FBI Agent Clarice Starling is back on the hunt in Clarice, the television sequel to The Silence of the Lambs. In the psychological thriller premiering on CBS and CBS All Access in February, Starling (Rebecca Breeds, Pretty Little Liars) returns to the field one year after her encounter with cannibal killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter and the skin-wearing serial murderer Buffalo Bill. Described as a deep dive into the untold personal story of the FBI cadet first brought to screen by Jodie Foster in the 1991 film that won five Academy Awards, Clarice is the next re-imagining coming to CBS following the Queen Latifah-starring Equalizer reboot.
"Brilliant and vulnerable, Clarice's bravery gives her an inner light that draws monsters and madmen to her," reads an official synopsis for Clarice, from creators Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek: Picard) and Jenny Lumet (Star Trek: Discovery). "However, her complex psychological makeup that comes from a challenging childhood empowers her to begin to find her voice while working in a man's world, as well as escape the family secrets that have haunted her throughout her life."
Joining Clarice in her pursuit of serial murderers and sexual predators are Paul Krendler (Michael Cudlitz, The Walking Dead), Shaan Tripathi (Kal Penn, Sunnyside), Tomas Esquivel (Lucca de Oliveira, SEAL Team), and Agent Clark (Nick Sandow, Orange Is the New Black).
"Nobody's had her specific set of circumstances," Lumet told Entertainment Weekly about Breeds' Clarice Starling. "She came face to face with the worst of what we have and the worst of what we are, and lived through it. If you imagine a puzzle box of puzzle pieces all thrown up into the air – that was the experience that she had with Buffalo Bill."
While Lecter remains on the loose after evading capture in The Silence of the Lambs, rights issues with author Thomas Harris' novel characters means the looming threat in Clarice will be "an entity that represents something that we deal with in our lives all the time."
"It's a more expanded, nuanced, complicated, and topical version of a serial killer," Kurtzman said, adding the show's creatives wanted to avoid outright replicating the award-winning film's style set by filmmaker Jonathan Demme.
"We're looking for not to repeat what Demme did, because I think the biggest mistake that we could make would be to mirror the style of that," Kurtzman said. "We harness the spirit of it and ask, 'What was he doing that was so meaningful and how do we interpret it now, 30 years later, for a modern audience?'"
Clarice premieres Thursday, February 11, at 10:00 PM ET/PT on the CBS Television Network.