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Ritual killings on TV - True Detective, Hannibal and Millennium

Watching True Detective recently made me realize just how desensitized I've become to depictions of ritualistic murders on television. Spoilers for True Detective and Hannibal ahead. Possibly disturbing images if you're squeamish.


My initial reaction to the the first crime scene at the beginning of True Detective was "Naked body with antler crown? Wooden fetish objects and a strange symbol on the body? Ho hum." That's one reason why I didn't get drawn into the Yellow King and Carcosa. That came across to me as the usual stuff tossed in to explain the ritual aspect and not particularly significant in itself.

If you watched NBC's Hannibal then you know it also started out with bodies and antlers too.

After two seasons of murders on Hannibal (particularly the death of Beverly Katz) it would take a lot to get a rise out of me.


I've seen the movies The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal and read the books. So a certain general desensitization had already set in. But books and movies are one thing, television is another. Which brings me to Frank Black.

Thanks to Netflix I've also been rewatching the first season of Millennium, Chris Carter's other show on Fox back in the 1990s. The larger arc as to what the Millennium Group is about hasn't come into play yet and the season is about Frank Black chasing murderers. He uses a juiced up version of Will Graham's ability that is borderline psychic, though Frank won't use that term.


By today's standards the violence on Millennium is tame but for the 1990s it was pushing the boundary. It certainly helped me get used to a certain level of violence on television.


Though death and antlers on television go back at least as far as Salem's Lot. This miniseries scared the crap out of me back in 1979.

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