%% Image selected per Image Pickin' thread: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1362927869092962300
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[[caption-width-right:325:Careful, she could steal this wiki.]]

->''Well, she glides around the globe and she'll flimflam every nation''\\
''She's a double-dealing diva with a taste for thievery''\\
''Her itinerary's loaded up with moving violations''\\
''Tell me, where, in the world, is, Carmen Sandiego?''
-->--'''Rockapella''''s theme to ''Series/WhereInTheWorldIsCarmenSandiego''

''Carmen Sandiego'' is an EdutainmentGame series created by now-defunct Creator/BroderbundSoftware in 1985. The series became phenomenally successful in the [[TheNineties 1990s]], spawning no fewer than ''three'' television shows, two on Creator/{{PBS}} and one on Creator/{{Fox}}, then falling into obscurity shortly around the TurnOfTheMillennium before resurrecting around TheNewTens, starting on Website/{{Facebook}}. The series is now owned by The Learning Company. There probably have been plenty of games released, and Carmen just ''stole them all''.

The standard case involves an educational quest to find [[MacGuffin The Loot]], [[ArtisticLicenseLaw The Warrant]] and [[CardCarryingVillain The Crook]].

Carmen Sandiego is an international thief, and it's down to the Interpol-esque ACME Detective Agency to stop her plans. Fortunately, she plays CriminalMindGames with her pursuers to provide the obligatory AlphabetSoupCans. But don't worry; she's a FriendlyEnemy--at least [[DependingOnTheWriter some of the time]].

Her BackStory? Carmen was a star ACME agent until she decided that catching crooks was just too darn easy. Therefore, she did a FaceHeelTurn and became a [[GentlemanThief Gentlewoman Thief]]. Then she decided to have FunWithAcronyms by founding an organization called the '''V'''illains' '''I'''nternational '''L'''eague of '''E'''vil (V.I.L.E.). Although V.I.L.E. is progressive enough for EqualOpportunityEvil, you absolutely must have a PunnyName to join.

The thievery of Carmen is second to none. She doesn't just steal jewels; she steals ''national monuments'', even ones that should be physically impossible to "steal." For example, she once stole the Grand Canyon. Since the Grand Canyon is basically a giant hole in the ground, we shall leave it to you to figure out how that works. She's even been known to ''time travel'', just so she can find more stuff to steal.

Given a massive DarkerAndEdgier {{homage}} [[http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1747610 here]]. It was playable [[http://www.facebook.com/carmensandiego on Facebook]] (but no longer) and received a UsefulNotes/WiiWare episodic game. A reboot called ''Carmen Sandiego Returns'' was released in 2015.

Plans to make a live-action movie starring the character by both Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media (both Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Lopez have been suggested to play the role) have been in {{development hell}} since the late 1990's. However, it was announced in 2017 that Creator/GinaRodriguez (''Series/JaneTheVirgin'') had been tapped to portray the character in (and serve as a producer for) a live-action film to be produced by Creator/{{Netflix}}, which will also spawn an animated series with Rodriguez in the same role.

!!TV shows in the franchise include:

* ''Series/WhereInTheWorldIsCarmenSandiego'' (a game show with kid contestants)
* ''Series/WhereInTimeIsCarmenSandiego'' (a spin-off of the first game show)
* ''WesternAnimation/WhereOnEarthIsCarmenSandiego'' (an animated series)
* An as-of-yet unnamed Creator/{{Netflix}} animated series with Creator/GinaRodriguez cast as the woman herself, set to premiere in 2019.

!!Games in the franchise with their own pages include:

* ''[[VideoGame/WhereInTheWorldIsCarmenSandiego Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? (1985)]]''
* ''[[VideoGame/WhereInTimeIsCarmenSandiego1997 Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? (1997)/Carmen Sandiego's Great Chase Through Time]]''
* ''VideoGame/CarmenSandiegoWordDetective''
* ''VideoGame/CarmenSandiegoMathDetective''
* ''VideoGame/CarmenSandiegoTreasuresOfKnowledge''

!!The ''Carmen Sandiego'' franchise contains examples of:

* FiveFiveFive: The phone numbers in the deluxe versions of ''World'' and ''USA'' are all prefixed with 555.
* AcmeProducts: Possibly parodied, as the name is given to a detective agency rather than a product.
