TV Talk

Clarice Tells the Post–Hannibal Lecter Chapter of the FBI Agent's Tale

Clarice star Rebecca Breeds says the big question is whether Agt. Starling's win in Silence of the Lambs was a fluke. Plus, Queen Latifah on why the time is right for a Black female–led Equalizer.

by | January 28, 2021 | Comments

Rebecca Breeds in Clarice season 1
(Photo by Brooke Palmer/CBS)

Hannibal Lecter got a serialized story on NBC’s Hannibal, so it’s only polite to allow his favorite FBI Academy graduate, Clarice Starling, some extra screen time as well.

The Clarice cast and creators give us a preview from the network’s winter Television Critics Association press tour on January 27. Plus,  and news on other upcoming CBS shows The Equalizer and Tough As Nails.


Agt. Starling Definitely Has Some Issues To Work Through in Clarice

The new drama Clarice does not have the rights to mention He Who Enjoys His Meals with Fava Beans and a Nice Chianti, but that might be for the best, co-creator and executive producer Jenny Lumet argued during the show’s press panel.

“Those characters were brought to life by extraordinarily talented artists,” she said, referencing the film and TV portrayals of author Thomas Harris’ psychopathic killer. But, she added, “Clarice has a depth and a mystery that we haven’t examined yet.”

Hannibal Lecter appearance or not, Clarice will not be acting like its heroine is just fine and dandy.

“One of the things I really love about Clarice is she’s succeeding in her workplace and as a young woman, and she’s having to sort out her mental health while she’s doing that,” showrunner and executive producer Elizabeth Klaviter said. She added that she experienced this, and she believes most women do have some form of PTSD — though not because they hung out with a cannibal. She said she’s excited that the show will “explore this raw truth about what it means to be human that we like to ignore.”

Star Rebecca Breeds’ Clarice is also back on the job for the FBI, working under Michael Cudlitz’s Paul Krendler — a man her character humiliates in Lambs. Their relationship is still contentious, but Breeds said there’s the added layer: “He articulates something that she’s afraid to even ask: the question of ‘Was it a fluke?'”

Michael Cudlitz in Clarice season 1
(Photo by Brooke Palmer/CBS)

“He has to protect the team. He has to protect the cases that he’s working on,” she said. “What if she was a one hit wonder now she’s a liability?”

But Clarice isn’t the only survivor on the show; Marnee Carpenter plays Catherine Martin, the woman rescued from serial killer Buffalo Bill at the end of Lambs. She looks different from the way actress Brooke Smith portrayed her in the movie, and she definitely has some issues to work out.

“I really see the continuation of Catherine as a continuation,” Carpenter said. “I was hoping that it would be a fluid feeling across the board, and I see it far less as a body change or a type change or any of those things. I see it as a life change that has happened for her and a year that we’ve missed across the board for a number of our characters.”

Clarice premieres at 10 p.m. February 11 on CBS.

Read More: “Clarice Star Rebecca Breeds: Series Is a Step in the Evolution of The Silence of the Lambs Heroine

Queen Latifah’s The Equalizer Is Not Denzel Washington’s The Equalizer

CBS’s new drama The Equalizer stars Queen Latifah as Robyn McCall, a single mom and divorcee who protects the previously unprotected while also crossing off names from her own revenge list. The series is based on the Edward Woodward–starring CBS series from the 1980s and is not set in the same universe as the two Denzel Washington movies that were spun out from that series.

“I am absolutely excited and love the fact that Denzel made this a relevant product again because I did watch the original series as a kid,” Queen Latifah said during the show’s panel. She added, however, “we wanted to do something different. We knew we could tell this story in a different way from Queen Latifah’s perspective and a Black woman’s perspective in America.”

Co-creator and executive producer Terri Edda Miller said “we have a couple of storylines that are about that specifically and touch on that peripherally”; for example, she said, “our second episode [is about] a young black mother [who] is looking for her child because he’s been kidnapped.”

So would this mean there’s a possibility for a crossover episode or a cameo appearance from Washington’s Bob McCall?

“It’s not anything that we’ve really talked about,” co-creator and executive producer Andrew Marlowe said. “We are here creating our own universe. Is there a potential that there could be a crossover universe in the future? We certainly haven’t ruled that out. But for us, it really is about building this show and identity around Robyn McCall and being very specific to a show where Queen is really embodying the heart of it.”

He added that the notion of “an outsider who comes in and helps the little guy” isn’t exactly new. But, he said, “to have a Black woman be the face of justice? We think [that] is really, really interesting special sauce for this moment.”

The Equalizer premieres on February 7 after the Super Bowl on CBS.

Tough As Nails Season 2 Continues To Build Camaraderie

(Photo by Best Possible Screengrab/CBS)

CBS’s Tough As Nails became a summer hit in 2020 for showcasing skilled laborers’ true grit in challenging competitions. It is also, host Phil Keoghan stressed during the show’s TCA panel, not meant to have a political agenda.

“It’s meant to be an uplifting, positive show,” he said. “We’re trying to be more of a united show. It’s what brings us together rather than what tears us apart.”

He likes the “drive time” element of the show, where contestants talk about different subjects while driving to challenges. One recent topic? Unions.

“We want to talk about health and safety,” he said. “We want to talk about racism, sexism. This idea that men and women are competing equally.”

Tough As Nails returns for season 2 at 8 p.m. on February 10 on CBS.

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