Fans of NBC’s devilishly delicious series Hannibal got quite a shocker last week (spoilers ahoy, folks) when cast regular Hettienne Park’s character, Beverly Katz, fell on the receiving end of cannibal Hannibal’s ire. That’s right: Beverly Katz is dead after discovering Dr. Lecter’s seriously creepy-looking underground lair for deconstructing human bodies into prime cuts of meat (eugh).
Her death, confirmed by showrunner Bryan Fuller during one of his weekly interviews with the AV Club, though, was originally slated for the first season: “When I saw Hettienne [Park] on Broadway, I was like, ‘She’s fantastic. She’d be brilliant on the show,’ and we didn’t really get to explore a lot with her in the first season, so I was like, we can’t kill her yet because we haven’t done anything with her. It felt like, let’s have her be the ally that Will earns, and she starts to believe, and then we know it’s episode four and she’s starting to believe, so [laughs] she’s not long for this world.”
But that still didn’t quell fans of the series who cried racism and sexism when her character was offed. So the actress responded in a blog post, hoping to defend Fuller and the show’s decision to rid the world of Katz in the name of story and plot development. We’ve excerpted the most relevant bits, but the whole thing is worth a read:
Fuller cast me in a role that I didn’t think I had a chance in hell of getting. I rarely if ever see minorities, women, minority women, let alone Asian women, get to play characters like Beverly Katz. I rarely if ever see characters like Beverly Katz period. And her last name is Katz for Christ’s sake. Pretty open-minded, non-racist, pro-feminine writing and casting in my opinion.
As far as “fridging” (killing her off for the sake of advancing the plot or creating “manpain”)… HANNIBAL is based on the Thomas Harris novels and it centers on the relationship between Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham – two dudes, so that’s where the focus will be and will likely remain.
With good writing, every event happens in order to advance the plot and raise the stakes for the characters in the story, so I’m not sure how any character getting killed off is a bad or avoidable thing, especially on a show about a guy who eats people.
… If people can identify with this character regardless of the color of her skin, or like her regardless of her sex without her having to play the qualities we usually see chicks play, then that’s a good thing in my opinion. If you are upset about not believing Katz would be so careless, I agree, though part of the fun of the show is its homage to the horror genre. And finding the writing unrealistic may not be enough damning evidence of racism or sexism.
I’d rather focus on the positive stuff. I got to play this amazing woman who didn’t have to sleep with anyone (not that I would have minded) or act dumb and girlie or fawn all over some guy or be a conniving bitch to get people to notice or respect me, and she didn’t speak broken English or karate chop anyone (not that I would have minded). Nobody called her “dragon lady” or “exotic.” She could shoot a gun and drive that FBI SUV like a champ. And all with the extra added bonus of being Jewish. And when I get messages and thank yous from viewers who dig that or are inspired by that, well, that’s what makes any of this worthwhile or mean anything to me. So thank you for that. I love Beverly Katz. And I loved playing her.
Considering the fact that we saw in the premiere where this season is headed, it seems safe to say that redemption for Katz is on its way.
What do you think about the hullabaloo surrounding Katz’s death? Let us know in the comments.