** Some versions combine this trope with the in game suffix "-Net." At default it's "Acme Crime-Net," but it could also be "Time-Net" and in the game show it was often used as ACME (fill in the blank)-Net.
* AffablyEvil: [[UpToEleven And how!]] She steals all kinds of items, and it's implied that she's doing this primarily for the thrill of it, but she's given a fairly endearing personality.
* AffectionateParody: Website/CollegeHumor's [[http://www.collegehumor.com/video/753627/where-the-fck-is-carmen-sandiego Where the Fuck Is Carmen Sandiego?]], how the game show would look like with a whopping dollop of grimdark.
* AllThereInTheManual:
** In a rather strange variation, some of the background information for the Acme detectives introduced in ''Treasures of Knowledge'' appears in the manual for ''Secret of the Stolen Drums''.
** You wouldn't know one of the villains even had a PunnyName unless you read the manual, as he's only called [[EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep The Baron]] in-game. Turns out his name is actually Baron Grinnit. Which explains why he's [[FauxAffablyEvil always smiling.]]
%%* AlphabetSoupCans: Newer games are generally worse offenders here than the earlier ones.
%%** Justifiable in the sense that you are trying to find a culprit, so are gathering evidence to suggest where they went. Some clues make sense, such as they describe where the suspect is going, but other times it seems rather contrived, such as naming the country where something was invented or finding the birthplace of a celebrity.
%%** ''Word Detective'' and ''Math Detective'', which teach language arts and mathematics respectively, play it completely straight.
* AlternateContinuity: {{Creator/FOX}}'s ''Where on Earth...'' series appears to have its own continuity. The two PBS shows may be set in [[TheVerse the same universe]], but that's not too clear since they have NoFourthWall and are {{game show}}s. And don't even try to figure out which of the computer games take place in the same universe...
** It could be said ''Treasures of Knowledge'', ''Secret of the Stolen Drums'', and the [[NoExportForYou DS game]] do form one continuity as they share a few common characters and Carmen's backstory, but the games can be played without ContinuityLockout being an issue.
* ArtShift: Has happened a few times. Two of the most notable are ''Word Detective'' and ''Math Detective'', which make the series still have a rather cartoony look, but they look much DarkerAndEdgier compared to the earlier ones.
* AwesomeMcCoolname:
** Carmen Sandiego herself, for starters.
** Chase Devineaux from the ''Word Detective'', ''Math Detective'', and ''[=ThinkQuick=] Challenge'' games.
** Shadow Hawkins from ''Treasures of Knowledge'' is actually a subversion; the [[AllThereInTheManual manual]] for ''Secret of the Stolen Drums'' reveals Shadow's real name is [[GenderBlenderName Shannon]].
* BadassInANiceSuit: Carmen Sandiego's signature red BadassLongcoat and [[NiceHat fedora]].
* BigBadFriend: The Facebook version occasionally enlists [[BreakingTheFourthWall people from the player's friends list]] as some of Carmen's mooks.
* CanonImmigrant:
** ''Where on Earth'' established Carmen's BackStory as a former ACME detective, adopted by later games in the franchise.
** Zack and Ivy, the two leads of ''Where on Earth'', eventually appeared in ''Junior Detective''. The AI Chief of that continuity and {{Guest Star|PartyMember}} TeamPet Stretch the Crime Dog appeared as well, the latter as an AscendedExtra.
* CardboardPrison: Extremely blatant: Carmen gets captured at the end of every computer game and maybe 30% to 50% of the time on the PBS game shows. Despite this, she's at large in the next game/episode. This also applies to many of the lesser villains.
* CheatedAngle: More often than not, Carmen is depicted with her hat covering one of her eyes.
* ClassyCatBurglar: Carmen's practically an archetype.
* CoatFullOfContraband: One of the generic henchmen ''Where In The [=USA=]'' was a very sneaky, sleazy-looking guy who opened his trenchcoat to reveal sparkling, gleaming watches.
* CollectionSidequest: Finding all 450 amulets in ''Secret of the Stolen Drums''. Not necessary for HundredPercentCompletion, but on the SlidingScaleOfCollectibleTracking, it varies from "Could Be Anywhere" to {{Permanently Missable|Content}}, especially since once you moved to the next location there was no way to travel back to a previous location. Just to make things worse, the [=PS2=] version has one amulet DummiedOut for no apparent reason.
