Exclusive: Another Pushing Daisies Alum Joins NBC's Hannibal in Pivotal Role

Raul Esparza HannibalBryan Fuller is welcoming another old friend into the Hannibal fold.

Broadway vet Raul Esparza is joining NBC’s contemporary Hannibal Lecter series in the key role of Dr. Chilton, TVLine has learned exclusively.

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The character was originated on the big screen by actor Benjamin Hendrickson in 1986’s Manhunter. Anthony Heald took over the role of Lecter’s infamous jailer in The Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon.

Like Hannibal‘s Caroline Dhavernas, Molly Shannon, Chelan Simons, Ellen Greene and Gina Torres, Esparza previously worked with exec producer Fuller: He played traveling salesman Alfredo Aldarisio in Fuller’s Pushing Daisies.

Hannibal, which is based on characters from Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon, centers on the budding relationship between FBI agent Will Graham (played by Hugh Dancy) and his mentor Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) – who are re-introduced at the beginning of their budding relationship. It’s slated to bow at midseason.

Esparza is set to appear in at least two episodes.

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