In this work, quasistatic crack initiation under mixed mode loading in planar (two-dimensional plane stress) functionally graded materials (FGMs) is studied. The goal of this work is to directly compare experiments and simulations so as to evaluate the applicability of the maximum tangential stress (MTS) criterion in predicting crack kinking in FGMs. Initially, crack initiation in the homogeneous material, which forms the basis of our FGM-polyethylene-is studied. The (generalized) maximum tangential stress is applied through the use of finite elements to determine crack initiation angles in the same graded configurations studied experimentally. Computational results of fracture parameters (stress intensity factors and T-stress), and crack initiation angles are compared to experimental results and good agreement is obtained. It is seen that the MTS criterion is applicable to FGM crack initiation prediction if the inherent material gradient length scale is larger than the fracture process zone.