'Clarice' is back on the case in new CBS drama series
What became of novice FBI agent Clarice Starling after "The Silence of the Lambs"?
The book and movie versions of the sequel "Hannibal" made runs at answering that, and the television show "Hannibal" might have folded her in had it continued. Now, her story resumes: The CBS series "Clarice" debuts at 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, with "Pretty Little Liars" alum Rebecca Breeds playing Starling -- a year after gaining fame for the case on which she consulted with Dr. Hannibal Lecter (who isn't mentioned by name in the new drama, due to rights matters) -- as she's recruited to help track other serial killers.
Breeds succeeds "Lambs" Academy Award recipient Jodie Foster and the "Hannibal" movie's Julianne Moore as Clarice.
"The trick for me has been to not dwell too much" on earlier portrayals, Breeds says. "I had less than 24 hours before I walked into the audition, so there was no time to overthink it. It was just, 'Let's jump off the cliff and see what happens,' which was good."
"Clarice" also features Lucca De Oliveira as Starling's new partner, plus Kal Penn and Michael Cudlitz.
Though she resisted viewing "The Silence of the Lambs" for a long time, Breeds finally watched the Oscar-winning thriller several years ago. "It was scary, but I also found it very thrilling, intelligent and clever," she reflects. "I was annoyed that I hadn't watched it earlier, but I also was happy to see such an iconic film for the first time."
"Clarice" also references "The Silence of the Lambs" by retaining rescued kidnap victim Catherine Martin (played by Marnee Carpenter) and her mother, now-former U.S. Sen. Ruth Martin (Jayne Atkinson), as characters. "People who loved the book will especially love the series," Breeds believes. "We used the film as a reference point, but we've mainly pivoted from the Thomas Harris book."
Though she's a native of Australia -- where she and actor husband Luke Mitchell were cast members on the long-running serial "Home and Away" -- Breeds offers a flawless Southern accent as Clarice. "It's like a pair of shoes that I put on now," she reasons. "It just kind of clicked with me."