Follow TV Tropes


Characters / Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?

Go To

The characters of Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?.

    open/close all folders 

ACME Detective Agency

    The Chief 

Voiced by: Rodger Bumpass
"Hot tip, gumshoes! This just in from CrimeNet!"

The A.I. leader of the ACME Detective Agency.

  • Androids Are People, Too: To the point where you'd be forgiven for thinking he was a person. He started out as a full-fledged robot partner to Carmen Sandiego during her original pursuit of Dr. Maelstrom, and even in his current form, he's fully capable of both sensation and emotion.
  • Artificial Intelligence: He's an A.I.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Played unabashedly straight in the more serious episodes. There's no denying that he misses Carmen's days as a detective greatly, and if "Follow My Footprints" is any indication, he can't bear the thought of her dying in action, and is more than happy to see she's fine. Thankfully for him, Carmen returns the feeling multiple times and misses him as well.
  • Big Good: He leads all the other ACME Detectives in their cases.
  • Canon Immigrant: Relative to the video games as of Junior Detective Edition.
  • Catchphrase: "Hot tip, gumshoes! This just in from CrimeNet!" and minor variations thereof.
  • Character Narrator: With the exception of "A Date with Carmen", he delivers the Previously Ons at the start of episodes that have them.
  • Expy: Of Max Headroom, what with his eccentric personality, Motor Mouth, and tendency to intersplice clever quips and offhand references in near every sentence he utters.
  • Fun with Acronyms: His full name is the Computerized Holographic Imaging Educational Facilitator.
  • Hidden Depths: "Follow My Footprints" indicates he feels personally guilty over Carmen's Face–Heel Turn, even telling Zack and Ivy he wonders what he did wrong.
  • Mr. Exposition: One of his main roles is to fill in Zack and Ivy on the greater contexts of the elements of Carmen's clues.
  • Motor Mouth: He talks fast. As Zack and Ivy C5 travel, the C.H.I.E.F. reads the information the Player gives them, including the info scan and the cross reference.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Seriously, you deserve a medal if you're able to sit through all of his scenes without laughing at least once.
  • The Wonka: Leader? Obviously. Eccentric? Definitely.
    Chief: Well, they always did say I was a few files short of a full download.


Voiced by: Jennifer Hale

An experienced junior detective working for ACME's San Francisco division. She and her brother Zack are both determined in their pursuit of Carmen, with Ivy being the level-headed strategist and combat expert of the duo.

  • Action Girl: Ivy is well versed in martial arts, definitely the brawn of the team (not that she lacks smarts, either), and the first to chase after Carmen or fight henchmen/women.
  • Berserk Button:
  • Boobs of Steel: Has a very impressive bust, and is a great fighter.
  • Brother–Sister Team: With Zack.
  • Canon Immigrant: Relative to the video games as of Junior Detective Edition.
  • Characterization Marches On: In the second episode, she's concerned about a bad horoscope, while Zack chides her on her superstition. Much later on, in "Curses, Foiled Again", they switch roles with her chiding Zack for his reliance on a lucky rabbit's foot.
  • Cool Big Sis: Not only to Zack, but also to younger ACME members that they interact with.
  • Cultured Badass: She can fight V.I.L.E. henchmen to a standstill, but is well-read, enjoys theater, and She Cleans Up Nicely, too.
  • Fiery Redhead: Particularly when Carmen Sandiego escapes yet again.
  • Kick Chick: Ivy has kicked through doors locked with heavy beams on two separate occasions, in the first episode as well as in "The Remnants", once pried herself out of a pillory just by flexing her legs, and many a V.I.L.E. henchman/woman has been on the receiving end of one of her flying kicks.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Verges on this several times in the series, with her showing a much higher level of respect for Carmen than she really should, and even beating her at her own game just to prove herself superior to Carmen. This may be why some fans have speculated that Carmen Sandiego was Ivy’s hero when Carmen worked for A.C.M.E. and Ivy felt betrayed when Carmen turned to a life of crime.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Wears a lovely ball gown in "Cupid Sandiego".
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Green eyes, red hair, and a co-protagonist. She fits this trope to a T.
  • Statuesque Stunner: She's pretty tall, and easy on the eyes. This is commented on when they end up in Ancient Rome, and her stature compared to the average height of the natives, combined with her martial arts prowess gets her labelled as "like an Amazon of Greek legend."
  • Unkempt Beauty: Her hair is a mess, but she is still gorgeous, regardless.
  • Wrestler of Beasts: In "Moondreams", Ivy wrestles an alligator in the Florida sewers.


Voiced by: Scott Menville
"Yo, Trope-meister, whassup?"

Ivy's younger brother and another detective under ACME, Zack is something of a tech whiz and history buff, just as set on catching Carmen as his sister.

