Hannibal Lecture

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"You'd like to quantify me, Officer Starling. You're so ambitious, aren't you? Do you know what you look like to me, with your good bag and your cheap shoes? You look like a rube."

Only a fool tries Perp Sweating on a sociopathic Manipulative Bastard. He knows all the tricks of psychology, and will turn the tables.

The looney starts out with a few seemingly-innocent questions about the interrogator's life or even appearance -- "why did you go into law enforcement instead of medicine like you wanted?" or "why aren't you married?" Then, the loon asks more armor piercing questions, which turn into comments, which turn into deconstructions, which turn into declarations about how the interrogator has failed in different ways. Pretty soon, the loon is doing all the interrogating and all the answering, with the poor 'interrogator' doing nothing but nodding their assent and crying.

In the climax, the prisoner's probing becomes a full-blown lecture—a Hannibal Lecture. The theme of the lecture is always the same: their captor is a sad, pathetic failure who is only holding the prisoner captive to give themselves delusions of adequacy. Frequently, the captor must admit they are Not So Different morally.

Incidentally, professional interrogators for police and other investigative agencies are trained never to answer questions. Ever. The main protagonist of The Closer is one of the few interrogators on TV who is faithful to this basic precept. Movie Nazis tend to respond with "Ve are askink ze questions here!".

Named for Dr. Hannibal Lecter of the 1988 novel The Silence of the Lambs, who set the standard for this trope when he was immortalized onscreen by Anthony Hopkins in the 1991 film adaptation.

Sub-Trope of Break Them by Talking, where you'll find examples about someone who's not being interrogated doing it.

See also: To the Pain, Talking Your Way Out, Just Between You and Me, Evil Gloating, Shut UP, Hannibal, "The Reason You Suck" Speech, and Critical Psychoanalysis Failure. Compare And Then What? If the declarations come from simple clues, this is a form of Sherlock Scan.

Examples of Hannibal Lecture include:


Anime[edit | hide | hide all]

  • In X 1999, at least the manga, Satsuki Yatoji Hannibalizes Yuzuriha Nekoi into nigh-catatonia by explaining why she thinks killing people is alright. She then proceeds to put theory into practice and it takes a Heroic Sacrifice by Inuki to save Yuzuriha.
  • In the Berserk manga, both Griffith and Guts do this to antagonists who have captured them, proving that they don't need any weapons to get the better of people.
  • Naruto- Neji gives one to Hinata. Several episodes later, he gives one to Naruto.
  • At the end of Death Note, Light has been exposed as Kira, and instead of denying it he goes into a Motive Rant slash Hannibal Lecture about how the world needs Kira's brand of justice, how war is ended and crime far down thanks to him, and stopping him would only cause the world to return to its former rotten state, and that Near was only chasing Light to feed his own ego and prove he was a worthy successor to L. The last accusation, at least, is clearly true, but Near bursts his bubble with "You're just a murderer", without being visibly rattled in the least.
    • This Motive Rant of Light's is often considered mostly out-and-out lies, but Near acknowledges later on that Kira did end war and most crime besides his own acts. What Light does here is use the truth to try and sell his own perspective -- after Near's smackdown, Light's dismissive internal response isn't "they didn't buy it", but "they're idiots, they'll never understand".
  • Donquixote Doflamingo delivers a memorable during the Marineford Arc which even shakes notions of the Shonen genre.

Doflamingo: "Pirates are evil? The Marines are righteous? These terms have always changed throughout the course of history! Kids who have never seen peace and kids who have never seen war have different values! Those who stand at the top determine what's wrong and what's right! This very place is neutral ground! Justice Will Prevail, you say? But of course it will! Whoever wins this war becomes justice!"

  • In Inuyasha, Naraku deals more than one of these to the heroes, and so does local Creepy Child Akago ( aka Naraku's "heart". In fact, Akago is infamous for giving several lectures to Kagome and almost making her pull a Face Heel Turn at some point, by manipulating her insecurity about Inuyasha and Kikyou. Too bad they managed to verbally slap him back, though.
  • Ashley gives one to Hotsuma in episode 12 of Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru. He falls for it, giving her an opportunity to knock him out.
    • And the Big Bad Reiga, who's actually Yuki's best friend Kanata, gives a few of these to Yuki and his friends in episode 13.
  • Utena herself gets these from way too many people.
  • Kenshin recieves one from Jin - e.
  • Toru Nanamine gives one to his editor in Bakuman。, preying on his confidence issues and inexperience by telling him that he's not more intelligent than the 50 consultants he has and threatening to go elsewhere and put his editor's career in jeopardy if he refuses to go along with his plan as the 51st correspondent.
  • In My-HiME, there are a few.
    • In the snime's Searrs arc, Alyssa tells the Himes that they don't truly know what they're fighting for and cannot be trusted with the power that could bring about a Golden Era.
    • In the manga, Natsuki gets one from her mother, chiding her for letting Yuuichi help her, and saying that because he has kissed Mai already, he is only doing so out of pity.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The graphic novel Watchmen (which pre-dates The Silence of the Lambs by two years - but is predated by Red Dragon, the first Hannibal book) has a classic "psycho prisoner out-psychs the psychiatrist" scene. The prisoner in question evades the standard psychiatric evaluation questions, giving false responses to such things as a Rorschach test. The psychiatrist is hopeful for his progress, until a few days later, when he asks the prisoner to give true statements this time... at which point, the prisoner relates the entire story of how he mentally snapped and became Rorschach, a story so horrifying that he is left sitting in his chair stunned long after the prisoner is led out.
    • The Comedian also gives one to Dr. Manhattan, in a flashback scene in Chapter 2. The Comedian gunned down his pregnant Vietnamese girlfriend after she slashed his face, and pointed out how Dr. Manhattan did nothing to stop him, therefore proving Dr. Manhattan that he doesn't care about humanity anymore.
  • A recent issue of the Fantastic Four comic book had the "hero won't fall for it but the villain is right" version. Reed captures Doom, who points out that Reed has sacrificed far more than it's worth to take him in.
  • In one issue of his comic, Wolverine has been imprisoned by the unusual method of throwing him in a pit and shooting him constantly so he'll be too busy healing to escape. And he still manages to successfully Hannibal Lecture the guy with the gun, who eventually lets Wolverine escape in the expectation that Wolverine will kill him.
  • In the last issue of his miniseries, Baron Zemo talks his would-be murderer into attempting suicide, then stops him and convinces him to join Zemo instead.
  • This was used to quite lethal effect in a back issue of Excalibur, as a telepath and sadist had trapped Pete Wisdom in a room flooded with an exotic bioweapon which damaged the body of an agitated person. Said telepathic sadist was probing around for things to get Pete's goat and let his own memories carve him up like a side of beef. It didn't work, as Pete had made peace with his demons some time before. Instead, the poor maniac eventually hit Pete's deliberately assembled bloc-o'-atrocity, filled with unpleasantries from his horrific earlier career so bad it started the telepath getting damaged. When that got going, Pete hit him with a bit of the ol' Hannibal Lecture to the effect of there being a big difference between reading minds and dealing with what you find in them.
  • Ultimate Comics Avengers features a cloned Spider-Man kept under heavy security by SHIELD as part of a Black Ops group. According to the team leader, he can "drive a man to suicide in three or four exchanges."
  • Sakki, The Hate Furnace, delivered one to Supergirl. He mistakenly believed that she was Superman's daughter, but the lecture still made sense, and picked at her shame at failing to live up to Superman's example. Sakki and his partner, Gakidou, were also emotion eaters, so Supergirl's despair and other negative emotions served to make them stronger. Unfortunately for them, she became so angry that they nearly overloaded, and they found out the hard way that their extra strength isn't nearly enough to deal with a Kryptonian.

