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Never let it be said that Hannibal didn't push the envelope when it came to the depiction of death. The series, which followed a cannibalistic serial killer, aired on NBC before it was canceled all too soon. However, Hannibal was surprisingly bloody and violent given that it aired on a major primetime network. Apparently, NBC was really supportive in helping to create macabre death scenes that were still technically appropriate for television, but even the Peacock had to put its foot down when it came to one death involving a ceiling fan.
In the episode "Rôti" during Season 1, FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) is hunting down the escaped killer Dr. Abel Gideon (Eddie Izzard). Gideon's preferred method of murder was giving his victims what's known as a Colombian necktie, where he slits his victim's throats and pulls their tongues out through the gash. "No problems there!" says NBC, but originally, Gideon was going to lure tabloid blogger Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) to a psychiatrist's office, wherein she would spring an elaborate death mechanism by activating a ceiling fan that was attached to a wound in the victim's abdomen. Basically, the still alive doctor would get his intestines ripped out by a ceiling fan.
[It] essentially disembowels him by spinning the fan, all in one fell swoop. That was the only one where NBC was like, 'I just don't know how you're going to do it.' We would have pushed back if we also hadn't been told that financially we didn't know how we could afford to produce such a gag, because you have intestines swinging around a ceiling fan.
Hannibal executive producer Brian Fuller opened up about the cut death scene to Entertainment Weekly, telling the publication that it was the only death that NBC was like, "well, wait a minute here guys." The scene was understandably going a bit too far for the network. Fuller admits that he likely would have pushed it harder on them, but he was also told that it would be financially difficult to produce and simply settled with a guy pulling tongues through throats.
Hannibal was a 2013 drama based on the popular fictional serial killer, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. The show was canceled after three seasons, but it has gained a strong cult following. The show was beloved by critics and audiences, with Hannibal being cited as one of the best television shows of the horror genre. There has been talk about the show returning at some point, but nothing official has been stated.
Hannibal may no longer be on TV, but you can stay informed on everything hitting the airwaves in the near future thanks to our fall TV season premiere guide.