* CopyProtection:
** Horrible, horrible copy protection. Arguably some of the most frustrating of all time. You can play all you want, but to get promoted and even have a chance to capture Carmen, you have to enter certain words from certain pages of the included travel guides every few cases. Sound easy enough? Then remember that these games were incredibly common in schools...where the manuals would often get ''lost.'' And even the teachers couldn't exactly summon new copies of a travel guide (now often several years, if not a decade out of date) at will...
** ''Where in Time...'' came with a hefty paperback ''desk encyclopedia'' in the box.
%%*** Ironically enough, the later CD games had no protection at all.
** At least with ''World'', the reference was an Almanac; most of the information in one of those can now be found on {{Wiki/Wikipedia}}. ''Europe'' used an atlas and asked questions about what color country X on page Y was. ''[=USA=]'' what the last word on page Y of the Fodor's travel guide was. Have fun guessing!
%%* CriminalMindGames
* DaChief: There were a couple throughout the series, but perhaps the two most famous are Lynne Thigpen and the [[FunWithAcronyms Computerized Holographic Imaging Educational Facilitator]], both of which originated in the TV shows.
* DependingOnTheArtist: Carmen always has the red coat and hat, but beyond that how she looks in any given depiction can vary quite a bit. What ''else'' is she wearing, and how much of it is visible under the coat? (The ''Where on Earth?'' cartoon, for example, kept the coat closed but showed a yellow scarf or collar around Carmen's neck, mid-90s games had the coat open enough to see a yellow dress, and later games had the coat completely open and over a black bodysuit. The 1996 game notably added a pearl necklace, which was critical to identify her among a crowd of imposters.) Is her hair brown or black, straight or wavy?
%%* DifficultyLevels: In ''Word Detective'', ''Math Detective'' and ''[=ThinkQuick=] Challenge''.
* DitzyGenius: Hawkins from ''Treasures of Knowledge'' is certainly very smart, having graduated from the Acme academy at the top of his class. Compared to [[WomenAreWiser Jules]], though, he's woefully inexperienced.
* DoubleReverseQuadrupleAgent: According to her backstory in the 80s version, Carmen ''was'' one of these, ostensibly for the small country of Monaco, but she decided she liked crime more than espionage. This was dropped after ''Where on Earth'' came up with the idea of Carmen being a former ACME agent instead.
* DrosteImage: Setting the Chronoskimmer to the West in the 1976-2000 time period while playing ''Where in America's Past'' [[http://fycarmensandiego.tumblr.com/post/39278175880/a-rather-meta-location-image-from-where-in yields this location image]].
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness:
** Games made prior to 1990 had the sight of a hand firing a warning shot from a gun or a knife/axe tossed across the screen to let you know you were closing in on a thief. It comes off as relatively violent to people who played the later games that had more comical animations (eg. an alligator snapping its jaws at the player, or a spring-loaded boxing glove punching into view) at the end of a case.
** Carmen herself didn't have her trademark red trench coat and hat in the original games, but a standard beige one as seen on the cover. You didn't even work for ACME in the original game either, but instead for Interpol.
%%* EpisodicGame: ''Adventures in Math'' on UsefulNotes/WiiWare.
* EqualOpportunityEvil: V.I.L.E. has about an equal number of men and women criminals.
* EvenTheGirlsWantHer: WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick claimed that Carmen is hot, and would love to see if she was wearing anything under her coat.
* EvilGloating: Oh, how Carmen loves this. In any game where you receive messages from the Chief on a VideoPhone, expect Carmen to occasionally break into your communications for gloating purposes.
* EvilIsEasy: {{Inverted|Trope}}. Carmen made her FaceHeelTurn specifically because evil was ''harder'', and she wanted more of a challenge.
* EvilIsPetty: Some of the knowledge thefts from ''[=ThinkQuick=] Challenge'' have this as a motive. For example, [[MadScientist Jane Reaction]] stole the knowledge of lasers because she wanted to get rid of laser pointers.
-->'''Jane Reaction''': "Those red dots drive me crazy! ''[[LaughingMad (maniacal laughter)]]''" [[note]]As if you weren't already, Jane...[[/note]]
* EvilLuddite: In ''[=ThinkQuick=] Challenge'', Snarla Swing's motive for stealing knowledge is her hatred of technology.