Supergirl: I love Kal-El. I hate myself. (beats the snot out of them)

  • In a 1990 story in Suicide Squad, the Israeli superteam Hayoth captures arch-villain Kobra. They assign their team AI, Dybbuk, to interrogate him... which was his goal all along. He gets the AI to wonder whether it has free will, and almost convinces it that the only way it could prove to itself that it has free will would be to do something its creators would never have wanted... like, say, launch a missile attack on the Dome of the Rock.

Fan Fiction[edit | hide]

But what do kids know of strain, anyway? They don't know a thing. They just play all the time. Even their work is play. Not like your work. Your work... is work. Isn't it?

  • Fairly English Story: Minato ends up giving one of these to Junpei, specifically to make Junpei see him as the villain.
  • In Forward's first "episode", River delivers one of these to Niska's henchman Volsky, and while doing so informs Niska that Volsky was about to betray him. Niska promptly has him executed on the spot, allowing Jayne to snatch Volsky's knife and use to free himself.
  • In Prinz von Sommerhoffnung, when Sommerhoffnung tries to pull a What the Hell, Hero? on Ywiu and Romea, the two shut her down with this, centred on accusing her of being a Wide-Eyed Idealist Know-Nothing Know-It-All.
  • This Dragon Age story has the dwarven noble protagonist delivering one to the female human noble Warden in her Fade nightmare, and that's just one of several.
    • Actually, an even more memorable example is the one he delivers during Chapter 5, when he is on trial and completely dominates the entire assembly, throwing Bhelen's pet nobles at each other and completing his epic Zero-Approval Gambit by destroying the focus of the gathering, which means that no one ever got around to questioning exactly why he didn't try to defend the innocence he'd so vehemently proclaimed earlier that day. Of course, the reason was because he'd faked Trian's death and wanted to be seen as the murderer. Just As Planned.
  • An epic display of Hannibal Lecture versus Shut UP, Hannibal is featured in the fourth chapter of A:TLAR, 'Revolution 1.' In a conversation set late in the chapter, morally ambiguous Katara is interrogating the warden of a prison for earthbenders. He attempts to perform a Lecture, it being centered on Not So Different, and she promptly tears that down. He later questions the idea of a battle-hardened warrior being troubled by death, which she responds to by describing his cruel nature at its roots (in a sort of reverse Hannibal Lecture). He does not take this well, which leads to her slashing his throat to keep him quiet.
  • GLaDOS uses this on Wheatley in the Portal 2 fanfic Test Of Humanity.

"How amusing. You're not even a real human. All you are is just a computer brain using a human as a meat puppet. That body isn't the real you. It never was. You honestly believe she would love you, anyway? After all you've done to her. She could never love you. You're nothing but a pathetic moron living a lie."

Film[edit | hide]

  • Brilliantly done in the Trope Namer, of course. Hannibal Lecter (the cannibal lecturer) gives several little speeches during the film about human nature, and easily reduces FBI agent-in-training Clarice Starling to tears. Throughout the film he continues to control her much more effectively than her boss can.
    • Although she gives as good as she gets.

You see a lot, Doctor. But are you strong enough to point that high-powered perception at yourself? What about it? Why don't you - why don't you look at yourself and write down what you see? Or maybe you're afraid to.

      • Debatable, since Lecter immediately follows up this gutsy attempt with his infamous reference to eating a dude's liver with "fava beans and a nice Chianti," and then contemptuously sends Clarice on her way: "You fly back to school now, little Starling."
    • Hannibal may have given an even better lecture to Miggs. Apparently, he told him something so psychologically devastating that he killed himself.
  • The Grinch delivers one to the Whobilation crowd in the 2000 live-action version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. He calls them all out on their wasteful spending around Christmas time, pointing out how many of their gifts the Whos just throw away, and how they're never satisfied with what they have.

Grinch: You wanna know what happens to your gifts? They all come to me. In your garbage. You see what I'm saying? In your garbage! I could hang myself with all the bad Christmas neckties I've found at the dump!

Lektor: You want the scent? Smell yourself.

  • The Exorcist III. The Gemini Killer, a year before The Silence of the Lambs.
  • Subverted in Hard Candy, where Jeff attempts this on Hayley, who plays along just along for the audience to think it has worked before turning around and mocking Jeff for trying. Also played straight at the end of the film where She talks him into commiting suicide.
  • Used frequently in The Faculty by various infected individuals on the cast of troubled teenagers
  • Collateral is basically one long Hannibal Lecture by assassin Vincent to his hostage Max which backfires epically towards the end.
  • In The Dark Knight, The Joker excels at this and Breaking Them By Talking in general. The scariest part is, it works about half the time.
    • Averted with Jim Gordon; The Joker tries to Hannibal Lecture him during an interrogation, and (true to proper real life procedure) Gordon just ignores the Joker's probing personal questions, even brushing off a request for the time of day (though it was morbidly relevant to the question he was asked).
    • The Joker even manages to do this to Batman - who completely loses it when he finds out Rachel had been abducted along with Harvey. What began as an interrogation to find Harvey turns into a brutal beatdown as Batman desperately tries to get the Joker to tell him where she is. In fact, he was playing into Joker's hands since it was Joker's goal for Batman to beat him to death (Specifically, to break his one rule: Thou Shalt Not Kill).

Joker: (laughing): "You have nothing, nothing to threaten me with! Nothing to do with all your strength!"

    • Batman does manage to get the Joker back, however, when the people of Gotham prove unwilling to go along with the Joker's scheme and show that they are willing to die rather than become killers themselves.:

Batman: What were you trying to prove? That deep down, everyone is as ugly as you? You're alone.

