Don’t Skip the Content Warnings, but Hannibal is Worth the Watch

Sawyer Demonstranti, Staff Writer

CONTENT WARNINGS – Hannibal is a very graphic show, where you can expect many scenes depicting violence, murders, and cannibalism among other 18+ things. The show has been rated TV-MA, which is the tv show equivalent of rated R. I strongly suggest you go to IMBd’s content warnings before watching so you can get an in-depth look, however it may spoil the show in some parts.


If you love gritty psychological horror-thriller, NBC’s Hannibal might just be the show for you. Do not expect an over exaggeration of the types of scenes in this show, it’s very in your face about the topics depicted. However, if you are still wanting to watch, you will not be disappointed. Hannibal runs for 3 seasons, comprised of 13 episodes in each one. It only ran for 3 seasons before it was canceled, leaving the show on a sort of cliffhanger, but it is still worth the watch.

The show follows the relationship between an FBI special investigator/profiler Will Graham and Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a forensic psychiatrist who is simultaneously Graham’s most cunning enemy and the only person who could understand him. Graham is recruited by head of Behavioral Science of the FBI, Jack Crawford, to help investigate a serial killer in Minnesota. The investigation weighs heavily on him, which leads him to be supervised by Dr. Hannibal Lecter. However, Lecter is secretly a serial killer and cannibal who is working from within the FBI to manipulate the cases and those around him. The bond which grows between Lecter and Graham begins to threaten his work as a killer. He is fascinated by Graham, and tries to push the boundaries of Graham’s sanity to turn him into the same killers he investigates.

For such a dark premise of a show, it is actually a very beautiful and well-written story. The show does not shy away from symbolism and poetic dialogue, and it reflects the characters very well. We can see Graham become more and more like Lecter by his change in mannerisms as well as his dialogue delving deeper into idioms and metaphors, just as Lecter’s is throughout the story. I can confidently say that even with such meaningful lines in each episode, it wouldn’t be as powerful as it is without the amazing acting by Hugh Dancy (Will Graham) and Mads Mikkelson (Dr. Hannibal Lecter).

Dancy and Mikkelson’s performances within the show are powerful and add onto the overall feel of the show very well. Their dynamic as Graham and Lecter is so strong that you’d even root for the twisted aspects of their behavior in the later episodes. Each character is fleshed out, making their exploits meaningful and interesting to watch. 

While the show does end on a cliffhanger, it had enough beautiful stories within it that you can’t help but be a little satisfied with the end. It doesn’t feel like you’re missing more of the story, and is actually one of the perfect ways the show could’ve ended even if it had not been canceled. By the time you finish watching, you’ll have had an all-encompassing experience from how the story pulls you in as if you were in it yourself. You’ll be in the corner of characters you’d never thought you’d root for. So, if you love stunning visuals and writing as well as dark deep psychological thrillers, Hannibal will not disappoint. It’s thrilling, exciting, and unpredictable, you’ll gasp and cheer along with the characters. You can watch it as an enjoyer of horror or as an enjoyer of the philosophical, and you’ll be satisfied no matter how much you look into the deep writing of the show. It’s the perfect mix of wonderful visuals, music, plots, and characters.