  • Annoying Younger Sibling: On occasion, particularly when he calls Ivy "sis", engages in egg puns, or frets over superstitions.
  • Brother–Sister Team: With Ivy.
  • Canon Immigrant: Relative to the video games as of Junior Detective Edition.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Very prone to this. Some examples:
    Ivy: [upon realizing Carmen personally delivered their food during a stakeout] Zack, Carmen Sandiego was the caterer!
    Zack: No way we're leaving a tip, then.

    Ivy: He [Lee Jordan] really boils my pasta! He quits ACME, becomes Carmen's protégé, robs the Vatican, GOOUH!
    Zack: Yeah, and he makes far too much noise in a library, too.

    Ivy: Why would Carmen steal all this research material from the Library of Congress and then just abandon it?
    Zack: Yeah, think of the overdue book fines she'll have to pay.
  • Kid Hero: He's a young teenager.
  • Mad Libs Catchphrase: "Hey, [name], whassup?" almost any time he sees a familiar face he hasn't seen in a while.
  • Omniglot: Fluent in numerous languages.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Zack has this sentiment, which Carmen exploits on at least one occasion.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": His jacket spells his name as "Zak", but in the first episode, the Player spells it as "Zack".


Voiced by: Candi Milo

An ACME junior detective from the Russian branch. Zack has a slight crush on her.


"She was my most brilliant student. Perhaps I did not provide her with enough challenges..."

A retired Japanese ACME detective and Carmen Sandiego's former crime-fighting partner, having quit in shame after her turn to thievery. He joins Zack and Ivy on their chase after Carmen begins stealing items related to their past cases.

  • My Greatest Failure: As the quote above indicates, he takes part of the blame for Carmen's turn to evil onto himself, thinking he didn't provide enough of a challenge for her back in the day.
  • Old Master: Ticks all the boxes, especially due to being an old Japanese master who values tradition and learning from experience. He was not only Carmen's partner in her ACME days, he also taught her plenty of tactics and maneuvers to escape traps and fight criminals. Part of why he quit is the fact she started using those same lessons to help with her crime sprees.
  • One-Shot Character: Appears exclusively in "Déja Vù" to help Zack and Ivy after Carmen starts stealing things related to the cases she worked on with Suhara in the past.
  • Technologically Blind Elders: Prefers the traditional ways of thinking and transport over ACME's latest technologies, opting to call up a friend of his for aerial transport to Japan when they can just use the C-5 corridor to get there immediately. He does eventually relent on just using the transporter when time is of the essence.


A sniffer dog taken in by ACME as a possible crime fighter. The two siblings are briefly partnered with him after Ivy is offered an interview for a position in Hong Kong.

  • Canon Immigrant: Inverted. Unlike the other characters to appear in both Earth and Junior Detective, he appeared in Junior Detective first. And before that, he appeared in the 1991 game Where in America's Past Is Carmen Sandiego?.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: When first introduced, he sniffs the floor around him for a few seconds and then lies down for a nap. But as soon as the C5 Corridor opens, he jumps up and leaps right in, staying active and chasing trails with vigor... at least until he jumps into Zack's arms when they're forced to trek a mile through snow. But once that's over with, it's back to action.
    Zack: Oh great, a dog that won't walk in snow.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: In "The Remnants."
  • Heroic Dog
  • Red Baron: Given the title "Stretch the Crime Dog" in Junior Detective Edition.
  • Team Pet


    Carmen Sandiego 

Voiced by: Rita Moreno
"Until next crime, Troper."

The titular character, current head of V.I.L.E., and formerly ACME's premiere detective. She turned to a life of crime after fighting it proved to be too boring, wanting a life of thrills and challenges.

