Clarice Is Back. What Has She Been Up to Since Silence of the …

Clarice

Clarice Is Back. What Has She Been Up to Since Silence of the …

The CBS sequel series, “Clarice,” seeks to re-center Clarice Starling, the young F.B.I. trainee, in the franchise.

Clarice Is Back. What Has She Been Up to Since ‘Silence of the Lambs’? – The New York Times

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Clarice Is Back. What Has She Been Up to Since ‘Silence of the Lambs’?

The CBS sequel series, “Clarice,” seeks to re-center Clarice Starling, the young F.B.I. trainee, in the franchise.

“Clarice,” starring Rebecca Breeds as Clarice Starling, picks up a year after the events of “Silence of the Lambs.” Credit…Brooke Palmer/CBS

By Brian Tallerico

Feb. 11, 2021, 12:48 p.m. ET

On Thursday night, CBS will debut the dark and stylish crime drama “Clarice,” which, on one level, is the latest in a long line of procedurals from the alphabet-happy network that gave us “JAG,” “S.W.A.T.,” “FBI” and numerous “CSI” and “NCIS” series.

This one, however, comes with a decidedly more illustrious and literary pedigree.

Created by Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet, the series brings back Clarice Starling, the fictional F.B.I. cadet first introduced in the 1988 Thomas Harris novel “The Silence of the Lambs” and immortalized by Jodie Foster in the Oscar-winning 1991 adaptation. Clarice’s blend of humanity and intellect made her into a beloved fiction and film protagonist, but sequels and spinoffs have since ceded the spotlight to the charismatic cannibal Dr. Hannibal Lecter, played by Anthony Hopkins in two more films, and by Mads Mikkelsen in the NBC series “Hannibal.”

But as Hannibal once told Clarice, “All good things to those who wait”: Twenty years later, the new CBS drama is a kind of reclamation of her character, as played by Rebecca Breeds — a sequel series set one year after the action of “Silence.” While the trauma of her time with Dr. Lecter and the serial killer Jame Gumb, a.k.a. Buffalo Bill, certainly influences her behavior in the field, the show seeks to make this universe about its heroine again.

What was Clarice’s journey from a hit book in the ’80s to a TV show in the 2020s? And why should viewers still care about this young woman who is still haunted by the “awful screaming of the lambs”? Here’s a brief look at her history and influence.

named her the greatest heroine in film history.

The movie that almost ended it all

Harris presented Starling as an equal adversary to Lecter in “Silence” but then frustrated fans in “Hannibal” by having them come together romantically. At the close of an elaborate novel that has Starling hunting Lecter to Florence, the doctor tries to brainwash her into believing she is his dead sister, Mischa, which fails, but the two end up living together happily ever after anyway.

that it was developing a drama about Clarice, but it never materialized.

he wanted to incorporate Clarice, but problems arose over rights to the character, which couldn’t be worked out before NBC canceled the show. Her legacy continued, however. Gillian Anderson’s Dana Scully of “The X-Files,” with her blend of blinding intellect and dark family secrets, is hard to imagine without Harris’s character as a model, particularly Foster’s rendition.

As Emily Blunt’s Kate Macer navigates a testosterone-heavy world in “Sicario,” it’s hard not to think of the disapproving male stares faced by Foster’s Clarice in “Silence.” Even NBC’s “Hannibal” had Starling surrogates, like Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) and Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl).

Clarice returns

In the new series, Lumet and Kurtzman blend the structure of a CBS mystery series like “C.S.I.” with a character who helped bring psychological depth — and a female gaze — to hunting serial killers. The creators build heavily on the foundation set by that book and film, even though, in a funny reversal, they Hannibal Lecter because of rights issues. Familiar motifs, like the death’s-head moth, arise in flashbacks to the kidnapping of Catherine Martin (Marnee Carpenter). Even the phrase “quid pro quo” gets another turn.

Other characters from the “Silence” universe are returning as well, including a new job for Paul Krendler (Michael Cudlitz), the deputy assistant attorney general who was played by Ray Liotta in the Scott film; Ruth Martin (Jayne Atkinson), the mother of Buffalo Bill’s final captive; and an expanded role for Ardelia Mapp (Devyn A. Tyler), Starling’s former roommate at Quantico and her most loyal ally.

The creators hope fans are still loyal to Clarice as well. “Clarice does everything I hope I’d have the guts to do,” Lumet said in an email last month. “You can count on her.”

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