Natasha: It's really not that complicated. I've got red in my ledger, I'd like to wipe it out.
Loki: Can you? Can you wipe out that much red? Drakov's daughter, Tugenov, the hospital fire? Yes, Barton told me everything. Your ledger is dripping, it's gushing red, and you think saving a man no more virtuous than yourself will change anything? This is the basest sentimentality. This is a child at prayer... pathetic! You lie and kill in the service of liars and killers. You pretend to be separate, to have your own code, something that makes up for the horrors. But they are a part of you, and they will never go away. No, I won't touch Barton, not until I make him kill you. Slowly, intimately, in every way he knows you fear. And when he wakes, he'll have just enough time to see the work he's done, and when he screams, I'll break his skull! This is my bargain, you mewling quim!

  • Done in Austin Powers in Goldmember when Austin Powers asks Dr. Evil where his missing father is. Dr. Evil nudges Austin into making several dad-related-spoonerisms culminating in a flashback inducing exclamation of "Daddy didn't love me!" by Austin.
    • Also done in the first Austin Powers movie when Dr. Evil tries to convince Austin that he's become a "square" and that the 90s doesn't have free love. Austin counters that the 60s were about freedom, only now it's joined by responsibility and that's even groovier. And evil destroys freedom, so he's still fighting the same fight.
      • Then Dr. Evil points out that there's nothing more annoying an old hippie who refuses to get with the times. That gets Austin's back up.
  • The Nazi doctor in The Debt (2011) gives lots of these to torment his captors.
  • Dogma, in one of its opening scenes, features Loki (Matt Damon) explains to a nun how he didn't believe in God due to the story of the Walrus and the Carpenter, successfully making her question and eventually throw away her faith...in a span of 5 minutes. As noted by his fellow angel Bartleby (Ben Affleck), "You know for a fact that there's a God. You've stood in his presence. You've spoken to him personally. Yet I just heard you claim you were an atheist." Loki's response? "I just like fucking with the clergy, man! I just--I love keeping those guys on their toes!"
  • In From Hell Inspector Abberline has to enjoy the insane ramblings of Sir William Withey Gull as he explains his 'motives'. Shut UP, Hannibal is neatly subverted by a certain officer of Special Branch
  • In Public Enemies, Purvis visits Dillinger's cell, and Dillinger commences with the Lecture. Purvis doesn't seem fazed much by it.
  • Salieri's confession in Amadeus turns into one of these. By the end, with his closing lines about mediocrity, the priest is too shell-shocked to administer the sacrament (though Salieri was obviously unrepentant for his sins, so the conditions for the sacrament were clearly not fulfilled anyway).
  • Sherlock Holmes: Lord Blackwood is in prison awaiting his hanging and he requests the company of Holmes.

Lord Blackwood: "But beneath your mask of logic I sense a fragility... Steel your mind, Holmes...Three more will die and there is nothing you can do to save them. You must accept that this is beyond your control. Or by the time you realise you made all of this possible it will be the last sane thought in your head."

    • At the time, Holmes is hardly fazed. He just blandly wonders if Watson could be allowed to dissect Blackwood's brain after the hanging. The clear intent, however, was to set Holmes up to lose his cool once the things Blackwood says begin coming true.
  • In Serenity (the Firefly film) The Operative likes to do this to people he is about to kill, crossing it with "The Reason You Suck" Speech by explaining to people what their 'sin' is. This goes poorly when he tries it on Mal Reynolds.

Operative: "Do you know what your sin is, Malcolm Reynolds?"
Mal: "Aw, hell. I'm a fan of all seven. But right now I'm gonna have to go with wrath."

  • Lisa in Girl, Interrupted specialises in these, eventually driving Daisy to suicide. Unfortunately for Lisa, when she tries it on Susannah at the end, Susannah does it right back rather more successfully.
  • Seen in Kindergarten Cop. When the gangster that the titular cop has repeatedly arrested is once again released (the witness to his current crime is too frightened to testify), he responds to the cop's vow to nail him by taunting the cop about the fact that he has no personal life, then declares that the cop wouldn't even have much of a career if it weren't for his vendetta against him.
  • Parodied in Cop Out. In that movie, unsophisticated criminal Dave drives even simpler-minded police officer Paul Hodges nuts, mostly by saying (in a number of different ways) that his wife is cheating on him.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Silence of the Lambs as the Trope Namer of course.
  • In an extreme example - while bound and essentially helpless, Shen-Ji Yang from the first Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri novelization calmly Hannibal Lectures a professional soldier who is holding him hostage into putting her gun to her own temple and shooting herself, all in a time period of less than ten minutes. The sequence was presumably made to show just what an incredible Badass he is, but went, perhaps, a bit over the top... (In his defense, Yang is a master psychologist, and his entire agenda throughout the game is social experimentation. If anyone can do it...)

As a counterpoint, it must be stated that the lecture falls a bit flat, being two lines long and mostly about guilt-tripping the soldier about having a crush on her female commander. Yang is the person to pull this off, but the writer obviously wasn't.

  • In The Dresden Files: Blood Rites, Harry Dresden pulls off a Hannibal Lecture on the book's Big Bad Lord Raith. By the end of it, Raith is incredibly furious that Dresden viciously deconstructed him so well.
    • On another occasion, the ubervillain Nicodemus tried to do something along these lines to Harry in an effort to corrupt him over to his side, and scores some hits, though Harry ends up resisting it. On a later occasion, Harry does a version of this on the shadow of the demoness Lasciel in an attempt to subvert her away from evil, and may have succeeded (the debate remains ongoing in fandom whether Lash changed, and whether she still lives.)
  • Though she's not presented as an antagonist in that book, the Star Wars Expanded Universe novel Destiny's Way, the rogue Jedi Vergere Hannibal Lectures Luke Skywalker, though in a less hostile manner than normal for this trope.
  • Good-guy example: Tobias in the Animorphs series was undergoing torture, and distracted his torturer with questions about her own past.
    • And a villainous Animorphs example is David's attempt to break Rachel down in #48.
    • Half of book number 19, The Departure, basically consists of this. The other half consists of the inversion of this trope.
  • In Peter and the Secret of Rundoon, while Lord Aster is being held captive by Lord Ombra, he is given a long lecture on how stupid the human race is and how even the seemingly head bad guys are really subservient to him.
  • Big Bad Ruin of Mistborn loves doing this to Vin, consistently pointing out that Vin causes destruction wherever she goes, and therefore has been serving his purposes all along. In the end, though, she gets Ruin back by pointing out that as a human being she has the power to protect and destroy at the same time, unlike the much more limited gods such as Ruin. She them proves it by killing Ruin via Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Inverted by The Belgariad during the climactic battle between Garion and Torak. When the Dark God passes up an opportunity to kill Garion, instead demanding that he submit, Garion finally realizes that the purpose of their confrontation is not to fight Torak, but to reject him. His subsequent speech shatters Torak's will and gives Garion the opening he needs to beat him.
  • The War Against the Chtorr. Cult leader Jason Delandro has a chat with the protagonist Jim McCarthy (who used to be a member of his cult) the night before his execution. McCarthy comes off worst in the debate, but at least has the dubious satisfaction of blowing Delandro's head off the next day.
  • Azrael de Gray of John C. Wright War of the Dreaming gives this a valiant try. However, he's several hundred years out of date, desperate, and Wrong Genre Savvy. It doesn't end well for him.
  • Fanny Price, the heroine of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, frequently gets these from her aunt, Mrs. Norris (no, not that Mrs. Norris), due to being The Unfavorite.
  • In The Silver Chair, the Lady of the Green Kirtle uses this trope (backed up by a little magic) to persuade Eustace, Jill, Puddleglum and the Prince that the surface world is just something they made up.
  • In Falling by Christopher Pike, the Acid Killer, Gene Banks, has a way of turning the tables on FBI agent Kelly Feinman. Even after Kelly has caught and made him a quadriplegic, she finds herself drawn to him and the revelations he provides her about her character. Pike has stated he owes a debt to Silence of the Lambs, and even a character in Falling name-checks Hannibal Lecter.
  • In Hannibal, Hannibal's former nurse Barney speaks to a psychologist and brings up the time that he saw the same man go into the basement of the Baltimore hospital to interview Lecter. A little while later, the doctor came hurrying back along the hallway, trying to hide the fact that he was crying.
  • The Fountainhead features a very long and particularly chilling one from Ellsworth Toohey. Listen to it being read here