  • Actual Pacifist: She takes great care to make sure no one gets injured during her heists and escapes, which is all the more notable given that she was just as much of an Action Girl as any other ACME Detective back when she worked with them.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: From brown hair to black hair.
  • Affably Evil: Carmen is a well-mannered thief who was once ACME's top detective, but she's not violent, and treats her escapades with Zack and Ivy more as a game than anything else. She's also always soft-spoken and full of witty retorts that make it hard to not be pulled in by her charisma. She has a strong code of morals and mainly steals for the thrill of it.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Towards the Chief, who still remembers her time as a detective fondly. The Christmas episode is especially dedicated to her hacking ACME to get him to help her in a chase.
  • Batman Gambit: Skilled at these. Of particular note is the time she pitched a Fabergé egg, knowing that Ivy would dive to save it rather than go after her.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Quite a few in this incarnation. She makes it abundantly clear, for starters, that she despises the use of brute force to perform heists, preferring to act more on stealth and finesse.
    • A second big one is serious harm brought upon Zack and Ivy, or any other ACME Junior Detective.
  • Big Bad: Of the show as a whole, though she is not the Final Boss; that honor goes to Lee Jordan.
  • Catchphrase: "Until/See you next crime."
  • Challenge Seeker: The reason she defected from ACME to begin with, seeing the criminal lifestyle as more of a challenge and a good brain exercise.
  • The Chessmaster: We're even told she used to enjoy rounds of chess with The Chief.
  • Crazy-Prepared: She has gadgets for almost every occasion. And she always has an escape route planned.
    "Expect nothing, and be ready for everything!"
  • Criminal Mind Games: Her modus operandi, one of many things she picked up from her old nemesis Maelstrom.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Given that she's the eponymous character, technically this is always in play, but a few episodes in particular do give her more screen time and flash out her character:
    • "Just Like Old Times" is a Christmas-themed episode entirely dedicated to her and CHIEF, whose memory was corrupted in a data transfer to her location, trying to decipher Zack and Ivy's clues as she plans her grand Christmas heist.
    • The first episode of the "Retribution" arc also focuses on her and CHIEF, this time as a flashback to her days as a detective under ACME.
    • The "Can You Ever Go Home Again" two-parter focuses entirely on her parenthood issues and how she grew up without a father, who she has supposedly just found.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: She chastises Lee Jordan for resorting to them in the finale.
  • The Dreaded: Everyone around the world knows her name, and knows it well.
  • Enemy Mine: Engages in a few of these with Zack and Ivy, mostly out of necessity, although she doesn't really see it as a hindrance otherwise.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • She may steal everything that isn't nailed down (and more than a few things that are), but she almost never intends to keep what she takes, and she doesn't engage in wanton violence or destruction like Maelstrom, Sarah Bellum, or Lee Jordan.
    • As Carmen herself puts it, she's in it for the mind games, the thrill of the hunt and the globetrotting. It's all a game to her, and it only stays fun as long as no one is in actual danger, including the ACME detectives, which is why she will never try to hurt them, and will actively try to help them if no one else can.
  • Evil Laugh: Not often, but she does have it. "Hot Ice" shows us an example of it as she hacks into ACME Crimenet and the C-5 Corridor network.
  • Fair-Play Villain: If Carmen gives her word, she keeps it. Though it also sometimes goes into Exact Words territory.
  • The Fettered: Carmen plays by a strict set of rules, some of which clearly make her "job" more difficult. Justified in that Carmen sees her thefts as a game she plays with Worthy Opponents, and her rules make the game more of a challenge for her.
  • Friendly Enemy: As early as the second episode, she will even go out of her way to save Zack and Ivy's lives.
  • Gentleman Thief: A gender-flipped version who has a strong sense of morals, stealing for the thrill of it.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: She is shown to have grown up in an old orphanage in San Francisco prior to working for ACME (and winds up stealing said orphanage the night before it was to be demolished). The finale toys with averting this when she realizes she may be the previously-thought-dead daughter of Malcolm Avalon, but the question is left unanswered by the end.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Her sharp blue eyes are one of her most prominent features. They fit her cunning nature.
  • Mama Bear: Downplayed, but she has a great deal of care for the ACME Junior Detectives that chase after her, especially Zack and Ivy, and will go out of her way to make sure they're unhurt or help them in a crisis. And if there is a villain trying to harm them intentionally, she won't think twice about whose side she'll be on.
  • Not Me This Time: "When It Rains" and "Can You Ever Go Home Again" are two good examples of what only seems to be Carmen performing increasingly reckless or destructive crimes and having the blame pinned on her, only so the detectives can figure out she's being impersonated or blackmailed, and never had these heists in mind to begin with.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Carmen has a fixed modus operandi of only stealing noticeable and/or famous objects and/or landmarks. She doesn't play for keeps, she will never bring harm upon her chasers intentionally (or otherwise), and she has very little interest in the money she can make out of the loot. ANY of these rules being violated will raise some serious red flags to Zack and Ivy, and it's a very good indication that it's not Carmen herself leading the crime this time, as Sarah Bellum and Lee Jordan found out.
    • On the other hand, Carmen herself will often invoke this trope as a way to deceive Zack and Ivy for a while more, so she can carry out the next step of her plans.
  • Phrase Catcher: Others have a tendency to exclaim "It's Carmen Sandiego!" when they see her.
  • Race Lift: In the games, Carmen is Latina, but she was originally lighter-skinned. Due to the popularity of the cartoon, however, the later games do sometimes use this design.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: She's the main antagonist, wears red, and has black hair, though she's not actually evil.
  • She's Got Legs: And how.
  • Shipper on Deck: For Ivy and Josha, though how much of that was Shipper and how much was to distract them from her planned theft is debatable.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: How else would she still be around for the next episode?
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: You can't help but wonder this when you see all of the different aircrafts, ground vehicles, and infiltration tools she uses in her thefts. A likely explanation is that most of them come from the mind of her scientific supervisor, Professor Sarah Bellum. Carmen herself thought this of Dr. Maelstrom ten years prior, and most likely picked up the crime style from him.

