Explores the early relationship between the renowned psychiatrist and his patient, a young FBI criminal profiler, who is haunted by his ability to empathize with serial killers.
Will Graham is a special consultant with the FBI. He has a special gift whereby he can empathize with any individual and put himself in their shoes. This means he gets to help solve vicious murders, especially those involving serial killers, as he can profile the murderer - their method, motives and personality profile. For a particular case, the FBI also seek the help of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a highly-respected psychiatrist. Will and Hannibal hit it off, and Will becomes a patient of Hannibal. Little does he know or suspect that Hannibal might be the most wanted serial killer in the US.
- Jack Crawford, head of the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI, seeks out special investigator Will Graham to help solve various murder cases across the Maryland area. Graham has a special ability to assume the point of view of a killer, as well as empathize with them. This ability, while it saves lives, has a haunting effect on Graham. In some cases, Graham's fearful mind can lead to distortion of reality. Jack assigns a psychiatrist to Will Graham to help him cope with the work he does.
The psychiatrist is Dr. Hannibal Lecter, known to his colleagues as a brilliant mind and praised doctor, but known to no one as The Chesapeake Ripper, the most wanted serial killer in recent years. As Jack, Will, and Hannibal develop a friendship, Hannibal uses his position to not only play dangerous games with the FBI, but break down Will's mental state. The question is... Why?
The series begins as a prequel to Red Dragon, along with a retelling of many elements of the Hannibal Lecter story.