Criminal Minds Wiki

The Canardos are a killer couple who appear in the Season Two episode of Criminal Minds, "The Perfect Storm".


See Amber and Tony Canardo's pages.

Modus Operandi[]

Amber and Tony target Caucasian women in their teens to early twenties living low-risk lifestyles. They would abduct them while they were jogging or in a parking lot by having Tony drive up beside them in a van and ask for directions to catch their attention before Amber would jump out, grab them, and drag them into the van. If possible, they would also take the victims' cars, which would be sold across the state line by Joey Davin, who is unaware of their true activities. The victims are then taken to a cabin located in the woods, where they would be tortured for weeks through various means, including beating, burning, cutting, bludgeoning, and flagellation. Tony would also rape them, with Amber videotaping the act and giving him instructions from behind the camera. Once they apparently become tired with the victim, Amber would always finish her off, via ligature strangulation (though it was manual strangulation when Amber worked with her previous partner). The bodies would be dumped in places where people can easily discover them, and they are left in demeaning positions for shock value; additionally, the only thing the corpses wore were colored plastic film that was wrapped around their pelvises and chests.

They eventually send DVDs of the torture sessions they committed on the victims to the victims' parents as a form of psychological torment. The envelopes that contained the DVDs are always addressed to the mothers, and, in the case of the envelope of the DVD containing Laura Clemensen's torture, it included a fake letter written by Amber that was meant to look like it was written by Laura herself.


The unsubs are an abducting and killing team, initially profiled as consisting of two white males. The dominant one is the mastermind, while the submissive one is a willing participant in their shared crimes. They both share a common delusion, which they have bonded over and feel that it justifies their actions. It is like the perfect storm; once their deviant personalities collide, they are deadly and unstoppable together. They may have met each other during their childhoods or they could be related. The dominant partner makes the submissive feel invincible, which is his reward for doing what he is told. Unfortunately, there are countless opportunities for them to meet, and once they have pulled off their vicious acts, the two accept this as common behavior and they become bored with normal activity. They live only for their new reality and are obsessed with it. There is a fierce loyalty between the two, but the submissive one is usually less intelligent and once caught, he is easier to turn against his partner. The lack of remorse for their victims increases their aggressiveness, and sexual sadists like these unsubs will only stop once they are caught by authorities.

After it is revealed that Tony and Amber are the members of the killing team, they were initially profiled to be the exact opposites of each other: Tony would be the mastermind of the killing team, while Amber was the submissive partner. However, the BAU eventually realized that as an outspoken misogynist, Amber grew to desire the infliction of pain on other young women so they can suffer just like Amber did when she was beaten and raped at an early age. As for Tony, underneath his "tough guy" exterior, he is, in truth, deeply insecure, especially in his relationship with Amber. This is presumably because that under Amber's watch, he becomes intimidated.

Real-Life Comparisons[]

The Canardos seem to have been based on Ian Brady and Myra Hindley - Both teams consisted of a male and a female, had at least one member who was a psychopathic sadist, the males of the group were given away as children by their mothers, while the females were abused, both targeted young women (although Brady and Hindley also targeted boys), used ruses on their victims before forcing them into their vehicles, the males would rape them, would record their murders (though Brady and Hindley only did this once), and killed their victims by strangulation (though Amber may have also killed her boyfriend by other means, while Brady and Hindley also used other means).

The Canardos also seem to have been based on Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris - Both teams consisted of killers and abductors who targeted young Caucasian women, encountered their victims on roadsides and lured them into their vehicles with ruses (though sometimes the Toolbox Killers would simply snatch them up), drove them to secluded locations and proceed to bound, rape, torture, and finally kill them by ligature strangulation (though the Toolbox Killers also stabbed victims), and recorded their murders. Additionally, the scene where they abduct one of their victims by asking her for directions and then pulling her into their van through the side door is similar to how the Toolbox Killers would snatch their victims.

Commentary for the episode reveals that the Canardos were based on Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka - Both teams consisted of serial killers, rapists, abductors who bare resemblances to each other, have similar names, targeted women, lured them in with the ruse of asking for directions, raped them while recording the acts, strangled them, then dumped their naked bodies in convenient locations. Also, both the females pretended to have been abused by their husbands, but video evidence proved otherwise and that they were willing participants in the crimes.

The Canardos also seem to be based on Gerald and Charlene Gallego - Both teams consist of serial killers, rapists, and abductors with a dominant member who was physically and sexually assaulted at home, and a submissive member with a previous criminal record, one member had an unstable home life and a parent in prostitution, both abducted young Caucasian female victims, sexually and physically tortured them, left their remains in open areas after killing them, portrayed a dominant male and submissive female act throughout their relationships (though the Canardos only did this to fool law enforcement), and the female partner sold out the male partner when arrested.

Mutual Victims[]

  • Unspecified date in 2004: Amanda
  • Unspecified dates in 2004 to 2006:
    • Abbey Roxford
    • Madison B. (full surname unrevealed)
  • 2006:
    • August: Bonnie Mossenberg
    • October 1: Laura Clemensen (killed by Amber on October 6)
    • October 5: Frank Clemensen (Laura's father; indirectly; suffered a fatal heart attack after watching the DVD of Laura's torture)
    • October 6: Tiffany Spears (abducted; was rescued the next day)