Will Graham(Edward Norton) is an FBI agent who has an ability to get into the minds of criminals. Currently he is pursuing someone who in addition to killing people is taking parts of their body. Initially it is believed that he is collecting them but Graham believes that he is actually eating them. So he goes to Dr. Hannibal Lecter(Anthony Hopkins), a forensic psychiatrist, whom he consults with. When Lecter leaves him for moment he discovers that Lecter is the man. Lecter then tries to kill him but Graham manages to subdue him. Both men are hospitalized and when they recover Graham testifies against Lecter and Lecter is convicted. Graham would leave the FBI. A few years later Graham is approached by his former boss who wants him to help him find this guy who kills a family every full moon. Graham who is still emotionally and psychologically scarred, reluctantly agrees. When Graham hits a wall, he goes to Lecter for help and Lecter wants to play games with him.