“Hannibal,” created by Bryan Fuller, follows troubled empath Will Graham, who works with the FBI as a criminal profiling instructor. Graham is based loosely on FBI profiler John E. Douglas, the same guy Holden Ford on “Mindhunter” is based on, and he’s brilliant at understanding the criminal mind, but isn’t all that great at being a person. His overabundance of empathy allows him to feel what murderers feel in order to determine their next move and catch them, but it also makes him extra susceptible to the manipulations of his therapist, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. The two become hopelessly entangled with one another in a game of cat and mouse that occasionally switches positions, and both end up responsible for some bloody deaths.
In the novels “Red Dragon,” “The Silence of the Lambs,” and “Hannibal,” upon which the series is based, Will and Hannibal’s relationship is much less romantic and intense, but Fuller’s series turns their bizarre prey and predator dance into the stuff of fanfiction writers’ greatest dreams. Fuller was originally attached to work on the “Interview with the Vampire” series but left during pre-production in 2018, and it’s hard not to wonder how much he influenced the adaptation.
The vampire Lestat (Sam Reid) has a bit in common with Hannibal — they’re both fans of the finer things, enjoy the color of blood in the moonlight, and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. They’re also both deeply manipulative, charming men who become enraptured with a man who cares too much. In Hannibal’s case, that’s Will Graham, but Lestat falls for a kind-hearted businessman named Louis (Jacob Anderson).