has lost any hope of finding proper treatment.
- Not So Different: Will's increasingly intense struggle with mental illness (or so he thinks) leads him to empathize (both the normal type of empathy and the empathy he uses to investigate crime scenes) with Georgia's condition; he's not the only one to draw parallels, just the only one to do it explicitly. The details of their conditions overlap with Foil; Will believes he is mentally ill, and is without a doubt unstable, but he is unaware that he also suffers from encephalitis, a physical sickness. Georgia believes she is physically ill — more precisely, that she's dead — and her skin condition has advanced far enough that she looks the part, but she has real mental disorders that prevent her from "seeing" faces and make her believe she's dead.
- Obliviously Evil: Because of her severe mental illness, Georgia doesn't fully realize what she's doing.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: A few days of oxygen treatment and she looks much less dead — Will even says she's "pretty", though the skin of her arm is still very raw.
- Shout-Out: Georgias character may be a reference to Georgia Lass, a dead (or, rather, undead) girl played by Ellen Muth in another Bryan Fuller series, Dead Like Me.
- Sickbed Slaying: Hannibal slips her a plastic comb while she is recuperating from her skin condition in an oxygen chamber.
- Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Her appearance seems to invoke this. In Will's dream after she is murdered, she moves in stop-motion jerks like a J-horror ghost.
- Things That Go "Bump" in the Night: In the episode that introduces her, she is literally the monster under the bed.
- Tragic Monster/Tragic Villain: While she was the killer under investigation for one episode, she is far from a villain, and she was even unaware that she was murdering her friend. She was simply a woman who greatly suffered from both physical and mental diseases, ultimately meeting a rather gruesome fate.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: She killed her childhood friend and stalked Will, but wasn't fully aware of what she was doing. She suffered from severe mental illnesses from childhood, wasn't sure if she was alive or dead, couldn't see faces, suffered from a loathsome skin disease, found herself framed by Hannibal for Sutcliffe's murder, and felt frightened and alone. Even if she is a deranged killer, her backstory is tragic.
An aged Serial Killer who creates a "totem pole" out of his victims.
- Evil Old Folks: He's well into his old age, and his latest actions are a "retirement plan" since he wants to avoid being put in a nursing home.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Rounded off with a Creepy Monotone.
- For the Evulz: Unlike other serial killers on the show who had a twisted purpose like Tobias Budge, or a warped "love" for their victims like Garrett Jacob Hobbs, Wells just wanted to see the despair of his victims' loved ones.Jack: What reason did you have to kill the others?Wells: I had every reason to kill the others. They just had no reason to die. They never saw me coming unless I wanted them to see me coming. I could wave at a lady and smile, chew the fat with her in church, knowing I killed her husband. There is something beautiful about that ball of silence at a funeral, all those people around you, knowing that you made it happen.
- Mad Artist: He assembles the body parts of his victims into an elaborate totem pole, which he leaves in plain view on a beach.
- Offing the Offspring: Unbeknownst to him, his last victim was his own son, whom he never knew he had.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Kills his victims using whatever method is most convenient and inconspicuous, from car accidents to induced heart attacks. Even his totem pole was intended to get him imprisoned, so he would be secure in his old age.
- Serial Killer: And quite a prolific one.
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: Speaks barely above a whisper, even when reminiscing about his murders.
- Smug Snake: He's very self-assured and cocky when confronted by Will and Jack.
- Villainous BSoD: Spaces out in shock when he realizes his last victim was his son.
Season Two Killers
James Gray AKA "The Muralist"
A corn farmer who creates a mural out of human bodies.
- Death by Irony: Becomes a part of his own art due to Hannibal convincing him it would improve the piece. This is also a rare subversion, as he recognizes the poetry in dying this way, and thanks Hannibal for helping him.
- Drugs Are Bad: In this instance, they are the murder weapon — each victim receives a lethal dose of heroin before they're installed into the mural. This turns out to be Gray's undoing when one victim, a recovering addict, survived his dose and made an escape.
- Faceless Eye: His human "mural" is in the shape of an eye.
- Farm Boy: While hardly a boy, he runs a corn farm and creates a human mural in one of his grain silos.
- Go Out with a Smile: Hannibal's explanation of the change to his mural seems to comfort him as he dies. Admittedly, he'd also just been administered a thoroughly lethal dose of heroin.
