Everything about Cardinal, eh?

Cardinal lands in “Catherine’s” arms

If you thought last week’s episode was hectic, the season finale of Cardinal includes just as much important detail. I will do my best to try and cover it all.

Tonight’s episode—written by Aubrey Nealon and directed by Daniel Grou—opens in the aftermath of Eric’s (Brendan Fletcher) death from last week. With any lead as to Keith’s (Robert Naylor) whereabouts dying with Eric, Keith’s family is preparing for the worst possible news: that he is dead and Cardinal (Billy Campbell) is undergoing an internal department debriefing since their assailant died in police pursuit.

Meanwhile, Delorme (Karine Vanasse) is busy tracing the ties between Tammy Lindstrom’s (Fiona Highet) frequent stays at the motel and Cardinal, and the paperwork reveals the connection. Lise tearfully puts John on notice: she is filing her report listing Cardinal as allegedly guilty of corruption in connection with the botched Corbett case from four years ago. Cardinal denies nothing, stating: “You do what you have to do,” but asks she hold off so that he may first speak with Dorothy Pine (Gail Maurice). Delorme agrees to wait until that afternoon, but still something does not add up. Lise meets with Tammy to get her end of the story and Tammy lets slip that she knows about Cardinal’s wife, Catherine (Deborah Hay). Now why would a cop discuss his wife whilst acting undercover?

Back at Gran’s house, Gran (Amanda Smith) is watching the local news where she learns of Eric’s involvement in the local murders. As there is no love lost between Edie (Allie MacDonald) and Gran, Edie takes care of that loose end.

Cardinal himself is also troubled by a loose end … the last remaining piece of the puzzle: the meds. John stops in to visit with Sergeant Dyson (Kristen Thomson) and spots the inventory list from Eric’s van. Included is an empty shopping bag from a local pharmacy. Curious, Cardinal heads to the mall and drops in at Southridge Pharmacy, inquiring if any pharmaceuticals have gone missing. He instructs the pharmacist (Jeff Clark) to recount the triazolam, and sure enough five tablets are missing. The pharmacist names his employee Edie Soames as the culprit.

Edie, it seems, cannot catch a break. She discovers Keith is missing from the trunk of her car. This precipitates a visit to Cardinal’s home. However that goes wrong too. Instead of Cardinal, she is received by Kelly (Alana Bale). Feigning depression, Edie talks her way into Cardinal’s home and then holds Kelly her prisoner until Cardinal arrives.

Cardinal, armed with probable cause, searches Gran’s house. He locates Gran’s body and calls in to headquarters for a full investigative team. Exiting the property, he hears a clanging from the garage and investigates to find KEITH! Keith is still alive and Cardinal rushes him to the hospital.

This leaves one major loose end in the Wendigo Island case: Edie Soames. Dyson orders Cardinal home, where he finds Edie holding his daughter at gunpoint. His own service revolver in the custody of the department, he must somehow save his daughter. Edie shoots Cardinal twice and threatens to take Kelly in retaliation for losing Eric. But Delorme, needing to speak to Cardinal once more before filing her report, shows up in time to take Edie out.

We cut to the hospital room where Cardinal is recovering and Delorme questions him about Catherine’s involvement with the Corbett case. Turns out, Catherine, suffering a psychotic event, attempted to contact her husband, but inadvertently tipped off Corbett’s man and blew Cardinal’s cover. Cardinal has been taking the fall ever since to protect his wife. When confronted with the truth, John admits his guilt for not being there for his wife when she needed him. Delorme then reports to Musgrave (David Richmond-Peck) and clears Cardinal’s name. Both cases are closed with neat little bows.

The final loose end? Josh “Mr. Geology” (Alden Adair) and Lise. Josh made one more attempt to resuscitate his relationship with Lise, but to no avail. Alas, thank goodness, Lise returns home after the case on Cardinal is closed to find he has moved out.

So that is it folks! Talk about a roller coaster. But, no worries Cardinal fans, we close out this inaugural season with the news that CTV has renewed Cardinal for TWO more seasons! This is fabulous news! Grou has done a magnificent job with this production. Live tweeting last week, I said, “This is not amazing TV ‘for Canada’, this is amazing TV.” I will hold to that. To think that in six episodes Grou and Nealon were able to pull off so many storylines so seamlessly and beautifully filmed is fantastic. The attention to detail, the consistency between takes, and the chemistry between all of the cast members was superb! Particularly the chemistry between Campbell and Vanasse; initially a tenuous partnership, the bond was truly established tonight!  I also have to give a shout out to music composer Todor Kobokov, whose work was so critical for setting the mood for this series! I cannot wait to see what all of you bring in Season 2!

