Tag Archives: Deborah Hay

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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Cardinal’s serial killers “Edie and Eric”

Last week, Kelly Cardinal (Alanna Bale) suggested her father, John (Billy Campbell) take up running again. This is the scene we open this week’s episode of Cardinal with: him running. The chase has begun. Cardinal knows the killer will strike again and he feels he is in a race against time. Since the show is holding true to the book, there is likely a good deal of back and forth from here until the end. This was the issue I had with Forty Words for Sorrow. We know very early who the villains are and it is now just a race to the finish. As a novel, this format failed miserably for me. However, on screen, this formula works well, building suspense when we as the viewer know something the protagonist(s) doesn’t. As it stands right now, we have three principle storylines and two subplots, so I will attack each one separately instead of bouncing all over the place.

First, we have the story of Edie (Allie MacDonald) and Eric (Brendan Fletcher), who have selected their latest victim, Keith London (Robert Naylor). He is strapped, naked, to a chair, frequently drugged, and routinely degraded.

We also learn a good deal of backstory about Edie. She is emotionally hampered by her physical appearance and, left to care for an ailing grandmother, she is so entirely desperate for attention that the warped attentions of Eric act as a panacea for her woes. Eric has effectively seduced Edie, and in so doing has created his own little twisted minion, one that is eager to prove her devotion. Even though Eric is ultimately in control of Edie, knowing exactly which buttons he needs to push, Eric goes to the trouble of informing Keith he is deferring to Edie. She is in control and Eric is just there to nudge her along. Edie does so in her own time. With the removal of Keith’s finger, Edie demonstrates that she is not just a “dumb animal” and she made Keith bleed.

The scenes between Fletcher and Naylor were exquisitely performed. The fear is palpable. And can I just say “OW”? That duct tape over Naylor’s mouth HAD to hurt! The chemistry here is really terrific! Even the predatory sexual tension in this relationship despite the degradation is terrifyingly seductive.

I do have a question however, and I had the same one while reading  Forty Words. If pharmaceuticals and the knowledge of them is so easy for Edie to procure from the pharmacy where she works, why did Edie never self-medicate her eczema? Why, when she has felt so insecure and angry with respect to her outward physical appearance did she not use her position to remedy herself? What happened that made Edie so incapable of acting on behalf of herself, but so willing to act in exchange for the gratification she seeks from Eric?

Next, we have Delorme (Karine Vanesse) investigating Cardinal on behalf of Corporal Musgrave (David Richmond-Peck). We learn in this episode that Musgrave and Cardinal both worked Corbett’s crime ring raid in Toronto together. According to Musgrave, the raid “went bad” and he lays the blame squarely on Cardinal. Corbett and his crew were tipped off and instead of locating the drugs there was just “a half pound of C4 rigged to a wire there” waiting for them. As a result of the “tip off,” another officer was killed in the explosion. Musgrave is convinced Cardinal warned Corbet and his gang of the raid. I think Delorme’s spidey sense was tingling. She knows something is amiss. Delorme points out to Musgrave that he has no cause. The case was closed, Cardinal was cleared and therefore Musgrave has no reason to investigate Cardinal. So why is he pushing so hard to nail Cardinal? You know that line from Hamlet, “The lady doth protest too much methinks”? Sub in Musgrave for Queen Gertrude here.

The last of the three story-lines revolves around Cardinal and Delorme’s investigation into the serial murders. The department catches a break on a possible new victim after the Major Crimes Dept. from Toronto Police called. The parents of Keith London notified Toronto Police that their son did not arrive as scheduled.  Police know Keith passed through Algonquin Bay, but their trace of Keith’s phone revealed the signal died further east. Cardinal deduces the killer places the cellphones of his victims on the trains as they pass through town. Eventually, the phone goes dead, but long after leaving Algonquin Bay. However, these trains all lead back to Algonquin Bay. Meanwhile, the encrypted texts from Todd Curry’s laptop come back from forensics and Cardinal and Delorme run down the lead. Turns out Curry was lured to town by a man pretending to be a woman, but this was not their killer.

Finally our subplots: John and Catherine (Deborah Hay), and Lise and “Mr Geology” Josh (Alden Aldair). John visits his wife in the hospital again, but this time it is work related. As an artist, with knowledge of the mechanics involved in photography, John questions Catherine about the process of image processing. Despite her condition, Catherine realizes Cardinal is “working” and her resentment is palpable. Anyone else notice these two never appear in a shot together? In fact, they are positioned in opposition to each other and Catherine’s body is even turned away from her husband … indicative of the gulf that exists between them.

Also, it seems Lise is keeping a few secrets of her own. She is hiding the fact she is smoking again AND, she taking birth control behind Josh’s back. Yet it is as though she wants Josh to catch her, smoking in their car, leaving her pills in the glove compartment. Why does she want him to discover her secrets? IS she looking for an out from the relationship?

Questions remaining: What is Corporal Commanda (Glen Gould) doing investigating the hit and run of a horse? And why did Francis (Lawrence Bayne) hit a horse and leave it to die at the side of the road in the first place?

What are your thoughts on this episode? Let me know in the comments below.

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

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Cardinal: Introducing “John Cardinal”

At last, the long-anticipated Cardinal has arrived. The screenplay adapted by Aubrey Nealon (Orphan Black, Saving Hope), from the Giles Blunt bestseller and award-winning novel Forty Words for Sorrow, nicely captures the aura of the novel. This has the feel of a full-length feature film rather than a TV series. CTV knows it is competing with other cable productions, they took a chance, and they delivered with Cardinal; a captivating, gritty experience for its viewers.

