Why Marnee Carpenter Feels Hannibal Lecter's Absence on Clarice Shouldn't Matter

In an exclusive chat with E! News, Clarice star Marnee Carpenter sounded off on Hannibal Lecter's absence from the CBS crime drama.

By Alyssa Ray Feb 25, 2021 4:00 PMTags
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No Hannibal, no problem.

In an exclusive chat with E! News, Clarice's Marnee Carpenter sounded off on criticism that the lack of Hannibal Lecter has been felt in the new CBS crime drama. Specifically, Carpenter, who portrays serial killer survivor Catherine Martin, called out this commentary as "a weak argument."

"I feel like it's a cheap shot because Lecter's been done so much, and wonderfully at that," she exclusively shared. "I love Anthony Hopkins; it does not get better than him. So, because this character has been done so well, and a few times, we can let that rest."

Hopkins won Best Actor at the 64th Academy Awards for his portrayal of Dr. Hannibal Lecter in the 1991 film, The Silence of the Lambs. The character was later revived, and played by Mads Mikkelsen, for NBC's Hannibal.

As she continued, Carpenter acknowledged that Clarice was "a reboot in a way" as it is a continuation of Agent Starling's story. "I feel like shows get a lot of heat for being reboots," she added. "So, instead we're going into these characters that were kind of left alone and not really dissected or shown their storylines."

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She went on to praise the series for showing fans "something different." She pondered aloud, "Why would we want to go back and do something that's already been done well?"

For those unfamiliar with the new series, Clarice follows Agent Starling (played by Rebecca Breeds) one year after the events of Silence of the Lambs. While Clarice is still reeling from her face-off with serial killer Buffalo Bill, there's little to no mention of Hannibal Lecter, the psychiatrist turned cannibalistic killer who assisted with the case.

Brooke Palmer/CBS

So, why is there a lack of Lecter on Clarice? The short answer: Legal reasons.

Per The Wrap, the rights for the characters from Thomas Harris' novels are divided among MGM and the Dino De Laurentiis Company. Apparently, CBS only has the rights to the characters featured in the novel The Silence of the Lambs. And, since Hannibal Lecter was first introduced in Harris' book, Red Dragon, he cannot be mentioned by name.

Of course, the show has found a loophole by subtly mentioning the famed antagonist. In the pilot episode, Clarice's therapist referred to her previous shrink as "an inmate in the Baltimore Hospital for the Criminally Insane."

Brooke Palmer ©2020 CBS Broadcasting

We're eager to see if any other Hannibal Lecter Easter eggs pop up throughout season one.

Clarice airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on CBS.

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