Tag Archives: Cardinal

Cardinal’s Billy Campbell: “The best role I’ve had in my career”

When asked what his experience has been like playing John Cardinal for four seasons, Billy Campbell hesitates and then states the following:

“This really has been maybe the best job I’ve had in my career, and the best role I’ve had in my career.”

Pretty lofty words for a guy whose career has included roles in such series as The Killing, Once and Again and The 4400. Still, Cardinal really is a series like no other. Based on the books by Giles Blunt, the past three seasons of Cardinal have proved Canada can do Nordic Noir too. And do it darned well.

Returning Monday at 10 p.m. ET on CTV, the final season of Cardinal—tagged Until the Night after Blunt’s sixth and final John Cardinal novel—follows Detective John Cardinal (Campbell) and Detective Lise Delorme (played by Karine Vanasse) as they investigate the deaths of several townsfolk in the sleepy fictional town of Algonquin Bay. Monday’s debut catches up with the pair in the dead of winter as they investigate the disappearance of a legal prosecutor. Cold and snow have been a hallmark of Cardinal—the first season was set in winter, followed by jaunts in the spring and fall—and adds to the feeling of isolation and, perhaps, being unable to escape.

“You’re right about the isolation,” Vanasse says. “The whole environment is supporting that isolation and feeling that you have to be quick when you’re outside. If someone is left outside, yes, he’s going to freeze the death.” Isolation and drawing inward have been a staple of Cardinal and Delorme’s relationship too. Yes, they’re work partners, but that doesn’t mean they’re doing karaoke after shifts. In Season 1, Delorme joined the force to investigate supposed dirty dealings by Cardinal; it can be hard to truly trust someone whose been keeping tabs on you. Add to the fact that, in Monday’s Episode 1, Delorme drops a career bombshell on him … Cardinal even at the best of times can be frustratingly distant.

“That’s Cardinal,” Campbell says simply. “That’s who he is, and he’s a prototypical human male in that respect. He has a very difficult time expressing his feelings and these, I imagine, are such powerful feelings. He just has no framework for even dealing with these feelings inside of himself.”

Veteran actor Currie Graham—most recently seen on The Rookie—plays Neil Cuthbert, the villain stalking Algonquin Bay. According to Bell Media’s press notes, there is a final showdown where Cardinal and Delorme put everything on the line to save an innocent life. (Look for more about that showdown next week in my interview with co-showrunner/director Nathan Morlando.)

With the final six episodes scheduled, and interviews in support of it underway, Cardinal‘s conclusion is sinking in for its co-stars. Vanasse and Campbell admit to claiming key wardrobe as physical souvenirs of their time filming in Sudbury and North Bay, Ontario—she Delorme’s winter gear, he Cardinal’s winter boots—and memories of their time filming.

“The biggest thing that I keep from the show is just the profound happiness of working with this crew,” Vanasse says. “That’s what I’m leaving with. It’s been just wonderful from Day 1 to the end.”

“I get misty thinking about the fact that I won’t be going back to North Bay to do another season of Cardinal with people that I love, and with the characters that I love,” Campbell admits.

Cardinal: Until the Night airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Link: Quebec’s Datsit Sphere buys Kew Media’s ‘Cardinal’ producer Sienna Films

From Manori Ravindran of Variety:

Link: Quebec’s Datsit Sphere buys Kew Media’s ‘Cardinal’ producer Sienna Films
French Canadian producer-distributor Datsit Sphere has made its second acquisition of a Kew Media Group business, swooping in to buy “Cardinal” producer Sienna Films from the embattled production group. Continue reading.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Cardinal: Blackfly Season, Schitt’s Creek and Anne with an E win at Night 2 of Canadian Screen Awards

From a media release:

Canadian singer-songwriter and star of the CTV series JANN, Jann Arden hosted the Canadian Screen Awards: The CTV Gala Honouring Creative Fiction Storytelling tonight at Heritage Court, Exhibition Place in Toronto and streamed on CTV.ca. Tonight’s Gala recognized Canada’s best in creative fiction with CTV’s Cardinal: Blackfly Season winning Best Limited Series or Program and collecting four more awards. Taking home a win for Best Supporting Actor, Drama was R.H. Thomson, and Best Supporting Actress, Drama was won by Geraldine James both for CBC’s Anne with an E. CBC’s Schitt’s Creek received the Canadian Screen Award for Best Supporting or Guest Actor, Comedy for Noah Reid; and Best Supporting or Guest Actress, Comedy went to Emily Hampshire.

Best Supporting Actor, Drama
Anne with an E, CBC, R.H. Thomson

Best Supporting Actress, Drama
Anne with an E, CBC, Geraldine James

Best Guest Performance, Drama Series
Mary Kills People – The Means, Karen Robinson

Best Pre-School Program or Series
Dino Dana, TVO

Best Animated Program or Series
PAW Patrol, TVO

Best Children’s or Youth Fiction Program or Series
Odd Squad, TVO

Best Performance, Children’s or Youth
Odd Squad, TVO, Anna Cathcart

Best Performance, Animation
The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That!, Treehouse TV,  Martin Short

Academy Board of Directors’ Tribute
Carole Vivier

Best Writing, Variety or Sketch Comedy
Baroness von Sketch Show Is that You Karen?, CBC
Carolyn Taylor, Meredith MacNeill, Aurora Browne, Jennifer Whalen, Jennifer Goodhue, Monica Heisey

Best Writing, Children’s or Youth
Odd SquadWhere There’s a Wolf, There’s a Way / New Jacket Required, TVO, Mark De Angelis, Leah Gotcsik

Best Writing, Animation
Corner Gas AnimatedSquatch Your Language, Brent Butt

Best Writing, Drama Program or Limited Series
Cardinal: Blackfly SeasonRed, Sarah Dodd

Best Writing, Drama Series
Bad BloodWho Are You?, City, Michael Konyves

Margaret Collier Award for a Writer’s Exceptional Contribution to Canadian Film and Television
Brad Wright

Golden Screen Award for TV Drama/Comedy
The Indian Detective, CTV

Best Supporting or Guest Actor, Comedy
Schitt’s CreekOpen Mic, The Barbecue, Noah Reid

Best Supporting or Guest Actress, Comedy
Schitt’s CreekThe Olive Branch, The Jazzaguy, Emily Hampshire

Best Sketch Comedy Show & Ensemble Performance
Baroness von Sketch Show, CBC

Best Limited Series or Program
Cardinal: Blackfly Season, CTV

Visit www.academy.ca to view the full list of winners from tonight’s Gala.

 

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Cardinal: Writer Aaron Bala dissects “Mama”

Aaron Bala’s journey into writing television is an interesting one. His first gig after attending Humber College for writing and production was managing the social media account for CTV’s sitcom, Satisfaction.

“It was really awesome,” Bala recalls. “I got to be on set all the time and I got to help them shoot some videos and edit some stuff for all of their web content.” Attending the Bell Media Diverse Screenwriter Program was followed by internships at 19-2 and Saving Hope. The latter put him under the mentorship of Patrick Tarr. So, when Cardinal was greenlit for a third season, Tarr called on Bala to join him. And what an episode for Bala to be credited with. In addition to giving us some background on Mama, it propelled the story towards its conclusion next week.

Here’s what Aaron Bala had to say about “Mama.”

Congratulations on joining the Cardinal team and being a part of the franchise. With it airing not only here in Canada but sold around the world, you must be pretty excited to be a part of it.
Aaron Bala: Oh for sure. I saw the first season and I fell in love with it. And getting to be a part of it is probably one of, if not the greatest writing experience I have ever had in my career so far.

A quick question about the writing credit on ‘Mama.’ The story idea came from Noelle Carbone. And then it says teleplay from yourself and Patrick Tarr. Can you explain how that all worked out?
AB: When I got hired it wasn’t a given that I was going to get to write anything. But, Patrick was outfitting for me to get something and Noelle Carbone was originally supposed to write this episode, which was the preface to the finale. And then what happened was she wrote the outline for it. Hence the story by credit, and then she had to go. And so, it kind of fell into our laps and Patrick was like, ‘Here, you’re up on deck. Let’s go do this.’ It was great to have these two great writers that I got to work off of, Noelle who had the outline. To look at and build off that, then hand off to Patrick to finalize it. And, then hit it out of the park.

This was a big episode. We were getting a little bit more background into Mama and her affect on this family that she has. Was this daunting at all for you? A bit of jitters? 
AB: Oh, for sure. Always. Writing is always daunting. It is never not daunting. But you know, I think the great thing about the show is, it’s six episodes in and we can really build it so that you are left with mysteries with characters that we can start closing those mysteries sooner rather than later. And, as much as it can be terrifying, it’s also really gratifying when you get to write those scenes that explain what the audiences have been wondering for so long. And, especially, when you can write some scenes that are explaining things that audience doesn’t realize it yet that’s going to get explained in the finale, and some of that stuff is super cool too.

One of the scenes that struck me in this episode was the ghost of Catherine, and Cardinal saying, ‘I don’t want to see you anymore.’ I thought that was a beautifully shot scene. 
AB: That is certainly the brilliance of this show, is saying as little as possible and yet saying so much. I remember that scene. That is something Patrick really, really pushed for and just this moment where [Cardinal] has been pushing this case for so long and you know, he finally finds the guy who has been sending the letters. And it is over. But she’s still here. And, I think it is a meditation on what grief is like for all of us and still stuck with seeing people that have passed on and moved on from us. I think it is also potentially in the back of his mind like maybe this case isn’t over yet.

Maybe there is a little more to this. But he is still broken and he doesn’t want to push anymore. You see him get so angry and I think it is great because you have that scene with his daughter just before and see how their grief is manifesting in different ways.

We also got more insight into what Dr. Bell is like and the control he has had over his patients over the years. That verbal chess match back and forth at Dr. Bell’s house … Cardinal walking forward and then he’s walking back. Man, just so well done. 
AB: I think that is probably my favourite scene in the entire episode. I just love it, love it, love it so much. In the books, Dr. Bell was always my favourite character.

I just thought he was so different than the other books had and he was a real cerebral character and I really liked that. It was funny because we left the room one day and were talking about our favourite characters and we all had someone different we really liked. And I thought that was so emblematic of what you want in a writer’s room. So for me, that scene is just so beautifully acted and written. You said, ‘chess match’ and I think that is the perfect word because you come off that scene with the woman that has been talking to Catherine on her computer. You walk out of that scene and you say, ‘Dr Bell did this, he is responsible.’ Then you walk into this Dr. Bell scene and Cardinal is coming with fire and fury. But, Dr. Bell, he almost prepared in a way.

But not in a, ‘I know I am guilty’ but, in a way that he knows that anyone commits suicide that he knows someone is going to come and believe it is him in the end no matter what. He just diffuses all of Cardinal’s beliefs that Dr. Bell is the guilty party and Cardinal leaves that scene and I’m like, ‘Yeah no, Cardinal is chasing ghosts. Dr. Bell didn’t do this, he needs to move on.’ Then you have the whole tag scene with his wife at the end and we kind of just pulled the rug just a little bit out.

I would agree with you about being a favourite character because nothing scarier than a guy who is in your mind and messing around. 
AB: And yeah, we’ve seen a lot of the characters who have guns and we happen to this season as well. I also just like the appeal of this character who may be just as menacing as those other characters but from a totally different way. You know, bullet wounds can heal sometimes, but some of the mental scars don’t.

What have you learned about yourself as a writer? Again, you from Saving Hope to Cardinal now, what have you learned about the whole writing thing and yourself? Have you figured out what your strengths are?
AB: I think I am starting to learn where some of my strengths are, and I am leaning towards structure and themes. I think as the more shows I work on the more that is revealed, and the more you see others do it as well as you, you learn from them. I think what Saving Hope and Cardinal have really pushed me towards is finding the emotional cords of the characters and pushing them emotionally in ways. It is easy for me to say, ‘and then they do this crazy thing at the end.’ But, it is harder for me to say, ‘and then this thing effects them so deeply to their core.’ But, that is what television is. We don’t watch television for what happens. We watch for how it happens to our characters.

Anything you are working on that you can tell me about?
AB: I am on Private Eyes, which I think is on my resumé. Which, you know, has been a great fabulous show. I like staying in the crime space.

Cardinal airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Comments and queries for the week of February 15

Great episode! An interesting story about the role of journalism in society. The show is pleased with the variety of storylines and versatile presentation of the characters of the characters. George Crabtree here is not quite good—he is envious and vindictive. George should not have told Miss Cherry about the book and his hurt feelings, but he did it. Julia and William are represented by excellent professionals, but not enterprising people. And this is good. Talented people are rarely successful in business. It is the realism of the characters I really like, no one is perfect, everyone can be wrong! Very interesting interview with Maureen Jennings. Thank you for your talent, for the opportunity to enjoy Murdoch Mysteries for many. —Lilia

Great episode!! Loved the ambivalence created around Louise Cherry, who I have a very hard time warming up to even when she wasn’t quite so obnoxious. In this era of jaded over entertained consumers it was amazing and humorous to realize how intrigued the public was over every little twist and turn of technology. And poor George once again suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune kudos to Johnny Harris he is an amazingly funny guy. —David

I finished the episode with the feeling that Miss Cherry is going to do a hatchet job on William and Julia’s book—the revenge she was suggesting George seek for the “slight” when he thought he was not being given any credit for his help. —Byron


“…What was it like working with Billy and Karine? … Their scenes together have all this tension, but it’s not tension borne out of traditional conflict. It’s a deeper thing, I think. They’re both a little afraid of each other, or of what they mean to each other.” I really like that Cardinal and Delorme are just work colleagues and do not seem to have any romantic feelings for each other. In so, so many shows, if there are two single people, writers always seem compelled to hook them up which always leads to VERY boring storylines. Delorme and Cardinal have developed a strong friendship which seems so complicated at times. Because they are just friends, as a viewer, one doesn’t know if the friendship may break down because of their behaviour. We certainly know a lot about Cardinal’s personal life and in Season 4 I would love to find out more about Delorme’s life outside of being under threat from the high crime rate in Algonquin Bay! —John

Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? Email greg.david@tv-eh.com or via Twitter @tv_eh.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail