Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?

Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? Information

Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? is an American animated television series based on the series of computer games. The show was produced by DIC/Program Exchange and originally aired Saturday mornings on FOX. Its episodes have subsequently been repeated on the Fox Family, PAX and the short-lived girlzChannel. Reruns of the series currently air on The Worship Network, KidMango, The Hub, and, since June 8, 2012, on Qubo. The series won an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Animated Children's Program" in 1995.


The need for the show was facilitated by the Children's Television Act. Said Andy Heyward, CEO of DIC in March, 1994, "I would like to say that people felt it was a competitive property in its own right, but I think that Congress pushed it over the top." The script for every Earth episode had to meet the approval of Brøderbund Software, which created and, at the time, owned the Carmen franchise. Their cause for concern was the level of the violence on other FOX children's shows such as X-Men and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Brøderbund did not require this of the creators of the World and Time game shows that aired on PBS, presumably since PBS, as the creator of such shows as Sesame Street, had a long-standing reputation for non-violent, educational children's programming.

As with the rest of the Carmen Sandiego franchise, the show's basic premise had the ACME Detective Agency attempting to stop the title thief and her V.I.L.E. gang from stealing artifacts around the world. Specifically, Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? followed the adventures of two teenaged ACME detectives named Zack and Ivy. Zack and Ivy were also siblings, but their last name was never stated nor was their mysterious lack of parents or a guardian ever explained. Notably, the show was portrayed as taking place inside a virtual reality computer game of a live-action kid referred to as "The Player".

Although Earth took the premise of the series more seriously than the Brøderbund computer games or the zany World game show, most elements of the series, such as giving V.I.L.E. agents gag names ("Buck N. Bronco", "Dee Tritus", etc.) and having Carmen commit spectacularly impossible thefts, were faithfully maintained. However, Earth often showed how V.I.L.E. perpetrated such spectacular thefts, whereas the computer games left this to the user's imagination, and "serious" villains, such as Lee Jordan and Dr. Maelstrom, were not given such funny names. The World game show also explained how such thefts were committed although their explanations were humorously nonsensical.

Originally, episodes of Earth were quite similar to the typical "formula" of the computer games. An outrageous theft would be committed somewhere in the world and Zack and Ivy, guided by the Player, would try to retrieve the loot and capture Carmen Sandiego. Though the loot would typically be recovered, Carmen, who usually had some kind of "master plan", would always escape. Towards the end of the first season, time travel was added into the show when Carmen built her own time machine and travelled back in time to the American Revolution. Time travel would continue to recur throughout the rest of the show's run.

However, this structure began to be abandoned as the writers started to explore the nature of Carmen's character. Early on, it was established that Carmen only stole for the challenge of it and that she had her own ethical code, but, as it progressed, the show began to increasingly focus on her "good" side and on her weaknesses. By the show's fourth and final season, Zack and Ivy were regularly teaming up with their former nemesis to stop considerably less moral criminals from taking over V.I.L.E. and such. Nevertheless, the show never portrayed Carmen returning to ACME or giving up her thieving ways.

Since they obviously continued to approve the scripts, Brøderbund apparently did not have any qualms about this direction, though they did not incorporate it into any of their games. The lead characters of Earth were, however, featured in Carmen Sandiego: Junior Detective Edition, released in 1995.



Ivy has short red hair, green eyes and, at eighteen, she is the elder of the show's star siblings. Her skills include having multiple black belts in martial arts and being an expert pilot. Ivy can get frustrated easily, being more driven than Zack. Zack calls her "Sis" in the series premiere (which she hates and makes it very clear he is never to do). She also dated a boy named Joshua in episode 38. Jennifer Hale voiced Ivy and was also featured in the computer game Carmen Sandiego: Junior Detective Edition.


Zack has blond hair, blue eyes and is fourteen years old. He is a genius yet still manages to be a cool, floppy haired, baggy-clothed, skateboarding teen. He has no formal fighting skills but can speak over 20 languages and has a photographic memory. He takes cases less seriously than his sister Ivy. Scott Menville voiced Zack.

The Chief

The C.H.I.E.F. (short for Computerized Holographic Imaging Educational Facilitator) is the head of ACME. In the Earth series, the traditional role of "The Chief" was drastically retooled, becoming a hyperactive, fast-talking, wise-cracking sentient computer image not unlike Max Headroom. Playing a slightly more important role than his counterparts in the franchise, the Chief was still limited to providing exposition, information, alerts of Carmen's recent crime and comic relief.

