What is a mystery? The term is defined as “something that is difficult or impossible to understand or explain”. This idea has turned itself into an entire genre – filled with novels, short stories, films, and TV shows. Why are we, as a population, so fascinated with the mystery? What about the mystery genre allows us to watch crime shows for hours on end or have entire sections of book stores dedicated to the books in this genre? These are the questions that many theorists have answered. Theorists have proposed concepts that have changed and shaped our understanding of the mystery genre, some of which will be used in this analysis. The purpose of this essay is to examine two mystery artifacts and compare and contrast the way mystery is formed throughout a serialized television show, Hannibal, and throughout a roughly 2-hour film, Red Dragon. Hannibal's characters are based off of the characters in the novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. Additionally, the film Red Dragon is based off of the same novel.
So, why these mystery artifacts? First and foremost, because they share a nearly identical list of characters including – Will Graham, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, and Special Agent Jack Crawford. Both the television show and the movie also have classic crime show characteristics – both begin with attempting to solve a crime. Both of these articles fall into the suspense/mystery genre, which gives them similar mystery elements and feel and gives them similar suspense plot points. Hannibal and Red Dragon are artifacts in the suspense genre. A suspense is a story in which the main character becomes aware of the danger only gradually and the watcher is aware of things that the detective/protagonist is now. Thus the watcher experiences suspense, wondering when the protagonist will put the pieces together (Maddox). The suspense element is crucial to the plot line of both artifacts, but it is the mystery tools these artifacts use that make them one of the kind.
Additionally, this set of artifacts is based off of a very popular novel and the character Dr. Hannibal Lecter has a very large fanbase. Lecter was voted American Film Institute's #1 Movie Villain in 2003 (American Film Institute) and was listed as #8 Entertainment Weekly's “The 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years” (Vary). Dr. Lecter's popularity influences the television show quite a bit.
It is also important to note that I choose a television show that is both a serialization (the story being told across a series, similar to the television shows Harper's Island and Veronia Mars) and has resolution at the end of each episode (similar to crime shows such as Bones or House). Hannibal being a serialization means that in order for the viewer at home to solve the mystery, they must watch every episode in order. This makes viewership incredibly important. to see how this influences the mystery aspect of the show. Because Hannibal is a serialization, season one consisting of thirteen...