Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Captain Donald Cragen

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

When one is in a management position, it is sometimes akin to being torn in two different directions. He or she is responsible to their bosses, but they also must be there for their staff. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Captain Donald Cragen (Dann Florek) was in charge of the Special Victims Unit for fifteen years.

In his line of work, Captain Cragen has a lot on his plate. His detectives are working to solve some of the most gruesome cases in New York City. But if something goes wrong, NYPD brass and the Mayor’s office are only a phone call away.

There are some bosses who are content to sit behind their desk, dictate work from behind their computers and let their staff do the grunt work. But Captain Cragen is not one of those bosses. He is fully involved in each case, providing support to his detectives and in some cases, going into the field. Though going into the field and going undercover is dangerous, he is if nothing else, dedicated to his work.

To sum it up: For many fans, Captain Cragen will always be one of their favorite SVU characters. His mixture of professionalism, dedication, patience and once in a while being a tough boss is what makes him memorable. It would have been easy to write him as the stereotypical manager who is either too hard or too soft on his detectives. But because he is soft when he needs to be and hard when he needs to be, that is why we love him.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, New York City, Television

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