Hannibal, based on the characters in Thomas Harris’ classic horror novel Red Dragon, sees ex-cop and criminal profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) work with the FBI, using his rare empathy disorder to add a unique perspective– the killer’s– to their murder investigations. FBI Agent Jack Crawford (Lawrence Fishburne) puts Will back in the field despite concerns about his mental wellbeing and refers him to Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), an accomplished and widely respected psychiatrist, to monitor his stability.
101. Apéritif – Jack Crawford, head of the FBI Behavioral Science Unit, enlists Criminal Profiler Will Graham to work on a case of disappearing college students. He introduces Will to psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter, who Jack has asked to make sure that Will’s gift – or curse – doesn’t overwhelm him. The hunt for the killer leads them to Garrett Jacob Hobbs. The events following cause Jack to request that Will continues to see Hannibal.
102. Amuse-Bouche – Hobbs’ victims are still missing, presumed dead, and Will is being haunted by his visions of Hobbs’ murder methods. A Hobbs copycat is on the loose but a discovery in the woods interrupts the hunt for the killer. Hannibal invites Jack to dinner to discuss Will’s progress. Meanwhile, tabloid journalist Freddie Lounds of TattleCrime.com pries for information about Will to report to her readership, which leads her to Hannibal’s office.
103. Potage – Jack is convinced Hobbs and his daughter, Abigail, committed the crimes together. Will, Hannibal, and Dr. Alana Bloom take Abigail to her family home in Minnesota in an attempt to help her remember. Will claims that Nicholas Boyle, the brother of one of the copycat victims, is the copycat killer. Boyle accuses Abigail of aiding her father and confronts her – she defends herself. Hannibal helps Abigail hide what she has done, but his protection does not come freely.
104. Œuf – After Abigail repeatedly runs away from the hospital, Hannibal decides to take a more unconventional approach to her psychiatric treatment. He invites her to his house for lunch and gives her a strain of hallucinogenic mushroom tea. Meanwhile, a new case emerges at the FBI where children are being manipulated into killing their families. Will’s struggle with his empathy disorder grows as he begins to feel as though he is becoming Garrett Jacobs Hobbs.
105. Coquilles – A trip to a motel in New Jersey leads Will to discover a serial killer who creates “angels” out of his victims by forming wings from the skin on their backs. Jack’s wife, Bella, sees Hannibal to discuss her health and makes a confession she feels she can’t make to Jack. Will’s mental health continues to worsen as he is now sleepwalking. He begins to suspect Hannibal might not be looking out for him after all.
106. Entrée – An inmate at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, claiming to be the infamous Chesapeake Ripper, kills a nurse. The Ripper’s last known victim is Miriam Lass (Anna Chlumsky), Jack’s former protégée at the FBI. BSHCI director Dr. Frederick Chilton believes the inmate, Dr. Abel Gideon (Eddie Izzard), is the Ripper, but Will, Jack, and Alana aren’t convinced. They make a deal with Freddie Lounds to coax the “real Ripper” out of hiding. The “real Ripper” responds.
107. Sorbet – Hannibal visits his psychiatrist, Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson). Later, Alana has dinner with Hannibal at his home. A man with a kidney removed is found in a bathtub – it looks like the work of the Ripper. Jack drives Will to find out what happened so the truth about Miriam’s death can finally be revealed. More bodies with harvested organs are discovered and the team gets closer to tracking down the killer.
108. Fromage – A serial killer who uses the vocal chords of his victims to string musical instruments emerges. Hannibal’s patient, Franklyn, claims that the killer knows the doctor and wants attention. Will, meanwhile, has started hearing things. Convinced that he heard an animal in his chimney, Will calls Alana for help. After kissing her, Alana rejects Will and he turns to Hannibal for comfort. The case gains momentum and Hannibal finds himself in danger when the killer arrives at his office.
109. Trou Normand – A totem pole of corpses appears on a beach. Will begins losing time and is concerned for his deteriorating health; Hannibal convinces him he’s fine. When the body of Nicholas Boyle is discovered, Jack immediately suspects Abigail and questions her. Alana goes to her defense while Hannibal confesses to Will about covering it up. Freddie approaches Abigail, promising to make her rich from a book about her father’s crimes, which would set the record straight and clear her name.
110. Buffet Froid – A young woman is discovered on her bedroom floor, having bled to death with a Glasgow Smile. Will, losing control of his empathy, convinces himself that he is actually killing the woman and contaminates the crime scene. Will finally persuades Hannibal to refer him to a doctor for an MRI, which reveals that Will has encephalitis. However, this information is kept from him and Hannibal tells Will his problem is purely psychological.
111. Rôti – After learning of Chilton’s unethical tactics, Gideon escapes custody with a vendetta against all psychiatrists who have treated him. Will tries to predict Gideon’s next move by immersing himself as much in his mind set as possible and realizes he is trying to lure the real Ripper. Hannibal leads the FBI to Gideon’s most recent victim and then sends him towards Alana. Will intercepts Gideon in time, but he knows that his delusions are getting worse.
