'Hannibal's' Hettienne Park Eloquently Addresses Racism and Sexism Accusations on the Show
Warning: This piece contains spoilers for this season of Hannibal, up through this past week’s episode, “Takaiwase.” If you’re not caught up, you’ll probably want to back out very slowly.
When I first began watching Hannibal last year, one of the characters I least cared for was Special Agent Beverly Katz. I found her grating and harsh, and frankly distracting from the characters I really wanted to see. But over the course of the first season, and especially the first several episodes of season two, Hettienne Park’s Katz slowly grew to be one of my favorites. The character is smart, sarcastic and on equal par with her male counterparts. While Katz has been Will Graham’s confidant since he’s been incarcerated, she hasn’t blindly believed in his innocence, rather—as she’s adamantly reminded Will time and again—Katz believes what the evidence tells her. (She’s also clever enough to realize that certain evidence has pointed to Will almost too perfectly.) I credit both the actress and Bryan Fuller’s writing for this evolving character who transformed into someone I cared about and rooted for. Though many of us realized early in the last episode that Hannibal was onto Beverly Katz, it was no less crushing (and terrifying!) to see him appear behind her—to realize she was a goner.
There are plenty of series and showrunners whose casting can be called into question, but before we do that, shouldn’t we consider a show’s premise and focus? And if that series is about a murderer, must we examine and categorize every death to ensure there isn’t a perceived bias being employed?
After her character’s untimely demise last week, Hettienne Park caught wind of people questioning whether Bryan Fuller—and the show in general—is racist and/or sexist, and she’s written a great piece, “Racism, Sexism and Hannibal: Eat the Rude.” Rather than excerpting snippets or interpreting here, I suggest you read the whole thing as intended. Like the great character she played, Park is wise, eloquent and humorous. And because of her role as Beverly Katz, I look forward to seeing what she does next.