Clarice S01E01 is the first episode of this crime drama based on the award-winning film adaptation of Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs. Starring Australian actress Rebecca Breeds as FBI Agent Clarice Starling, Clarice S01E01 is set in 1993, a year after the events of the film, as Agent Starling is roped in by AG Ruth Martin to join a violet crimes unit, that Martin has established. Martin’s daughter Catherine was the final victim of Buffalo Bill, the serial killer Agent Starling apprehended and killed in the film.
An intriguing set up certainly and considering the public’s morbid fascination with serial killers and violent crimes, not forgetting the brand recognition of The Silence of the Lambs, Clarice has a fair chance of being a hit. However, based on S01E01, we are wondering whether the series is trying too hard to get the audience to engage with the main character.
From the outset, it appears that Agent Starling has the entire world against her – suffering from PTSD, survivor’s guilt and antagonistic (male) colleagues – and while we understand that that is a creative choice to build empathy with her, one wonders whether the sheer extent of the difficulties Agent Starling encounters might be too unrealistic and threaten the suspension of disbelief.
So while everything that Agent Starling does in this first episode appears to be logical and professional from her (and the audience’s) perspective, the extreme hostility she faces, especially from her immediate superior and colleagues, gets pretty ridiculous very quickly. All this achieves is to make the FBI look petty and misogynistic. We have no doubt that this state of affairs might have been the case, especially in 1993, but over-doing it might not help the story’s believability one bit.
And that is the main flaw of Clarice S01E01, other than that it was a promising start. Breeds does a good job with presenting Agent Starling with an other-worldly disconnected personality, with a tinge of the savant. Certainly, a series to watch.
… still there’s more …