The Canardos are a couple who abducted, raped (in Tony's case), and murdered (in Amber's case) several women in Season Two of Criminal Minds.


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 sent 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 innocent of his 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 only sexual sadists like these unsubs will 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 Comparison

Commentary for the episode reveals that Amber was based on a real case, presumably currently free serial killer Karla Homolka, who committed a series of rapes and homicides alongside her now-incarcerated husband, Paul Bernardo. The Canardos also resemble Bernardo and Homolka in the sense that their surnames sound similar to Bernardo's, and that both of them targeted women, abducting them after luring them in under the pretense of asking for directions, just as Bernardo and Homolka did with their third victim Kristen French. Also, Tony raped them as Bernardo did, and the rapes and strangulation murders were recorded by both pairs. Both pairs also dumped the naked bodies of their victims in places where they would be easy to find. The difference between the Canardos and Bernardo and Homolka is that their roles were swapped, with Amber being more dominant over Tony, while it was vice-versa with Bernardo and Homolka; this seems to be a reference to Bernardo's lawyer's claim that it was Homolka who killed her sister, Mahaffy, and French, while Bernardo's supposed intention was to let the girls live after raping them. The Canardos' habit of sending recordings of their crimes to the families of their victims could have been inspired by French being forced to watch the recording of Mahaffy's rape.

In addition, the Canardos seem to share similarities with David and Catherine Birnie, a killer Australian couple who also targeted women, who were usually abducted alongside the road, then raped by David (but in one case, Catherine had actually directly participated in the rape as well) before being killed by strangulation. They are also similar to Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, a.k.a. The Moors Murderers". Both teams consisted of a male and a female, had at least one member who was a psychopathic sadist, targeted young women (although Brady and Hindley also targeted boys), used ruses on their victims before forcing them into their victims, and killed their victims by strangulation.

Also, a scene in the episode where Amber and Tony abduct a victim by driving alongside her in their van to ask for directions before pulling her into the vehicle through the side door, as well as them taking their victims into a forest to rape, torture, and strangle them to death, is similar to the M.O. of Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris, a.k.a. "The Toolbox Killer".

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)


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