This version of the Chief had a very intimate professional and personal relationship with Carmen. They were both trained as agents when ACME was in its infancy (the Chief more likely created as an attempt at an autonomous robotic agent, complete with android body) and were often partnered up with each other on many cases. They became fast friends, and although he was angered and shocked at Carmen's defection to a life of crime, he didn't have the heart to close her file. It's clear that Carmen also thinks highly of their friendship, having once entrusted the help of ACME agents Zach and Ivy to help restore a virus-stricken Chief back to health after she 'kidnapped' him for a Christmas night to 'relive the good ol' days', and once again teaming up with him to capture the criminal Dr. Gunner Maelstrom, whom they had captured during their detective years and had returned to take his revenge. Carmen even designed the instructor at her henchman training headquarters after The Chief. The Chief was furious when he found out and demanded the entire ACME bring in Carmen immanently no matter what.

He was voiced by Rodger Bumpass and was also featured in Carmen Sandiego: Junior Detective Edition.

Carmen Sandiego

Carmen Sandiego is an international thief the head of V.I.L.E. who is the main antagonist of the series. Despite the name of her organization, she has a strong code of morals and only steals for the challenge of it. She was a former agent of the ACME Detective Agency and her birthday is March 1. Her hair and gloves are black in this show with her hat band, turtle neck and skirt being orange over her trademark red trenchcoat and hat. Carmen was an orphan raised at the Golden Gate Girls' School in San Francisco. The Chief gave her a home at the ACME Detective Agency, and, by age seventeen, she solved more cases than any other ACME agent. During her time at the agency, she was partnered with the Chief himself and Suhara. Carmen developed close friendships with both of these partners. Suhara taught her about Zen philosophy and later speculated that he had failed her as a teacher by not giving her enough challenges. Carmen went so far as to steal the Chief's program on Christmas Eve to reminisce about the old days and to play a game of chess. Carmen later disappeared and turned to a life of crime. Her partner when she was at ACME was a Japanese man named Suhara, who left ACME after she did and appears to now be retired. Unlike in most of the rest of the franchise, the reason for Carmen leaving ACME is not specifically stated in the Earth series, although it was speculated by Suhara. ("Déjà Vu") In the later seasons of this show, Carmen began to be portrayed as more of an antihero than a proper villainess, even teaming up with Zack and Ivy to defeat criminals more unscrupulous than herself on several occasions. By extension, Carmen will not kill or injure another person to accomplish her goals, going so far as to save Zack and Ivy from possible deaths on a few occasions. Carmen also seems to respect Zack and Ivy as worthy adversaries and successors to her organization.

According to the episode "Hot Ice", Carmen has been gone from ACME for 10 years, 3 months, & 7 days. She was voiced by Rita Moreno.

Notable villains

As Carmen Sandiego became less villainous and evolved into more of an antihero, other characters began to fill her original role as the show's antagonist.

Lee Jordan

Lee Jordan is the only ACME agent to have "officially" captured Carmen Sandiego. He was perhaps the most accomplished of all of ACME's employees and as such, had quite a conceited attitude about himself. He was often flirtatious with Ivy (much to her disgust). Ivy hated his arrogance. He went on hiatus from ACME for an indeterminate amount of time, during which his outlook on his career took a drastic turn. Embittered by his fame and the lack of challenge the concept of fighting crime had become, he quit working for ACME and helped Carmen Sandiego escape in order to train to be a V.I.L.E. agent. However, his impulsive and unscrupulous nature clashed greatly with Carmen Sandiego's more refined, pessimistic approach, and because of that, he was fired.

Infuriated by this, he joined the ranks of former V.I.L.E. agents who sought to usurp Carmen Sandiego from her title as 'the world's greatest thief'. He was foiled twice in this endeavor, both by the combined efforts of ACME and Carmen Sandiego, but still remains hostile, violent and dangerous. Unlike Carmen Sandiego, he sees nothing against putting another person's life in danger to further his own personal gain, and has even kidnapped and used a hostage as blackmail to force Carmen Sandiego into working for him.

Voiced by David Coburn.