What have you thought of Season 1 of Cardinal? Comment below!

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CTV greenlights two more seasons of Cardinal, Canada’s most-watched Canadian drama

From a media release:

After a breakthrough inaugural season, CTV announced today it has greenlit unprecedented second and third cycles of its hit new dramatic thriller, CARDINAL for broadcast in 2017/18. The order marks the first time CTV has ordered two consecutive seasons of a drama. Produced by Sienna Films and Entertainment One (eOne) in association with CTV, and commissioned for French-language Canadian broadcast by Super Écran, an additional two self-contained cycles, each consisting of six, one-hour episodes, have been ordered. Both series stars, Billy Campbell (THE KILLING) and Karine Vanasse (REVENGE), return for Seasons 2 and 3.

Cycles 2 and 3 will be filmed once again in Sudbury and North Bay and will be based on books in the John Cardinal Mysteries series written by Ontario native and award-winning author Giles Blunt. Season 2 will be shot this coming summer and is inspired by the third novel in the series, Black Fly Season. Set to shoot in Fall 2017, Season 3 is inspired by the 4th and 5thnovels in the series, By the Time You Read This and Crime Machine. As with the first cycle, each additional season will be a self-contained original adaptation inspired by the stories of each novel.

Season 1 has been licensed to BBC in the U.K., C More in Scandinavia and Calle 13 in Spain by eOne, and has several active negotiations underway.

Since its premiere in January, CARDINAL, a critical and ratings success, has averaged 1.2 million viewers, making it the most-watched new Canadian program of the 2016/17 broadcast season and the country’s most-watched original drama. Across all airings and on CTV and Super Écran, more than 3.6 million unique viewers watch episodes of CARDINAL weekly. Viewers looking to catch all of Season 1 thrills and chills can catch full episodes of CARDINALon CTV.ca, CTV GO, CraveTVTM, and on CTV-branded VOD channels.

Cycle 1 of CARDINAL is adapted from the award-winning novel Forty Words for Sorrow, the first of Giles Blunt’s John Cardinal Mysteries, a series of six, best-selling Canadian crime novels. Starring Billy Campbell as Detective John Cardinal and Karine Vanasse as Detective Lise Delorme, Season 1 of the murder mystery was shot in Sudbury, Ont., North Bay, Ont., Atikameksheng Anishnawbek in Northern Ontario, and Toronto.

Cast and crew are set to live tweet throughout tomorrow’s broadcast of CARDINAL, responding to viewer questions live across the country as Season 1 comes to its conclusion. Fans can follow along on Twitter with the handle @Cardinal and hashtag #Cardinal.

In the climactic Season 1 finale of CARDINAL entitled “Catherine”, (available tonight as a CraveTVTM FIRST LOOK, and airing tomorrow at 10 p.m. ET/PTon CTV and CTV GO), Cardinal realizes that Eric wasn’t working alone. Meanwhile, Delorme must decide what to do when she finally finds the answers she was looking for about Cardinal’s dark past.

CARDINAL is produced by Sienna Films and eOne in association with CTV, and commissioned for French-language Canadian broadcast by Super Écran with the financial participation of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, the Canada Media Fund and the Cogeco Production Program, and with the assistance of the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit and the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit.

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Will Cardinal reach “Keith” on time?

The penultimate episode of Cardinal—written by Russ Cochrane, produced by Jessica Daniel and directed by Daniel Grouopens with Keith (Robert Naylor), naked and struggling against his restraints as he creeps along the basement floor. Before I go any further, I have to applaud Naylor who has been filmed naked throughout the majority of the series. Carefully angled shots have been the norm but stillfor an actor as young as he is and having to spend a good deal of time either naked or near naked while shooting and to reveal that vulnerability while shooting is amazing.

This has got to be the best episode thus far. It is chock full of action, but also delivers a great deal of information. AND we still have another episode to go! We still need to find Keith and Edie (Allie Macdonald) needs to get what is coming to her for stabbing Keith. I guess we have to wait and see how that turns out next week. As for this week, here is the rundown.