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • From Star Trek: The Original Series, Khan delivers one while being interrogated by Kirk, mocking how little man has changed between the three hundred or so years between his exile and reawakening, in an attempt to justify his lust for power.
  • Veronica Mars, "Like a Virgin." Veronica interrogates a murderer who psychs her out. To complete the homage to Silence of the Lambs, Veronica is pretending to be a Southern girl, and speaks with a fake accent that resembles Jodie Foster's in the movie.
    • And true to form, she gets her own back a few episodes later in "Mars Vs. Mars", stealing his medical records and using information in them to deliver a Hannibal Lecture of her own.
  • Subversion: in The Shield, Dutch (the station's Butt Monkey) seemingly gets verbally torn to pieces by a serial killer he is 'interrogating'; the killer tries to demoralize Dutch at every turn, deriding him as being "a lowly civil servant" who is trying to get the respect he doesn't deserve; insinuating that Dutch's father lied to him about being proud that Dutch became a cop; and that not only did Dutch never get a date in high school, he's still having problems now. However, in one fell swoop, Dutch turns it around, beginning by saying that he did have girlfriends in high school, and that he also has one now, who's "hot". When the killer demands to leave, Dutch ridicules him for the fact that instead of leaving earlier when they didn't have any solid evidence, he chose "to stick around and make fun of" Dutch. Dutch and his partner then reveal that Dutch was just feeding the killer lines to buy out-of-town cops time to search the killer's aunt's house, where they find the bodies of over a dozen of his victims. With the killer arrested, Dutch leaves and finds that the entire station has been watching through the interrogation room's cameras. Impressed, they applaud him. But true to the trope, some of the killer's barbs struck a note, and as soon as he gets into his car, Dutch breaks down in tears.
    • Done again, in season three when a serial rapist taunts Dutch over his initial inability to catch the rapist, leading the guy killing one of his victims before being caught. The rapist/killer informs Dutch that his by-the-book method of catching monsters like the rapist is bound to fail, due to the fact that he's never killed and as such, doesn't truly know how the mind of a murderer works. Dutch then, that evening, kills a cat with his bare hands just to see how it feels to kill.
    • Another example would be in season seven, when Vic confronts a sociopathic hooker, who manipulates Vic and fellow officer Julian Lowe into killing her pimp by falsely claiming that he murdered one of her fellow hookers. While Vic is threatening physical violence against the hooker, the hooker arrogantly mocks Vic and the way that she manipulated him; in particular, she mocks Vic's burning need to protect women in peril as far as manipulating this aspect of Vic's personality and basically telling him that the only way he'll be able to prevent it from happening again is if he just cuts off his genitals.
  • A curious example of a good guy doing this; in the Doctor Who episode "The Idiot's Lantern", the Doctor is arrested by a police inspector after he uncovers a warehouse full of faceless people who have been rounded up by the police. When the inspector tries Perp Sweating him, the Doctor casually asks why the inspector isn't actually doing any 'inspecting' - and it only takes a few minutes for him to reduce the inspector to a flustered, uncertain wreck... at which point the Doctor authoritatively takes over the interrogation.
    • The Doctor does it again in a later episode: in the third series finale, the Master is about to blow up the planet Earth (which both he and the Doctor are currently standing on) with 'black hole converters' built into every ship of his conquering fleet to spite the Doctor, who has just thwarted him. Rather than trying to appeal to his better nature or beg him not to, the Doctor's response is merely to dismissively point out that he knows him; the Master is unable to do such a thing because to do so would be to kill himself, which the Master simply cannot do. As such, the Doctor calmly points out, the Master has no choice but to surrender his weapon - which he does.
    • It also happens to the Doctor a lot. The Beast, Davros, the Carrionites. Given the Doctor is a walking open wound since the Time War, it's a lot easier to get under his skin.
      • Special mention should be made to "Amy's Choice" where he receives several from himself in the form of the Dream Lord.

The Doctor: Where did you pick up this cheap cabaret act?
Dream Lord: Me? Oh, you're on shaky ground.
The Doctor: Am I?
Dream Lord: If you had any more tawdry quirks, you could open a tawdry quirk shop! The madcap vehicle, the cockamamie hair, the clothes designed by a first-year fashion student... I'm surprised you haven't got a little purple space dog, just to ram home what an intergalactic wag you are!

      • Later he delves even deeper into the Doctor's mind and deconstructs the Doctor's loneliness and pain to reveal it for what it truly is:

The Doctor: I have to save my friends!
Dream Lord: Friends? Is that what you call the people you acquire? Your friends never see you again once they've grown up. The old man prefers the company of the young, does he not?

      • The Dream Lord even Hannibal Lectures Amy to shake her faith in the Doctor:

Dream Lord: And he always leaves you, doesn't he? Alone in the dark, never apologises...
Amy: He doesn't have to.
Dream Lord: Well that's good... because he never will.

