SCRIPT & AUDIO: Red Shadow [Dec 11, 2019]


This week’s podcast is about the Carmen Sandiego, a criminal mastermind in a long-running series of American video games.

John Millen |

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Voice 1:    The Star Safe Deposit Company in London’s Hatton Garden district has been burgled. The value of diamonds stolen is over twenty million UK pounds. And all that was recorded on the CCTV cameras was a flash of red. The robbery was obviously the work of the Crimson Shadow, one of many nicknames given to the world’s most famous thief. Her real name is Carmen Sandiego. Or is it?

Voice 2:    Carmen Isabella Sandiego is a fictional character in a long-running series of American video games, and her signature look is a long red trench coat and a large, red fedora hat.

Voice 1:     Do you know? Before Carmen turned to a life of crime, she was a brilliant agent for the ACME Detective Agency. One day, out of the blue, she decided to set up her own agency.

Voice 2:    But this wasn’t an agency for solving crimes. It was the very opposite. Carmen set up the Villain’s International League of  Evil, also known as V.I.L.E.

Voice 1:     “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?”, the first Carmen Sandiego video game was released in 1985. And it was an immediate success. To the delight of Carmen’s fans, more games quickly followed. 

Voice 2:    Each Carmen Sandiego game involves tasks and puzzles that the player has to work through in order to track down The Red Shadow and stop the robbery. But Carmen Sandiego is one of the cleverest people on the planet, and she’s always one step ahead of everyone else.

Voice 1:     Carmen Sandiego is too big a character to just appear in video games, and in the mid-1990s, she starred in a popular animated television series. The Earth series earned her many more fans and admirers. The show gave her a background story, including a mystery concerning the identity of her parents.

Voice 2:    In January 2019, Carmen Sandiego was reinvented as the star of a new Netflix animated series. The first season was a hit, and the show has been renewed for a second season.

Voice 1:     In the animated series, Carmen Sandiego is an international thief who steals from the rich to give to the poor. The writers of the series also gave her a new background story. As a baby, Carmen was found abandoned by the side of the road in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina.

Voice 2:    She was raised by members of the V.I.L.E Academy, but when she was old enough to realise that her family’s a gang of criminals, she escaped and set about undoing their evil deeds.

Voice 1:     Despite this change to the original plot, this slightly reinvented Carmen Sandiego works very well in this new series. She is still ‘The Red Shadow’, and a formidable force against anyone who tries to oppose her.