Josh “Mr Geology” (Alden Adair) confronts Lise (Karine Vanesse) about the birth control he confronted Cardinal (Billy Campbell) with last week.  Lise admits she had no excuse other than she felt pressured due to her transfer. She also admits her guilt and reassures Josh she is still committed to their relationship (WHY, brain is screaming WHY????). Meanwhile, Delorme reports to Musgrave (David Richmond-Peck). It seems Cardinal is exchanging the poker chips for clean money and is not laundering the bills. Delorme believes it is a dead end, but Musgrave thinks this is the proof he needs to convict Cardinal. Musgrave suspects Cardinal is paying someone that he does not wish to be connected to.

And it turns out, Musgrave is right. Cardinal is paying Tammy Lindstrom (Fiona Highet) off. She is extorting money from Cardinal because she knows he somehow tipped off Corbett. But with Delorme’s ongoing investigation of him, Cardinal hands her over his last payment and tells Lindstrom if she walks out of there with that cash, she is never coming back for more. We can read the utter exhaustion on Cardinal. Billy Campbell does carry the weight of the world! We still do not know how John is connected to the Corbett case, but Commanda (Glen Gould) has clued in something is amiss and even he is questioning Cardinal’s integrity as an officer.

Meanwhile, a hunter discovers the body of Woody (Gord Rand) out in the woods. And, just as I suspected last week, the police also find Keith’s missing finger. Now Cardinal and his team know Woody’s death is somehow connected to the serial killer despite the lack of torture on Woody’s body. Their perp is getting sloppy.

Delorme and Cardinal call on Woody’s wife (Trenna Keating) to inform her of  Woody’s untimely demise and they learn he researched Ovation guitars online; the same brand of guitar Keith owns. This necessitates a quick trip to the music store at the same mall Woody was casing before targeting Eric (Brendan Fletcher) and Edie. While questioning the store owner, they spot the same charm bracelet found by Katie Pine’s body on Wendigo Island. Cardinal knows Eric Fraser is his man.

Cue the suspense. From here on out it is a whirlwind of action. Campbell is finally given the green light to let loose and Delorme and Cardinal have heated words. He believes Lise is half-assing her way through Homicide and at home with Josh.

In the meantime, Catherine Cardinal (Deborah Hay) goes missing and Kelly (Alana Bale) and Detective Fox (Eric Hicks) head out in search of her. They locate her by the waterfront. Now, other than tossing in a bit more angst for the audience, I am not sure what this scene really accomplishes to further the plotlines but I love the quiet moments Bale and Hay share here. They captured that moment when a mother realizes her baby has grown up. It was another fabulous use of quiet, and the use of winter itself as a character in the show.

And then there is this amazing, extended take that lasted just under five minutes (yes, I timed it). The scene is shot in a style duplicating that of a storytelling transition piece in role-playing and first-person shooter games. Cardinal and Delorme spot Eric’s van near the doors of an abandoned school. The take begins with Cardinal opening the exterior school door, and the two begin their search of the building. Moving from room to room, up and down staircases, through darkened hallways until Delorme takes a shot to her vest. Cardinal continues the pursuit, retracing his pathway back through the school on Eric’s tail. Gunfire is exchanged several times throughout and, finally, Cardinal emerges from the school to jump into the back of Eric’s fan, still in pursuit. The take ends after four minutes and 55 seconds with both Eric and Cardinal in the moving van. Ultimately, the van crashes and Eric takes his own life rather than submitting to the law. I am sure all of my friends are sick to death of me raving about this one take. The choreography and blocking for that scene alone … I cannot imagine how much time and I would love to know how many takes it took. Absolutely brilliant!

In the closing minutes of this action-packed instalment, Delorme gathers a change of clothes from Cardinal’s home, giving her the opportunity to search Cardinal’s home for more evidence against him and Edie arrives at the school to see Eric placed into a body bag. She returns to Gran’s house, whereupon Keith begs for his life but to no avail. Edie stabs him and shuts the trunk. Roll the credits!

One word: WOW! This is the new benchmark for Canadian television!

We are down to one episode! Will Cardinal and Delorme find Keith on time? What will this new lead on Musgrave’s case deliver on Cardinal? How, or will, Cardinal and Delorme figure out that Edie was working with Eric?

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

The season finale episode of Cardinal airs next Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.

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Cardinal: Poor “Woody”

Before I dig into this episode of Cardinal, I have to ask one question: WHAT THE HELL is up with Delorme (Karine Vanasse)? Seriously!! Who deliberately burns the upholstery in their car with a lit cigarette, even if you do want to vandalize a relationship? Talk about passive aggressive!

OK, I have that off my chest.

