William Peterson plays Will Graham, a former FBI agent who captured the infamous Dr. Hannibal Lecktor and was almost killed in the process; he is so traumatized by the event that he retires from the FBI. His former boss, Jack Crawford, calls him out of retirement to help find a killer called "The Tooth Fairy" who is murdering entire families. Graham is a profiler who has an uncanny ability to (figuratively) enter the mind of a killer and think and feel as he does. Some would say that a more accurate description of what Graham does is allocating part of his own being to that of the killer's - or deliberately becoming schizoid - to more fully experience, long-term, the serial killer's personality and outlook - at substantial risk to his own physical, mental and emotional health - because it is a process that is not so easily undone. Doctor Lecktor confronts him about this knack during a zoologically-oriented visit from Graham and points out something that Will already knows but doesn't like to admit: The reason Graham caught Lecktor is that they are "just alike." "If you want to get the old scent back", Lecktor says, "Smell yourself!"
Graham's hunt for the Tooth Fairy is complicated by sleazy tabloid journalist Freddy Lounds (Stephen Lang), who publicly reveals that Graham has come out of retirement to solve the case. His family is now at risk - especially when Lecktor finagles his way into getting the Graham family's home address in Florida. A trap set for the Tooth Fairy in Washington DC is unsuccessful, and The Tooth Fairy captures Lounds and kills him.
There is a subplot about the Tooth Fairy himself, a tortured soul named Francis Dollarhyde (Dolarhyde in the novel), played by Noonan, falling in love with a blind coworker named Reba McClane. (The two work together at a film processing plant.) This ecstatically novel experience for Dollarhyde temporarily quells his murderous urges. It is then through a simple tragic misunderstanding that his rage returns and he reverts to his old schizoid/psychotic self.
Graham continues his hunt for this predator and his breakthrough comes when he realizes that the Tooth Fairy's break-ins to both families' houses were too perfectly executed, and that the killer must have had prior knowledge of the house and yard layout. He guesses that the killer could have discovered what he needed by watching home movies of the families before killing them - the same home movies that Graham has studied over and over again throughout the story. Graham's hunch is correct, and the police descend on St. Louis where Dollarhyde lives and works at a film processing plant.
Dollarhyde captures Reba and takes her to his home with the intention of killing her but he hesitates at the last minute. His decision about her fate is interrupted by Graham's airborne arrival through a large glass window. The Tooth Fairy intercepts Graham in mid-flight, cuts him across the face and effortlessly knocks him to the floor. Dollarhyde then gets busy engaging backup personnel but is finally stopped when Graham shoots him several times, point-blank, with Glaser Safety Slugs. There are other casualties but Reba survives and the nightmare is over. Graham returns to his home and family in Captiva, Florida and begins cleansing himself of Dollarhyde and recovering from the toll this has taken on his psyche.
The film score was composed by Rick Shaffer and Bruce Cohen, performed by The Reds®, with the original soundtrack released on MCA Records. On March 2, 2010 the soundtrack was re-released on CD by INTRADA RECORDS, with a special bonus track added ―“Jogger’s Stakeout” ― a big fan favorite.
In late 2012 Universal Music Group digitally re-released the Manhunter soundtrack album. Click on MANHUNTER for all the purchase options. special bonus track added “Jogger’s Stakeout” a big fan favorite. And, in late 2012 Universal Music Group digitally re-released Manhunter. Click on MANHUNTER for all purchase options.