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

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


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.

It's Valentine's Day weekend. Sending lots of well wishes to the couples out there, I hope you celebrate your everlasting love in the best way possible.

For the rest of us, meet up with your old best friend (mine is named 'Takeaway') and enjoy a romantic suite at your favourite boutique hotel (for me it's a quaint understated place I sometimes like to call my living room) and enjoy the best of what's on offer on streaming services this week.

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.”

Since the release of the film The Silence of the Lambs there have been four prequel/sequel movies and a television series titled Hannibal, which ran for three critically-acclaimed seasons.

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”?