Here it is, the definitive list of Hannibal Characters. Clearly nobody will disagree with any of this, but as I understand it, these articles have comments so that people can share their agreement. Which is all that will happen, I’m sure!
Anyway. About the list.
Oh, I am partial to evil. Almost always. I didn’t feel right including Red Dragon, Margot Verger, or some of the other recurring guests; Gideon seems like the cutoff for participation. It’s almost completely arbitrary.
Rankings basically have two components: how much this character contributed to the show, and how much I liked them. Let me stress that I like all of the characters a great deal. I just like some more than others.
13) Mason Verger: Too creepy and incestuous – the violence towards Margot makes my skin crawl. Both actors are good, though. I probably prefer the unhinged Michael Pitt version to the looming creep played by Joe Anderson. His plan to butcher and eat Hannibal like one of his hogs is inspired.
(Caption: Team Sassy Science)
12) Brian Zeller (“Z”): I like Z, he just doesn’t have a lot to do besides play off Jimmy. I do enjoy their ‘old married couple’ dynamic, though. Really just needs more screentime. Aaron Abrams himself is very charming! He needs more to do.
11) Beverly Katz: I feel terrible ranking Bev this low. I really enjoy her interactions with Will and Jack, particularly the former. Her unwillingness to see Will as a special butterfly is as welcome as her red leather jacket. It’s only a shame that there wasn’t more of her.
10) Jimmy Price: Jimmy is ranked this low due to his lesser presence but I always enjoy his appearances. The levity is welcome. I was thrilled to have Scott Thompson on this show. I don’t even care how it happened, it was absolutely a gift.
9) Abigail Hobbs: She is a bit of a plot device, but I think Kacey Rohl is really good in this role. I wish she got to be less traumatized, but I feel like everything with her worked. God forbid if she got to be happy at any point.
8) Alana Bloom: Let me be clear. I really like Alana. But by the time she finally took some initiative, it was too little, too late. S3 Alana – cold and wounded – was hard to watch at times. I liked her dynamic with everyone else in the cast, though. Her scenes with Jack, cooking with Hannibal, and even her struggle with Will, all of it. Her arguments with Jack over Will are great. Beautiful wardrobe, and Caroline Dhavernas should really be in more things.
7) Abel Gideon: I hate putting him over Alana, but I struggled to rank Gideon any lower. I just love his brand of snide wickedness, his unrepentant nature, his contrast with Hannibal. Eddie Izzard is perfect in this role. The worst thing I can say is that he may have overstayed his welcome a little. It barely matters. His brand of casual sadism is perfect.
6) Will Graham: This is the hardest decision. The Will/Hannibal dynamic is really what the whole show is about, but Will is hard to like at times. He’s not completely unlikeable, but it’s largely the Alana issue – too passive, too often. The old horror movie character syndrome, i.e. DON’T GO IN THERE. But I do love his twisted, unrequited romance with Hannibal, and he has a solid casual wardrobe. He’s a good character, I just couldn’t wait forever for him to get his shit together.
5) Jack Crawford: Now we’re talking. Laurence Fishburne is a ringer, the fact that he’s essentially the third lead speaks to how stacked this cast is. Laurence Fishburne! He’s great in this role, and yells just enough. Has a spine. The Justice Hat is a clear sign that things have hit the fan. Some fantastic line readings. The S2 exchange between him and Will, regarding the Chesapeake Ripper, is one of my favorite moments in the whole show:
It pains me to rank him so low. I could move him up two spots based on the spectacular beating he gives Hannibal in the museum alone.
(Note: It’s hilarious how much larger Jack is in this picture)
4) Bedelia du Maurier: A revelation. Icy and removed, ethereal, absolutely luminous. Makes every word count. I spent the first two seasons wanting more of her, and the first half of S3 – Europe – is everything I hoped for. Her ‘fake married couple’ game of cat and mouse with Hannibal is wonderful, unbelievably sexy stuff. I always like characters who leave things unsaid. She was always something of a mystery, and the show was always better for having her.
3) Frederick Chilton: It’s beautiful how unlikeable he is. Oily, petty, jealous – I love Dr. Chilton. I feel like he nearly steals every scene he’s in, with his horribly biased perspective and his wild insecurity. Even when he was right, he was still wrong, only because I wanted him to be. Nobody will ever feel as sorry for Frederick as he feels for himself. He could never suffer enough.
2) Fredericka “Freddie” Lounds: When there is a show that follows Freddie as she screws people over for stories, I will pre-order the box set. I love everything about her. She dresses like a character from some retrofuturistic noir, and carries an adorable pistol. Gorgeous, gorgeous hair. Her skewed version of the truth, presented with nary a blink, always brings me joy. Amoral professionalism with a smile. In a show full of murderers, she might be the worst human being.
1) Hannibal Lecter: Initially I had Freddie here. I love her that much! But the show could not exist without Mads Mikkelsen’s version of Hannibal. Mads is glorious in this role – his subtle characterization doesn’t get enough credit because of his wardrobe. But what a wardrobe! I’m not sure a television character has ever worn better suits. His fake marriage with Bedelia is worth the best parts of a thousand trashy romance novels, and he became deliciously petulant in jail. This is seductive menace at its best – a monster who will gut you as he holds you close. He is the bespoke devil I’ve always wanted.
That’s it! The actual list:
- Hannibal Lecter
- Freddie Lounds
- Frederick Chilton
- Bedelia Du Maurier
- Jack Crawford
- Will Graham
- Abel Gideon
- Abigail Hobbs
- Alana Bloom
- Jimmy Price
- Beverly Katz
- Brian Zeller “Z”
- Mason Verger (both versions)
Apologies for all the pictures, but it was fun looking for them. There was never a ‘right’ picture of Hannibal, because there were almost no wrong pictures of Hannibal.