In the "Law & Order" programming, the detectives use law enforcement databases to help get their man - or woman.
In the film released last month - "Searching" - the father of a missing teenager relies on what is in smartphones and laptops.
That's how David Kim eventually is able to connect the dots about the sudden disappearance of his 16-year-old child Margot. The family is Asian-American.
Along the way, as is necessary in films, he learns that since his wife's death two years ago he has lost touch with Margot. That's despite their compulsive communication by way of face time and texting.
Of course, that message is a commentary on our over-communicated times devoid of real connection. Aren't we living out the ethos of the Beatles' lyrics about Eleanor Rigby and all the other lonely people?
Through an obsessive analysis of everything he can get up there on a screen, Kim is able to pin down the last place Margot had been.
A few days later, he connects more dots. He rushes back to that same location with a search and rescue mission. Margot is down at the bottom of the cliff. Still alive. A storm provided her with the water she needed to make it.
How she got there was that a boy with a crush on her had taken on a fake online identity of a teenager girl. For six months they had chatted digitally. Then one night he took action. He followed her to the wooded area in which she had found peace since her mother's death. She was in her car smoking weed.
When he approached her she resisted. He pushed back. It was an accident she tumbled down down down. When he called his mother - Rosemary Vick - she told him not to contact 911. She galloped to the scene of the crime, drove the girl's car into the water, and then volunteered to be the detective on the case when the missing person call came in.
There is plenty more to the twists and turns. For example, by retrieving text messages, Kim believes his brother had been having an affair with Margot and was part of the disappearance. He also beats up a smart aleck whose signature is blowing smoke from weed in selfies.
The scene in which Vick is arrested at Margot's memorial (she had been declared dead) is slo-mo. And will go down in film history as iconic for her body language.
When interrogated, Vick shows no remorse. Instead, she contends that as mother of a son who is different she had to prevent him from going to prison. Unfortunately to put all the pieces in-place, she also had to engineer a confession from a roughneck recently released from prison. Then she simulated his suicide.
Given the high ratings this film is receiving, including from Rotten Tomatoes, fictional crime shows will have to incorporate more of the digital paraphernalia.
Takeaway: "Searching" is a welcome distraction from the Kavanaugh chaos and the commentary it has generated.
Attention is the currency of the 21st century. Jane Genova helps you get it for products, services, points of view, causes, branding, careers after-50, and college admission.
In addition, this blog welcomes paid sponsored content.
Free consultation email@example.com