Adapted from a novel by Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs became the third movie to sweep all of the major categories at the Academy Awards. It also delivered a character to the masses that would forever be etched into pop culture and film history: Hannibal Lecter.
Four books and five films later, the legendary Lecter lived on to star in the gone-too-soon NBC series Hannibal. Incorporating elements from Harris’ Red Dragon and Hannibal novels, the show focused on the relationship between Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), an FBI special investigator, and Dr. Hannibal Lector, this time played by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen. Lecter is a former psychiatrist who becomes Graham’s most cunning nemesis despite a powerful understanding and connection between the two.
Developed by Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls, Dead Like Me, American Gods), Hannibal was short lived, cancelled after just three seasons and 39 episodes. It reached cult status, however, with critics and audiences calling it one of the best horror TV shows of all time.
Lambs fans who might’ve missed its original run should definitely watch this critically acclaimed series. It’s cinematic, beyond bloody and filled with campy madness. Here’s how you can watch Hannibal streaming online.
How to Watch Hannibal Online & Stream the Complete Series
In the United States, Amazon Prime has exclusive streaming rights to all three seasons of Hannibal. Here’s how to watch every episode:
If you have Amazon Prime, you can watch every Hannibal episode here on your computer via Amazon’s website, or you can watch on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Amazon Video app.
If you don’t have Prime, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial here. Once signed up, you can watch every Hannibal episode on your computer via Amazon’s website or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Amazon Video app.
WARNING: Spoilers ahead.
How Many Hannibal Seasons Are There?
Hannibal had an intensely loyal fan base throughout its three season run. Airing from 2013-2015, fans couldn’t get enough of Mikkelsen’s menacing interpretation of Lecter, a cannibalistic serial killer who uses intelligence and mind games to get inside the heads of his frenemies.
Hannibal Season 1
13 Episodes | April 2013 – June 2013
FBI profiler Will Graham is recruited to investigate a case involving missing college girls and an at-large serial killer in Minnesota. His superior, Jack Crawford, decides to have him supervised by Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a forensic psychiatrist who is secretly a cannibalistic serial killer. Lecter attempts to manipulate the FBI from within, building a deep bond with Graham once he realizes how alike they are. Lecter is intrigued with Graham’s empathy toward murderers and tries to twist Graham’s delicate sanity and ability to mentally re-create crime scenes in hopes of creating a monster just like him. As the season continues, Hannibal frames Graham for all of his murders threatening Graham’s reputation, career and freedom.
Hannibal Season 2
13 Episodes | February 2014 – May 2014
The relationship between Graham and Hannibal teeters on the verge of obsession. Graham spends the first half of the season in jail, framed for the Ripper and Copycat murders, but new evidence exonerates him of the crimes. Graham and Lecter find themselves inseparable, mentally connected, fused. Hannibal continues wanting Will to become the killer he’s capable of being, but Will continuously tries to resist. Season 2 tinkers with this profound intimacy between the two; Hannibal looks upon Will with pride, while Graham is equally attracted to Hannibal in inexplicable ways. This magnetic chemistry between the characters surges in the season’s latter half.
Hannibal Season 3
13 Episodes | June 2015 – August 2015
Hannibal flees to Italy with his psychiatrist, Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson), but old habits die hard. Soon, he’s slicing and dicing victims turning them into his latest artsy meals, calling back to his past life as “Il Mostro,” the Monster of Florence. Graham wakes up in the hospital, hallucinating and unsure of his surroundings. He sees Abigail Hobbs, despite the woman’s seemingly sealed fate in the Season 2 finale. Jack Crawford remains dedicated to taking down the Chesapeake Ripper. Mason Verger also plans revenge on Hannibal and finds an unlikely ally in Alana Bloom. All roads eventually lead to Franccis Dolarhyde, aka the Great Red Dragon, the Big Bad of the third season’s second half.
What Are the Best Hannibal Episodes?
Hannibal is a gruesome show that’s not for the faint of heart, but its gory kills make for some pitch black, macabre art. Here’s a list of the best Hannibal episodes.
Season 2, Episode 13: “Mizumono”
Unleashed emotions, revealed motives, and a relentless showering of blood make the Season 2 finale one of the show’s greatest feats. While Crawford and Graham’s plan to finally catch Lecter seems to be falling into place, Alana and Graham remain wary of falling into the murderer’s trap. The episode’s final fight scene brings all the main players to the front of the stage and multiple bodies drop to the floor. “Mizumono” is a shocking episode deserving of a spot on any Greatest Finales list.
Season 3, Episode 13: “The Wrath of the Lamb”
In order to capture the Great Red Dragon, Graham concocts a plan that utilizes Hannibal Lecter. Upon hearing the plan, Bedelia Du Maurier voices concern that Graham could very well be putting the lives of everyone around him in danger. Luckily, Graham and Hannibal’s quasi-homoerotic love tale reaches a satisfying conclusion, as the episode turned out to be the series’ swan song.
Season 3, Episode 7: “Digestivo”
Graham and Lecter are captured in Italy by police working for Mason Verger and are delivered to a farm to await Verger’s revenge. Alana Blooms plots an escape plan, while Lecter, newly reunited with his former patient Margot Verger, can’t help but play mind games (shocker!) in an attempt to turn her against her twin brother. There’s also a scene where Lecter goes full Leatherface, cutting off a guy’s face and placing it on Verger’s. This one’s a full-on (gross af) roller coaster ride.
