Will Graham is a gifted criminal profiler who is on the hunt for a serial killer with the FBI. Graham's unique way of thinking gives him the astonishing ability to empathize with anyone - even psychopaths. He seems to know what makes them tick. But when the mind of the twisted killer he's pursuing is too complicated for even Will to comprehend, he enlists the help of Dr. Lecter, one of the premier psychiatric minds in the country. Armed with the uncanny expertise of the brilliant doctor, Will and Hannibal form a brilliant partnership and it seems there's no villain they can't catch. If Will only knew...
The FBI is called in to investigate the discovery of a truck driver’s body, seemingly torn apart by two separate species of animal working in tandem, neither of which consumed their kill. After one of his therapy sessions, Will meets Hannibal’s strange new patient, Margot Verger. Will and Margot compare notes on Hannibal and his unconventional advice. Continually encouraging his patients to revel in what they are, Hannibal aims to determine Will’s true self by sending him a test, the results of which surprise even Hannibal.
When a young woman's body is discovered inside of a horse, Hannibal suggests to Jack that Will be brought in to help crack this peculiar case. Will has seemingly cast aside his suspicions of Hannibal, resuming their doctor-patient relationship, but Alana remains skeptical regarding Will's true intentions and worries that Hannibal may still be in danger. The FBI questions the man they suspect to be the killer in their case, but lack of evidence forces them to let him go. Will and Hannibal race to guard the safety of a witness they believe is in jeopardy, but it might be Will's own judgment that is in peril.
When Jack Crawford’s star pupil Miriam Lass is found alive, she becomes the FBI’s best hope to identifying the Chesapeake Ripper, but her foggy memory complicates the search. Evidence found at the site of Miriam’s rescue exonerates Will Graham of any involvement in the Ripper and Copycat cases, and he is released from the asylum. Will warns Dr. Chilton that he could be in danger due to his intimate knowledge of the Ripper case, but when Chilton tries to confide in Jack that he shares Will’s fears about Hannibal, he is rebuffed — no evidence has been found against Hannibal, despite the FBI’s efforts. Meanwhile, Jack wastes no time in reinstating Will on the BAU team as they hunt for the Ripper. After introducing Will and Miriam to compare notes, Jack’s suspicions of Hannibal’s involvement continue to build. Only Miriam’s memory holds the key to unlocking the Ripper’s true identity, but can it be trusted?
When a city councilman’s body is found in a parking lot, intertwined with a tree, the artistry and missing organs suggest the work of the Chesapeake Ripper. Jack and the team race against time to catch the Ripper while he’s still on his killing spree. When Will suggests the possibility that the Ripper is filling his pantry with the victims’ organs, Jack crashes Hannibal Lecter’s dinner party to collect evidence and test the meat for human DNA. Jack’s growing suspicions drive Alana even closer to Hannibal, believing he is the victim of a witch hunt. Meanwhile, clues from the tree man help the BAU zero in on a location they believe the Ripper used.
When one of the team's own is found in a grotesque tableau, Will volunteers to assist with the profile and informs Jack that it's the work of the Chesapeake Ripper and the Copycat Killer, the two are one and the same. Dr. Able Gideon is brought back to the asylum to help confirm Will's claims of the Ripper's true identity, but instead suggests to Will the idea of putting an end to the Ripper once and for all. Confined behind bars, Will enlists the help of Freddie Lounds to contact his murderous admirer through her website. Once he has the killer's attention, Will asks for help dealing with Hannibal.