Warning: This post contains major spoilers for Watchmen episode 2.
“He had skeletons in his closet.”
Judd Crawford’s skeleton turned out to be a Ku Klux Klan uniform with an old sheriff’s badge on it. For a respected man and leader, and best friends with Angela Abar, it was a shocking discovery. But do those white robes tell us the whole story? Was Chief Crawford’s own secret identity that of a violent racist? Or is there something else going on here? Ultimately the answer might not matter as much as why he died, in a plot mirroring the Watchmen graphic novel.
As Will joked, there might be a good reason for someone to keep a Klan uniform hidden in their closet, but it’s hard to think of any. The most obvious and simple explanation is Judd Crawford was at some point a secret bigot; he possibly remained one until the time of his death. He wouldn’t have been the only Chief of Police in history to have worn the blue uniform during the day before changing into a white one at night. Even if he had renounced his bigotry at some point, it’s still weird the head of law enforcement kept a symbol of hate in his home, and in such an easy to find spot.
The horrible white sheets of the Klan are an old symbol now in Watchmen‘s world; a relic from before the giant squid. When Angela threw them at Will she didn’t ask if her friend had been a Klan member. She asked if they meant Crawford had been part of the Seventh Kavalry. The Rorschach obsessed group are the descendants of the old Klan, having replaced them as the primary hate group. And if you are looking for a sign Crawford really was a member of the Kavalry, Angela’s flashback to “White Night” certainly raised the possibility.
After she killed the first intruder, a second Kavalry member shot Angela. He then approached her on the floor and put his shotgun to her head. His ink-blot face was the last thing she saw before she closed her eyes and passed out.
The very first thing she saw when she opened them was the face of Judd Crawford.
If Judd Crawford was the second Kavalary intruder this framing is a clever way for the episode to reveal that.
By safely shooting himself in the arm during his own “attack,” no one would ever think to question his involvement or association with the Kavalary. But if Crawford really was a member of the terror group why didn’t he kill Angela when he had the chance? Why would he help plan the murder of his own officers at all? Especially if he then spent three years fighting the Kavalry with cops who had even more power?
The show raised the distinct possibility Crawford was Kavalry, but it doesn’t make any sense. Not with what we’ve learned about him personally, or in terms of why he would have done any of this. It’s so strange it almost feels like his secret Klan uniform has a totally different meaning. The episode also provided a less incriminating reason for why he owned it.
Inside Judd Crawford’s closet was an old photo of a young boy and a police officer. It was important enough to be in the premiere too. Based on the age of the boy and the clothes in the picture, it’s almost certainly a young Judd Crawford and his father. Between the badge in the photo and the weathered look of that Klan uniform it’s far more likely both belonged to Judd’s dad.
Maybe Judd followed in his father’s racist footsteps, or maybe he kept his dad’s uniform as a bizarre homage to his dad. Or maybe it was a personal reminder of his own family’s horrible past. Watchmen‘s America refuses to let anyone forget about the country’s racist history. That suit could have been Judd’s own way of remembering where he came from versus who he had become.
The discovery of those white robes don’t paint the best picture of Judd Crawford, but they might not be as damning as they seem.
No matter what Judd’s Crawford’s own racial views turn out to be though, ultimately they might not have anything to do with why he was killed. His death and Angela’s discovery of a secret identity in his closet mirrors that of Eddie Blake’s in the comic book. The graphic novel opened with Rorschach—a masked vigilante who didn’t believe in due process just like Angela – secretly investigating Blake’s home. Rorschach found a secret door inside a closet, and inside of it was a disguise. Eddie Blake was actually the vigilante the world knew as the Comedian; and just like fellow government employee Judd Crawford, Eddie Blake was a complicated figure with skeletons beside the costume in his closet.
But Blake wasn’t killed for those past transgressions. Eddie Blake was killed because he uncovered a horrible secret, the type of plot that can best be described in Will’s dire warning to Angela, “a vast and insidious conspiracy.”
Will knew something about Judd Crawford’s closet. He clearly knows something about a horrible secret plan that is unfolding in Tulsa. What we don’t know yet is what Judd knew about a new conspiracy. Whatever his connection to it is likely the real reason he was murdered, not an old Klan robe. Watchmen is really heating up.
Featured Image: HBO