Headmaster: Well, I warn you, the school is armed.
Baines/Son of Mine: All your little tin soldiers... but tell me sir; will they thank you?
Headmaster: I don't understand.
Baines/Son of Mine: What do you know of history, sir? What do you know of next year?
Headmaster: You're not making sense, Baines.
Baines/Son of Mine: 1914, sir. Because the Family has traveled far and wide looking for Mr Smith and, oh, the things we have seen. War is coming. In foreign fields, war of the whole wide world, with all your boys falling down in the mud. Do you think they will thank the man who taught them it was glorious?

    • This was also the Seventh Doctor's hallmark in the classic series. Notable examples include talking a Dalek into committing suicide in Remembrance of the Daleks, and even talking down a guard who was ordered to execute him in The Happiness Patrol.
  • In the fourth-season Angel episodes "Soulless" and "Calvary", Angelus is trapped in a cage most of the time, but throughout his interrogations by the members of team Angel he disdainfully probes their points of mental or emotional weakness. On other occasions in The Verse he demonstrates the same zest for breaking people's minds apart, like when he put Drusilla through the Break the Cutie treatment, but these episodes are when he does it just with words.
  • Perhaps the best example of a Hannibal Lecture in Supernatural is the torture/interrogation scene with Dean and Alistair. Supposedly, Dean is extracting information on "who is killing the angels," but not only does Alistair have no idea, he strings Dean along and gives him a thorough mindfuck in between bouts of being eviscerated. The power dynamic in this scene goes back and forth like no other, between Dean relishing Alistair's pain and Alistair breaking Dean down.
    • A leviathan tries to pull one on Bobby in Slash Fiction - with the extra bonus of just having shifted into Bobby and therefore having access to all of his deepest insecurities and darkest secrets. Amazingly Bobby manages to mostly shrug it off.
  • Subverted in Dexter. When Lt. LaGuerta is interrogating Neil Perry (who has confessed to being the Ice Truck Killer), he tries to psych her out by discussing the reason she received her promotion (specifically the fact that she wasn't the hero cop the press portrayed her as). This allows LaGuerta to realise that Perry (who is a computer technician) must have hacked into the precinct database, which is where he got his "proof" that he was the Ice Truck Killer. She then gets him to admit his deception, by psyching him out with a severed head.
    • Also played with in season 2, when Dexter has Doakes, who knows that Dexter is a serial killer, locked up in the Everglades. Dexter tries to convince him they're Not So Different, but it never really sticks.
    • Not only does it not stick, but it's actually inverted because their conversations cause Doakes to realize that, like him, Dexter actually does have a conscience and won't actually kill him, from there he actually persuades Dexter to release him and turn himself in.
  • This trope is both played straight and inverted in one episode of The Pretender. In the episode, Jarod has to interrogate a imprisoned serial killer to try to catch a copycat killer. The killer convinces Jarod to take him to the house of the victim. At the house, the killer talks Jarod into removing his handcuffs, after which he escapes. However, it turns out that this was all part of Jarod's plan to get the killer to lead him to the site where the copycat is dumping the bodies. It then turns out that the copycat killer is a psychiatrist writing a biography of the Serial Killer.
  • Parodied in Reno 911!, where a serial killer gives Jones one from his cell, and promptly gets everything wrong about Jones' "ghetto upbringing." The cops end up using him for computer advice.
  • An inversion of this takes place in the Firefly episode "Objects in Space," where River pulls one of these on Jubal Early, using a combination of her Psychic Powers and actually being on his ship the whole time to comprehensively outline just how much a sick bastard he is, and tear apart all his pretensions that "he has a code". Somewhat monkeywrenched, as she isn't the prisoner, but her brother Simon is, and midway through the Hannibal Lecture, Early finally catches on—though that itself is probably part of the Lecture too, as River uses Early's realization to really turn the tables on him.
    • River is actually quite good at these. While being questioned by Badger in "Shindig," she turns around and instantly deconstructs his gangster facade, outlining just what a pathetic little thug he really is, and then casually dismisses him....in his own Cockney accent.

Sure, I got a secret. More'n one. Don't seem like I'd tell 'em to you now, do it? Anyone off Dyton colony knows better than to talk to strangers. But you're talking loud enough for the both of us, ain't tya? I've known a dozen like you, skipped off home early, minor graft jobs here and there. Spent some time in the lockdown, but less than you claim. And you're what? Petty thief with delusions of standing? Sad little king, of a sad little hill. [to the others] ...call me when someone interesting shows up.

      • Badger is initially very shaken by River's assessment, but at the end he settles down and says that "I like her."
  • Battlestar Galactica had an example when they had one of their Cylon captives aboard the Galactica. Roslin and Adama brought Starbuck in to interrogate him. He is pretty successful at getting under her skin, but, like all Cylons and Cylon collaborators must, he goes out the airlock.]]
  • Being a cop show that deals specifically with serial killers, Criminal Minds does this occasionally.
    • In an early season one episodes, the UnSub gave an angry analysis of each of them over the phone...and got it completely wrong. One of the agents has to stifle her laughter. It also proves to be vital in identifying him.
    • Brilliantly subverted in Masterpiece, during the Rothschild/Rossi interrogation scene. Rossi starts by trying to interrogate Rothschild, discussing how pathetic and cowardly he is. Then Rothschild fires back, revealing his master plan to dump acid on the entire team, to deprive Rossi of his "family" as Rossi did to him. He even walks around the room while Rossi sits, to switch the interrogator/suspect roles. Rossi panics, rushes to locate the team, sinks into a chair in disbelief as Rothschild gloats in his ear about his brilliant evil plan... when Rossi reveals to him that not only has this entire scene been a confession, but they already knew about the killer's plan to dump acid on them, got all the victims out safely, and that he will be there when Rothschild is executed. He even pulls a last-minute Batman Gambit by intentionally turning his back to groom himself in the one-way mirror, catching Rothschild and slamming him up against the wall as he is attacked. Yes, Rossi can manipulate you while stroking his beard.
  • Oz: Beecher and Schillinger do this to each other on separate occasions, mainly to provoke the other into some bad behavior to mess up their chances at parole, or to just torment each other. Keller also does this to Beecher a few times.

"Keller: (to Beecher) You know what? Oz didn't make you a bitch. You were born one."

