Jack Crawford is:
(a) treating Will Graham as an adult
(b) telling Graham exactly what Crawford expects
(c) asking Graham on several occasions if Graham has a problem
(d) is remaining professional, as he should, since he is Graham’s superior and boss
(e) has ensured that Graham has access to a psychiatrist
(f) has assured Graham that Crawford will support Graham
(g) has defended and protected Graham from detractors, whether psychiatrists, journalists, or fellow agents
Is Crawford perfect? No. But remember, Crawford is dealing with a hell of a lot. Crawford is the Agent-in-Charge of the Behavioral Science Unit. Do you have any idea of how much he has to do? He’s dealing with academy training, research, and consultation; if anything goes wrong, he’s the one who has to fix it, and he’s the one who has to deal with it. He has a lot of people to take care of, not just Graham.
And, you know, his wife is also dying of cancer. And there are serial killers all over the country, which Crawford’s unit is being consulted on. Add that to the continuing guilt of Miriam Lass and every victim that Crawford can’t save, and you know what? He’s doing a really awesome job, all things considered. The fact that he is able to take time to keep tabs on Graham, to talk with Graham, to consult with Lecter and Bloom, and to just be around as often as he is, says a lot about how professional Crawford is, and how seriously he takes his job and position.
If we want to complain about manipulation, then let’s talk about Lecter, who purposefully lied to Graham about a potentially life-threatening brain inflammation, just for kicks and giggles.
Maybe Crawford acts like an ass, but at least he trusts Graham, and treats Graham like an adult who can make his own decisions, which is a lot more than what Lecter is doing.
And regarding Abigail—yeah, maybe Crawford is too forceful, but remember, he is right. He’s trusting his instincts and the evidence, and he is right about Abigail. And this isn’t like a normal office job—if Crawford doesn’t get the job done, and if he doesn’t get the right results, then people die. I think Crawford is entitled to be severe, strict, and focused—he has untold lives literally depending on him.
Fandom seems to be really sympathetic for Graham, every time someone dies, or Graham has to see a dead body. Here’s a thought—everyone in that group has to deal with knowing that they couldn’t save another person, including (or, dare I say, especially) Crawford. While Graham has his empathy and imagination to struggle with, Crawford has his own struggles—think about how many cases land on Crawford’s desk, asking for a consultation; imagine how many files and pictures Crawford is looking through, and how many bodies that Crawford is seeing, that he doesn’t ask Graham to look at.
(And also, once again, he’s watching his wife die of cancer, and somehow, he still gets up and goes to work every day, and doesn’t allow it to noticeably affect his job. I’m sorry, I’m just really confused on why Crawford isn’t considered the hero of this show.)