“He catches insane men because he can think like them,” is a line about Hugh Dancy’s character, Will Graham, in NBC’s new series: Hannibal.

hugh dancy hannibal

The character of Will Graham is an awkward former detective who hates how well he understands serial killers. On the series, he profiles these criminals. (Don’t worry, he has a psychologist to help him stay sane. Of course, his psychologist is also a secret serial killer that eats people.)

Guys, I had such a simple question for Hugh Dancy when I got to speak with him for Hannibal promotion. All I wanted to know was what challenges he had playing a character that hates themselves and everything that they do! Simple, right?

Well, I truly hadn’t realized what a huge question I as asking… until I heard Dancy laugh. (And, you know I am. Having talented British actors laugh at the things I say is totally something that happens to me every day. It’s like, calm down Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Josh Bowman and Joseph Morgan –  my joke wasn’t THAT funny! …Except, of course, my jokes are always exactly that funny.)

Well, after Dancy and I shared our moment of “we-are-BFFs-now” laughter, he decided he’d dive into my question anyway.

“Bryan touched on it earlier that Will is certainly not easy-going, he’s not – probably not great company. And he’s fairly shut off. And, you know, the danger is that you – well, the challenge is not to just present those things to an audience because if that’s all they’ve got, that’s – they would be quite justified in not being very interested in him.

“I always felt that the two ends of the compass for Will, and the way we present him is that if you just have that middle ground. If you just have the shutdown kind of difficult human being that he is, you really have nothing to go on. But when you see both the kind of visceral, that violence that he has to – that he inhabits away in his brain that we see him reliving on the one hand.

“And then just as importantly on the other hand you see the safe haven that he’s created for himself. You see the moment of lightness when he goes back to his home with the dogs, the dog that he’s rescued and his efforts just to create a place of lightness, that for me was enough both to pity him and to, you know, care about him. And I thought okay, well that will explain everything in the middle. So, you know, that was a big part of the way I approached it.

– Hugh Dancy

Recommended Reading: Bryan Fuller talks about the “Cannibal Consultant” on Hannibal, José Andrés

Hannibal premieres Thursday, April 7 2013 on NBC.