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Michael and Trevor combine to locate a target for the FIB.
GTA V description at Rockstar Games Social Club
The media and the government would have us believe that torture is some necessary thing. We need it to get information, to assert ourselves. Did we get any information out of you? Exactly. Torture's for the torturer...or for the guy giving orders to the torturer. You torture for the good times - we should all admit that. It's useless as a means of getting information.
Trevor Philips, to Ferdinand Kerimov.

By the Book is a mission in Grand Theft Auto V, given by FIB agent Steve Haines to protagonists Michael De Santa and Trevor Philips at the Walker & Sons Warehouse, on Dutch London Street in Banning, South Los Santos, San Andreas.


Michael or Trevor (whoever is being played at the time) receives a phone call from Steve Haines telling them to go to the warehouse and meet the other protagonist (the mission automatically begins with the receipt of the phone call). There, they find Haines and Dave Norton along with Devin Weston.

Ferdinand Kerimov is revealed once Weston exits. Haines wants Michael to assassinate Tahir Javan, an Azerbaijani man who Haines and Norton claim has ties to terrorism. Kerimov previously set up an audio-visual system for Javan and so is the FIB's only source of information. Haines orders Michael to go with Norton to locate Javan, while Trevor and Haines remain in the warehouse with Kerimov.

Michael and Norton drive to their first location, a home in Los Santos, but this turns out to be a false lead. Haines then orders Trevor to torture Kerimov in order to discover Javan's whereabouts. There are four ways in which Trevor can torture Kerimov:

  • Waterboarding
  • Beating him with a wrench. Where Trevor hits depends on his position as he observes Mr. K. All three areas have the same effect and damage. Kerimov's left = knee. Middle = genitals/midsection. Right = arm.
  • Electrical shocks from a car battery.
  • Extracting a tooth using pliers. First tooth changes speech. Unknown if more pulls either further deteriorate his speech or nothing at all.

Kerimov can't be pushed too far. If this happens, he'll need an adrenaline shot, which requires injecting him with a syringe (preventing from completing the "Don't Stop Me Now" Gold Medal objective). Kerimov can be given shots up to three times before Trevor runs out of adrenaline, which results in his death and the mission's failure.

The first round of torture reveals that Javan is actually at a house in Chumash. Michael and Norton drive to the home, but once there, they discover that a party is in full swing and that there are five men present who could possibly be Javan. At this point, Haines orders Trevor to engage in more torture. Through three additional rounds of torture, Kerimov reveals that Javan is:

  • A man of average height and weight (the player is able to kill Javan at this point to complete the mission early)
  • Has a beard
  • Is a chain smoker
  • Smokes Redwood Cigarettes
  • Is left handed

Through these clues, Michael is able to identify Javan and assassinate him.

Back at the warehouse, Haines tells Trevor that Kerimov is "expendable" and orders him to kill Kerimov after Haines has left. Once Haines departs, Trevor instead decides to free Kerimov and then guides him from the warehouse and into his truck, at which point he drives Kerimov to the airport and tells him to flee Los Santos and become an anti-torture advocate. Trevor drops Kerimov off at the airport, where he falls down a flight of stairs. Trevor drives off and the mission is completed.

Mission Objectives

  • Go to the warehouse in Banning. - (Michael or Trevor)
  • Go to Rockford Hills. - (Michael)
  • Choose a tool to torture Mr. K. - (Trevor)
  • Go to Chumash. - (Michael)
  • Choose a tool to torture Mr. K. - (Trevor)
  • Locate the target. - (Michael)
  • Choose a tool to torture Mr. K. - (Trevor)
  • Try to locate the target again. - (Michael)
  • Choose a tool to torture Mr. K. - (Trevor)
  • Kill the target. - (Michael)
  • Take Mr. K. to the airport. - (Trevor)

Gold Medal Objectives

  • Don't Stop Me Now - Complete without Kerimov's heart stopping.
    • Kerimov's heart rate will stop if it passes 200 BPM.
  • Electrocutioner - Electrocute Kerimov.
    • Perform this third, keeping an eye on Kerimov's BPM.
  • The Tooth Hurts - Pull out Kerimov's tooth.
    • Perform this second.
  • Wrenched - Hit Kerimov with the wrench.
    • Perform this first.
  • It's Legal! - Waterboard Kerimov.
    • Performing this last (as it does the least damage) and in short bursts gives a better chance of Kerimov not passing out.


