FBI Special Investigator Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), who is haunted by his ability to empathize with serial killers and mentally re-create their crimes with vivid detail, is drawn into the investigation of a series of missing college girls by Special Agent Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne), who has special interest in Graham's ability. Crawford and Graham interview the parents of the latest girl to go missing, only to discover that her body has been returned to her bedroom. Graham suspects it is an apologetic gesture from the killer. As Graham struggles to create a profile, Crawford enlists the help of noted psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), who takes a keen interest in the case and particularly in Graham, in whom he senses a like mind. Another girl is found, this one mounted on top of a deer's head in an open field with her lungs removed. Graham is convinced it is the work of someone else, a negative designed to show him the positives of the other crimes. Dr. Lecter is shown preparing himself a meal with meat that looks like lungs. FBI crime scene investigator Beverly Katz (Hettienne Park) finds a shred of metal from a pipe threader on the clothes of the returned girl, which leads Graham and Dr. Lecter to a construction site that employs one Garrett Jacob Hobbs, who fits Graham's profile. Dr. Lecter secretly makes a phone call to Hobbs, warning him that, "They know." Lecter and Graham arrive at Hobbs's house just as Hobbs kills his wife. Graham shoots Hobbs dead, but not before Hobbs cuts his daughter's throat. Later, Graham and Lecter sit with the unconscious girl in her hospital room.