Dr. Sara Bellum

Dr. Sara Bellum is Carmen Sandiego's former mad scientist who makes all sorts of gadgets for Carmen Sandiego and her V.I.L.E. agents to use. In one episode, she tried to flood the Atacama Desert in Chile to retrieve the Giant of the Atacama, all while dressed as Carmen Sandiego in an effort to take over V.I.L.E.. Eventually, Carmen Sandiego, Zack and Ivy stopped Sara Bellum's mad plan in time. However, in the episode "Follow My Footsteps", she returned to V.I.L.E.. It is possible she might be pretending to help Carmen or she has reformed. "Sara Bellum" is a pun on cerebellum, a part of the brain.

Mason Dixon

Mason Dixon is the henchman who betrayed V.I.L.E. in numerous ways in the episode "Timing is Everything". It began in 1989 when Carmen and Mason were in Amsterdam to steal a Rembrandt painting. Mason was captured and sentenced to 7 years in prison, while Carmen escaped from the police.

When Mason was released, Carmen began searching for a Civil War era sofa in the Appomattox Courthouse. The caper failed, resulting in Carmen being furious with Mason. As retaliation, he stole Carmen's time machine, and went back to 1989 to change the outcome of the Rembrandt theft so Carmen would go to jail and he would go on to run V.I.L.E. as the world's greatest thief. In this alternate reality, Carmen becomes Mason's henchman and has low self-esteem because she "almost always [gets] caught".

Mason, with Carmen's unwilling aid, began stealing a series of items that would change the outcome of the Civil War. Carmen helped Zack & Ivy recapture him & take back control over V.I.L.E., making her the world's greatest thief once more. His name is a play on the surveyors Mason and Dixon who drew the border between Maryland and Pannsylvania in the 1760s known as the Mason-Dixon Line.

Dr. Gunnar Maelstrom

Dr. Gunnar Maelstrom (pronounced goonar) is a hostile and extremely violent criminal whose archenemy is Carmen Sandiego. Maelstrom considers her a threat because she & Chief captured him back in her detective days at ACME in 1985, and got him sent to Folsom State Prison in northern California. In "Maelstrom's Revenge", he escapes from prison by using a bomb attached to his watch as a diversion so he could escape through the back door. Carmen Sandiego was forced to team up with Zack & Ivy to help capture him & send him back to prison.

Voiced by Tim Curry.

ACME detectives

  • Aileen: A Hawaiian ACME detective.
  • Amati: A brilliant archaeologist and African-American ACME detective.
  • Armando: An Argentinian gaucho ACME detective.
  • Barrow: A British ACME detective.
  • Billy "Running Bird": A Native-American ACME detective.
  • Chotu: An Indian ACME detective.
  • Crow: A Norwegian ACME detective. He's a friend of Zack.
  • Jasmine: A Jamaican ACME detective.
  • Josha: A brilliant inventor and ACME agent. He has a crush on Ivy. Zack is the one who helps get them together.
  • Ketut: An Indonesian ACME detective who loves hang gliding and is very wise.
  • Lee: A Chinese ACME detective.
  • Maria: A Brazilian ACME detective from ACME's Rio de Janeiro branch. At the end, we see she might be interested in Zack as she takes him to the opera.
  • Marco: An Italian ACME detective who's good friends with Ivy.
  • Michelle: A Space Camp ACME detective.
  • Regis: A British ACME detective.
  • Tatiana: A Russian ACME detective who Zack has a crush on.
  • Wahidullah: An Afghanistan ACME detective.
  • Lloyd: An Australian ACME detective.

