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Carmen Isabella Sandiego, or most commonly know as just Carmen Sandiego, is the main titular character in the Brøderbund games. She is often always depicted as a master thief in these versions and always relentlessy chased down by ACME although she always evades their agents, she is the leader of the Villainous International League of Evil (V.I.L.E). However, in the 2019 reboot, she is a younger version of her game self who was adopted by V.I.L.E when she was a baby after her father, Dexter Wolfe, was killed. In the reboot, she was trained as a thief but defected from the organization at a young age.

Character Overview

Despite no actual established canon story being confirmed. Carmen is always established as a master thief with a history of evading ACME and its agents since she first appeared in Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? in 1985. In most media since then, she is a thief who only steals because of the challenge and simply for the "mental gymnastics", seeing most of her capers and schemes as nothing more than a mere game to her and enjoys making those that oppose her figure out the clues she leaves behind.

In other media such as Word Detective and Math Detective, she plots to steal the concept of natural communication so that V.I.L.E can become invincible. Because of the inconsistency in every installments, it is safe to assume that most of the media is not set in the same universe.


Early Games

In the early installments of the franchise, nothing is really known about the titular character and only that she was once a spy for the Intelligence Service of Monaco.[1]

Former ACME Agent

As of Where In Time is Carmen Sandiego?. It was revealed she was once an agent at the ACME Detective Agency. At the age of ten, Carmen became a contestant on a game show on which she won a large sum of money, she used this to travel around the world. At twenty, ACME recruited her as one of their detectives where she was partnered with Julia Argent. Tired of how easy it was for her to catch thieves, she defected from the organization to pursue becoming a master thief for the thrill of the chase

Where On Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?

During the 1994 animated series, Carmen was said to have been raised at the Golden Gate Girl's School located in San Francisco, California, USA. When she was young, The Chief took in a Carmen and allowed her to stay at ACME. During her time at ACME, Carmen became of its greatest agents under the guidance of Suhara. When she was seventeen, she successfully captured Gunnar Maelstrom which became one of her greatest achievements. When she was slightly older, she left ACME to become a master thief. Much like her game incarnations, she began stealing valuables simply for the mental gymnastics. Stealing to her is nothing but mind games and not a gateway to simply becoming rich, thus making her not evil as she will drop her schemes to save the ACME detectives who are in peril and will then berate her goons.

The Babble-On Machine and the Quantum Crystallizing Machine

During the Word Detective and Math Detective versions, Carmen is a cruel, ruthless and unforgiving individual who plans to steal the ability of natural communication as well as historical landmarks by shrinking them. To steal communications, she kidnaps as many ACME agents as possible to hook them into a huge machine. No official story has been made that talks about the dark turn of events nor what lead her to becoming a more evil version of the character.

Carmen Sandiego (2019 Reboot)

By the 2019 version, Carmen is still the protagonist but serves as a more sympathetic and heroic incarnation. In this reboot, she was orphaned as an infant in Buenos Aires, Argentina after young agent Tamara Fraser, later The Chief, accidentally killed Dexter Wolfe, after Carmen was founded by Shadowsan, she was taken to the Isle of VILE and raised under the codename "Black Sheep". In her youth, she was less mature and often committed many pranks, especially on Cookie Booker. Despite her antics, she was often fawned over by Coach Brunt and was later enrolled in V.I.L.E Academy still under her codename. During her time there, she got into contact with a young Player, whom hacked his way through twenty-seven layers of security, Carmen continued talking to Player via the stolen form and eventually stowed away on a mission, despite not graduating with her class, after discovering that the Faculty trained their students to steal, even at a fatal cost, Carmen defected and left the Isle, still in contact with Player, she soon began going by Carmen Sandiego and eventually began plotting capers to stop V.I.L.E, she soon befriended Boston twins, Zack and Ivy, who aided in her capers. her and her team being the good ones, Interpol and ACME saw mainly Carmen as trouble and began chasing her down, V.I.L.E, not wanting their plans to be foiled, also began hunting their former ally, often by sending other operatives.

Despite Carmen being seen as the evildoer, she was often close with ACME agent, Julia Argent, who believed she was not as evil as she was claimed to be. After months of being misunderstood, she slowly allied herself with ACME in order to take down V.I.L.E. Eventually, she fulfilled her goal and had the Faculty arrested, after that was done, she continued taking down and arresting other operatives who were evading capture. She continued to ally herself with Player, Zack and Ivy, even after the former and later became ACME agents.


  • Favorite Animal: hedgehogs, dogs, and cats.
  • Favorite Astronomer: Nicolas Copernicus
  • Favorite Athlete: Peggy Fleming and Messi
  • Favorite Authors: Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Ursula Le Guin, Jane Austen, and Kazu Kibuishi
  • Favorite Sports: Basketball, Tennis
  • Favorite Genre of Book: Adventure
  • Favorite Genre of Movie: Musicals
  • Favorite Genre of Music: 80's
  • Favorite Type of Food: Sushi
  • Hobby: Writing stories
  • Preferred Car: Convertible
  • Birthday: March 1
  • Treatment of Henchmen: Awful, she does pay them for their work and berates them when they do not do as she asks, even going as to far as to order Jacqueline Hyde to steal Notions of Union which would prevent potential rebellions.
  • According to Rockapella's song Carmen's Song from the Album Carmen Sandiego: Out of This World, Carmen has a sister.
  • Despite her middle name being "Isabella", this is not the case in the Netflix version.

Various screenshots from each media

1994 screenshots


Carmen has appeared in every entry in the franchise so far. Most storylines prior to the 2019 series involve tracking her down and attempting to catch her.

Video Games

Board Games



External links