- Just One Little Mistake: The last of his victims was a recovering heroin addict, which led the FBI — and before them, Hannibal — directly to his hideout.
- Karmic Death: Hannibal installs him into his own mural.
- Mad Artist: He creates an eye-shaped "mural" out of the bodies of his victims.
- Meaningful Name: He was trying to create a mural based off of a color palette, and his name evokes an absence of color.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Not to the same extent as Garrett Jacob Hobbs, but the mystery of his death does continue to tie into the main story-arc.
An acupuncturist who lobotomizes her patients in the worst pain.
- Bee Afraid: She lets bees build hives in and on the dead bodies of her victims.
- Blue and Orange Morality: She quickly confesses everything to Jack when he shows up, not seeing her actions as anything but merciful.
- Creepy Monotone: Even when she's trying to act normal.
- Cute and Psycho: She's a sweet, disarming older woman.
- Dissonant Serenity: Whether she's lobotomizing a victim or explaining herself to the officers arresting her, which visibly disturbs the officers.Pimms: I can't make pain go away... but I can make it so it doesn't matter. (smiles)
- Eye Scream: She removes her victims' eyes so as to lobotomize them through their eye sockets.
- Graceful Loser: When the FBI arrives at her door, she sits them down, confesses everything, and goes with them quietly.
- Insistent Terminology: She doesn't kill people, she quiets their minds so they can die in peace.
- Lobotomy: After using acupuncture to anesthetize a patient, she lobotomized him with a pointed object through the eye socket.
- Mad Doctor: She's a professional acupuncturist.
- Mercy Kill: What she sees herself as doing, since her victims suffered terrible pain and had no hope of any cure.
- Slasher Smile: Gains one when lobotomizing one of her victims.
An orderly at the Baltimore Hospital for the Criminally Insane, who is disturbingly obsessed with Will Graham to the point that he kills people in order to help Will.
- Abhorrent Admirer: To Will. However, considering that Will's other admirer is Hannibal Lecter, it can safely be said that Matthew is the Lesser of Two Evils in this particular equation.
- Affably Evil: At least to Will Graham, while Faux Affably Evil to the bailiff he killed and to Hannibal.
- Ambiguously Gay: Hannibal seems to think so, describing Matthew's first murder as a poem and asking Will if he's going to let Matthew's love go to waste. Then there is how, despite knowing how dangerous Hannibal is, he does what Will asks and goes after him within two days of Will's request. Not to mention how much he criticizes Hannibal for betraying Will and that his attempted murder of Hannibal is done while both of them are half naked. Notably, Matthew is obsessed with Will himself, not the murders attributed to him as Hannibal tries to get Matthew on his side by telling him that Will is not a serial killer and Matthew immediately replies that he doesn't care.
- Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Not that Will was in a position to do much of anything.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Matthew aspires to be as an effective killer as Hannibal. However, of the two murder attempts we see, one was a "homage" to the murders attributed to Will, and the other was a crudely overstated fresco that failed when he made the error of not removing Hannibal's phone battery.
- Deadpan Snarker: Not so much what he says, but his tone of voice.
- Determinator: Even after being shot in the shoulder by Jack, Matthew still pushes himself across the floor and kicks the bucket out from beneath Hannibal's feet.
- The Dog Was the Mastermind: As noted by Matthew himself, he's completely unassuming and the last person that the police would suspect being behind a complex murder plot.
- Evil vs. Evil: He nearly kills Hannibal.
- Fake Weakness: Not a weakness per se, but the slouch and lisp he has around Freddie vanish when he's talking to Will and Hannibal.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Captures, strings up, and slashes Hannibal's wrists to bleed out simply because Will asked him to as a favor. He doesn't care that Hannibal is a murderer; he just felt like helping a "friend."
- Legacy Character: Played with. While Matthew doesn't manage to kill him, he does gloat to Hannibal about wanting to become the new Chesapeake Ripper.
- Lesser of Two Evils: One of the reasons Will presumably works with him. And Hannibal is far more prolific.
- Meaningful Name: Matthew 27:3-10 describes the suicide by hanging of Judas Iscariot. After subduing and accusing him of betraying Will, Matthew 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.
- Mr. Fanservice: He swims a few pool laps in a speedo before tranquilizing Hannibal, and only wears an open jacket over top afterwards.
- Orderlies Are Creeps: He even says that being an orderly is good for people like him and Will; if you've been institutionalized before, you already know a lot of the drills, no one suspects you, and you learn a lot.
