NBC has decided to pull an episode of its serial killer drama “Hannibal” out of sensitivity to recent violence, including the Boston bombings.
The episode that was to air next week features a character, played by guest star Molly Shannon, who brainwashes children to kill other children.
“Hannibal” executive producer Bryan Fuller asked NBC to pull the episode, citing the Newtown, Conn., school shooting in December and this week’s Boston Marathon attack, NBC spokesman Stuart Levine said.
Fuller said Friday that he began talking with NBC executives several weeks ago about keeping the episode off the air. His concern was prompted by Newtown and reinforced by Monday’s violence, he said.
Although the “Hannibal” story is unrelated to real-world events, the intent was “to be sensitive to where we are as a nation,” Fuller said.
The episode, the fourth for the freshman series, will be replaced by another “Hannibal” hour. Viewers will not see a plot continuity issue, Levine said.
But a “clip package” with scenes from the unaired episode will be available at NBC.com next week, without the scenes of child violence and with commentary by Fuller. That will allow viewers to keep current with the show’s larger story arcs, the producer said.
“Hannibal” stars Mads Mikkelsen as the title character, the brilliant cannibalistic killer seen on the big screen in “The Silence of the Lambs” and its sequel and introduced in the Thomas Harris novel “Red Dragon.” Hugh Dancy and Laurence Fishburne also star in the drama.