* {{Expy}}:
** Most likely an unintentional example, but Ivan Idea from the v3.0 games/''Great Chase'', Ben from the junior novels, Shadow Hawkins from ''Treasures of Knowledge'', and Adam Shadow from the DS game share similar traits with Zack from ''Where on Earth'' (blonde-haired male detectives who happen to be tech-savvy). However, Adam borders on being not just an expy but also a SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute--not only does [[http://img24.imageshack.us/img24/9550/wallpapercarmen1.jpg his default outfit]] looks near identical to [[http://img15.imageshack.us/img15/4162/zackconceptart.jpg Zack's outfit]], considering the DS game is set in the same continuity as ''Treasures of Knowledge'', Shadow is nowhere to be seen.
** The ACME Detective Agency sort of started off as a fictionalized version of Interpol. In fact, in the original versions of ''World'' and ''[=USA=]'', the organization you worked for actually ''was'' Interpol.
** In the games released since 2000, The Chief of ACME is often designed as a BlackBossLady (based on Lynne Thigpen's iconic portrayal from the game shows).
* EyeObscuringHat: One consistent design element of Carmen's is that she always has at least one eye hidden by her hat.
* FaceHeelTurn: Carmen, way back when...
* FallingChandelierOfDoom: Carmen employs this against Jules and Hawkins in the opening of ''Treasures of Knowledge''.
%%* {{Feelies}}: The oldest games in the series from the 1980s and very early '90s.
%%* FetchQuest: ''Carmen Sandiego's Great Chase Through Time'', ''Word Detective'', ''Math Detective'' and ''Treasures of Knowledge''
* ForTheEvulz
-->'''WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick:''' Carmen's not really in it for keeping the stuff but more the thrill of the hunt, but most of all, just proving she can.
* FriendlyEnemy: Carmen runs the gamut on this trope DependingOnTheWriter, varying from a borderline AntiHero in ''WesternAnimation/{{Where on Earth|IsCarmenSandiego}}'' to what amounts to a GenderInverted, mustache-lacking DastardlyWhiplash in ''Series/{{Where in Time|IsCarmenSandiego}}'', and everywhere in-between.
* FunWithAcronyms: V.I.L.E. is pretty appropriate for a criminal organization.
* GenreShift: ''Secret of the Stolen Drums'' is a platformer, which is a far cry from previous games in the series.
* GentlemanThief: Carmen is a female version considering she is generally cordial with her pursuers and doesn't cause harm other than stealing.
* TheGreatPoliticsMessUp:
** The older games were made before the fall of Communism, making them pretty inaccurate now. ''Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? Deluxe'' managed to be made in the narrow window after Germany had been reunited, but before the [[UsefulNotes/SovietRussiaUkraineAndSoOn Soviet Union]] fell. {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d in ''Treasures of Knowledge'' when Hawkins says he's [[Music/TheBeatles "back in the U.S.S.R."]], prompting Jules to correct him. Ironically, ''Treasures of Knowledge'' [[ArtisticLicenseGeography inaccurately portrays the Russian Federation with Soviet-era borders on the in-game map]]. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan would like a word with the Learning Company.
** There are also some non-Communism-related examples of Geography Marching On. It'd almost be impossible to count how many ''Carmen'' games show the World Trade Center towers in New York, but it's a lot (they're even in the opening credits of the ''Where on Earth'' cartoon). In the 1996 version of ''World'', your location for Afghanistan is one of the Bamiyan Buddha statues, both of which were dynamited by the Taliban in 2001. When the name of a currency is given as a clue, it will be inaccurate for any country which has since adopted the Euro. And so on. A geography game just can't stay accurate forever, you know.
* GuideDangIt: There are a few examples where they give a rather obscure hint that's not explained in-game because you're supposed to look in the guide book. The Facebook game justifies this because they know you're going to use Google.
* HeWhoMustNotBeSeen: The Chief of the ACME Detective Agency is a mysterious, shadowy character in the early games. Later iterations had Chiefs like Lynne Thigpen, a posh British gentleman, and the Hologram Chief from ''Where on Earth''.
* [[HighlyVisibleNinja Highly Visible Thief]]: That red trenchcoat with matching fedora won't help you sneak past ACME, Carmen.
* HowWeGotHere: ''Secret of the Stolen Drums'' starts out with Cole explaining why he failed to obey the Chief's orders to return to headquarters. Repeatedly.
* IdiotBall: All of the early games had one in the form of the battery-powered translator. With no spare batteries. Or, say, a charger.
