Clarice. It’s a name so well known in popular culture that you don’t even need the surname to know who it’s referring to. That’s the title and main character of the latest series to be made from Richard Harris’ famous novels. The characters have of course been mined for TV before with Hannibal, which turned out to be one of the best shows on TV. Due to legal rights wrangling and its cancellation, Hannibal never got to take on Starling, so this new take in Clarice is already burdened with a lot of expectation. Judging by this first episode, it might be able to stand on its own feet.
We pick up with Clarice Starling after the Buffalo Bill case, the episode opening with a quick recounting of that killer and the fallout since, all stylised close-up shots and striking images, not far from Hannibal’s aesthetic. Clarice is living with PTSD but in denial, an FBI agent thrust into the limelight by media attention, but ostracised from her team and the rest of the FBI for her age and fame. Starling herself is trying to keep her head down and move on, but with a new possible serial killer emerging, she’s pulled back into a violent case specifically because of her fame. Clarice has an intriguing set up, offering an overarching detective case while still being interested in the psychology of Clarice and Buffalo Bill’s last victim, Catherine Martin, both scarred and unable to deal with life after. Rebecca Breeds playing Starling has the mannerisms of Jodie Foster and sometimes the look of Julianne Moore, and is well cast. It remains to be seen if the show can pull off a completely new and interesting take on the character, but the fact that it has more going on than just being a killer of the week show has us hopeful.
Where to watch: CBS (US), UK TBC