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Garcia's Dirty Dozen Nickname On Criminal Minds Explained

Among the many long-running popular police procedural dramas is "Criminal Minds." The CBS show aired from September 2005 to February 2020, following the personal and professional lives of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit. While the team of criminal profilers changed from season to season, Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) appeared in all 15 seasons — and the show's two spinoff series — and quickly became a fan favorite.

Garcia, a technical analyst for the BAU, defies every stereotype of hacker culture. She has bleached blond hair, a pink resume, a desk filled with kitschy decor, and a quirky sense of style, including, but not limited to candy-colored glasses frames, statement jewelry, and oversized hair accessories.

Despite not fitting the mold of someone who only joined the FBI to avoid a jail sentence after being caught infiltrating their system as an underground hacker, Garcia is one of the most skilled members of the team. So, why is her nickname "The Dirty Dozen"?

The Dirty Dozen is hacker slang

"Criminal Minds" fans know that Penelope Garcia goes by many endearing nicknames among her coworkers — most notably "Baby Girl," given to her by Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore). Additionally, as an online hacker, she has many aliases, like "The Black Queen," which refers to her former goth aesthetic. A less self-explanatory nickname she receives, however, is "The Dirty Dozen."

This comes in Season 11 when the BAU is targeted by an anonymous group of hitmen. They seemingly refer to their targets as "The Dirty Dozen." However, in the episode "Target Rich," it's revealed that the nickname refers solely to Garcia, who had investigated the group on the dark web. Impressed by her technical skills, the group determined she posed a threat to their work.

Why "The Dirty Dozen," though? This nickname refers to her hacking process of using 12 botnets to cover her tracks during investigations. Less tech-savvy fans of "Criminal Minds" might've missed this detail, but it's just another testament to Garcia's next-level skills.