Los Santos Shepherd Newspaper

"A beach front house party turned into tragedy yesterday when an Azerbaijani-American was killed, in what appeared to be a professional job by a long range sniper. Police are baffled by the case not merely because they are baffled by most things, but also because no motive is apparent. The man, Tahir Javan, an Azerbaijani-American in his late 40s, moved to this country when he was 13 and grew rich in the green energy sector, and has subsequently donated large sums to education initiatives here and his former country. Who would offer a professional hit on him and why, or whether this was a professional hit or a psychotic rank gone dangerously wrong is still unclear. Tahir was a smoker, a bon vivant and a lover of life and all that was precious. "Why would anyone want to kill him? He didn't have any enemies, just friends and friends he hadn't made yet. We all loved him," said partygoer Rachel Withers, who described herself as "something big in greeting cards"."

Weazel News (Radio)

"Philanthropist murdered at a house party in Chumash. Party goers at a house in Chumash were horrified yesterday when a guest was killed seemingly by a sniper's bullet. Tahir Javan was smoking on an outside terrace when he was gunned down. Police are baffled as to why this much loved Azerbaijani-American who was a noted philanthropist and community leader would be targeted.""

Bleeter Posts

  • @chumash_kiki - "Omg police everywhere! Guy got shot at a party next door. What does this mean for Chumash property prices???"
  • @alderneyedwin23 - "White supremacists carry out professional hit on Azerbaijani man in Chumash. At least that's what me and my roommate are telling everyone."


  • If the player replays this mission, Trevor will be wearing a full outfit with shoes. During the opening cutscene, his pants will revert back to his default jeans, but he will have no feet.
  • If the player replays this mission and kills Javan early, the game may occasionally bug and prevent the player from switching to Trevor. The only solution is to pause and load a previous game file.
  • After torturing Kerimov for the first time, the player switches to Michael drinking coffee with Dave. Sometimes, the player will be able to control Michael before the cutscene actually ends. If this happens, the cup of coffee Michael is holding will be stuck to his hand.


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Video Walkthroughs

GTA Series Videos - GTA 5 PS5 - By the Book
[Gold Medal Guide - 4K 60fps]


  • Because of the nature of this mission, it has been heavily criticised by various media outlets, and is viewed as one of the most controversial missions in the series.
  • The name of this mission comes from a quote Trevor may use while he is waterboarding Kerimov: "Always by the book, that's my vibe.".
  • The gold medal objective "Don't Stop Me Now" is a reference to a popular song of the same name by Queen.
  • If Trevor has tortured Kerimov to death and doesn't inject the adrenaline shot, a cutscene triggers with Haines angrily berating Trevor for pushing Kerimov too far. As Trevor defends himself by pointing out that he doesn't even know why he was torturing Kerimov, Haines declares, "You're going down, punk. At the exact moment I get bored with you, your little racket... will end", and walks off as Trevor insults him. This is foreshadowing that Haines wants Trevor dead. The mission will also fail.
  • This mission can be triggered by Michael or Trevor, and after receiving the phone call from Steve, the game will prompt a character switch which instantly starts the mission.
    • If switching from Michael to Trevor, the cutscene will show Trevor defecating behind a dumpster as Michael approaches him. The two briefly converse before entering the warehouse.
    • If switching from Trevor to Michael, the cutscene will show Michael having a cigarette as Trevor approaches, telling Michael that he should quit.
  • The gold medal objective for waterboarding Kerimov called "It's Legal!" is a reference to the CIA using waterboarding as a form of interrogation and infamously denying that it was torture.
  • If the player assassinates Javan without getting all the information from Kerimov (the description of Javan's height and weight is enough), the mission will pass and the torture session will be cut short. However, this does not change the outcome of Kerimov's condition as he will still walk with a limp even if the wrench is not used.
  • After the mission ends and the player switches to Michael, he will usually be outside the FIB headquarters, saying goodbye to Dave. There is also a possibility that he will still be driving Dave's Oracle, which can be saved in his garage and modified like any other car.
  • When Kerimov leaves the warehouse, he appears to drag his leg, regardless of where he was hit with the wrench.