    Touriste Classé

A minor V.I.L.E. agent, an infamous con man and international art thief.

  • The Cameo: Appears briefly in "Labyrinth Part 1".
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Seen using goggles for no particular reason other than driving a scooter.
  • Karma Houdini: One of the few V.I.L.E. members who is never arrested.
  • Punny Name: Tourist Class, also called the "economic" seating class of public transport.
  • Sinister Schnoz: Just look at it!
  • Starter Villain: Was encountered early on in the first episode.

    Clair E. & Cora Net
Clair (left) and Cora (right).

ACME crooks specialized in music, previously defamed after being caught lip-syncing. They're called in by Carmen for a heist that will improve their dreadful musical skills.

  • Glass-Shattering Sound: When they steal Leora Vincent's opera voice, Clair is able to shatter a mirror with it. This is later exploited at the climax of their episode when Zack, Ivy, and Maria fill up several glasses with water like a glass harmonica and sabotage Clair's sheet music so that she sings the appropriate resonant frequency.
  • Poke the Poodle: The Chief recalls them as minor crooks that were busted in a lip-syncing scandal a few years prior.
  • Punny Name: Clair's name sounds like "Clarinet", and Cora's sounds like "Cornet" (A trumpet-like instrument)
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Both of them look quite nice in the opera gowns they stole to wear when showcasing their stolen talents.
  • Took a Level in Badass: From lip-syncers to musical talent-stealers. That's pretty impressive.

    Professor Sarah Bellum

V.I.L.E.'s main technical expert and chief of engineering, the one responsible for every high-tech gadget Carmen uses in her heists. She becomes a major threat during "When It Rains", posing as Carmen and conducting a series of thefts with a bigger, deadlier goal in mind that will utterly destroy Carmen's reputation in the process.

  • Evil Genius: Carmen's main technical expert, responsible for creating all of the gadgets and vehicles she uses in her heists.
  • Easily Forgiven: In "When It Rains", she commits a series of violent and destructive crimes disguised as Carmen so that if her plans fail, Carmen would take the blame. Later on, in "Follow My Footprints", she's back in V.I.L.E.'s ranks as if nothing happened.
  • Goggles Do Nothing
  • Large Ham: While posing as Carmen. The disguise would be stronger had she not insisted in that Evil Laugh.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: A professor, although it's not specified what she specializes in (although one could guess it might be engineering and/or robotics).
  • Meaningful Name: Cerebellum, alluding to her intelligence and ability to coordinate the more advanced machinery that V.I.L.E. uses.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Zack and Ivy do take notice in "When It Rains" that Carmen's recent string of thefts is increasingly sloppy and destructive, leaving a lot more collateral damage behind, and her sudden tendency to cackle evily.
  • A Sinister Clue: Left-handed, which gives her away as an impostor of Carmen.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Many fans (and Carmen Sandiego installments) go back and forth on whether it should be "Sarah Bellum" or "Sara Bellum", but in this show, her ACME CrimeNet file uses the former.
  • The Starscream: In "When It Rains".

    Mason Dixon 

A V.I.L.E. henchman who becomes the main antagonist in "Timing is Everything". His bumbling idiocy, plus Carmen's time machine, causes a shift in time that places him as the leader of V.I.L.E. and Carmen as a lowly grunt under his employ, all because he successfully pulled a historical heist during the American Civil War. Zack and Ivy manage to find him and end the temporal paradox, returning history to normal.

  • American Accents: Has a distinct Southern drawl to his voice.
  • Dirty Coward: Averted as the leader of VILE. Take that away from him, though, and he'll be perfectly willing to ditch his boss to save his own hide (only to be caught immediately after).
  • Hostile Show Takeover: For all of one episode, but he does go as far as coining the title "Where on Earth is Mason Dixon" at the Player as a taunt.
  • Leitmotif: A low-key banjo melody that plays when he takes over the show as the head of V.I.L.E.
  • Meaningful Name: Named after the Mason-Dixon Line.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Dixon is either a supporter of or at least a sympathizer to the Confederate side of the Civil War. Barring the stereotype of his accent and calling the Union soldiers "Yankees", his choice of outfits for his version of V.I.L.E. involves the same tone of gray and overcoat design used by Confederate soldiers. To make it worse, his entire plan hinges on changing the outcome of the Civil War to make the South win, and he point-blank declares "the South will rise" after his attempted attack with the H.L. Hunley fails.
  • The Starscream: Going back in time to get Carmen captured during a heist in Amsterdam was enough to replace Carmen as the head of V.I.L.E. and have her as his sidekick. Even before the time paradox occurs, he was already angry at Carmen for berating him over his failure to steal a sofa from a Civil War reenactment, declaring loudly that he should be in charge.
  • Too Dumb to Live: His plan to change the Civil War results is to steal and use the H.L. Hunley submarine to attack the Union fleet during the Attack on Housatonic... When the Hunley was already determined, by 1994, to have exploded from its own torpedo failing to launch. Mason would have ended up exploding himself and his henchmen and never see his plan come to fruition.