- Psycho Sidekick: Sees himself as this to Will.
- Recruiting the Criminal: An unusual example without the involvement of law enforcement.
- Serial-Killer Killer: Played with. He only attempted it as a one-time deal, and failed.
- Shirtless Scene: He wears nothing more than a speedo when he attacks Hannibal in the pool, and then continues to walk around half naked while torturing and crucifying him.
- Stalker with a Crush: Kills his friend in an attempt to prove Will innocent, hacks and rereads Will's files, seems to go out of his way to be the one who accompanies Will, and all this before he even talks to him. And then, when Hannibal assumes that he's only obsessed with Will because of his alleged crimes and attempts to tell him that Will's not a serial killer, Matthew states that he doesn't care.
- The Sociopath: And a soft-spoken one at that.
- A Taste of Their Own Medicine: He gives this to Hannibal in a particularly brutal fashion. After tormenting, murdering, and publicly displaying countless victims, Matthew tortures and nearly kills Hannibal, and had he succeeded, Hannibal's corpse would have been on public display. He also now bears prominent scars on his wrists and forearms from Matthew cutting into them.
- Unwitting Pawn: Averted. When Hannibal tries to recruit him, it's revealed that Matthew knew that Will wasn't a murderer all along. He's just happy to have the opportunity to kill Hannibal for a "friend".
- Played By: Chris Diamontopoulos
A social worker who kills a number of women and frames his charge Peter Bernardone for the crimes.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: When Will has him at his mercy, Ingram begs pathetically for his wretched life.
- Kick the Dog: He releases all of Peter's pets and kills a horse for Peter to find.
- Hates Being Touched: Shrinks away from Alana when she reaches out to touch his arm.
- Not So Different: From Hannibal. Both men manipulated and framed vulnerable people whom they were supposed to be helping.
- Psycho Psychologist: As he says in interview he's not a psychiatrist, but he uses his working social/psychological knowledge to manipulate Peter.
- Smug Snake: He and Peter are presented as a parallel to Hannibal and Will, but he lacks Hannibal's complexity and genuine scientific interest.
- The Sociopath: At the very least, someone who doesn't show any capability for remorse.
- A Taste of Their Own Medicine: Peter overpowers him and sews him into the horse he killed so that he'll understand how his last victim suffered.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: After Hannibal prevents Will from killing him, he is never seen or mentioned again. It's likely he was arrested.
An anthropologist at the Natural History Museum who kills while wearing a mechanical suit that mimics the killing style of predatory animals. Also a former patient of Hannibal's.
- Animal Motifs: Wolves and bears.
- Animal Themed Serial Killer: He has his fair share of victims, and his methods of mutilation mimic that of a wild beast's.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: Soft-spoken and introverted, but a vicious killer when he puts on the suit.
- The Corruptible: By Hannibal.
- Dead Guy on Display: Will mutilates his body and mounts parts of it on an animal skeleton at the museum to gain Hannibal's trust.
- Delusions of Doghood: See Split Personality below.
- The Engineer: It's one of the first clues mentioned about him.
- Expy: Oddly enough, he's very similar to the killer in James Ellroy's The Big Nowhere, an introverted but nice-seeming guy who also had delusions of being a wild animal and built a suit to act his fantasy out.
- Foil: To Peter Bernardone, in that both are former mental patients with connections to animals, whose conditions are exacerbated by their ill-intentioned psychologists.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Built a hydraulic powered suit made of a cave bear skull and other animal fossils.
- Loners Are Freaks
- Meaningful Name: His surname, Tier, is German for "animal."
- Psycho Sidekick: To Hannibal.
- Right-Hand Attack Dog: Hannibal corrupted him, and promptly sicced him on Will.
- Split Personality: Of a sort. Suffers from an identity disorder where he believes he is an animal born as a man. He is aware that he isn't able to physically transform into an animal, but he appeases his predatory instincts by building a suit that imitates physical attributes of animals.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Will killed him in the episode he is introduced.
Season Three Killers
Francis Dolarhyde AKA "The Tooth Fairy"
A serial killer who goes after whole families, and will come to be known as
The Tooth Fairy the Great Red Dragon.
- Adaptational Badass: While the literary, Manhunter, and Red Dragon incarnations were certainly tough and smart, this Dolarhyde is frequently shown to be a nigh-unstoppable Lightning Bruiser and One-Man Army.
