Barney Matthews
Age 30s(The Silence Of The Lambs)


Alias(es) Nurse Barney
Occupation(s) Former hospital orderly
Status Alive
Relationships Clarice Starling (friend)

Hannibal Lecter (former patient)

Other info
First appearance Red Dragon
Last appearance Hannibal
Portrayed by Frankie Faison
Barney Matthews gallery

Barney Matthews was the Head Orderly for the maximum security wing of the Baltimore State Mental Hospital for the Criminally Insane. He was the primary handler and caregiver to Dr. Hannibal Lecter for six of the eight years of the latter's incarceration, working under the authority of Dr. Frederick Chilton.

Barney was noted for the extreme competence and professionalism he showed while running the wing of the asylum in which Lecter, "Multiple" Miggs, Sammie, and a number of other patients were held. Barney was in charge of cleaning and searching the cells and also handling the Lecter's elaborate restraint-procedure after the latter savagely mauled a nurse. Barney was so thorough in his duties that the only two minuscule mistakes made in handling Hannibal Lecter were both made on Barney's days off, years apart.

Despite the fact that Barney was responsible for keeping Lecter imprisoned, he was liked and respected by the notorious cannibal for always treating him with courtesy and decency. Lecter did not begrudge Barney for doing his job, which included searching his cell for contraband and making it virtually impossible to steal items that could aid in an escape or attack(such as pens, paperclips, staples and anything made from metal or hard materials). Dr. Lecter would also converse with Barney over the intercom during the evenings, introducing the "whole new ideas" and knowledge relating to matters of psychiatry, philosophy, arts, culture, and science(which Barney was studying via correspondence courses).

When Lecter was set to be transferred to a different facility, Barney expresses his concerns to Dr. Chilton about the skill of Lecter's new handlers, but is rebuffed. Following Lecter's bloody escape in Memphis, Tennessee and subsequent life in on the run, Barney receives a generous monetary tip and a thank-you note from Lecter for the courtesy shown to him during his years of imprisonment.

Barney continued to work as an orderly elsewhere after the closure of the Baltimore State Mental Hospital for the Criminally Insane, supplementing his income on occasion by selling pieces of discarded "memorabilia" from the asylum, such as Lecter's bite-proof facial restraints and forms bearing his autograph. Barney later told Clarice Starling about the pettiness, unprofessional cruelty and wrongdoings made by Dr. Chilton, which earned Lecter's enmity and lead to Chilton's eventual disappearance and presumed murder at the latter's hand.

Barney eventually went on to travel the world with his girlfriend, intent on seeing every known painting by the Dutch master artist Johannes Vermeer - an interest that Lecter himself fostered in Barney during their conversations in prison.


  • Barney (right) with Hannibal Lecter
  • Barney and other orderlies confronts Lecter