    Dr. Al Loy

A metal-obsessed criminal and member of V.I.L.E. engaged in a fierce rivalry with fellow crook Dara Riska.

  • The Brute: One of the more muscular members of V.I.L.E.
  • Dumb Muscle: Subverted. He's hunky, and also a doctor of metallurgy.
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Slightly averted here, since he does handle metallurgic work, something for which goggles are actually necessary.
  • Hot-Blooded: Which comes back to bite him when he teams up with equally Hot-Blooded colleague Dara Riska to attempt a freelance theft.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Has a Ph.D. in metallurgy, although it's never brought up again after "A Date with Carmen"; the other characters don't even call him a doctor the way they often do with Maelstrom.
  • Never My Fault: A flaw he shares with Dara Riska; when their solo theft goes sour, they blame it on each other.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Despite his Ph.D, he's never seen doing anything metallurgy-related; his CrimeNet file even says that his specialty is still simply stealing metal.
  • Punny Name: Alloy.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: In "A Date with Carmen Part 2", it is mentioned that he was counterfeiting subway tokens at the age of seven.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The friction between him and Dara Riska is bad enough that Carmen has to take significant time out to discourage this sort of behavior in V.I.L.E.'s ranks.

    Pearl Diver

A minor V.I.L.E. operative with swimming expertise.

  • Fanservice Extra: She only appears in "A Date with Carmen," and she has very few lines. What she does have, as pictured, is a gratuitous scene in which she climbs out of the water onto a ship wearing a skimpy bikini.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: One of the few members of V.I.L.E. to completely avert this.
  • Punny Name: She's an expert deep water swimmer, her name referring to a profession that requires the same degree of skill.

    Dara Riska
"You're big, but I'm better. And faster."

V.I.L.E. operative focused on metal work and willing to take unnecessary risks during her missions. Engaged in a fierce rivalry with Dr. Al Loy.

  • The Brute: Like her partner-in-crime, she's very muscular.
  • Distaff Counterpart: To Al Loy.
  • Hot-Blooded: Just as stubborn and pigheaded as Al Loy, which causes ample friction between them.
  • Never My Fault: Another flaw she shares with Al; when their solo theft goes sour, they blame it on each other.
  • Punny Name: "Dare and risk", or also "dare a risk", referring to how she likes to take risky decisions.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The friction between her and Al Loy is bad enough that Carmen has to take significant time out to discourage this sort of behavior in V.I.L.E.'s ranks.

    Lee Galese
"Have a nice day. If not, consider suing."

Carmen's personal attorney and law representative, just as crooked as the rest of her organization.

  • Amoral Attorney: Downplayed. While he is a member of V.I.L.E., he is never shown engaging in any thefts, instead limiting himself to... Well, law-related things, like rattling off Carmen's will when she is presumed dead or attempting to represent her when she gets taken by R.B. Traitor.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: An evil lawyer with glasses.
  • Motor Mouth: The only one on the show who can talk faster than The Chief.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. He shares a first name with Lee Jordan and an ACME Agent.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: See Amoral Attorney above.
  • Punny Name: "Legalese", an older term that refers to legal writing that is difficult to understand or define.

    Hannah Lulu 

A Hawaiian-born operative of V.I.L.E. who helps Carmen during her heist in Hawaii. Incredibly superstitious.

  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Her intense superstition is more than a little frustrating for Carmen, but she keeps Hannah around because she is very skilled with alarms.
  • Meaningful Name: Named after the Hawaiian capital of Honolulu.
  • Reused Character Design: Bears something of a passing resemblance to Dee Tritus from "Hot Ice".

    Moe Skeeter & Lars Vegas
Moe (left) and Lars (right).

Two of Carmen's henchmen who are rarely, if ever, seen apart from each other.

  • Bumbling Sidekicks: They fill this role for Carmen in "Just Like Old Times".
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: They don't seem that much brighter than any of the rest of V.I.L.E., until you realize their introductory scene is them having already solved one of Carmen's three clues sent out to her entire organization. They are also among the few henchmen who make rather reasonable (if still way wrong) guesses on other clues Carmen is trying to solve.
  • Fat and Skinny: Moe and Lars, respectively.
  • Punny Name: "Mosquito" for Moe, since he's always buzzing around Lars. The latter's name is an obvious reference to Las Vegas due to him being a greedy criminal who fancies himself a big shot.
  • Stealth Pun: At one point, Lars calls Moe a "witless insect". It qualifies as a Stealth Pun because we don't learn Moe's full name until after that.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Lars looks remarkably like the original Carmen game show's "Vic the Slick", who followed a similar theme of a con man trying to look like a slick hustler.
  • Those Two Guys: They're always seen together in whatever they're doing.

