Hannibal turned out to be something of a pleasant surprise in the 2013 lineup of shows, mixing Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon novel and characters with a dark surrealist procedural as envisioned by Bryan Fuller (HeroesPushing Daisies). The cast further propelled the show, with actors Hugh Dancy (Black Hawk Down) and Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt) putting their own definitive stamps on Red Dragon characters Will Graham and Dr. Hannibal Lecter.

When season 1 concluded, Dr. Lecter had successfully framed Will for his string of crimes; however, Will (through the ironic clarity of mental illness) finally saw the Doctor for the monster he truly is. This sets up a new (and interesting) cat-and-mouse game for season 2, in which Will must overcome his own mind and public perception as a monster, in order to stop the real monster from continuing to devour his life – figuratively and literally.

For those who still believe that this show is simply some bastardization of the Manhunter, Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs or Hannibal movies, never fear: this is not another Hannibal Rising. What Fuller and Co. have done arguably transcends what Thomas Harris created in the first place, and is one of the only new series that NBC (or network TV, really) can hold up with pride. Check it out if you haven’t.

Joining the cast this season is Boardwalk Empire star Michael Pitt, playing the familiar character of Mason Verger, whose gruesome fate we already know from Gary Oldman’s portrayal in Hannibal. It’ll be interesting to see Verger in his early, pre-deformed days.

The Hannibal season 2 premiere airs Friday, February 28th, 2014 @10pm on NBC.

Source: NBC