Season 1, Episode 13: “Savoureux”
In this season ender, Will Graham is on the run, suspected of killing Abigail Hobbs and being the Copycat killer. It all circles back to a showdown in Hobbs’ kitchen, mirroring the series’ pilot episode and ending with Will behind bars. The episode works overtime showing the viewer that Hannibal is a sociopath who can easily convince those around him that he’s human, when in reality he’s a psychopath whose true intentions will forever remain a mystery.
Who Are the Actors in the Hannibal Cast?
Hannibal and Graham’s deep-seated connection is only believable thanks to its stellar lead and supporting cast.
Graham is an FBI profiler with the skill of empathizing with the serial killers he hunts. He can visually recreate crimes in his head (which he calls “interpreting the evidence”) and can get inside the minds of killers, which sometimes puts his own mental stability in question. The British actor also starred in The Big C with Laura Linney and was more recently seen in the Hulu original series The Path.
Picking up where Anthony Hopkins left off, Mikkelsen plays Lecter, the titular antagonist who works with Will Graham to track serial killers. Unbeknownst to his colleagues, he’s a cannibalistic killer also known as the Chesapeake Ripper who works behind Graham’s back to fulfill his own twisted depravities. The Danish Mikkelsen recently starred in Rouge One: A Star Wars Story and Doctor Strange.
Alana Bloom is a psychology professor, FBI consultant and a former student of Lecter’s. While guest lecturing at Quantico, she becomes a friend and colleague of Graham’s. In 2004, Dhavernas starred in another Bryan Fuller show, the fantastic and whimsical Wonderfalls, and can currently be seen as the lead role in the Canadian series Mary Kills People.
Jack Crawford is a Special Agent at the FBI and the head of the Behavioral Science Unit. Fishbone has had an unbelievable career in film and television including Spike Lee’s School Daze, The Matrix trilogy and Black-ish.
Du Maurier is Lecter’s colleague and psychiatrist. Gillian Anderson starred as Dana Scully for 11 seasons of The X-Files and appeared as Media in Fuller’s American Gods.
Jimmy is a crime scene investigator who specializes in fingerprints. He’s played by Thompson who’s best known for being a member of the comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall.
Who Are the Top Guest Stars on Hannibal?
The show has had some extremely notable guest stars throughout its short run. Here’s a list of the most important Hannibal guest stars.
Dr. Gideon is a transplant surgeon institutionalized for killing his family. He’s led to believe that he’s the Chesapeake Ripper by Dr. Chilton. Izzard is a British stand-up comedian who has appeared in Ocean’s Twelve, Ocean’s Thirteen, Velvet Goldmine, and the FX series The Riches.
Torres plays Bella, Jack Crawford’s wife and a patient of Lecter’s. She’s known for her role as Zoe Washburne on the cult series Firefly and its film adaptation Serenity. She consistently works on television, guest starring on shows like Claws, Westworld and Revenge.
Chlumsky was a child actress best known for her role as Vada Sultenfuss in My Girl and its sequel. She’s now renowned as Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Chief of Staff in HBO’s Veep.
Prurnell is an investigator for the Office of the Inspector General. She investigates the happenings of the first season and Jack Crawford’s accountability in the events. Nixon played Miranda Hobbes on Sex and the City and its subsequent films. Off screen, she’s currently running for Governor of New York.
Who Are the Writers & Creators Behind Hannibal?
Bryan Fuller: Hannibal Developer, Writer and Executive Producer
Fuller’s work is known for being creative, dark and visually gorgeous. His shows include Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, American Gods and Pushing Daisies. He’s also worked on numerous Star Trek shows including Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and also co-created Star Trek: Discovery for CBS All Access.
Steve Lightfoot: Hannibal Writer and Executive Producer
In addition to producing duties, Lightfoot is credited with writing 22 episodes of Hannibal. He has also written for Casualty, Narcos and Netflix’s The Punisher.
Where Hannibal Ranks in the Television Pantheon
News of Hannibal‘s cancellation sent ripples of devastation and outrage throughout the internet. Fans and critics alike waited with bated breathe, hoping to see the series revived elsewhere. While nothing has some to fruition thus far, the hunger and passion for the show remains palpable on social media to this day, cementing it as one of the greatest TV losses in recent years.
Hannibal not only stayed true to Harris’ work, but forged new ground with it’s stellar performances and character work, particularly by Dancy and Mikkelsen. The show was inventive and gutsy, distinctive in its own right despite being adapted from original source material. The show’s allure was grounded in its handling of delicate opposing forces. It made us believe that its characters were capable enough to put Hannibal away for good, yet simultaneously needed Hannibal to outsmart them in order to continue the narrative and intrigue. Add in an unpredictable DNA with a dash—nay, gallons—of blood, and viewers get a high-octane ride that’s as cognitively enthralling as it is gross.
It’s rare that a show can accomplish as much as Hannibal did with a mere 39 episodes, and because of that, you won’t find a lack of praise online. Regardless of its low ratings and struggle to find an audience, BBC.com wrote: “Its impact on critics and many others who care passionately about TV says much about our current television landscape, though: you don’t necessarily need to be a hit to make a mark.” In addition, Indiewire named it the number one best horror show of the last 20 years. That said, Hannibal wasn’t just “a horror show”; it transcended its genre, toying with the psychological, psychopathic tendencies of Lecter, a deranged cannibal, who quickly becomes the yin to Will Graham’s impressionable yang. When these two characters interlock minds, it’s nearly impossible to look away.