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Hettienne Park Responds to HANNIBAL Fans’ Accusations of Racism, Sexism

Fans of NBC’s devilishly delicious series Hannibal got quite a shocker last week (spoilers ahoy, folks) when cast regular Hettienne Park’s character, Beverly Katz, fell on the receiving end of cannibal Hannibal’s ire. That’s right: Beverly Katz is dead after discovering Dr. Lecter’s seriously creepy-looking underground lair for deconstructing human bodies into prime cuts of meat (eugh).

Her death, confirmed by showrunner Bryan Fuller during one of his weekly interviews with the AV Club, though, was originally slated for the first season: “When I saw Hettienne [Park] on Broadway, I was like, ‘She’s fantastic. She’d be brilliant on the show,’ and we didn’t really get to explore a lot with her in the first season, so I was like, we can’t kill her yet because we haven’t done anything with her. It felt like, let’s have her be the ally that Will earns, and she starts to believe, and then we know it’s episode four and she’s starting to believe, so [laughs] she’s not long for this world.”

But that still didn’t quell fans of the series who cried racism and sexism when her character was offed. So the actress responded in a blog post, hoping to defend Fuller and the show’s decision to rid the world of Katz in the name of story and plot development. We’ve excerpted the most relevant bits, but the whole thing is worth a read:

Fuller cast me in a role that I didn’t think I had a chance in hell of getting. I rarely if ever see minorities, women, minority women, let alone Asian women, get to play characters like Beverly Katz. I rarely if ever see characters like Beverly Katz period. And her last name is Katz for Christ’s sake. Pretty open-minded, non-racist, pro-feminine writing and casting in my opinion.

As far as “fridging” (killing her off for the sake of advancing the plot or creating “manpain”)… HANNIBAL is based on the Thomas Harris novels and it centers on the relationship between Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham – two dudes, so that’s where the focus will be and will likely remain.

With good writing, every event happens in order to advance the plot and raise the stakes for the characters in the story, so I’m not sure how any character getting killed off is a bad or avoidable thing, especially on a show about a guy who eats people.


… If people can identify with this character regardless of the color of her skin, or like her regardless of her sex without her having to play the qualities we usually see chicks play, then that’s a good thing in my opinion. If you are upset about not believing Katz would be so careless, I agree, though part of the fun of the show is its homage to the horror genre. And finding the writing unrealistic may not be enough damning evidence of racism or sexism.

I’d rather focus on the positive stuff. I got to play this amazing woman who didn’t have to sleep with anyone (not that I would have minded) or act dumb and girlie or fawn all over some guy or be a conniving bitch to get people to notice or respect me, and she didn’t speak broken English or karate chop anyone (not that I would have minded). Nobody called her “dragon lady” or “exotic.” She could shoot a gun and drive that FBI SUV like a champ. And all with the extra added bonus of being Jewish. And when I get messages and thank yous from viewers who dig that or are inspired by that, well, that’s what makes any of this worthwhile or mean anything to me. So thank you for that. I love Beverly Katz. And I loved playing her.

Considering the fact that we saw in the premiere where this season is headed, it seems safe to say that redemption for Katz is on its way.

What do you think about the hullabaloo surrounding Katz’s death? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. Claudia Rodríguez says:

    Soy fan de la serie (Hannibal) y me parece que Hettienne Park, es una excelente actriz; aunque la verdad me hubiese gustado ver más acerca del personaje que ella interpreta; considero que su participación dentro de la serie ha sido muy importante puesto que aunque en la primera temporada no se vio mucho sobre Beverly Katz, el rol que tomo durante los primeros capítulos de la segunda temporada fue impresionante ya que de una forma u otra se estaba convirtiendo en una defensora del caso de Will Graham y las aportaciones que ella, en un momento dado podría dejar después de visitar el sótano en casa del Dr. Lecter, podrían haber sido cruciales para dar con el verdadero asesino (que por ende ya todos sabemos de quien se trata), pero el curso de la trama marca la muerte de Beverly y aunque sea bastante molesta la forma en como ocurrió tal suceso, debemos aceptarlo…Y que la serie siga su curso cosechando más éxitos. Bien por Hettienne Park y su personaje, que en esta nueva temporada me hizo estar, en todo momento, al filo de la butaca…Excelente actriz, excelente personaje…Sigue adelante con muchos éxitos más, te lo mereces!!!… 🙂

  2. Phoenix713 says:

    PJ Lowry- I recommend the same, but Beverly Katz was in Red Dragon, she just wasn’t as integral and didn’t work so closely with Will. She dealt more with Jack and worked evidence for him, but she didn’t do much more than run hair and fiber analysis. She wasn’t a field operative like she is portrayed to be on the show.

