During The Silence of the Lambs Hannibal Lecter is briefly jailed in a building that looks like a museum. I didn't catch any explanation for choosing this rather unusual place. If I got the story correctly, he was in (aborted) transit between two prisons, but even so, there must have been a better place where to temporarily put him.

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    If you're talking about when he guts the guy and then escapes, it's a temporary holding place and it's in a police precinct. He is there while they capture buffalo bill and finalize the arrangements for his reward for helping them. Jul 18, 2018 at 6:01
  • yes, it is where his famous escape scene takes place. It doesn't look like very secure location and given how seriously they took security around him, this seemed very inadequate
    – Lope
    Jul 18, 2018 at 6:09

1 Answer 1


I didn't catch any explanation for choosing this rather unusual place.

The authorities decided any other place wasn't safe for Lecter!

Recall that the FBI was "relieved of resposibility" for Lecter by the Senator and responsibility passed to local law enforcement who were clearly unprepared for the lengths Lecter would go to....although the escape plan was highly complex.

The novel clarifies...

The Tennessee authorities were taking no chances with Hannibal Lecter. They were determined to hold him securely without exposing him to the dangers of the city jail.

Their answer was the former courthouse and jail, a massive Gothic-style structure built of granite back when labor was free. It was a city office building now, somewhat over-restored in this prosperous, history-conscious town.

Today it looked like a medieval stronghold surrounded by police.

The Silence of the Lambs - Thomas Harris

As for the room itself was probably the only room large enough to hold the cage they constructed.

Painted on the frosted glass of the door was SHELBY COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY.


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