Arts & Entertainment

Clarice, the New Silence of the Lambs Sequel Series, Is a Direct Follow-Up to the Acclaimed Horror

But will the procedural feature the iconic villain Hannibal Lecter?
IMAGE CBS
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Thirty years later, the film that gave the world such quotable, wonderfully disturbing lines as “I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti” is back for another helping. Silence of the LambsJonathan Demme’s 1991 Oscar-winning film starring Jodie Foster and based on the Thomas Harris novel, gets yet another sequel with CBS’s Clarice, a new series premiering Feb. 11 at 10 p.m. ET on CBS and CBS All Access.

If the show's Super Bowl commercial—featuring actual lambs and an unnerving monologue by the titular character Clarice Starling—caught your eye, you’ll want to check out the full, extended trailer for Clarice. Plus: will the cannibalistic psychiatrist with a taste for fine wine appear in the new series? We get into that below, plus everything else we know about the new series Clarice.

What is Clarice about?

Clarice continues Clarice Starling’s story in 1993, a year after the events of Silence of the Lambs. In the original film, Clarice is an FBI trainee sent to interview cannibalistic killer psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter, seeking to use his psychological insights to solve a new and disturbing case. In Clarice, we find our heroine (Rebecca Breeds) still reeling from her experience with the serial killer, Buffalo Bill. Battling her PTSD and the political realities of the male-dominated and pressurized environment of the FBI circa the early nineties, Clarice returns to the field to solve new cases alongside a new team.

Who is in the Clarice cast?

Following in the footsteps of the incredible Jodie Foster, Australian actress Rebecca Breeds (The Outsiders, Pretty Little Liars) will portray Clarice Starling in the new series. Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead) will play her superior, with Kal Penn (House, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle) and Nick Sandow (Orange is the New Black) appearing as fellow FBI agents working alongside Clarice. Jayne Atkinson (24Criminal Minds) will play Ruth Martin, the Senator-turned-Attorney General and mother of Catherine (Buffalo Bill's kidnapping victim).

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Is Hannibal Lecter in Clarice?

According to the show creators, this new series will differ from the other spinoff television show, Bryan Fuller and NBC’s Hannibal, in more ways than one. First, and most important: Clarice will not feature Hannibal Lecter, the iconic cannibalistic character portrayed in the original film by Anthony Hopkins. The new series will not even mention Dr. Lecter, due to the complexities of the intellectual property rights to the story.

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, series executive producers Jenny Lumet and Alex Kurtzman explained the exclusion of Hannibal Lecter from the show. Turns out, the rights to Harris’s characters are divided between MGM and the Dino De Laurentiis Company, so while Clarice has the rights to all the characters that Hannibal didn’t have, they do not have the rights to Hannibal Lecter. In the world of Clarice, Clarice’s experiences with the cannibalistic psychiatrist still happened and he's still on the loose, but they cannot actually show Lecter or mention him by name. Strange as it may be, that’s show business, baby!

This legal restriction didn't bother the show's creators, however, as they wanted to focus on mining the rich psychological history of Clarice herself. "It's been quite liberating because we have no interest in writing about Hannibal—not because we didn't love the films and the show, but because it was done so well by so many people that it didn't feel fresh for us,” executive producer Alex Kurtzman told Entertainment Weekly.

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Early reviews of the show suggest that it leans heavily on the now-classic FBI procedural formula, favoring spoon-fed exposition over intricate, nuanced storytelling. But for fans of Silence of the Lambs and CSIClarice might be just what the (hopefully not cannibalistic) doctor ordered.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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Anna Grace Lee
Anna Grace Lee is an editorial fellow at Esquire, where she covers pop culture, music, and entertainment.
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