A large-scale molecular dynamics simulation of the behavior of a serine protease (Streptomyces griseus protease A) in a crystalline environment has been performed. All atoms (including hydrogens) of two protein molecules and the surrounding solvent of crystallization, consisting of both water and salt ions, were explicitly represented, and a relatively long range of interactions (up to 15 A) were included. The simulation is the longest so far reported for a protein in such an environment (60 ps). The use of the full crystalline environment allows a direct comparison of the structure and dynamic properties of the protein and surrounding solvent to be made with the experimental X-ray structure. Here we report the comparison of the protein structures and analyze the energetics of the system, including interaction with the aqueous environment. Subsequent papers will deal with other aspects of the simulation. The overall root mean square differences between the time-averaged molecular dynamics structure and that from crystallography, for all well-ordered, non-hydrogen atoms, are 1.67 and 1.25 A for the two molecules taken as the asymmetric unit. An extensive analysis of the conformation of substructural elements and individual residues and their deviation from experiment has revealed a strong influence of the ionic medium on their behavior. Implications of the results for free energy calculations and for future directions are also discussed.