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NBC’s “Hannibal” and getting full on TV violence

On “Hannibal,” NBC’s lurid procedural drama about serial killer Hannibal Lecter’s origins, back when he was already enjoying human livers with fava beans and chianti but nobody knew it, another serial killer is murdering people by drugging them and then flaying their backs, their ribs and their skin to make wings. The victims resemble bloody, perverse angels. One such victim has been hoisted into the air, arms outstretched, in the middle of a barn. From behind one of this corpse’s flesh wings, the camera peers down on an FBI agent (Lawrence Fishburne) and the mentally delicate but brilliant profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy). A filigree of bloody skin takes up the right side of the frame.  The camera then moves in on the two crime solvers, looking up at the corpse, as they have the following meta-textual conversation:

“It's getting harder and harder to make myself look,” the sensitive Will, who, as profilers do on television, regularly reimagines ultra-violent incidents from the perspective of the violent. “No one’s asking you to look alone,” says Fishburne’s Agent Jack Crawford, eager to keep Will on the job. “But I am looking alone. And you know what looking at this does,” Will responds. “I know what happens if you don’t look,” Crawford answers. “I can make myself look,” Will says. “But the thinking is shutting down.”

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