Filmed in Sudbury, Ont., Cardinal is set during a Canadian winter, albeit without the grimy, roadside snow banks. We are frequently reminded of the deafening quiet quality of a snowy Canadian winter, and in winter, we pause, with shortened days, and colder nights.  The pace we set is slower, and Cardinal does that too. And it broods, which is, of course, suitable for a story about a serial killer, but it is also characteristic of our eponymous lead character. There is a great deal of internal dialogue provided by both the setting and Billy Campbell, most recently of Helix. But there are no gaps to fill in dialogue despite the many prolonged silences.

The cold open features the discovery of a body and a case which sets off an investigation that will span six episodes. A local fisherman makes the grisly discovery of an ice-encased body of a child at the bottom of an abandoned mine shaft.

Then we are introduced to Detective John Cardinal as he conducts surveillance at the local big box electronics store. His new partner Lise Delorme (Karine Vanasse) steps in to notify him that Sergeant Noelle Dyson (Kristen Thomson) wants Cardinal back in Homicide. Without yet knowing the identity of the child, Dyson suspects this may be the same case that nearly destroyed Cardinal’s career.

We head out to the crime scene in the middle of a frozen lake. The wide shot aerial footage here is really breathtaking. I am from the extreme southwestern tip of Ontario and I am not a huge fan of winter. I have never actually seen a vehicle drive on ice, or even ice huts out on a lake. It just doesn’t get that cold here for that long. I’m sure viewers not familiar with this type of cold were equally captivated by these scenes. Those who are familiar, will no doubt very quickly locate themselves into the story. At any rate, once Cardinal arrives on the scene he establishes his authority. He efficiently demotes the first to scene OPP foot patrol, and literally “de-boots” him for contaminating the crime scene.

The crane lifts the remains from the shaft; a lingering shot of the body, showing signs of animal activity, and we cannot turn our gaze. Special effects do not spare on the gore factor here. After forensics does a preliminary examination, of which we are thankfully spared, the Katie Pine file is reclassified from missing person to murder. With the discovery of her body, Cardinal’s early suspicions of abduction and murder are confirmed. We are told by Forensics there is evidence of ligature marks on her wrists and legs, and abrasions to her remaining eye socket. Katie Pine was forcibly restrained and the killer made use of a speculum to force her eyes open. The killer made her watch him.

Not trusting his new partner, Cardinal assigns Delorme all of his outstanding B&E cases to follow up on. Will these cases provide any clues relevant to the Katie Pine case? I think it is safe to assume so, otherwise, why write them in? Additionally, Delorme may have reason to distrust Cardinal; seems the detective has a little stash of something. Drugs? Intel? Cardinal makes a drop in the dead of night to “Francis” (Lawrence Bayne) for cash.

Delorme begins to earn Cardinal’s respect, albeit begrudgingly, and he shares his theory of a repeat killer. Cardinal believes the drowning of another child, Billy LaBelle, labelled accidental, was anything but. Lise, and it turns out the entire department, are all highly sceptical of Cardinal’s theory. However, after a thorough survey of unsolved missing person cases spanning the last two years, Cardinal’s theory pans out with the discovery of another body in an abandoned home, that of missing person Todd Curry. This confirmation sets us up for the remaining episodes. If there is a serial killer, there must be another victim!

In the closing scenes, Delorme asks the question that founds a secondary storyline: “Did he?” Did John Cardinal take money in exchange for information from Sudbury crime lord Kyle Corbett? We know his artistic wife, Catherine (Deborah Day, most recently from a guest appearance on CBC’s Four in the Morning) has been institutionalised for depression, but what other burdens are torturing Cardinal? Has he compromised himself? Delorme, it seems, is under the direction of RCMP Corporal Musgrave (David Richmond Peck) along with Detective Hansen (Kevin Louis) to investigate Cardinal.

So far, Cardinal is following the novel Forty Words for Sorrow, but thankfully, leaving out the inherent weaknesses I found when I read it. I found the book predictable. I will tell you why later should future episodes follow the same pattern. However, if Episode 1 is any indication, this may be the rare case that the book translates better to film than it appeared in the text.

Billy Campbell was the perfect choice for the role of John Cardinal. He captures that quiet brooding that this character emotes. Campbell must demonstrate this early on. In the scene in the squad room he shares with Delorme and McLeod, Cardinal hears the details of Katie Pines forensic report. As the camera slowly closes in, we can read everything Cardinal/Campbell is thinking in this long silence. Any dialogue in this scene would have been redundant; Campbell’s eyes told us everything we needed to know.

A couple noteworthy changes, from the original text: Delorme is not from Special Investigations, but rather transfers from the Financial Crimes Unit and Sergeant Adonis Dyson has been re-imagined as Sergent Noelle Dyson. We’ll wait to see how or if these changes play out in some significant way in upcoming episodes.

A very solid start to what I would call an atmospheric crime drama, and I look forward to how this will all play out! Other than Fargo the movie and the series, and the first season of Campbell’s earlier series Helix, I don’t think the use of winter has been used quite so effectively to drive a storyline. The Canadian winter is a character unto itself.

What did you think of this episode? Let me know in the comments below.

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

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