NBC Pulls ‘Hannibal’ in Wake of Boston Marathon Bombing Manhunt

Credit: Brooke Palmer/NBC

With the manhunt for the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect still going on, NBC has decided to pull an episode of its serial killer drama Hannibal due to its particularly disturbing subject matter.

Per Variety, which first reported the news, the freshman show’s fourth episode, about a woman (played by Saturday Night Live‘s Molly Shannon) who brainwashed children into killing other children, will be replaced by the fifth episode. NBC tells Variety there will be no issues with continuity, and noted that the fourth episode was not included in the advance DVDs sent to TV critics.

Hannibal creator Bryan Fuller made the call to pull the episode and told the network, “given the cultural climate right now in the U.S., I think we shouldn’t air the episode in its entirety.” Fuller tells Variety, “I didn’t want to have anyone come to the show and have a negative experience,” and the decision to pull the episode “wasn’t about the graphic imagery or violence. It was the associations that came with the subject matter that I felt would inhibit the enjoyment of the overall episode. … It was my own sensitivity.” It wasn’t only the Boston Marathon bombings that played into decision; December’s Sandy Hook shooting also weighed on the producer.

ABC already pulled a bomb-related episode of Castle, in which Det. Beckett steps on a pressure-sensitive bomb that must be defused before she can move away.

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