Carmen Sandiego

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Carmen Sandiego TV Poster Image
 Parents recommendPopular with kids
Globe-trotting thief's action-packed origin story.

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 35 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

Series incorporates geographical knowledge into plot in organic ways. In each new place, Carmen and her team arm themselves with information about topography, climate, people, cuisine, economy, relative location, and culture to move around easily and execute their mission.

Positive Messages

Even though Carmen is labeled a thief, her intentions are altruistic and she works for the common good, which is implied forgivable in her case. She steals only so that V.I.L.E. operatives can't, and she always returns the items to their rightful owners. Good and evil generally are easy to discern, but some characters' identities remain a mystery for several episodes at least. In contradiction to her good intentions, V.I.L.E. thieves put their mission above everything else, including respect for the lives of others.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Carmen is smart, resourceful, determined to succeed on every mission, not for her own gain but to disrupt V.I.L.E.'s plans. Although she was trained as a thief, when faced with choice between right and wrong, she chose right and never looked back. She never shows defeat, always believes there's a way out of any predicament. She and her team use knowledge about different locations and cultures to their advantage to maintain safety and peace in each new place. Her teammates are savvy in different ways, but each is of great value to her work. Of course, none of this changes the fact that she does break laws to accomplish her goals, but it lends some justification to her intentions.

Violence & Scariness

Some hand-to-hand exchanges, including punching, kicking, use of weapons like staffs and electromagnetic pulse wands. In a few cases, it's suggested that the V.I.L.E. operatives will kill witnesses to protect their own identities. Accidents that would cause serious injury or death in real life -- such as falling from atop a building or jumping from a speeding truck -- don't have any ill effects for the characters. Some peril for Carmen and her friends in high-stakes missions.

Sexy Stuff

Inspired by the game villain of the same name and a previous TV series called Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Carmen Sandiego is a new take on the story of the infamous thief of 1990s games and TV fame. In this version, Carmen's still a thief, but she's more of a Robin Hood-style character, lifting items of historical and cultural value to prevent them being taken by V.I.L.E. operatives, then returning them to their rightful owners. This makes it easier to think of her as a hero and overlook how she goes about doing her job. Other than her thieving, Carmen is a fantastic role model: intelligent, altruistic, and willing to challenge authority to do the right thing. Expect some peril and many action sequences that show characters fighting, but no injuries to speak of. The show incorporates solid geographical and cultural information into its plot in creative ways and shows the characters using that knowledge to foil the bad guys' schemes.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 7-year-old Written byMeg-atron January 18, 2019

Educational, entertaining and she's a great female role model!

This puts a great spin on a classic. I grew up playing the games as a kid and I've enjoyed the various versions over the years. This is by far the best I... Continue reading
Adult Written byNeversideFaerie January 28, 2019

Sleek spy-fi/superhero inspired cartoon

In terms of violence this show is pretty mild. There's some bloodless, not-too-brutal fight scenes, sometimes involving sharp objects, such as claws and pa... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bycookieboogie October 3, 2019

Carmen Sandiego Is Awesome!

I think Carmen Sandiego is awesome for pretty much all age groups, though younger ones may not understand it. It is about a detective, an evil organization, and... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old April 15, 2019

AAAAH! I loved this!!!! (I watched all of it, and I want more!)

OK, so, Carmen Sandiego is a reboot (A GREAT ONE, NOT LIKE THOSE GARBAGE ONES!!!!!) of "Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?"!
And the main characte... Continue reading

What's the story?

CARMEN SANDIEGO is the origin story of the notorious and mysterious titular globe-trotting thief who made her debut as a video game and TV series character in the early 1990s. In this imagining, Carmen's (voiced by Gina Rodriguez) story begins when she's an orphan baby raised among apprentice thieves on a remote island. When she comes of age, she trains alongside her classmates Tigress, Crackle, Le Chevre, and El Topo, excelling in ways that indicate a promising future as an operative. But when she learns the truth about the V.I.L.E. organization's mission -- and its real name (Villains' International League of Evil) -- Carmen escapes and sets about thwarting their nefarious capers around the world. Together with her hacker friend, Player (Finn Wolfhard), and her teammates, Zack and Ivy, Carmen races to safeguard the world's treasures from the clutches of V.I.L.E. agents and herself from the planet's most determined Interpol inspector.

Is it any good?

Everybody's favorite thief returns in grand fashion in this exhilarating series with a crack female lead and her arsenal of gadgets, perception, and ... geography? Carmen Sandiego refreshes the best of the former iterations of the red-clad character: She's smart, she's crafty, and she loves the thrill of the chase and the feel of clutching quarry from the hands of her adversaries. What's changed most is how much more we know about her now, and that just makes her all the more endearing. Instead of stealing artifacts for the V.I.L.E. organization, Carmen is the world's best defense against the group's schemes, and she's in league with detectives Zack and Ivy now instead of competing with them.

Carmen Sandiego never was a particularly threatening baddie, but the fact that she's adept at breaking and entering and an accomplished thief made her the obvious antagonist of her story. That's different now, and it's much more fun to root for her than against her. Also surprisingly fun is how this show incorporates solid geography lessons into each episode, introducing kids to basic facts about each new location on Carmen's travel list. Not only is this content good for viewers' sense of different places and cultures, it's also a reminder that knowledge can be an effective tool against the world's ills and one's enemies.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how heroism is defined. Can a hero be someone who does something wrong for the right reason? Should a person's intent be considered when judging his or her actions? In what ways is Carmen Sandiego a hero? Can it be argued that she isn't one?

  • What character strengths do you see in Carmen? How does she display courage and determination? In what ways do Player's technological skills help the team? To what degree does their insistence on doing the right thing make them even more formidable?


  • Carmen had to stand up to her friends in order to do the right thing. Is that more difficult to do than defying enemies? Have you ever been in a situation that put you at odds with your friends? How do you defend yourself against peer pressure and bullying?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love classic characters

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate