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The Grand Theft Auto Reference You Missed In Criminal Minds

Video game references aren't necessarily a rarity in today's movies and TV shows. After all, they have become a widely enjoyed and recognized facet of modern-day popular culture. But it's still sort of fun as a gamer to spot an allusion to your favorite game in a TV show, particularly one that you might not expect to make such a reference.

That could potentially be the case with "Criminal Minds," which might not have a ton of audience overlap with the "Grand Theft Auto" video game franchise. But, nevertheless, in one episode of the show, viewers were treated to a specific reference to one of those games -– and it wasn't just a fleeting shot of someone playing one in the background, either. Instead, the protagonist of "Grand Theft Auto IV" is prominently referred to by name in the dialogue of one episode, and in a pretty humorous and entertaining fashion to boot.

Niko Bellic got a shout out on Criminal Minds

In the "Criminal Minds" Season Six episode "Safe Haven," the BAU team is chasing down a serial killer that's taking out entire families. Eventually, they zero in on perpetrator Jeremy Sayer (Sterling Beaumon). But, that isn't the name the teenage murderer always uses, and at one point he is revealed to have been going by another alias: Niko Bellic.

Sound familiar? That's the main character of "Grand Theft Auto IV,' and in a charming touch, it's senior team member David Rossi (Joe Mantegna) who spots the name as a fake thanks to some surprising knowledge up his sleeve: "Niko Bellic is the name of a main character in Grand Theft Auto 4," says Rossi, following up to his stunned comrades with, "What? I know things."

It's a humorous little moment for "Criminal Minds," and also a great quasi-crossover between the series and Rockstar Games' ever-popular "Grand Theft Auto" franchise, and for that, it's definitely worth remembering.