112. Relevés – In the penultimate episode of the season, Georgia Madchen’s death is thought to be suicide, but Will thinks she was killed by the copycat killer. Hannibal tells Jack about Will’s hallucinations and blackouts, leading Jack to believe Will himself is the copycat. Will takes Abigail to Minnesota unaware of the suspicion building about him. His increasingly odd behavior alarms Abigail, who goes to Hannibal with her concern and catches a glimpse of the true doctor.
113. Savoureux – Will has returned from Minnesota seemingly without Abigail. When her ear is discovered in Will’s sink, he is arrested for her murder. Will manages to evade custody for a short time and goes to Hannibal. After realizing Hannibal is the killer they’ve been looking for, Will attempts to kill him. Jack catches Will in the act and shoots him, now convinced of Will’s guilt. Will’s encephalitis and gunshot wound are treated in the hospital before he is incarcerated.
201. Kaiseki – With Will in custody for Abigail’s murder, Hannibal becomes “the new Will Graham” as he assists the FBI when curiously preserved bodies begin to wash up on a riverbank. Alana decides to help Will regain his memories – if he can do this, he might have some defense to prove his innocence.
202. Sakizuki – A victim of the killer who is discarding preserved bodies escapes and dies after a deadly fall. This provides the BAU with valuable evidence and draws them closer to catching the killer. Hannibal, however, is quicker at putting the clues together and finds the murderer’s silo. Will devises his own plan for manipulation, determined to prove his innocence.
203. Hassun – Will’s murder trial begins. Jack accepts that he was the one who pushed Will to breaking point and risks his position by admitting so in court. A ‘fan’ begins to recreate crimes similar to the ones that Will is accused of committing and people close to Will begin to doubt that he is guilty.
204. Takiawase – Beverly Katz continues to visit Will in jail. Convinced that Hannibal is the one who put the killer muralist into his own human color wheel, Will begs Beverly to prove that Hannibal is the Chesapeake Ripper. She obliges and decides to investigate. Meanwhile, a body is discovered in a meadow with the cranial cavity transformed into a beehive.
205. Mukōzuke – Freddie discovers Beverly’s sliced corpse. Will offers to be the profiler on the case and tells Jack that the Ripper and the Copycat Killer are the same person. After discovering the identity of his admirer, Will asks him to kill Hannibal for him. Overhearing this, Gideon tells Alana. She and Jack race to find Hannibal before anything happens.
206. Futanomo – The Ripper keeps ripping as the corpse of a city councilman is found entwined in a tree. Will suggests the Ripper is cooking and eating his victims. Forensic evidence obtained from the tree is used to determine where the Ripper might have killed the councilman. At the location, a startling discovery is made: Miriam Lass – alive.
207. Yakimono – Will is exonerated by evidence found at the site and released from the BSHCI. Chilton reveals to Jack that he shares Will’s suspicion about Hannibal. Will warns him his in-depth knowledge of the Ripper could put him in grave danger. Miriam is the key to finding the Ripper, but her memory proves to be unreliable.
208. Su-zakana – A woman’s body is discovered inside a horse corpse and Will is brought in to assist on the case at Hannibal’s suggestion. The suspected killer is released after being questioned by the FBI due to a lack of evidence. Will suspects that a vulnerable witness, Peter Bernardone, is in danger. Will and Hannibal hurry to protect him.
209. Shiizakana – A truck driver’s body has been torn to pieces by animals, seemingly of two different species. Hannibal begins seeing a new patient, Margot Verger, for her ongoing treatment at the hands of her sadistic brother, Mason. She and Will discuss how Hannibal’s unusual method of psychiatry – the psychic driving towards murder – is being used in their therapies.
210. Naka-Choko – Will’s newfound inclination to embrace darkness draws him and Hannibal closer together. Hannibal advises Margot on dealing with her brother. She becomes unnerved when Mason demonstrates how he is training carnivorous pigs to eat human flesh. Will agrees to an interview with Freddie Lounds and is displeased to find her prying for information on Will’s allegations against Hannibal.
211. Kō No Mono – Alana’s concerns about Will’s intentions disappear when he gives her a gun to protect herself if the need arises. Hannibal plants a seed of suspicion in Mason’s mind about Margot. Will learns of how Abigail reminded Hannibal of his sister who died when she was a child, making it harder for Will to understand Hannibal’s actions.
212. Tome-Wan – Will tells Hannibal how he envisaged killing him, drawing him dangerously closer. In a later session with Mason Verger, Margot’s “tragic accident” is discussed. The two have a – rather literal – face-off and Mason is left in the hands of Margot as his sole caregiver. She will get her revenge, undoubtedly leaving his nose out of joint.
213. Mizumono – Hannibal and Will burn Will’s case file and therapy session notes together as they prepare to go on the run. Will wonders if the trap he’s set for Hannibal is going to work. The season finale boils to an explosive end as the wait to discover if Will is really Jack’s man, or Hannibal’s, is finally over.