Hours after NBC released a tantalizing batch of photos for freshman drama "Hannibal," series creator Bryan Fuller announced its premiere date: Thursday, April 4 at 10 p.m. EST.

The show, which features Mads Mikkelsen in the iconic role of Hannibal Lecter, sees FBI criminal profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) on the hunt for a vicious serial killer. But when the case proves too twisted for his considerable skills, he turns to preeminent psychiatrist Dr. Lecter for help tracking the murderer. Unfortunately for the FBI agent, his brilliant new partner might have more insight into the case than Will anticipated ...

The series also stars Laurence Fishburne and Caroline Dhavernas, with notable names such as Eddie Izzard, Gillian Anderson, Anna Chlumsky, Ellen Greene and Gina Torres also scheduled to appear in guest or recurring capacities.

At the recent Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt downplayed the violent aspects of the series in comparison with gorier fare like Fox's "The Following."

"'Hannibal' is actually ... there's a lot of violence around the show, but you don't see a lot of acts of violence," he said. Head of NBC Entertainment Jennifer Salke agreed, adding, "[In 'Hannibal,'] the character you're following is the Will Graham character, who has to be pulled into these violent crimes and they take a terrible toll on him ... He's the definition of a kind, gentle soul."

Are you looking forward to "Hannibal"? Weigh in below!

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  • "Hannibal" Cast

    (from left) Hugh Dancy, Caroline Dhavernas, Laurence Fishburne, Aaron Abrams, Lara Jean Chorostecki, Hettienne Park, Scott Thompson and Mads Mikkelsen

  • "Hannibal" Star Hugh Dancy as Special Agent Will Graham

    A former homicide detective turned teacher, Will Graham is pulled into the dark world of criminal profiling by Jack Crawford to help catch some of the most demented serial killers known to man. Socially awkward, but a brilliantly gifted, Graham navigates his way through the dark amalgam of haunting cases—guided by his FBI-appointed psychologist, Hannibal Lecter. Graham is constantly on guard against being consumed by the darkness he confronts on each case.

  • "Hannibal" Star Mads Mikkelsen as Dr. Hannibal Lecter

    An accomplished psychologist, and sociopathic serial killer, at the height of his career. Dr. Lecter is assigned to be Will Graham’s psychiatrist, helping navigate the increasingly disturbing cases Graham encounters, while gaining unprecedented access to the FBI for himself. Excepting his homicidal tendencies, Dr. Lecter is every bit the gentleman, with his impeccable wit, astonishing intellect, gourmet palate and eye for the more refined aspects of life.

  • "Hannibal" Star Laurence Fishburne as Agent Jack Crawford

    Head of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit, Jack Crawford is laser-focused on his mission to apprehend the most vicious serial killers known to man. His unstoppable drive and dogged determination sometimes cause him to lose sight of the wellbeing of his team, particularly his most valuable weapon, Will Graham, who Crawford keeps on a tight leash. It also constantly threatens the delicate balance he strikes between his professional and personal life.

  • "Hannibal" Star Caroline Dhavernas as Dr. Alana Bloom

    Dr. Alana Bloom is a psychology professor, FBI consultant, and colleague to Will Graham, who is able to keep her work at a strict intellectual distance from her private life. She recognizes Will’s spectacular gift of empathizing with the murderers he hunts, but worries about Jack putting Will in harm’s way. A former student of Hannibal Lecter’s, Alana sometimes clashes with him over his unconventional treatments.

  • "Hannibal" Star Hettienne Park as Beverly Katz

    A member of the Behavioral Science Unit, specializing in fibers. Beverly has a keen sensibility when it comes to piecing together fragments of evidence. And she never handles Will with kid gloves, a trait appreciated by Will.

  • "Hannibal" Star Aaron Abrams as Brian Zeller

    A member of the Behavioral Science Unit, Zeller uses his medical degree to determine causes of death in victims. His arrogance and competitive nature sometimes place him at odds with Will.

  • "Hannibal" Star Scott Thompson as Jimmy Price

    Price is a master of forensics and technology within the Behavioral Science Unit. He makes the most of his years of experience, and knows the importance of levity and wit in maintaining one’s sanity on the job.

  • "Hannibal" Star Lara Jean Chorostecki as Freddie Lounds

    Trashy tabloid blogger and aspiring journalist Freddie Lounds is as driven, ambitious and cunning as she is unscrupulous, stopping at nothing to get her story. Lounds sees Will Graham and the FBI as targets, using them as fodder for her next sensational exposé.

  • "Apertif"

    Laurence Fishburne as Agent Jack Crawford, Hugh Dancy as Special Agent Will Graham

  • "Apertif"

    Mads Mikkelsen as Dr. Hannibal Lecter

  • "Apertif"

    Mads Mikkelson as Dr. Hannibal Lecter

  • "Apertif"

    Hugh Dancy as Special Agent Will Graham

  • "Apertif"

    Hugh Dancy as Special Agent Will Graham

  • "Apertif"

    Laurence Fishburne as Agent Jack Crawford, Hugh Dancy as Special Agent Will Graham

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