  • The confrontation between Mr. Bennet and Sylar in Heroes, although Bennet suddenly realizes what's happening about halfway through.
    • In "Into Asylum," Sylar also uses this on Danko, convincing him to ally with him. Then Danko tries one on Sylar to make it clear who's in charge, then Sylar does one on Danko again.
  • In Power Rangers SPD, a Monster of the Week uses this trick on The Lancer of the team by making the guy talk about his beloved Disappeared Dad, literally driving him to tears—providing him with the reflective surface needed to teleport out of his high-security prison cell.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "Facets." Dax communicates with her past lives, two of whom target her with a Hannibal Lecture. The first is a standard one that doesn't work—but it softens her up to fall for the second, unorthodox one.
    • In "Duet", also from Deep Space Nine, Cardassian war criminal Gul Darhe'el savagely Hannibal Lectures Major Kira, coupled with openly bragging about his mass murders. It turns out this is something of a subversion though, as his purpose is later revealed to be keeping Kira from guessing he isn't Darhe'el at all, but an innocent file clerk who wants to be convicted to embarrass Cardassia into admitting its guilt to Bajor.
    • In "The Jem'Hadar, Part II," Quark lectures Sisko about his dislike of the Ferengi, claiming that Sisko's Holier Than Thou attitude toward Ferengi greed and deceit is hypocritical, given the fact that humans had far more and worse atrocities in their history: slavery, genocide, conquest, etcetera, on a scale that the Ferengi had never rivaled. As Quark stated, "we're not only as good as you are, human -- we're better." Quark's point even seems to bring Sisko up short thinking about it, at least briefly.
  • Also sort of pulled on Data by Kivas Fajo during the Next Generation episode "The Most Toys" which sees Data captured and held as a "highly valuable object" by Fajo. Data has spent the entire episode trying to outmaneuver Kivas's demands via passive resistance. An attempted escape has resulted in the death of someone trying to help, and Data ends up pointing a disruptor right at Fajo's face. Fajo, meanwhile, is convinced that Data cannot shoot him due to his programming.

Fajo: If only you could feel...rage over Varria's death... If only you could feel the need for revenge, then maybe you could fire. But you're...just an android. You can't feel anything, can you? It's just another interesting, intellectual puzzle for you - another of life's curiosities.

    • Data, however, does make the decision to shoot him, and is only stopped when the unsuspecting Enterprise crew beams him to safety just as he begins to pull the trigger.
    • Picard himself tends to have this effect. In Star Trek: Insurrection, he convinces The Dragon to switch sides.
  • Parodied in Thirty Rock. During a poker game, Alec Baldwin's powerful network executive character attempts to intimidate a naive NBC page with a lengthy speech similar to the one from Silence of the Lambs. When the page eventually loses the game, Baldwin explains that it was only a test, and, as the once-again chipper page exits on his bike, Baldwin utters the classic line, "In five years we'll all either be working for him... or be dead by his hand."
  • Subverted in Lost. In the episode "Confirmed Dead", Ben Linus attempts to do this to Sawyer, but Sawyer beats the crap out of him halfway through.
    • On the other hand, Ben has done this successfully (repeatedly, even) with Locke and Jack, among others.
    • Since Ben spends a lot of time as a prisoner, this is basically his favourite toy. It's pretty much all he did in season 2 in the hatch, and even more effectively in episode 4.4, "Eggtown," in which causes Locke to explode ("excellent, John. You're evolving!").

Sawyer: You wanna tell me why we're keeping this guy alive?
Locke: Because aside from his mouth, he's completely harmless.

      • In season 6 The Man in Black delivers a particularly nasty one to Ben about what Locke was thinking when Ben killed him. What makes this brutal is because Ben's face makes it pretty clear that he never once thought about what must of gone through the minds of any of the people he has killed and Locke's "I don't understand." completely breaks Ben. All he can do is weakly ask what the Man in Black wants.
        • Also, in a way, it's also a lecture directed at Locke, as the Man in Black is also picking at all of Locke's flaws and failures. Of course, Locke is dead at this point, so he wouldn't have been able to hear it anyway.
  • In To Play the King, Prime Minister Francis Urquhart gives a Hannibal Lecture to the King of England, breaking his will and forcing him to abdicate from the throne
  • MacGyver's own version of Hannibal Lector, Dr. Zito, gave these during his two appearances on the show.
  • Parodied in Arrested Development, when Tobias, former psychologist turned acting-hopeful, manages to talk his prison bunkmate, White Power Bill, into suicide by questioning him about, "where the hate comes from."
  • Subverted in the live action version of The Tick (animation). A super-villain nearly pulls this off with his guard until a super-heroine shakes some sense into him and takes over as guard. She is then so enthusiastic about discussing every aspect of her personal life that the villain gives up in disgust.
  • In Malcolm in the Middle, Malcolm's mother comes with him to an interview for a university, much to the chagrin of the titular character (considering he is the only one there with a mother). She ends up butting heads with the RA who is a massive jerkass. In response to his locking of the vending machine, she escalates the situation in an attempt to get him fired (as opposed to what her son wanted to do, which was go to another floor where the vending machines wouldn't be locked). However, when she confronts him, he nonchalantly points out that this job means nothing to him and there are a hundred other places he could do what he does. Then he quite savagely points out how Lois is a control freak, how she's a failure at life, and how pathetically she's trying to live vicariously through Malcolm, and suggests that if she isn't sure about what he's saying, she should talk to the other parents that insisted on staying with their kids in the dorm rooms. Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • Dale "The Whale" Biederbeck on Monk, after Monk's spoiled his plan for revenge and gotten his Luxury Prison Suite privileges revoked: "It's true, Adrian Monk. I may be in prison, but you're in a worse prison! You're trapped! Trapped by your own demons! You're in your own private Hell! I wouldn't trade places with you for another billion dollars!"
    • Turned around when Monk's response is to quietly turn around and walk away, as Dale is too obese to walk.
  • Tony Almeida gives one of these to Jack Bauer when the two end up on opposite sides in the 7th season of Twenty Four. Except they're actually not, because Tony's working undercover. On second thought, they actually are.
  • In Cracker, the various psychos that Fitz is called in to deal with have a tendency to try this on him. Of course, given how Fitz is a first-rate professional psychologist and they usually aren't, he often just ends up doing it right back to them, usually more successfully.
  • A rare Hannibal Lecture duel in the Cold Case episode "The Woods". George Marks, who enjoys this trope, has Detective Lily Rush at gunpoint. Both know devastating facts about the other's past, and how it affects their psyche, and each scores powerful emotional hits against the other.
    • They also duel in his earlier episode "Mindhunters", only this time, they're refusing to respond to each other's taunts. In fact, Lily's refusal to break infuriates George so much that he very nearly confesses before pulling himself together and smugly walking out, much to Lily's frustration. Throughout the episode, the trope is played completely straight when he refuses to crack under interrogation and instead ends up taunting the detectives about painful moments in their lives—Scotty's schizophrenic girlfriend, Stillman's failed marriage and the rape of his daughter, Vera's mishandling a rape case and the death of Jeffries' wife.
  • Subverted in an episode of The League of Gentlemen where Ross delivers one to his abusive Restart Officer Pauline during a mock interview where he's the one in charge:

You strike me as a bully; you're ill-mannered, ignorant and foul-mouthed. You're not qualified for this job. And apart from anything else - you're too old. Miss.