* ImpossibleTheft:
** The Mona Lisa's smile.
** ALL the goulash.
** The entire Trans-Siberian Railway[[note]]The world's longest railway[[/note]]
** ''WesternAnimation/WhereOnEarthIsCarmenSandiego'' worked hard to make Carmen Sandiego's seemingly outrageous crimes semi-plausible in their execution. A later plot to steal an uncracked Liberty Bell is accomplished by hijacking a Russian military time-travel project and then using it to travel back to the 18th century.
* ImprobableAge: Both ACME and V.I.L.E. seem to regularly employ teenagers. Zack and Ivy of the ''Earth'' cartoon are 14 and 18, respectively. Patty Larceny, Sarah Nade, and Jacqueline Hyde are teenagers, though their exact ages are never specified. According to the user's manual included with the 1997 version of ''Where in Time'', Ivan Idea is a "teenage whiz kid" and Polly Tix is "still too young to vote". And that's not even taking into account the hundreds of kids who served as [[CallARabbitASmeerp "gumshoes" and "time pilots"]] on the PBS gameshows. It actually appears that ACME was worse about this than V.I.L.E.
* IntangibleTheft:
** Linguistic thefts:
*** The Portuguese language.
*** The English alphabet.
*** The letter ñ in Spanish.
** The alien henchwoman Kneemoi is responsible for most of the bizarre thefts, particularly of concepts that don't exist in any physical sense, like the following:
*** The Mason-Dixon Line, an imaginary line dividing the north and south of the UsefulNotes/UnitedStatesOfAmerica.
*** The Portuguese language.
*** Tai chi, a martial art.
** The Hope Diamond's shine.[[note]]Which would mean she chemically reconfigured it and left it there.[[/note]]
** The ABC: A television channel.[[note]]No, not just the deed to or controlling stock of the corporation either; that would be physically possible and thus not this trope.[[/note]]
** The UsefulNotes/InternationalDateLine, an imaginary concept that is part of the basis for time.
** The Internet.
** Periods of history.
** ''WesternAnimation/WhereOnEarthIsCarmenSandiego'' worked hard to make Carmen Sandiego's seemingly outrageous crimes semi-plausible in their execution. One episode has her stealing the talent of famous athletes and musicians by using a prototype neural scanner to scramble their nervous systems while overlaying her own with an imprint of their abilities.
** Knowledge of all types in ''[=ThinkQuick=] Challenge'', even down to basics like ''alphabetical order''.
* InUniverseGameClock: In ''Where in the World'' v3.0, depending on the in-game clock (and time zone), if you stay long enough in a location you can watch the sky go from day to night and vice versa.
* ItWillNeverCatchOn: In the 1996 version of ''World'', there are "good guides" who will give you a tour of your current locale. The tour of Moscow has Dee Plomassy singing the praises of the dawning era of democracy in Russia. In retrospect, her optimism about UsefulNotes/TheNewRussia seems just a bit premature.
* ItsRainingMen: In ''Where in the USA'', the intro animation shows a bunch of Carmen's mooks parachuting down to San Francisco--and one of them [[FunnyBackgroundEvent getting his parachute caught on the spire of the Transamerica Pyramid]].
* ItsASmallWorldAfterAll: The clues you are given are about the ''entire country'' the crook went to rather than any specific place. Fortunately, knowing ''just'' the country is always enough to get you to another destination with more clues.
** {{Hand Wave}}d in one of the re-releases of ''Where in the World...'' where you have to find the torch from the Statue of Liberty, even though you investigate San Francisco. The Chief mentions that it 'appeared seconds after the theft' in San Francisco. Okay then...
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjRw6XZhgf8 Gets taken to a ludicrous degree]] in ''Secret of the Stolen Drums'' where Cole figures out Carmen's fled to France just because she spoke French--[[FridgeLogic never mind the fact French is the official language of at least 29 countries]].
** Subverted in the Facebook game, the clues point to a specific city within a given country as some countries have multiple locations. [[WordOfGod The developers]] [[http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/32992/Interview_Making_Friends_With_Carmen_Sandiego_On_Facebook.php confirmed]] the game was created with the mindset that people would use Google for the clues.
** In the older games, clues intended to direct you to Moscow will sometimes mention places that were part of the U.S.S.R. at the time, but which are now independent of Russia.
