There’s been a murder. A man is being carted off in a black body bag, there’s blood spatter on the walls, and a woman is lying dead next to the house’s alarm system. Special Agent Will Graham (Hugh Dancy, Hysteria) walks back and flashes to when the crime took place. He gets into the killer’s mind and describes exactly how the kills were executed. He’s a lecturer at the FBI Academy and a gifted criminal profiler for the FBI. He is enlisted by Dr. Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishbourne, CSI) and aided by Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen, Casino Royale) in his search for the worst serial killers in America.
Eight women have been abducted, the last one just moments before Jack spoke with Will about coming onto the team and helping. As Will describes the reasoning behind who this killer chose as victims, we get a wonderful Willy Wonka reference, that there was one special “golden ticket” girl. This wasn’t just a passing use-once reference either, it came back throughout the entire episode. When Will and Jack visit the home of the newest victim and her parents, we get some awkward Will moments as he realizes the girl was abducted from the family home. It’s amazing the kind of minuscule clues he uses to create his entire theory. As he goes into her bedroom he finds her lying in the bed perfectly tucked in and peaceful. What was different about this victim that made the killer bring her back?
As Will starts doing his flash-imagination back to when it all happened he’s interrupted by Beverly Katz (Hettienne Park, Young Adult) who ruins his process. She finds antler velvet in the wounds and a small piece of shaved metal. Will is becoming a little unraveled by this killer: a psychopath with sympathy just doesn’t make sense. Later we discover the victim’s liver was removed then put back. A serial killer who eats the victims and mounts them on antler hooks, yikes! Because this girl had liver cancer he couldn’t eat her, and ended up putting her back. By now, Jack has brought Dr. Hannibal Lecter into the case to analyze Will and help him profile these killers. Lecter makes his analyzing intentions too clear, but also reveals more of Will’s psychopathy to the audience.
Another body is found, this time missing her lungs. Will is certain she isn’t from the same killer, but he gains immediate insight on the serial killer they are looking for. In an unrelated note, Hannibal is in his kitchen cutting up and cooking some human lungs. Delicious! The next morning Hannibal comes to Will with breakfast (are those really sausages, or is it some of the left over lungs that Will finds so delicious?) and chatter about the case. We get some interesting dialogue between the two about how similar these men just might be. They go off to search for possible subjects and Will thinks he knows who it is. While alone, Hannibal makes a “courtesy call” to the new suspect telling him that “they know” about him and are coming. When they arrive, the suspect slits his wife’s throat and throws her onto the porch then runs back inside. Will, shaking after trying to save this woman, runs inside to apprehend the suspect and hopefully save the daughter. He shoots the man multiple times as he’s slitting his daughters throat then rushes to the daughter’s aid (who looks eerily similar to the other victims) and tries to help her. Luckily, Hannibal comes in and takes over saving the daughter, allowing Will to have his freak out. Later in the hospital, Will finds Hannibal asleep beside the daughter holding her hand.
An intriguing moment was showing Will Graham find a lost dog and bring him back to his house which had many other dogs as well. Does he just take home all the dogs in the neighbourhood? Do they have a different owner? I assume that story will progress further, as ti seemed Will was more comfortable with them than any of the people he was forced to interact with.
There is so much about this show that I love. The fact that each episode title is a part of a fancy meal (upcoming are amuse-bouche, verrines, entree, and savoureux to name a few) is a nice touch albeit a really minor thing for me to notice. Aperitif kept me intrigued throughout with a good storyline and introduction to the characters along with enough of an entry to the gruesome details as a first episode can get. For those that complained about their being blood and violence during Will’s flash-imagination moments, or shocking imagery (okay, so the girl impaled on antlers was a bit shocking) it’s a TV show about Hannibal Lecter! In the crime-solving genre! Although I may have cringed as Mikkelsen deftly dealt with the human lungs, that doesn’t mean I’m going to complain about it because it’s a show featuring a cannibal. If there was never anything a little weird and freaky in a show of this nature I’d be a little concerned with my reaction.
Which brings me to another point. Mads Mikkelsen was a fantastic Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Admittedly I would never want him as my psychiatrist, but he fit the role really well. When I first heard he was playing Lecter I got so excited and wasn’t disappointed by this first episode at all. He’s creepy and although you may not know exactly what he’s thinking, it’s probably something scary. But Lecter can also be charming, smooth, and classy. We’re first introduced to him sitting at his dining table eating something that what we can only guess at what it is. He’s introduced just after we’re told about someone eating livers, but would you ever suspect a man of eating human flesh when they’re in such a refined suit, listening to classical music, and eating with fine silverware? Only if their name is Dr. Hannibal Lecter. I just want to know when they start suspecting Hannibal of some of the extraneous crimes committed that they get called out for.
Lecter and Graham’s chat over breakfast was sinister because Graham was eating sausage human lungs without realizing and Hannibal was starting to learn more about Will’s neuroses. My favourite quote from the episode came from this chat, as Will says “I don’t find you that interesting,” with the intriguing response from Hannibal: “You will.” Creepy!
The next episode ‘Amuse-bouche’ airs on Thursday, April 11 at 10/9c on NBC in America and CityTV in Canada.