V.I.L.E. agents

  • Abe L. Body:
  • Al Loy: A V.I.L.E. agent who's also hot-headed as Daryl Riska. He wanted to be a loner when it comes to crime, but he couldn't get along with Dara Riska. Al Loy is a play on "Alloy."
  • Archie Ology: A V.I.L.E. agent and a good archaeologist. He likes to steal artifacts and other classics. Archie Ology is a play on "Archaeology."
  • Buck N. Bronco: A V.I.L.E. agent. His name is a play on "bucking bronco."
  • Clair E. Net & Cora Net: The sisters of evil for stealing talent and music. Cora Net plays the guitar while Clair E. Net sings opera. Clair E. Net & Cora Net are the plays of "clarinet" and "coronet."
  • Clay Tandoori: An Indian-American V.I.L.E. agent. He's steals anything that's in India like Taj Mahal and other things. Clay Tandoori is a play on "Tandoori Clay."
  • Dara Riska: A V.I.L.E. agent who always takes any risks and sometimes get hot-headed when she gets to a fight with Al Loy.
  • Dee Tritus: A female V.I.L.E. agent. Her name is a play on "detritus."
  • Four Chin Hunter: A big time evil treasure hunter of V.I.L.E. He's an expert of stealing gold when it comes to treasure hunting. Four Chin Hunter is a play on "Fortune Hunter."
  • Frank M. Poster: A big time master of disguise and Carmen's V.I.L.E. henchman. He can disguise himself as any person he wants to impersonate. Frank M. Poster is a play on "The Great Impostor."
  • Hannah Lulu: A V.I.L.E. agent and an expert when it comes to Hawaiian treasures and locations. Hannah Lulu is very superstitious and is afraid of almost everything including Hawaii's Nightmarchers. In one episode, Carmen Sandiego tried to make Hannah Lulu face her fears by stealing an object from the place where a Hawaiian queen died. Hannah Lulu is a play on "Honolulu."
  • Judge R.B. Traitor: A court judge-turned-criminal who hunts crooks down and sentences them to a secret jail while stealing their loot. He appeared in "The Trail of Carmen Sandiego" where he had Carmen Sandiego abducted from her caper in the Mayan Ruins and subpoenaed Zack and Ivy to his hidden courtroom in Italy using Lee Galese as bait. Once Zack and Ivy arrived, Judge R.B. Traitor dismissed Lee Galese and had them represent Carmen Sandiego when she was accused of stealing the Magna Carta. When it came to where the Magna Cartta is, it turned out that Judge R.B. Traitor was actually in cahoots with Carmen Sandiego and Archie Ology. R.B. Traitor is a play on "arbitrator."
  • Lars Vegas: A big shot and V.I.L.E.'s greediest member. He always complains when he is trapped in a net because it messes up his hair. His greediness can always foil his plans. Lars Vegas is a play on "Las Vegas."
  • Lee Galese: A V.I.L.E. agent who is Carmen Sandiego's lawyer. His name is a play on "legalese."
  • Moe Skeeter: A V.I.L.E. agent who's kinda like a bungling buffoon. His nose looks similar to one of the Batman villain Penguin and his name is a play on "mosquito."
  • Rip Shipoff: An aquatic pirate agent with his pet parrot.
  • Touriest Classe: A V.I.L.E. agent and also an international con man and a master art thief. He always wanted to scam people with other art. Touriest Classe is a play on "Tourist Class."


  • The Player: The only live-action character on the program, always seen from behind as a computer player at the beginning and closing of the show. The Player was played by Joanie Tucker in season one, Justin Shenkarow in season two, and by both Asi Lang and Joanie Pleasant in season three and four.
  • Stretch the Crime Dog: Featured prominently in Carmen Sandiego: Junior Detective Edition which included the lead character.


Season 1

  1. The Stolen Smile - Carmen steals face parts from three famous paintings.
  2. A Higher Calling
  3. Dinosaur Delirium
  4. By a Whisker
  5. The Good Old, Bad Old Days
  6. Rules of the Game
  7. Split Up
  8. Moondreams
  9. Music to My Ears
  10. The Play's the Thing
  11. A Date With Carmen Pt. 1
  12. A Date With Carmen Pt. 2
  13. Chapter And Verse

Season 2

  1. Skull and Double-Crossbones
  2. Hot Ice
  3. All For One
  4. Scavenger Hunt
  5. When It Rains
  6. Déjà Vu
  7. Boyhood's End Pt. 1
  8. Boyhood's End Pt. 2

Season 3

  1. The Tigress
  2. The Remnants
  3. Curses, Foiled Again
  4. Birds of a Feather
  5. Shaman Spirits
  6. Follow My Footprints
  7. Labyrinth Pt. 1
  8. Labyrinth Pt. 2: Woman of the Year, 2101
  9. Labyrinth Pt. 3: When In Rome
  10. Just Like Old Times

Season 4

  1. The Trial of Carmen Sandiego - While on a caper at the Mayan Ruins, Carmen Sandiego is abducted by a mysterious helicopter. Zack and Ivy trace her location to the Roman catacombs where Carmen Sandiego is standing trial before Judge R.B. Traitor upon being accused of stealing the Magna Carta.
  2. Trick or Treat
  3. Retribution Pt. 1: Unsinkable Carmen Sandiego
  4. Retribution Pt. 2: In Memoriam
  5. Retribution Pt. 3: Maelstrom's Revenge
  6. Timing is Everything
  7. Cupid Sandiego
  8. Can You Ever Go Home Again Pt. 1
  9. Can You Ever Go Home Again Pt. 2