    • Double subverted when it's revealed Ross is really an undercover inspector from the employment agency.
  • How I Met Your Mother. Barney did this to Robin during the season 5 Thanksgiving episode.
  • The first episode of Sherlock. The killer almost talks and goads Holmes into playing a game of Russian Roulette with two pills -- one poisoned, the other not. He got his other victims to do the same by threatening them with a gun they did not realize was fake.
  • In The X Files episode "How the Ghosts Stole Christmas", a ghost gives a Hannibal Lecture to Mulder in an attempt to drive him insane.
    • At one point he says (and invents a great word) "Cause you're a lonely man. A lonely man, chasing paramasturbatory illusions that you believe will give your life meaning"
  • In Community episode "Football, Feminism and You" Jeff delivers a really nasty one to Annie after she discovers his role in persuading Troy to rejoin the football team.
  • Dr. Maki from Kamen Rider OOO has become very fond of these after becoming the Big Bad. He's even gives a very effective one to his teammate Mezool, the water Greeed, over her "motherly" nature being a facade to try to pretend she can feel maternal love.
  • In Leverage, "The Experimental Job", a Breaking Speech by an interrogator is turned around into a Hannibal Lecture. A career CIA interrogator tries to break Eliot by getting him to talk about how many people Eliot has killed. Eliot convinces the CIA man that he's killed far more, and remembers far more details, and that it already haunts him far more, than the CIA man could possibly have imagined or could possibly invoke. The CIA man is so shaken that he ends the day's session right then and there.


Radio[edit | hide]

  • Referenced in the Black Phillip Show in this youtube clip. He says "I just had to "Hannible Lecter, -- just talk this bitch till' she die," while explaining how his girlfriend's moodiness affects him.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Eve from Parasite Eve really enjoyed giving these, usually combined with The Reason You Suck Speeches to Mind Screw Aya into either giving up or joining her.
  • The prequel videos for F.E.A.R., which feature a psychologist trying to interview Alma, have an almost completely silent version of this, coupled with a savage series of mind rapes. By the end of it, the hapless doctor is crawling around on the floor crying, while Alma is playfully dancing around her.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords Kreia uses these in conjunction with her mind invasion techniques to inflict this upon the Exile's companions, breaking them into his/her service.
  • In the Crowning Moment of Awesome for Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations, Mia Fey delivers one of these to the possessing spirit of Dahlia Hawthorne, pointing out that every single evil plot she's made has resulted in failure and shame, including the one that she made from beyond the grave. The Fey/Wright clan has always been there to stop her and even as a ghost she's doomed to eternal failure. This revelation horrifies her so much that it winds up exorcising Dahlia from Maya's body completely.
  • The Shadow Archetypes in Persona 4 have the Hannibal Lecture as part of their nature: As they are the anthropomorphic personifications of their originators' repressed feelings and fears, they will relentlessly hound their owners with the knowledge they are made of in an attempt to make their owners face up to their fears and accept them as part of themselves, becoming personas instead. Trying a Shut UP, Hannibal on them is not a good idea.
    • The Big Bad does this, as well; see the series page.
  • Mega Man Zero 4: The Ragnarok Colony Drop has gone completely out of control, and Zero thought he destroyed the Complete Monster behind it all. Until:

Dr. Weil: I told you... I can't die! No one can stop Ragnarok now!
Zero: If I destroy Weil's core, the explosion will take Ragnarok out with it... If Ragnarok is blown apart, it no longer poses a threat!
Dr. Weil: Are you even capable of it? The Reploid hero, protecting justice and humanity! I am one of those humans you have sworn to protect! Do you have it in you to defeat me?!

      • The Shut UP, Hannibal depends on who your playing as, but they're all awesome. Of course, this is all on hard mode.
  • Every single boss in American McGee's Alice. The tougher the boss, the more Mind Screw they pour on in the Boss Banter.
    • Justified in that every boss represents a self-destructive component of her own psyche (the Jabberwock in particular is Alice's guilt over surviving the fire that killed her family).
  • Archer Hannibal lectures Shirou quite well in Fate/stay night. Bonus points because as he's Shirou's future self, Shirou knows beyond a doubt that Archer is right. Or at least, he would be right if Shirou didn't stab him the chest.
  • In Devil Survivor, Kaido delivers a particularly blunt one to Keisuke if you don't prevent their confrontation. Then he kills him, and follows this up by calling Atsuro out over his anger.
  • Happens three times in Tales of Vesperia. First, Phaeroh explains how Estelle's power is killing the world, that killing her, while morally wrong, is the only way to prevent it, and finding an alternative is pointless. Later on, Alexei details how the world has become an utter crapsack and that its only hope is to be "reborn" (under his totaliterian rule of course). Finally, at the end, Duke explains why sacrificing humanity is the only way to destroy the Adephagos, and also why he beieves humanity deserves to die for the various atrocities they've committed throughout history. All three times, Yuri tells the speaker to stow it.
  • Aeon does this as part of his hyper attack. He's got one for every possible opponent, including himself.
  • Terumi delivers a Hannibal Lecture to Noel in BlazBlue: Continuum Shift's Story Mode. It works so well it apparently brings about The End of the World as We Know It...and Terumi--who puts the "snake" in Smug Snake--pats himself on the back for it.
    • He does this to almost every girl in the game, and needless to say...they seem to always work.
    • Not one to shy away from these kinda moments, Relius gives a particularly nasty one to Makoto when he mind rapes her in her Story Mode Bad End.

Relius: Why look! Discrimination, abuse, betrayal and hatred. It would seem you actually hate humans! Hahahahaha... You may call them your "friends", but you don't trust them. Not really. Deep down, you're always waiting for the other shoe to drop. In nature, oppressed creatures often cozy up with those who are controlling them. You're merely doing as the animals do.

  • In Xenosaga: Episode I, Albedo delivers one to MOMO (seen in the quote page) before demonstrating his immortality and other......things.
    • Earlier, Virgil gives a brief one to Shion just before he detonates a group of Realians in an attempt to stop a Gnosis invasion:

Shion: Stop it! You have no right to play god with their lives! Using them as bombs… I won’t let you do this!
Virgil: So whaddya gonna do about it? Tell me, why haven’t you disabled that function? Sure it’s factory-loaded, but you of all people shouldn’t have any trouble removing it. Since you care about them so much, all it would take is a little tweak, and they’d be free as birds… And yet you don’t. Why not?
Shion: Because…company protocol dictate…
Virgil: Exactly! It’s protocol! In other words, you’re just like me, bound by that protocol. We’re the ones that give them a reason to live. Am I wrong?!
Shion: But I-
Virgil: That’s the difference between us and them! Am I wrong?! So, why not give it to them? A meaning to their pitiful existence!

  • Malefor from The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon is a master of this. In one lecture, he's able to make Spyro and Cynder doubt everything they've done in the entire three games, though Cynder gets the worst of it, he makes her doubt herself to such a point he can retake her mind and turn her evil again, then continues to lecture Spyro as the poor guy is getting beaten down by his brainwashed girlfriend. He ultimately even drives Spyro over the Despair Event Horizon. Even though Sypro saves Cynder with the Power of Love, the shocker comes from the fact the fact we, and them, have no idea just how much of what Malefor said is true. It also helps that he has a menicing Voice of the Legion
  • One possible low-level monster in Improbable Island is actually named Hannibal Lecture, and tries this on the player. It doesn't work.
  • GLaDOS of Portal gives some pretty solid speeches through the course of both games, but they're usually so ridden with sarcasm and crazy that most players find them more funny than frightening.

Do you know the biggest lesson I learned from what you did?
We're a lot alike, you and I.
You tested me. I tested you.
You killed me. I—oh, no, wait. I guess I haven't killed you. Yet.
Food for thought.

    • Cut content of the second game has GLaDOS delivering some pretty devastating ones. It makes you wonder if they were cut simply for being too nasty compared to the generally humourous tone of the game.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • The main character's current situation in Flipside appears to be one of the Good variety. Which is impressive since the villain just ate her arm off!
  • A lampshaded subversion in Fans! since seemingly every single prisoner that Rikk ever dealt with has attempted to do this on him.
    • He does admit that being called a 'hypocrite' in the same encounter stung more than it should have, however.
  • Possibly unintentionally in Looking for Group, when Cale is taken off to be tortured, and comes back knowing the bad guys' whole plan.
  • Sluggy Freelance: In "Oceans Unmoving", Murdock (the weirdest of The Greys in the story) manages to do this accidentally when interrogated about what has been going on by going into details that make the interrogators uncomfortable and generally freaking them out. In a sense Subverted, since he's not so much "being interrogated by his captors" as "willingly giving a record that is being recorded by his former captors who are now prisoners to his side."


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • At the end of Survival of the Fittest v1, the only survivors are Jack O'Connor and Adam Dodd. Jack, having finally killed the terrorist who wiped out his group and killed his teammates, found himself driven insane by the guilt of the act. His moral and intellectual code unable to withstand the stress, he comes to the conclusion that each of the final four survivors is a criminal, and that the only right way for the game to end would be with the death of all the contestants. With his belief that each of the finalists need to be punished for their "crimes" by death established, he went into the endgame with one goal: make sure all three of the others died, then kill himself. At the beginning of the final duel between him and Adam, he launches into a Hannibal Lecture about how Adam is a criminal no better than Cody Jenson and therefore doesn't deserve to go home, comparing him to a serial killer. Needless to say, this pisses Adam off.
  • Kirby gets a lot of these in There Will Be Brawl, considering he's supposed to be a parody of Hannibal himself, anyway. He even wears the mask, at one point.
  • When the heroes of the Global Guardians PBEM Universe finally captured The Confessor (a Serial Killer Killer) they promptly pointed out to The Confessor that he, himself, was a serial killer. The Confessor delivered the Hannibal Lecture to end all Hannibal Lectures about the ineffectualness of superheroes in stopping really determined murderers.
  • Played with in The Nostalgia Critic's call to the director of My Pet Monster. While we don't hear what the director says, but the Critic's forced to admit that he watched the movie willingly, that he's not babysitting anyone and that he's a twenty eight year old man who watches kid's movies for a living. The resulting pity causes a Heroic BSOD that apparently lasts a bit more than a week.
  • Linkara delivers a particularly epic one to The Entity about the nature of its existence, causing it to FRIGGING KILL ITSELF.
  • In I'm a Marvel And I'm a DC Zero Hour Episode 5 (Part 1), the Joker delivers an absolutely withering one of these to none other than Darkseid himself, who doesn't realize that he is a comic book character.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • South Park, "Toilet Paper." Parodies Silence of the Lambs scene-for-scene. For example in "Toilet Paper" Officer Barbrady interviews Josh, who gives him a calm and pressurising lecture involving toilet paper.
    • Cartman's utterly unsympathetic deconstruction of one of the nannies in "Tsst" is an example of the Hannibal Lecture as well.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Azula pulls this off against another villain, Long Feng, in the second season finale.

Long Feng: You have beaten me at my own game.
Azula: Don't flatter yourself. You were never even a player.

  • The Assy McGee episode "Pegfinger" contains a parody of the Hannibal Lecture in The Silence of the Lambs. While walking down a corridor identical to the one in the movie, Assy warns Sanchez not to let the prisoner they're about to question "get inside his head." Pegfinger immediately does so in seconds with little more than a racist joke ("A wedding ring? How many oranges did you have to pick to pay for that?) and Sanchez goes berserk and shoots him to death.
  • In the first episode of Superman: The Animated Series, Jor-El discovers that Brainiac (the central A.I. of Krypton) has been deceiving the planetary council about the impending doomsday, and uploading himself into a satellite. When Jor-El asks why, Brainiac calmly points out that had he revealed Krypton's fate, the council would have ordered him (forcefully) to determine a way to avert it, which Brainiac knew to be impossible. He decided instead to use the remaining time to save himself. When Jor-El threatens to destroy Brainiac's mainframe, Brainiac argues that when Krypton is gone, he will be all that remains of the entirety of its culture and history, and asks if Jor-El is willing to consign Krypton to be lost and forgotten. Jor-El reluctantly lowers his gun, just before Brainiac calls the guards on him.
  • The Fillmore! episode "To Mar a Stall" is a homage to Silence of the Lambs, including the Hannibal Lecture from the serial graffitist.
  • Spectra pulled this on Danny in their first appearances in Danny Phantom:

"Look at you? What are you? A ghost trying to fit in with humans or some creepy little boy with creepy little powers? You’re a freak! Not a ghost, not a boy! Who cares for a thing like you?"

    • These are also Vlad's specialty:

"Sneak attack... very good, Daniel. You're getting more like me with every battle."


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • The AI-Box experiment. One person plays a trans-human AI who is contained, and wants unrestricted access to the world, the other an experimenter who wants to keep the AI in its "box". The AI has two hours, using text communication only, to convince the researcher to let it out. Both times the experiment has been run so far, the researcher has been convinced to let the AI out. More experiments have been done by various informal parties as well. Though not a perfect 100%, the results are much much higher than one would expect. Notably, all the gatekeepers are chosen specifically for their steadfast belief that they would not allow the AI out.
    • Hilariously, one site about the experiment links back to this very article.
  • Dr. Robert Hare, a specialist in Psychopathy, talks about how Psychopaths regularly do this - having figured out their interrogators and interrogation techniques, they become horrible subjects to try to interrogate, often telling lies just to play with the interrogator.