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Hannibal’s ‘Aperitif’ was directed by David Slade. Writer was Bryan Fuller. Based on the Hannibal Lector novel series by Thomas Harris.

FBI Special Investigator Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) is pulled from his classroom to assist Special Agent Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne). Graham has pure empathy which allows him to recreate crimes. Walking in the killer’s shoes so to speak learning how and why they committed their murders. Mental imagery shows everything in exact detail. Losing his identity is a constant threat and inevitable fate.

Crawford is the head of the FBI’s Behavioral Sciences Unit. He is very much aware of the damage to Will’s psyche. He rationalizes to himself and Graham. Insanity is a worth it since his gift allows him to capture the monsters no-one else can. Psychiatrist and FBI profiler Dr. Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) doesn’t want Will to become a martyr.

Since she can’t be his psychiatrist, she recommends Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen). Who is also the serial killer known to law enforcement as the Chesapeake Ripper. Someone Crawford’s unit have been hunting for years. Theatrical staging of victims and organ removal are his signatures. Police think the organs are trophies. Hannibal doesn’t go to the store for his meat. He catches it himself.

Crawford’s CSI team are Special Agents Brian Zeller (Aaron Abrams), Dr. Beverly Katz (Hettienne Park) specializes in fiber analysis and Jimmy Price (Scott Thompson) specializes in latent fingerprints. Lecter is asked to perform Graham’s psych evaluation. He finds it ironic the FBI wants him to capture serial killers. Does he help them escape or lead them into traps?

Lector passes Will without testing him then proceeds to study his prey. It’s all hands on deck for the Minnesota Shrike. A murderer who kills young female college students. He’s taken eight lives. Then he does something odd. He returned a body to her parents. Lector goes into the field with Graham and has private sessions with him at his office.

One obstacle to the investigation is the emergence of a copycat. Lecter’s way of mocking of them. He wants to see how clever Will is. Random clues and insight leads the team to search construction sites. Graham directs them to look for men with college bound daughters the same age and of similar appearance to the victims. Will is certain Garrett Jacob Hobbs (Vladimir Cubrt) is their man. What is Lector’s reaction?

The good: Everything! It’s one guilty pleasure after another. A tasty recipe of top notch acting, unpredictable writing, haunting cinematography and disturbing soundtrack. Skeptical and wary when first heard about the upcoming series. All fears were put to rest during the pilot. You find yourself horrified yet unable to look away. Love Will’s furry children.

The bad: A used tissue placed on the side table. The moment you knew Hannibal would someday have his patient Franklin for dinner. Will’s suffering. Crawford throwing Will into the deep end.

The ugly: Wouldn’t change a thing. People salivating over Graham’s psychological and personality disorders.