- "You can't let the mistakes of your past determine your future."
- ―Carmen Diaz to Johnny Lawrence[src]
Carmen Diaz is the mother of Miguel Diaz and a minor character in Cobra Kai's first season. She later develops into a supporting protagonist in the show's second and third season. She is portrayed by Vanessa Rubio.
Personality and Early Life
Little is known about Carmen's early life, other than the fact that she is from Ecuador and got married at age eighteen. After she learned that her husband was not who she thought he was, Carmen fled Ecuador with her mother and unborn son, and constantly moved around the United States, most recently from Riverside. At some point, she found employment as a nurse (specifically an X-Ray technician) and worked long shifts to support her family.
Carmen is first seen in the third episode of Cobra Kai, Esqueleto. She comes home late again from work and has dinner with her son and mother. She asks Miguel what costume he wants to wear for the Halloween dance and he says that he wants to go as Deadpool. However, Carmen is unable to afford the price of the costume so she says that she can make him one. She inquires about his injured hand, but her mother brushes off her concern.
Carmen is horrified when Johnny Lawrence brings Miguel home after Kyler and his goons severely beat him at the Halloween dance. She blames Johnny and his Karate for Miguel's assault and forbids him from training with Johnny ever again. Before Miguel leaves for the next school day, she offers to inform the school for protection, but he rejects her offer and insists on continuing his karate training. Carmen forbids Miguel from training and argues with her mother about the training, in which she calls Johnny a "bad influence" and a "loser". She later picks up Miguel from school with the intention to take him to the movies, but Miguel, upset with the bullying at school, asks her to drive them home. After Johnny sees a father and son eating at dinner, he comes to Miguel's apartment and tells Carmen that Miguel is the only person who never gave up on him, and he promises that he won't fail him again. She agrees, knowing how much her son cares for Johnny as a father-figure.
After her son spends a night training at the dojo for the All-Valley Tournament, she invites Johnny over for supper. Carmen voices her concern for Miguel's well-being at the tournament, but Johnny explains that there is no danger, which sets her at ease. When Miguel leaves to talk to Sam, Carmen expresses gratitude that Miguel was able to make good friends despite difficulty due to their constant moving, and tells Johnny of her marriage and fleeing Ecuador. Johnny apologizes and she says that it is unwise to let the past take control of the future. Johnny takes Carmen's words to heart and cleans up his life.
Carmen is later seen attending the All-Valley Karate Tournament, rooting for her son. She panics about her son's health and possible loss, and is confused as to why her mother is visibly relaxed at the tournament.
Carmen appears in Season 2, growing closer to Johnny thanks to him helping Miguel make more friends. Johnny also begins to show a romantic interest in Carmen, and even asks her out in the episode Glory of Love. After dressing up for the date in Pulpo Carmen denies to her mother that she is interested in Johnny, but Rosa sees right through her and laughingly accuses her of being "hot for teacher." Carmen and Johnny go on a successful date in the episode, where Carmen also meets and befriends Amanda and Daniel LaRusso. However, after Miguel is injured horribly in a fight with Robby at the end of the season, a heartbroken Carmen blames Johnny for the accident and tells him she never wants to see him again.
- "What's the matter, Sensei? Can't let your guard down? Or too scared?"
- ―Carmen Diaz to Johnny Lawrence[src]
Carmen returns in season 3. Initially she is cold and angry with Johnny, but after she sees him leaving a large check with the hospital for Miguel's surgery in Now You're Gonna Pay she begins to warm up to him again. Throughout the season Johnny coaches Miguel as he relearns how to walk, which further helps salvage Carmen's feelings. In The Good, The Bad, and The Badass Carmen reconciles with Johnny, admitting that it wasn't really his fault Miguel got injured, and that she is touched by how much he clearly cares for her son. She then kisses Johnny passionately and they vanish into his bedroom. In Feel The Night they wake up in bed together, strongly implying they had sex. Carmen and Johnny talk about what this means for their relationship, but they stop short of a commitment, promising to talk more about it when Carmen gets home from work. After spending the day with Ali Mills and getting closure on his past, Johnny decides to admit to Carmen that he loves her, but instead finds a beaten-up Miguel due to the Cobra Kai students' attack on the LaRusso house.
Carmen appears in the video game Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues as a NPC character in the Cobra Kai side of the story who leaves food for the player to use for healing.