  • Asi Lang - Player (Season 3-4)
  • Joanie Pleasant - Female Player (Season 3-4)
  • Justin Shenkarow - Male Player (Season 2)
  • Joanie Tucker - Female Player (Season 1)

Additional Voices

  • James Avery
  • Yoshio Be -
  • James Belushi - Paul Revere (ep. 11)
  • Susan Blu -
  • Bettina Bush -
  • Rocky Carroll -
  • Kevin Castro -
  • David Coburn - Lee Jordan
  • Jesse Corti -
  • Tim Curry - Dr. Gunnar Maelstrom
  • Feisha Dimetros -
  • Grisha Dimont -
  • Shirley DiSai -
  • Sandra Dombrowski -
  • Dave Fennoy -
  • Efrain Figueroa -
  • John Garry -
  • Brian George -
  • Dan Gilvezan -
  • Fernanda Gordon -
  • Kevin Guillaume -
  • Clayton Halsey -
  • Jamie Hanes -
  • Dorian Harewood -
  • Jess Harnell -
  • Karen Hartman -
  • Phil Hayes -
  • Hector Herrera -
  • Amy Hill -
  • Vien Hong -
  • Michael Horse -
  • Stan Irwin -
  • Robert Ito -
  • Marabina Jaimes -
  • Nick Jameson -
  • Brenden Jefferson -
  • Marcia Jeffries -
  • Jamie Kaplan -
  • John Kassir -
  • Janice Kawaye -
  • Gene Kidwell -
  • Clyde Kusatsu -
  • Joe Lala -
  • Maurice LaMarche -
  • Frederick Lopez -
  • Anna Mathias -
  • Danny Mann -
  • Dawn McMillan -
  • Sidney Miller -
  • Candi Milo -
  • Pat Musick -
  • Humberto Ortiz -
  • Laurel Page -
  • Samantha Paris -
  • Chadwick Pelletier -
  • Stan Phillips -
  • Matt Plendl -
  • Philip Proctor -
  • Lisa Raggio -
  • Don Reed -
  • Alaina Reed Hall -
  • Frank Renzulli -
  • Robbie Rist -
  • Brogan Roche -
  • Eugene Roche -
  • Sean Roche -
  • Roger Rose -
  • John Rubinow -
  • Marco Sanchez -
  • Brandon Scott -
  • Alan Shearman -
  • Stacy Sibley -
  • Susan Silo -
  • Jane Singer -
  • Kath Soucie -
  • Matthew Stephens -
  • David Sterry -
  • Michael Su -
  • Russi Taylor -
  • Dierk Torsek -
  • Jeffrey Tucker -
  • Patricia Van Ingen -
  • Frank Welker -
  • Ian Whitcomb -
  • Reuven Bar Yotam -


  • Marsha Goodman - Casting and Voice Director
  • Sean Roche - Story Editor
  • Lisa Schaffer - Talent Coordinator

Theme song

The opening theme song for the show is "Singt dem grossen Bassa Lieder" from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail with new lyrics, pop instrumentation, and a backbeat.


On June 13, 2006, Shout! Factory and Sony BMG Music Entertainment released the first season on DVD. Due to poor sales, no further seasons were released.

Lions Gate Entertainment has released two of the show's three-part episodes ("Retribution" and "Labyrinth") as full-length direct-to-video films entitled "Carmen's Revenge" & "Time Traveler" respectively. A video of the episode "Timing is Everything" is included with some versions of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Treasures of Knowledge.

On July 22, 2011, Mill Creek Entertainment announced that they had acquired the rights to the series and planned on releasing it in its entirety in 2012. They subsequently released Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? - The Complete series on DVD in Region 1 on February 21, 2012. This 4 disc set contains all 40 episodes of the series. They also released a 10 episode best-of collection the same day.

Critical reception

The show has a user of rating 8.5/10 based on 137 votes. User reviews were positive, with comments such as: "the facts are interesting yet not preechy, and the animation is colorful and good. Overall, this show is great for anyone who wants their child to learn something while trying to figure out the case along the way, or someone who just wants to watch something to remind them of the simpler times", and "one of the greatest shows ever, because it combined action, mystery and a great way for us to learn something about other cultures and other countries, among other things...The animation was very good and fluid, and the cast providing the voices of the characters has among it some of the best actors ever, such as Scott Menville and Jennifer Hale, among many others. Personally, a great show which should have continued for many more years."

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