Kinda childish question... but I'm pretty interested in what daabase is used in the FBI TV drama Criminal Minds? They use query language with tabs to form a request that looks something like this:


and so on. without % actually. Is it a real db or just filmmakers' trick to show 'real hackers' at work?

I've asked here but still no answer

  • used in FBI films? making it a list question. Make this question more specific to save it to be become a list question which is off topic.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 20:57
  • I saw it in CM and mentalist Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 22:16

2 Answers 2


The technical analyst, Garcia, is so gifted as to very nearly be an archetype, the penultimate tech geek.

Such a person would have custom built tools that allowed her to query resources with a minimum amount of typing. She would have developed and customized these tools to fit her particular style of thinking and optimized to most quickly access those resources that she used the most.

During breaks between cases, she would go back and review and update her tools so that they would be current with respect to updates to any of the resources she used as well as any new resources that became available.

So, while the query language shown in the TV show does not actually exist, there could be similar tools created by and for people whose jobs are like those performed by Garcia.

  • I saw it not only in CM? but in mentalist either Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 22:17
  • 1
    I haven't watched The Mentalist closely enough to see this on that show. However, I doubt that it is significantly different from Criminal Minds. Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 5:05
  • I mean that is not about Garcia at all Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 7:42

Such database tools do exist - I work with them. However, they are no where near as fast, powerful or reliable as they are on TV.

Think of it as interlectual karate - karate masters in films routinely take multiple opponents and demolish them with one strike, ask a nightclub bouncer how he would feel about fighting 4 guys, all bigger than him, at the same and only being allowed to strike each one of them once!

On TV computer experts also have their abilities exagerated to speed the plot up and for dramatic licence hence they routinely hack into secure systems, gather information in a few seconds which would take days to refine for real etc.

  • could you plz give a name of one of such products??? Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 23:53
  • The main ones I work with a proprietary ad only used within the company and unless you work there an example will not help you. However, if you stick a flashy GUI (witenitnin html or wpf) onto SQL server or oracle and link it to a large data source then you would have the same database engine that Garcia etc use. The technology is not new or elaborate, the inoperable is in the information it links to.
    – Stefan
    Commented Mar 24, 2013 at 9:57

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