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Michael Cudlitz on getting to know his character, and escaping COVID, with ‘Clarice’


(NEW YORK) — The Walking Dead and Southland vet Michael Cudlitz stars as straitlaced FBI Agent Paul Krendler in CBS’ new Silence of the Lambs spin-off, Clarice. And while fans may be pulling for Rebecca Breeds’ newbie agent Clarice Starling right off the bat, Krendler doesn’t trust her.

“And why should he at this point?” Cudlitz asks ABC Audio rhetorically.

The show takes place in 1993, a year after the events of Lambs, in which the young trainee Starling ended up finding and killing the serial killer dubbed Buffalo Bill, with the help of Hannibal Lecter, the brilliant incarcerated psychiatrist with a taste for human liver.  

“She’s just had one lucky thing, she’s been foisted on him and his group, his hand-picked group,” Cudlitz says of his character’s relationship with Clarice. “He doesn’t want her there…And he’s the guy in charge.” 

Fans of the show have playfully taken the actor to task for it on Twitter, Cudlitz laughs, adding, “Some of ’em ask, ‘Are you going become less of an a-hole?’ And I was like, ‘Watch the show!"” 

Incidentally, although the show is produced under strict COVID-19 protocols, it’s a period piece, so viewers won’t be seeing any masks on its leads.

“Somebody actually tweeted about that and they say, ‘Oh, my gosh, it’s so nice to be in a world where they don’t even address the COVID,’ and I understood it,” Cudlitz says.

“…You live your whole life in reality every day with the masks in and out…But you don’t necessarily want to come home and see it on your entertainment…And so we are an escape from that.”

However, he adds with a laugh, “I don’t know if it’s the laugh riot you’re looking for tonally!”  

Clarice airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.

By Stephen Iervolino
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