Manson, Lecter make a monster mashup on NBC

At 9 p.m. Thursday, June 4, Anderson returns as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier in the third season of “Hannibal,” Bryan Fuller’s deeply disturbing, hauntingly beautiful reimagination of Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter novels. The first three episodes combine and recast elements from the books “Red Dragon,” “Hannibal” and “Hannibal Rising” without feeling like heretical fan-fiction.

Never a ratings success, “Hannibal” offers no concessions to newcomers in its premiere. The hour opens with Hannibal the Cannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) in Paris, hunting for a new meal. Then, after the opening credits, we’re back in the Season 2 timeline with a black-and-white segment presented in widescreen. Then suddenly we’re in Florence, Italy, and Du Maurier, formerly Lecter’s psychiatrist, is posing as his wife.

But “Hannibal” finds its rhythm in the second hour when we learn the fates of investigator Will Graham (Hugh Dancy, an incredible performance) and his cohorts who were left for dead in Season 2’s shocking finale.

“Hannibal” is not for the squeamish — it often outdoes FX’s “American Horror Story” in the gross-out department — nor the impatient. But this operatic character study continues to be the most audacious thing on network television.

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