- Ascended Fanboy: Is delighted to be conspiring with Hannibal, who he is an avid fan of.
- Ax-Crazy: A subdued version. He might seem calm on the outside, but his murders are vicious and brutal.
- Big Bad: Of the second half of Season 3, which focuses on the story of the Red Dragon novel.
- Blind and the Beast: Is attracted to Reba partly because she cannot see his facial scar.
- Blood Is the New Black: He stands outside in the moonlight covered in blood after his killings.
- Character Development: He changes as the Red Dragon persona becomes stronger, hallucinating with greater frequency, gaining in confidence, and becoming far chattier. He ultimately falls enough in love with Reba to try to stop killing, and learns to control the Dragon to an extent.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: He attempts to betray and kill both Will and Hannibal in the season finale.
- Control Freak: He is very exact and demanding in his work, which leads to Reba knowing and remembering him before they'd even met, due to the instructions he'd sent.
- Dying as Yourself: Inverted. In death, Dolarhyde becomes the Dragon.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Word of God confirmed that the murder from the series pilot's opening scene was his handiwork.
- Embarrassing Nickname: He hates the name "Tooth Fairy", considering it demeaning to the Red Dragon, and is ashamed that Hannibal has heard of it.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: His love for Reba provokes him to attempt to change, and keeps him from killing her.
- Evil Wears Black: It's part of his pathology, even - he believes himself to be a hideous monster, so he takes great pains to completely cover his body. He dresses all in black, including a black stocking mask, when executing his murders.
- Extreme Omnivore: He eats the William Blake print he's obsessed with in an attempt to quash the Red Dragon persona and have a relationship with Reba.
- Fantasy Sequence: Imagines himself in a therapy session with Hannibal, then himself as the Dragon surrounded with flame, then later Reba as the Woman Clothed In Sun.
- Faux Affably Evil: To Chilton and Will after capturing them.
- Final Boss: Of Season 3, and the whole series by extension. The very last scene focuses on Will and Hannibal taking him down.
- Guttural Growler: Has a very deep voice, and it becomes even more deeper and vicious sounding as the Red Dragon.
- Hates Being Touched: Whenever someone reaches out to touch him, he flinches away.
- Hearing Voices: He hears the Red Dragon growling at him.
- The Heavy: His actions not only in the third season, but in the very first episode of the series, set the entire show in motion.
- HeelFace Turn: Attempted but ultimately fails.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: His killing outfit includes a black leather jacket.
- Lightning Bruiser: Dolarhyde is huge, towering over both Will and Hannibal, and he's incredibly muscular on top of that. When he first encounters Will, Dolarhyde grabs him like a rag doll, yanks him into an elevator, smashes him against the side, and throws him back out in a matter of seconds. Before Will can get his bearings, Dolarhyde has escaped.
- Made of Iron: Manages to fight both Hannibal and Will despite taking multiple stabs.
- Morality Chain: He genuinely cares for Reba, and tries to repress his violent tendencies to be with her. While he fails to stop in the end, he still manages to keep himself from killing her before faking his death.
- Rasputinian Death: Ultimately falls to a combined assault by Will and Hannibal, taking multiple stabs, being gutted, and having his throat partially bitten out.
- Red Right Hand: The scar from the surgery correcting his cleft palate.
- Serial Killer: Who, unlike Hannibal, targets entire families.
- Silent Antagonist: He doesn't speak at all during his debut episode.
- Speech Impediment: His words sound muted and blurred due to his corrected cleft palate.
- Split Personality: His disorder devolves fully into this in "... And the Beast From the Sea", where the Red Dragon first beats him, then fully controls his actions at times.
- The Stoic: He tends not to express much emotion. Though as the series progresses, he becomes more openly emotional.
- Sympathetic Murderer: He's driven by a delusion and a split personality he cannot control, which he actively wishes to be rid of towards the end of the season. Will later tells Reba that he doesn't believe Francis was a freak, but a person with a freak on his back.
- Tragic Villain: His backstory is very tragic.
- Verbal Tic: He says "mmhmm" instead of "yes" or when he wishes to avoid speaking, due to his speech impediment.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: He kills and destroys, but he is very mentally ill and wants to stop but can't.
- Would Hurt a Child: Dolarhyde shoots the children when he attacks families.