Set one year after the events of Silence Of The Lambs, CBS’s Clarice follows the ongoing story of Clarice Starling – once played by Jodie Foster, here by Rebecca Breeds – as she pursues serial murderers, sexual predators, and other sorts of high-profile monster while simultaneously navigating the tangled office politics of the FBI. The newly released trailer can be viewed below.
Beyond the valley of the lambs
The show’s 1993 setting provides many ready-made plot opportunities, not long after the Waco and Ruby Ridge massacres and the first World Trade Center bombing. As executive producer Alex Kurtzman put it, “the FBI has just had their asses handed to them, and that puts a tremendous amount of pressure on Clarice and all the characters in the FBI building.”
And, unlike many other entries in the franchise, Clarice will not simply have the feds chasing after a new colourful serial killer with a silly nickname. Kurtzman has elusively suggested that the antagonist will be “an entity that represents something that we deal with in our lives all the time…a more expanded, nuanced, complicated, and topical version of a serial killer.”
Like Silence Of The Lambs, Clarice will make much of the dynamic of Clarice being a woman in the overwhelmingly male world of the FBI. One notable section of the trailer features a generic, grey, senior fed dismissing her approach as “It’s the full moon and I’ve got a feeling” – a more gendered statement than it might appear, when you consider what else happens regularly every month.
But what about Hannibal?
The obvious question is, how will this compare with that other TV adaptation, NBC’s Hannibal, and its simmering sexual tension between Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy? Answer: it won’t, and in fact can’t. The rights to the Hannibal Lecter character are in legal limbo between Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and the Dino de Laurentiis Company – and as such, Clarice can neither feature nor even reference Lecter. Kurtzman himself admitted “I’m still trying to understand how the rights are divided.”
Making the best of an awkward situation, Kurtzman added “It’s been quite liberating because we have no interest in writing about Hannibal—not because we didn’t love the films and the show, but because it was done so well by so many people that it didn’t feel fresh for us.”
Because of the convoluted division of rights, Clarice will essentially feature all the film characters which Hannibal didn’t: Clarice herself, her colleague Ardelia Mapp (Devyn Tyler), and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Paul Krendler (Michael Cudlitz). But perhaps most notable of these is Silence Of The Lambs villain Buffalo Bill, who in that film ended up somewhat sidelined in the face of Anthony Hopkins’ performance as Lecter, and his final would-be victim Catherine Martin (Marnee Carpenter). At the very least, the show is not completely dispensing with its own past.
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