    V.I.L.E. Chief 

Voiced by: Rodger Bumpass
"So, you think you're good enough to become V.I.L.E. henchmen, eh? Well, as long as you stand there, I don't think you're good enough to make my lunch!"note 

A carbon copy of the Chief made by Carmen to direct V.I.L.E.'s training sessions for new recruits.

  • Dastardly Whiplash: He's the evil version of an already campy ACME Chief. It would be jarring for him not to be one.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Or at least as close to it as you can get in a Saturday morning cartoon, as he's in charge of putting potential new V.I.L.E. recruits through Carmen's training courses, testing their physical and intellectual mettle. He even gets a virtual military hat for a short time.
    "Ten hut, you V.I.L.E. wannabes!"
  • Evil Counterpart: Bordering on Evil Twin, as the only real differences between him and the ACME Chief are their appearances and team allegiance.


    The Player(s) 

Played by: Jeffrey Tucker & Justin Shenkarow (Seasons 1 & 2); Asi Lang & Joanie Pleasant (Seasons 3 & 4)
You can't run forever from all three of us, Carmen!note 

The children on the other side of the computer screen, working diligently and tirelessly to track down and apprehend Carmen Sandiego.

  • Audience Surrogates: They represent all of the kids watching who play Carmen Sandiego games themselves.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The younger boy (the one up top) was completely dropped after being the sole player for the first two seasons (though he was kept in the opening and remained the only one of the three to appear in it), replaced by the girl and older boy (though you could also make a reasonable argument for the boy just growing a little bit older).
  • Determinators: Even as Carmen gets away time and time again, these kids never let up on the pursuit.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": They're never addressed as anything other than "Player".
  • The Faceless: All of them are only ever seen from behind.
  • Genre Savvy: Several times when something seems out of the ordinary with an opening theft, they suspect Carmen to be pulling a fast one on them and the ACME Detectives, which, while it doesn't always turn out to be the case, isn't entirely unfounded.
  • Greater Scope Paragons: Zack, Ivy, and the other ACME Detectives look to and request action from them very often (whether it's bringing up information, cross-referencing it, opening the C5 Corridor, or summoning the C5 Car), but that's about all they can do.
  • Missing Mission Control: For a short time in "A Date with Carmen." After Carmen steals Benjamin Franklin's key and causes electricity to vanish from the present day, the player loses contact with Zack and Ivy until they recover the key and Ben completes his experiment.
  • Mission Control: Their job in the series.
  • Twofer Token Minority: The girl has darker skin than the two boys.

    Lee Jordan 

Voiced by: David Coburn
He's incredibly amazing...NOT!!

The only ACME Detective to have ever successfully captured Carmen Sandiego. He starts out as Ivy's replacement partner while Zack is occupied at the Pentagon, but his obsession with catching Carmen on his own strains their partnership. Eventually, he succeeds, only to reveal that he wants to make a Face–Heel Turn and work under Carmen, but she soon rejects him for being too reckless and impulsive, as well as being more interested in the profit aspect of crime than the brain work. This causes him to ditch her and go solo, proving himself as a major threat against both groups.