* JokerImmunity: She can be caught, but never held, no matter what version she appeared in. For example, the contestants in the game shows captured her by winning the bonus round, but that only lasted until the next show. It seems they've yet to make a jail strong enough to hold her. Carmen herself {{lampshade|Hanging}}s this after you finally catch her in the deluxe CD-ROM version of ''Where in the World?'':
-->''"Stripes don't suit me. I won't be in them for long!"''
* LadyInRed: Carmen is never seen without her red coat, hat, and high heels.
* LandmarkingTheHiddenBase: At the end of the 1996 version of ''Where in the USA?'', you not only capture Carmen, but also discover the location of her secret base. It turns out to be under the U.S. Capitol Building. Perhaps she chose the location due to the [[SleazyPolitician convenient supply of crooks nearby]].
* LimitedAnimation: ''Treasures of Knowledge'' is a big, big offender. They made, like, five animations of Jules and Hawkins to reuse over and over again for the entire game. And they only sort-of try to lip sync.
* LuckBasedMission: In games made pre-1996, not every witness interviewed will yield characteristic traits of the suspect (hair color, vehicle, favorite food, etc.). It's possible to not have enough information to narrow down a suspect and issue a warrant at the time of the arrest even if you interviewed everyone during a case. This is especially problematic in early cases when there are fewer locations to travel and fewer witnesses to interview.
* MediumBlending: In some of the games, Lynne Thigpen of the PBS game shows plays the Chief in live-action footage, while everyone else is a cartoon character. Try to figure that one out. Also, in some of the older games, the characters are cartoons running around in still photographs.
* MissingStepsPlan: 1. Steal huge national monuments/treasures/etc. 2. ??? (As far as is known, neither Carmen nor any V.I.L.E. henchman, once having stolen something, have tried to ransom it back or sell it to fences, etc.) 3. Profit (It's been assumed Carmen does this for the thrills, but what about the V.I.L.E. Henchmen? And how does V.I.L.E. stay in business?)
* MonumentalTheft: The former TropeNamer. She could steal things like:
** The Moon, [[NoEndorHolocaust damage to the Earth be damned]]. Maybe she stole the damage, too?
** Entire countries.
** TheBermudaTriangle. She probably made it get lost in itself.
** The Ozone Layer. According to the Chief it has caused a worldwide disaster (of course the detectives are on the advice of the Chief wearing SPF 9 Zillion Sunblock so that they can track down and arrest Robocrook before the environment gets any worse).
** The frickin' Milky Way Galaxy. [[FridgeLogic Theoretically, that means she stole Earth as well.]]
** The World Trade Center towers. Needless to say, that one's [[FunnyAneurysmMoment a whole lot less whimsical-seeming now]].
** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3O66Uuayn8&list=PLEEC10AB6D9832C64 The Roman Forum.]]
** In "The Case of the Unsolved Crime", Carmen and henchman Sam O'Nella steal the Pantheon from Rome, Italy. However Carmen, punishing Sam for a past betrayal, ditches him immediately after the heist, leaving him with a thousand-ton stone monument of a white elephant. Sam unsuccessfully tries to sell the stone to be used in paperweights before being caught.
** ''WesternAnimation/WhereOnEarthIsCarmenSandiego'' worked hard to make Carmen Sandiego's seemingly outrageous crimes semi-plausible in their execution. True to herself, she always commits her crimes just to prove she can, and allows the stolen goods to be recovered once the theft's been accomplished.
*** The opening credits have her stealing a Chinese stone lion, The Sphinx, and the Statue of Liberty in rapid succession.
*** A plan to make her the most famous crook in time by stealing the Roman Colosseum from Ancient Rome, deals with stolen miniature landmarks, ACME's first Chronoskimmer, a bust of a Roman leader, a electric magnet from the future, and Hannibal's elephants.
* {{Mooks}}: Many street level thugs can be detected to show you are on the right trail!
* NiceHat: She's never seen without her wicked-cool fedora.
* NoNameGiven: The chief of ACME Detective Agency is unnamed beyond the title of Chief.
** One series of Carmen Sandiego junior novels named the Chief "Velma". She was made an aunt of one of the [[KidDetective Kid Detectives]] and seems to have been loosely based on Lynne Thigpen's portrayal on the game shows.
%%** The Chief in the DS game was named Margaret O'Hara.
* PeekABangs: In ''WesternAnimation/WhereOnEarthIsCarmenSandiego'', when she's not wearing her [[NiceHat signature fedora]].
* PetTheDog:
** One episode of the ''Earth'' cartoon establishes Carmen has a deep fondness for ''Literature/TheWonderfulWizardOfOz'', her favorite book as a kid. Of course, in that episode she's after the Smithsonian's pair of Dorothy's slippers...
** Not to mention, ''Where on Earth'' apparently states that Carmen doesn't want to ''hurt'' the ACME Detectives.
* PlayerVersusPlayer: ''Carmen Sandiego's [=ThinkQuick=] Challenge''
* PrettyInMink: Early box art covers had Carmen wearing a dark-colored fur coat, with ''[[http://www.mobygames.com/game/where-in-the-usa-is-carmen-sandiego/cover-art/gameCoverId,565/ Where in the USA]]'' and ''[[http://www.mobygames.com/game/where-in-europe-is-carmen-sandiego/cover-art/gameCoverId,8607/ Where in Europe]]'' being the most prominent examples. Carmen had a red fur coat on the original cover of ''Where in Time'' as well.
* ProductPlacement: [[http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising/whites-co-promo-goes-after-kids-amtrak-24237 Back in 1998]] there was an Amtrak-skinned version of ''Where in the USA'', titled ''Where in America...The Great Amtrak Train Adventure''. It basically added in Amtrak-themed clues and Amtrak-dressed cartoon employees as additional witnesses. It also included a promo advert for Amtrak in the in-game database.
* PunnyName: Absolutely ubiquitous in the Brøderbund games; The Learning Company apparently didn't like them as much.
** Just for fun, have a gander at the following baddie names from the Literature/ChooseYourOwnAdventure book ''Where In Space Is Carmen Sandiego?'': Bea Miupscotti, Avery Littlebit Phelps, Morton U. Bargandfore, Kit Incaboodle, Astro Fizzix, and Hanover Fist.
** For the Facebook game, it's initially [[SubvertedTrope subverted]] as most of the crooks have mundane names (or ''your own friend's names''; see BigBadFriend above). It's played straight once you start solving the Hard cases that PunnyName criminals start showing.
** The names of some of the characters in the very first game are only "punny" in the sense that they refer to Brøderbund staffers (for example, Fast Eddie B ([[NamesTheSame not to be confused with]] [[Tropers/FastEddie our Fast Eddie]]) is named after then-director of product development Edward Bernstein and Katherine Drib's name is an anagram of Brøderbund employee Katherine Bird).[[invoked]]
* RaceLift: Carmen is usually unambiguously Hispanic, but at times she has been changed to a paler skin tone. Arguably she just gets turned into a {{Mukokuseki}}-type lighter-skinned Hispanic though. Perhaps she stole her own skin tone?
* {{Reboot}}: The [=WiiWare=] games and ''Carmen Sandiego Returns''.
* RecycledINSPACE: ''Where in Space Is Carmen Sandiego?'', naturally. Thankfully the game is a positive example of this trope because it was one of the best in the series.
* RedBaron: Carmen's been referred to many times as the Queen of Crime, and less often as the Duchess of Thievery. But most of all, she's been called the "World's Most Notorious Thief".
* RegionalRiff: Used, often quite beautifully, in ''Treasures of Knowledge'' whenever Hawkins and Argent arrive in a new country.
* RespawningEnemies: The elemental spirits in ''Secret of the Stolen Drums''. Averted with Carmen's robots--any robots Cole has destroyed will remain destroyed, even if you saved, quit, and reload the game again.
* {{Retcon}}: Lots of 'em. Most notably, Carmen's original BackStory had her being a former spy for the Intelligence Service of Monaco--don't expect that to show up in any game made after Czechoslovakia split up.
* RevengeOfTheSequel: ''Carmen Sandiego Returns''
%%* RewardingVandalism: In ''Secret of the Stolen Drums''.
* RightHandCat: In ''Junior Detective'' and the 1996 versions of ''World'' and ''U.S.A.'', Carmen has a pet cat named Carmine. Sadly, we never see Carmen stroke Carmine in the usual villainous fashion (although Carmine being a ginger cat and Carmen always wearing red would create a terrible color clash).
* RoguesGallery: V.I.L.E. in the PBS shows has several recurring villains.
%%* SavingTheWorld
* ShoutOut: The Facebook game has a few, mostly to previous TV shows.
** The Chief looks very much like Lynne Thigpen from the game shows, specifically ''Where in the World''.
** Carmen's wanted poster references lyrics from the theme song to the [[Series/WhereInTheWorldIsCarmenSandiego World game show]].
** While Carmen has yet to make an actual appearance, her characterization and described appearance from the various papers on the bulletin board and databases share similarities with how Carmen was portrayed on ''Where on Earth''. Even the logo for the Facebook game looks similar to the logo from ''Where on Earth''. WordOfGod has not confirmed this, though.[[invoked]]
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: ''Treasures of Knowledge'' spells Carmen's middle name as Isabela. The [[AllThereInTheManual manual]] for ''Secret of the Stolen Drums'' spells it as Isabella.
* SpyCatsuit: Carmen wears one in ''[=ThinkQuick=] Challenge'' as an alternate outfit to her red [[BadassLongcoat trenchcoat]] and NiceHat.
%%** In the first pilot episode for the ''Where in the World'' game show, Patty Larceny steals a prize-winning dog from East Africa Kennel Club Dog Show, then writes a ransom letter politely demanding 100 million lire for its return.
* StockFootage: In the 1996 version of ''Where in the World'', the in-game database includes some video clips, all composed of footage from old Magazine/NationalGeographic specials.
* SupervillainLair: Carmen occasionally has one of these.
** In ''Word Detective'' and ''Math Detective'', you teleport between various V.I.L.E. hideouts around the world (and one, from ''Math Detective'', in outer space) to find the games needed to unlock the {{Plot Coupon}}s.
* SurroundedByIdiots: V.I.L.E. seems to be stocked with complete idiots; given a HandWave in one of the game manuals, which said that Carmen has a soft spot for people less capable than herself.
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: While every ''Carmen'' TV show and game has its own cast of characters, many fulfill similar niches:
** Scientists: Dr. Belljar, Sarah Bellum, Jane Reaction
** Musicians: Sarah Nade, Mel Ancholy, Carri Daway, Esther Odious
** Aliens: Kneemoi, Dr. Ima [=LeZaard=], A. Leon Being
** Nobles: Contessa, Baron Wasteland, Baron Grinnit
** ThePigPen: Hugh Stink, Top Grunge
** Hackers: Dee Cryption, Cy Berpunk, Telly Phone
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Carmen_Sandiego_characters#Robots Robots]]
* TimePolice: The whole point of ''Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego?'' and ''Where in America's Past'' as well.
* TokenGoodTeammate: The "Touch-E Feel-E" robot among Carmen's robots in ''[=ThinkQuick=] Challenge'', which seems to enjoy the young agents learning and doesn't act antagonistic towards them in the main parts of the game at all, unlike the other robots. On the other hand, she/it still self-destructs upon defeat (in an attempt to prevent the player from finding out where the bad guy of the day is hiding) and acts a bit more antagonistic (though not by much) in the "Sleuth" mini-games. Perhaps she/it's merely a downplayed example of AffablyEvil.
* TimeTravel: ''Where in Time'' and ''America's Past'', obviously, and there were time machines in ''Where on Earth''.
* TomboyishName: Subverted with Jules. One clue Carmen left behind addressed Jules [[http://youtu.be/gac52fo6rA8?t=5m31s as Julia]] in ''Treasures of Knowledge''. This actually caused a DubNameChange in the DS game.[[labelnote:Explanation]]The developer of the DS game, Strass Productions, is French. Jules is the male French form of "Julius", as in Creator/JulesVerne.[[/labelnote]]
* TrademarkFavoriteFood: Tacos, something established as early as the first game. (Identifying the suspect's food preference was one of several clues you would need to identify him her in most games, and if the suspect was Carmen herself, the right choice would be "Tex/Mex".)
* UnwinnableByDesign: If you spend too much time going to the wrong places, before you figure out some of the more obscure hints (Especially in the later cases where there is almost ''no'' room for errors), you'll run out of time or battery power.
%%* UpdatedRerelease
%%* VictoryPose: {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d in ''Carmen Sandiego's [=ThinkQuick=] Challenge''.
%%* VideoGameRemake
* VillainBasedFranchise: The protagonists change almost every time, but Carmen is always the one they're going after.
%%* WeirdnessSearchAndRescue: A TimeTravel focused ''Carmen Sandiego'' game had these.
* WorldOfPun: Oh, is it ever. Not least of which are all of the villain names.
* WorldTour: One of the most famous examples.
* YouALLLookFamiliar: The bystanders in the 1996 versions of ''Where in the World...'' and ''Where in the USA...'' are all played by the same actors.