[Warning: The following contains major spoilers from Friday's episode of Hannibal. Read at your own risk.]
In a show about a cannibal, people are bound to die. But when Friday's episode of Hannibal saw the shocking demise of Beverly Katz (Hettienne Park), fans were more than a little shocked and upset. Viewers began accusing showrunner Bryan Fuller of being racist and sexist for killing off the NBC show's only Asian character (and one of the few female characters as well). Park responded to the criticism in a lengthy blog post, in which she defends Fuller and her character's death.
"Fuller cast me in a role that I didn't think I had a chance in hell of getting," Park begins, noting that not only was her character Asian, but also Jewish. "Pretty open-minded, non-racist, pro-feminine writing and casting in my opinion."
As to the accusations of "fridging," in which female characters are disposed of to advance plot and create "manpain," Park points out Hannibal is the story of "two dudes, so that's where the focus will be and will likely remain." Though she adds, "My guess is that now that their relationship has been well established, there will be opportunity to further develop female characters. One can hope."
Park reveals that Fuller wanted Katz to stick around longer (she was originally supposed to die in Season 1), but that The Powers That Be — aka the other producers — disagreed. She also warns that fans shouldn't be so quick to attack the show if and when other actresses leave in the future. "They have other commitments to other projects, so scheduling and availability are other major factors," she explains.
As to the careless decisions that led to Katz's death off-screen, Park says she "would've preferred having Katz go down with a fight" but was told "there was concern around showing Hannibal beating up a woman." "They were being sensitive not to overdo the violence against women in a story that inherently deals with violence ... So I suggested to a couple producers that they mitigate their concerns by having Katz get a good solid shot at him before dying, maybe a kick in the balls or wounding him somehow." Though the producers didn't take her suggestions, Park says this wasn't because she's Asian or a woman, but simply because she's an actor.
"I'd rather focus on the positive stuff," Park concludes. "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 b---- 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."
Do you agree with Park?
Hannibal airs Fridays at 10/9c on NBC.