  • Arc Villain: Of the "Boyhood's End" and "Can You Ever Go Home Again?" two-parters.
  • Beauty Is Bad: His appearance looks attractive on the outside but not much on the inside.
  • Broken Ace: The second-best detective in the history of ACME after Carmen, and for a long time the only one to have ever captured her even once, let alone twice, and yet he's a psychopath.
  • Cool Car: He drives a pretty nice black Corvette.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: His interactions with Ivy can be a bit uncomfortable to watch, with him constantly trying to make a move on her and Ivy's constant need to remind him of the mission.
  • Energy Weapon: His mooks' brand of Family-Friendly Firearms during his second appearance.
  • Evil Costume Switch: As a henchman under Carmen. Oddly enough, he ditches the evil outfit in "Can You Ever Go Home Again", wearing his normal clothes again.
  • Face–Heel Turn: So far the only character in this franchise to pull one on-screen, betraying ACME to join Carmen, and later ditching her as well to work solo.
  • Fallen Hero: Carmen even lampshades it in her ending dialogue with the Player:
    Carmen: A famous writer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, once said: "Show me a hero and I'll write you a tragedy."
    Player: Meaning what, Carmen?
    Carmen: The tragedy here is Lee's lack of maturity kept him from being a great detective or a great thief.
  • Fatal Flaw: Impatience. When things don't go his way, he tends to get irritated, act impulsively and not think things through.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Begins as this in "Boyhood's End Part 1", before joining V.I.L.E. and later going solo.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Jordan is rather easy to annoy and quickly gets impatient when things don't work out his way. This is evidenced when he lashes out at the Player after another failed attempt to capture Carmen by overloading them with research topics, and after his turn to evil, he quickly gets irritated over Sandiego's constant scolding over taking care of the loot and choosing it carefully, preferring to just get the money that it could warrant on value alone. Throughout the whole episode, Carmen lampshades his impatience and inability to think outside of worth and gain.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: An early sign of his dubious morality.
  • Implacable Man: Regarding his pursuit of Carmen.
  • I Work Alone: Because he actually wants to work for Carmen. And when she turns him down due to his temper, he starts going solo anyway.
  • Jerkass: Oh, is he ever. To name one example, he trips Ivy when she tries to go for Carmen alongside him, and then blames her for Carmen's subsequent escape.
  • Knight of Cerebus: While Zack and Ivy will often trade witty retorts between each other and even with Carmen, not a single scene with Lee in it has any form of humor that isn't at Ivy's expense or something far too passive to be considered "funny". Even while he's working with Ivy, something always seems off about him, as he's very easy to anger and berates Ivy for his own mistakes. Not to mention he, at one point, openly starts overloading the Player with stuff to research out of frustration while tracking down Carmen. And unlike Carmen, he plays for keeps and has no qualms about collateral damage to innocent bystanders, going as far as trying to kill Zack and Ivy not seconds after he turns coat to V.I.L.E., which Carmen is naturally not happy about. This naturally helps to cement how much of a dangerous psychopath Jordan is compared to V.I.L.E.
  • Meaningful Name: Unlike the usual character in this franchise, his name doesn't have an obvious reference or play on words. However, "Jordan" is a Hebrew unisex name which roughly means "to flow downwards" or "to descend", serving as a foreshadowing of his eventual Face–Heel Turn (i.e. "falling from grace").
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. He shares a first name with Lee Galese and another ACME Agent.
  • The Sociopath: Arrogant, narcissistic, constantly looking for a challenge, disrespectful to Ivy and Carmen, and willing to crash the Pentagon as a Deus Exit Machina to put Zack out of commission so he could take his place chasing Carmen. Yep, he fits.
  • The Unfettered: He says so himself when Carmen taunts him on his use of force and violence over intellect.
    Carmen: You know how I despise weapons, Lee. Afraid you can't defeat me with your wits?
    Lee: I'll win any way I can!
  • Villainous Cheekbones: They're not as conspicuous as Maelstrom's, but Lee still has these.
  • Walking Spoiler: It's tough to talk about him without giving up his defection to V.I.L.E. near the midpoint of his debut storyline, which is also why his entry is here instead of with the other ACME Detectives.

    The Tigress 

Voiced by: Jennifer Hale

A mysterious thief who aims to one-up Carmen's thefts. She's really Ivy in disguise, playing the thief to bait Carmen into a trap.

    Dr. Gunnar Maelstrom 

Voiced by: Tim Curry
The most ruthless, dangerous thief ACME ever busted, as he appears now (top) and how he was ten years before that (bottom).

A marine archaeologist-turned-thief that Carmen and The Chief captured ten years before the events of the show. He breaks out of jail and seeks to exact revenge on Carmen.

  • Arc Villain: Of the "Retribution" trilogy.
  • Badass Mustache: He grew one during his time in prison.
  • Bad Guys Play Pool: When deciphering a clue regarding billiards, Carmen recalls once nearly cornering him at a billiards hall and calls him a fantastic pool player.
  • Criminal Mind Games: He's the one Carmen picked it up from.
  • The Dreaded: Definitely, though not to the same degree in the public eye as Carmen. The warden of the prison he was incarcerated in refers to him as "one of the most brilliant and frightening criminal minds there ever was." The Chief concurs, calling him "the most ruthless criminal who ever lived." He didn't recycle, either.
  • Evil Is Hammy: This is a given when your voice actor is Tim Curry. His play-by-play of his plan to steal the RMS Titanic wreckage in the past is a highlight.
  • Faking the Dead: He makes it look like he got buried beneath a prison wall he blew up as a distraction while making his initial getaway.
  • Genre Savvy: He somehow figured out Carmen's Face–Heel Turn was a matter of time before she even considered performing it.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: A most definitely evil one over his right eye.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Seriously, the guy uses C4 explosives on a regular basis and at one point breaks out a flamethrower, all in a children's Saturday morning edutainment cartoon.
  • Last-Name Basis: His first name is only used once.
  • Leitmotif: A subtle one, but there is one in a few of his scenes. It's heard most easily right after his mecha-seagull blows out the rooftop door lock on the building housing the RMS Carpathia's logbook, as well as when Zack looks out the window of the underwater hotel as Maelstrom's submarines start to steal it.
  • Making a Splash: All of his thefts have an aquatic motif.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: As said above, he was originally a great marine archaeologist before becoming a thief.
  • Right-Hand Cat: He had a seagull in the past, though given his love for wonderful toys, it's a little ambiguous whether it was a real trained one or a mechanical robot. It was also a little bit more active than most cases of this trope, as it once shot out a door lock by delivering a small explosive missile to the inside.
  • The Sociopath: Arguably even moreso than Lee Jordan! In fact, Carmen actually calls him a psychopath near the end of his arc, something even Lee wasn't bad enough to get.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: His favorite way of causing mayhem. The material he's using looks like C4 plastic explosive.
  • Super Strength: He's able to toss Zack and Ivy around singlehandedly with ease.
  • Villainous Cheekbones: Particularly in the present, but even ten years in the past, he had Lee Jordan edged out.
  • Worthy Opponent: Carmen considers him one to her, but it doesn't appear to be mutual.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Just like Carmen, he's got a lot of tech at his disposal, which is even more impressive when you consider he was just as well-equipped back in The '80s.