We are on Episode 4; halfway through the series and once again our opening shot harkens back to the very first scene of the series. This time, however, the scene is set at night. It is Woody (Gord Rand), our cocksure career thief sitting in the the very same parking lot as John Cardinal (Billy Campbell) did in the first scene of the series. Woody is selecting his next victim based upon their purchases. And who does he spy, but “White Trash Johnny,” a.k.a. Eric (Brendan Fletcher). He follows Eric and Edie (Allie MacDonald) so he can case the neighbourhood and pick the proper time to strike. Now, correct me if I am wrong but earlier in the series, Gran’s (Amanda Smith) house was set in a little subdivision with lots of other houses nearby. Now it appears  her house is isolated amongst the birch trees. I HATE inconsistencies like this!

Anyhow, after much nagging by his wife, Woody agrees to seek respectable employment driving a snow plow for his brother-in-law. But there is a catch, he must give up his wayward habits. However, *Spoiler Alert* if you watched the entire episode, you know Woody never got the chance. Poor Woody.

Meanwhile, Delorme is still set on investigating Cardinal and seeks assistance from Commanda (Glen Gould). Commanda pays a visit to Francis (Lawrence Bayne) to discuss his connection to the poker chips and the money laundering. Francis supplies some of the bills he received from  Cardinal and Commanda, in turn, hands them over to Delorme. She runs the bills and discovers they are fresh from the bank. A dead end.

On the official investigation side of things, Cardinal and Delorme catch a lead. Keith London (Robert Naylor) arrived in Algonquin Bay via the bus depot and they trace his steps to the local bar. The bartender (James Byron) remembers seeing him because Keith got sick after just two beers. Cardinal once again pieces it together and decides it is time to canvass all hospitals, doctor offices, pharmacies and veterinarian clinics; anyone who could potentially carry the meds that made the cocktail in Curry’s toxicology report.

This is where we depart a bit from the novel. It appears writer Aubrey Nealon tucked in a bit extra for the cat and mouse game between Eric and Edie and Cardinal and Delorme. Here, Keith’s parents pay a visit to the department for an interview with Cardinal and Delorme. Sergeant Dyson (Kristen Thomas) arranges a press conference to appeal to the public for further information leading to the whereabouts of Keith London. Cardinal takes a massive  risk and encourages Keith’s mother to speak at the press conference, hoping the killer will get off on the knowledge that he gets to toy with the family of his victim which, in turn, buys the investigators more time.

In the meantime, Eric forces Keith to watch Curry’s snuff film and  Edie worries Keith now knows their secret. Eric suggests that tonight is the night: Edie can leave the little girl behind and once she kills Keith, she can be whoever she wants to be, no one will hurt her ever again. Eric then tosses Keith’s severed finger out into the woods. I have to ask … WHY would you do this? Will his hubris prove a fatal flaw? At any rate, Eric and Edie do happen to catch Cardinal’s news conference and it seems his little trick worked. Edie admits to Keith that he should be happy “because you were going to die tonight.”

On the home-front, Josh (Alden Adair) pays a visit to John; he apparently needs to talk. Knowing Lise was smoking again “Mr. Geology” did some digging around and instead discovered Delorme’s birth control pills hidden in the car. In spite of his initial suspicions that Lise and John are having an affair, he realizes that is not the case. But, in his drunken state he also lets it slip that Delorme’s transfer from Financial is just temporary.

The episode closes with Woody breaking into Gran’s (Amanda Smith) house. He heads to the basement where he makes the grisly discovery. Sadly, he did not arrive soon enough and Edie and Eric catch him in the process of trying to untie Keith. Woody meets his demise at the hands of Eric. I guess he should have listened to his wife.

Remaining questions: Who is in the white Ford SUV following Cardinal? My guess it is Musgrave (David Richmond-Peck), but I honestly don’t know for sure. And, can we officially ditch Josh? After all, he was not in the original text to start with. What is the point of him other than filler to promote the Delorme/Cardinal tension?

This was another strong episode, nicely pieced together despite the many intertwined storylines. The pace is consistent and is slowly mounting as the suspense level grows. Fletcher is entirely convincing as our psychopathic serial killer; I really don’t want to meet him anytime soon after watching this. I know many of you have serious crushes on Billy Campbell, but I am finding myself bored with his character now. I understand this guy has a lot going on in his head but for God’s sake man, emote just a little bit so we know you are human. I just don’t feel Campbell’s full talents were tapped into during this episode. Karine Vanasse on the other hand is fantastic. She is completely believable as a woman with many faces. Brava!

Let me know what you think so far in the comments below.

Cardinal airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.

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