Season 3, Episode 8:
The Great Red Dragon
Three years after his capture, Hannibal Lecter has been declared legally insane — by his own design, neatly avoiding the death penalty — and institutionalized in the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. A new serial killer known as "the Tooth Fairy" is killing whole families, so Jack Crawford enlists Will Graham, who has since retired to a quiet life with his wife Molly and stepson Walter.
- The Bus Came Back: The FBI Behavioral Sciences team, Jimmy Price and Brian Zeller, return after not appearing since the second half of season 2.
- Call-Back: Freddie Lounds is referenced but does not appear, just as she was in 'Apéritif'.
- Darker and Edgier: While the series has always been bloody and violent, Francis Dolarhyde is much more brutal than anything that has come before. He murders children and it's very strongly implied that he rapes their mothers and mutilates her genitals.
- He's Back: A decidedly sombre example. After leaving behind his mentally destructive work for the FBI and his extremely unhealthy friendship with Hannibal Lecter in order to have an ordinary life and a loving family, Will Graham gets back on the horse and returns to work to profile an intelligent psychopath.
- Insanity Defense: Despite Alana and Chilton knowing better, Hannibal successfully argues this in court and is subsequently put in the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, thus avoiding the death penalty for his crimes.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Chilton tells Hannibal, the title character of a low-rated cult show, that he'll always have "niche appeal.
- Luxury Prison Suite: Hannibal's room, although mostly empty, looks extremely stylish for a cell in a facility for the criminally insane. He is also allowed to practice his gourmet cooking with the best ingredients, albeit not the ones that he prefers, for obvious reasons.
- Silent Antagonist: Dolarhyde doesn't speak a word for the entire episode.
- Time Skip: The story has flashed 3 years forward since the last episode.