Dr. Maelstrom's second-in-command.

    R.B. Traitor

A former Criminal Court Judge who became a ruthless vigilante who robs his victims/defendants of their rights to a fair trial in order to lock them up and throw away the key. At least that's what Carmen Sandiego herself wants you to think. R.B. Traitor is really one of Carmen's Henchmen. She uses R.B. Traitor to fake her capture in order to set up a gambit for her to have Zack and Ivy lead her to the Magna Carta's secure location and steal it.

  • Bald of Evil: Underneath his Judicial Wig lies a bald head.
  • Beard of Evil: He is seen with a fiendish looking goatee.
  • Explosive Leash: Uses one in the form of exploding handcuffs on Carmen while she accompanies Zack and Ivy, while they try to prove Carmen's innocence. Subverted as R.B. while aiding Carmen placed dummy exploding handcuffs that Carmen could easily break out of.
  • Hanging Judge: While he used to be a legitimate judge in a criminal court, he uses his former career as his persona to hunt down criminals and throw them away in a secret prison. He isn't really a vigilante, as he is actually one of Carmen's Henchmen who helped stage Carmen's arrest in order to have Zack and Ivy be pawns in her plans to steal the Magna Carta.
  • Kangaroo Court: He automatically finds Carmen Sandiego guilty before any concrete evidence is presented. He even gives Carmen a choice in which jail cell she would be confined in after his verdict.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: His raison d'etre and modus operandi (While not emphasizing much (let alone at all) on the Executioner part). Lampshaded by Ivy.
    Ivy: Kind of a whacked-out one-stop judge and jury. Huh, Chief?
  • Manipulative Bastard: His role in aiding Carmen Sandiego steal the Magna Carta by having Zack and Ivy lead Carmen and her henchmen (R.B. included) to steal it.
  • Meaningful Name: Take three guesses as to what he ends up doing.
  • Punny Name: His name is a play on the term 'Arbitrator', which is synonymous with his former career as a Criminal Court Judge.
  • The Jailer: He used to be a judge before he realized that the criminals he put away in jail would easily pass the revolving door.
  • Trojan Prisoner: He played the role of Carmen Sandiego's captor in order for Carmen to use Zack and Ivy to lead her to the Magna Carta while they were under the guise of proving Carmen's innocence.
  • Vigilante Man: He pursues criminals and sentences them to longer than life sentences after his growing frustration with the recidivistic criminals he puts away. Averted when it is revealed that he was an actor in Carmen's plan to steal the Magna Carta.

    Malcolm Avalon
"Carmen Sandiego is a thief. It would take a lot more than this locket to prove she escaped from the fire that night, almost 30 years ago."

A millionaire industrialist and widower living in Buenos Aires who lost his wife and daughter to a hotel fire in San Francisco close to three decades before the events of the show. Carmen hits up his home for a heist, but in the process spots a portrait of his late wife, who looks just like the woman she always believed to be her mother.

  • Distressed Dude: Lee Jordan kidnaps him to use as leverage over Carmen.
  • I Have No Son!: He does not take Carmen's suspicions of him being her father well at all.
    "If my daughter had lived, she would have grown up smart and brave; never a thief and coward who runs from the law like you! I don't know where you got this, but you never got it from me!"
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: After taking a fall off a rooftop at the end of the finale, he forgets everything related to Carmen and her questioned paternity.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: The Orphan's Plot Trinket Carmen has possessed all her life was a gift from Avalon to his daughter, leading her to think she is his daughter and actually escaped the fire alive.


Lee Jordan's second-in-command during the finale.

  • The Dragon: To Lee Jordan. He's the one trusted with Malcolm Avalon during the final showdown.
  • Expy: In some ways is one to Bilge; they're both short, fat guys who serve as The Dragon to someone else.
  • Fat Bastard


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: