Question: I just saw the Oct. 31 episode of CSI. The murderous magician character looked like the same actor who played the Hannibal Lecter-type character in the movie Manhunter, which also starred William Petersen as the investigator who hunted him. Was it the same actor? Ralph, Flower Mound, Tex.
Televisionary: Sharp eyes there, Ralph. In the hit crime drama's Halloween episode, entitled "Abra Cadaver," actor Tom Noonan played the villainous illusionist. That's the same Tom Noonan who, as maniac Francis Dollarhyde, worked with Petersen, Dennis Farina, Joan Allen and Stephen Lang in Michael Mann's 1986 version of Thomas Harris's Red Dragon. (For the record, Brian Cox played the other maniac, cannibal psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lektor note the different spelling in that film.)
Of course, as anyone who hasn't spent the last few years in an isolation tank can tell you, Anthony Hopkins now owns the Lecter role, so much so that another version of Red Dragon topped the box office when it was recently released. In that take on the story, which many purists insist is inferior to Mann's movie, Ralph Fiennes handled the Dolarhyde duties (again with the different spelling I'm convinced they do that just to drive copy editors batty).
(For more on the CSI-Manhunter similarities, see my colleague Matt Roush's Ask Matt column.)