Jack Crawford (character)
|Hannibal Tetralogy character|
|Created by||Thomas Harris|
|Portrayed by||Dennis Farina
(Silence of the Lambs)
Jack Crawford is a fictional character who appears in the Hannibal Lecter series of books by Thomas Harris, in which Crawford is the Agent-in-Charge of the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI in Quantico, Virginia. He is modeled after John E. Douglas, who held the same position.
Jack Crawford first appears in the novel Red Dragon, in which he calls upon Will Graham, his former protégé, for assistance in solving the murders being committed by a serial killer dubbed "The Tooth Fairy." Graham, as a profiler, has a reputation for being able to think like the criminals he hunts, thus assisting the FBI in a criminal's ultimate apprehension. Graham had retired after being attacked and nearly killed by Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a Baltimore psychiatrist he had been consulting with about a series of cannibalistic murders, after Graham intuited that Lecter was the killer he sought. Crawford convinces Graham to come out of retirement to help solve the "Tooth Fairy" murders, and soon they both realize that they would need Lecter's help again. Crawford helps shelter Graham and his family after Lecter sends the killer, Francis Dolarhyde, his old nemesis' address. With Crawford's help, Graham eventually solve the case, but Dolarhyde disfigures him before Graham kills him. Crawford feels responsible for Graham's misfortune, and resents Lecter for the rest of his life.
The Silence of the Lambs
Jack Crawford appears again in the novel The Silence of the Lambs, again investigating a serial killer. This time, the serial killer is called "Buffalo Bill", and his killing signature involves killing and skinning women. Crawford is stumped in trying to determine who Buffalo Bill is, and is forced to once again call upon Lecter for assistance. This time, however, Crawford sends an FBI trainee, Clarice Starling, to interview him. By way of information obtained from Lecter, Crawford and the FBI attempt to track down the killer, Jame Gumb. However, the address they obtain for him is out of date. Gumb had killed the employer of one of his former victims and moved into her house to use its large basement, which contains a disused and empty well. He uses the well as a makeshift holding space for his victims. Realizing that Buffalo Bill probably knew his first victim, Fredrica Bimmel, Starling sets about interviewing everyone close to her and ends up stumbling upon Gumb's house. By the time Crawford and his men arrive, Starling has singlehandedly killed Gumb and rescued his intended victim.
Throughout the novel, Crawford is struggling under a double burden, as he is caring for his terminally ill wife, Bella, at home while leading the investigation into the 'Buffalo Bill' case. Bella dies near the end of the novel.
Crawford appears as a relatively minor character in the book Hannibal. He is portrayed as very sympathetic toward Starling, yet increasingly distant due to failing health and his powerlessness against the corrupt bureaucrats set to destroy her career.
Film and television adaptations
The Crawford character appears in the film adaptations of Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs; he does not appear in the adaptation of Hannibal, although a deleted scene explains that he has died. He has been portrayed by four different actors:
- In the supplemental section on the special edition DVD of The Silence of the Lambs, Scott Glenn revealed that he was given an audio tape by FBI agent John Douglas as a form of research for his character. The tape was an audio recording serial killers Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris had made of themselves raping and torturing a 16-year-old girl as they drove around Los Angeles. Upon questioning Douglas as to his motives for presenting these tapes, Douglas simply said to Glenn, "Now you are part of my world." This experience preyed upon Glenn's mind all throughout filming, and he refused to return to the role in Hannibal because he didn't want to place himself in such a mindset again. To this day, he says that the tapes still cause him anxiety and bad dreams.
- The TV series portrays Crawford as deliberately pushing the limits of Graham's sanity in order to fully exploit his protegé's gift for profiling serial killers. At the end of the first season, he reluctantly arrests Graham after finding evidence that he is the serial killer known as the "Chesapeake Ripper"; he is unaware that Lecter had framed Graham. When Graham is exonerated in the second season, Crawford helps him with an elaborate plan to entrap and capture Lecter, which puts Crawford's career in jeopardy when his superiors at the FBI find out about it. In the second season finale, Crawford attempts to arrest Lecter, who escapes, leaving him severely injured.