  3. Carlos says:

    She got offed like any other character would’ve.
    That’s equality.

  4. Three Toes of Fury says:

    Everyone…take a step back…take a deep breath.
    she isnt dead.
    not yet anyway.
    I wont even address the premise of the article as it is beyond ignorant to accuse a show, who’s entire premise is serial killers, of being racist/sexist for killing off a character..any character. As pointed out in the thread, any character that isnt cannon (ie: shows up in the later-placed books/movies), is fair game. Honestly the only potential limiting factor of other “fair game” primay cast mates is whether or not the show gets a season 3. Which, in a way, i hope it doesnt….its a wonderul show..incredibly dark, moody, and filled with obtuse-speaking-in-riddles writing……but there should be a beginning and an end to it…2 seasons feels about right.
    now..back to the glaring omission in this entire article…..the character of Beverly Katz is NOT dead. TV shows and movies follow some pretty basic rules which, once you know them will inevitably spoil lots for you, but are tried and true…in this case the rule which applies is:

    *If you dont see a primary character die…in an un-dooable fashion…on camera…they arent dead yet.

    I fully concur that the discovery of Hannibal for who he is does place her on a limited timeline for the show…the only options that exist for her in the near future is that she will either die facing off against hannibal, or be held captive for some period of time. There is a 3rd option which would involve him messing with her mind in some fashion (ie: short term memory loss drug or such)…but that seems pretty weak.

    Peace .n. Liver w Fava Beans and a nice Chianti…fwt fwt fwt fwt!


  5. CaptOblivious says:

    She got too close, she died. Hannibal killed Franklin for the same reason, he knew too much. Same with Abigail Hobbs. Same thing he intended to do to Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier but she was smart and skipped town before ending up a late afternoon snack. Anyone who knows even the slightest has to die, so we can nearly rest assured that at some point between now and the showdown with Jack, Dr. Chilton is likely to meet an untimely end. There are only two pieces of the Hannibal puzzle that aren’t expendable, and that’s Hannibal and Will. If this show can hold on long enough, you may see Clarice Starling get her day with our Doctor, but until then, you’re stuck with 2 guys, just tough it out or watch something else so the rest of us can enjoy in peace.

  6. KernelCrank says:

    Seriously? Sexism? Where is all this outcry for Game Of Thrones? I mean if we are attacking killing of strong female characters on television. This is going to paint me as the devil in this heavily politically correct culture we live in but I think all these outcries are pretty ridiculous. If you ARE NOT A CONTENT CREATOR for the show/website/movie/album/poem/picture of a crucified pygmy crossdressing transgendered jesus, how can you honestly know the motive behind any decisions being made? Do you live inside that person’s head. Are you 100 percent sure that is what was intended? If you aren’t you should just put away your soapbox. Seriously.

  7. Richard Casey says:

    This bollocks has to stop. Killing a character who just so happens to be female or asian or gay doesn’t make it an act of racism, sexism or homophobia. You don’t hear people whining about a show being sexist when a male character is killed, why? Because there’s an arse load of soap box feminists on the internet, who when they’re not posting on Jezebel spend their time inventing instances of of discrimination so they can feel better about their cushy middle class lives without actually doing anything productive.

  8. Gary Eberly says:

    Yes, Lucy Liu isn’t on any other shows either and she’s certainly not asian. She sounds like a bitter tart.

  9. PJ Lowry says:

    I suggest fans read the book Red Dragon… if a character from this show is not in it, they are totally dead by the end of the season.

  10. jay says:


    Not being a moron is what stopped you from jumping to that conclusion.

  11. Dalif says:

    I disliked Katz very much in the first season, but I’ll admit I was starting to warm up to her character. And she goes and dies. I was more than a little surprised to see her loaf about in Hannibal’s basement willy nilly, but I suppose it works. I never ever made the jump to racism or sexism though, but I suppose being a white male I wouldn’t, would I?

  12. Barbar-A says:

    @AJ – I’m glad the lives of those fans were so charmed that they could still feel the pain of betrayal from a TV showrunner.

  13. Aj says:

    Besides the fact that Beverly was a fan favourite, it was more to do with Bryan Fuller’s history of casting/writing more (& better) roles for women & people of colour; I think fans of his felt betrayed. Which I get, but (& as much as it sucks, because Katz was my favourite too!) her death made total sense in the context of the story’s progression.

  14. oh, she was awesome, and def will miss her character, but the story must go on, and in that, she has played her part well…