Tag Archives: Karine Vanasse

Cardinal: Writer Shannon Masters breaks down “Lemur”

Alas, poor Lemur. Perhaps the strongest all-around survivalist aside from Mama (Rya Kihlstedt) herself, Lemur (Nick Serino) met and untimely, and messy, end at the hands of Jack (Alex Ozerov). Jack took advantage of Lemur being on the run from the police during a botched ATM robbery and killed his “brother.”

Thursday’s newest instalment of Cardinal, “Lemur,” also opened the door on what horrors Jack endured when he was younger and shaped who he is today. Finally, after very much looking to Cardinal (Billy Campbell) for guidance during the past two cycles of Cardinal, Lise (Karine Vanasse) has officially read her partner the riot act. We spoke to the episode’s writer, Shannon Masters—who has written for Burden of Truth, Mohawk Girls and penned her feature film Empire of Dirt—about Jack, Lise and killing off Lemur.

Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions and congratulations on being part of Cardinal. I love the franchise and am enjoying Season 3 immensely.
Shannon Masters: I’m glad you’re loving watching it as much as we enjoyed making it.

Before we get into specifics about the series and your episode, how did you get into the Cardinal writer’s room in the first place?
SM: Two words: Patrick Tarr. We’ve been friends for well over a decade and I think he got tired of watching me bang my head against the wall trying to break into television so took a chance and gave me a shot in the room. Plus, I’m cheap so didn’t break the budget. Ha ha.

This past week has been all about your work. I watched Empire of Dirt the other day on Super Channel and your latest episode of Burden of Truth was on CBC. You’ve taken over Canadian TV over the last 10 days!
SM: Finally. Seriously though, someone has to pinch me because I still can’t believe I get to do this job.

I imagine working on Cardinal has been very different from Burden of Truth and Mohawk Girls. How have you grown as a writer through the Cardinal experience?
SM: Every writing experience is unique, just as each show and showrunner are unique and all provide the opportunity to evolve in different ways. But my growth as a writer on this show specifically was exponential because Patrick trusted (and expected) me to do the job well. That gave me a new confidence in both my ability and my voice. Plus, there is something to be said for having a showrunner who comes in with a rock-solid vision. Lesson: being prepared and having a plan gives you freedom.

It’s been hard to feel anything but anger at Jack and the way he’s been acting. But in the opening moments of ‘Lemur,’ we discover he’s endured something horrifying in his past, including his relationship with this father, and how that connects him to Mama. How do you tackle writing a character like him?
SM: I believe the key to writing bad guys, whether they have a difficult past or not, is to write them as though they believe in what they’re doing, that they don’t think their actions are wrong or bad. In general, people have no idea what they are truly capable of until they find themselves in extraordinary circumstances and are faced with hard choices. That holds true for fictional characters as well. So trying to get into their heads and seeing things through their eyes often lends those characters an intriguing level of depth.

I’m not sure if you’ve seen the rough cut for ‘Lemur’ yet, but there is a moment before Cardinal goes into the apartment to talk to Roger, the ex-con-turned-accountant. John pauses at the top of the stairs, loosens his neck and takes a deep breath. He wants to keep it together and not wring Roger’s neck. Do you remember if that pause was written in the script, or something Billy ad-libbed?
SM: It’s been such a long time since I wrote the episode so it could have been on the page, an acting choice or something that came from our director. What I do remember is going into Cardinal’s story this episode with the feeling that he knows he’s skidding down the rabbit hole but just cannot stop himself. His cop instincts are too strong and his GUT is telling him that his wife did not kill herself. So while he knows that every moment he pursues these men he’s put away, Roger Felt included, his grip on the situation slips a bit more, but he’s gonna do it all the same. So he’s kind of stealing his nerves here before he dives in yet again.

You killed Lemur! Now there is nothing stopping Jack from taking advantage of Nikki. How could you?!
SM: Lol. Nikki is tougher than she looks.

Lise has taken a fierce stand against Cardinal. It’s been fascinating to watch her gaining confidence and taking command. Has it been fun, as a writer, to explore their relationship in Season 3?
SM: Their relationship is fantastic and it’s been incredibly rewarding to get to flesh it out even further this season. In this episode specifically, Delorme’s ferocity is born from her desire to help Cardinal. She and Cardinal have morphed from colleagues into friends with a mutual deep respect, so she doesn’t want to see him torture himself or torch his career. And she’s also got a job to do. She’s been given a lot more responsibility this season and she takes it very seriously.

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

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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Cardinal: Showrunner Patrick Tarr reviews “Jack”

A few weeks ago, I ran an interview with Patrick Tarr. Our chat happened over a year ago, before he took over showrunning duties for Season 3 of Cardinal.

Now that the third cycle, “By the Time You Read This,” is in full flight, I wanted to reconnect not just to ask about what it was like to work with Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse, but why he decided to change some key plot points from Giles Blunt’s source material and his experiences working with director Daniel Grou.

First of all, congratulations on Season 3 of Cardinal. You captured the look and feel of the series while putting your unique mark on it. Have you watched a broadcast episode and, if so, what were your thoughts?
Patrick Tarr: Thanks! When I was first approached about writing Cardinal, the first season wasn’t even finished. I watched episodes with temp score, no VFX, timecodes on the screen. But you still could see what it was, that there was something special in the characters and their world. A few months later, Noelle Carbone, Shannon Masters, Aaron Bala and I were in the writer’s room when the first season started airing. And suddenly it was a hit, it really seemed to resonate with viewers. So the pressure was on: don’t screw this up. I spent a lot of time in post-production of Season 3, I’ve seen these episodes so, so many times. And we all get to the point where we think and hope it’s good, but who knows? So finally seeing it on the air and getting to see that people are reacting positively is a huge relief. Now onto worrying about screwing up the next one.

You did change a few things from the book. In Crime Machine, Roman and Irena are decapitated. And, Noelle Carbone told me she had originally written it as the couple on a burial platform. Why did you decide to change that?
PT: When you get a couple of seasons into any series, you have to be careful about repeating things. There are things that might not feel repetitive in books but will feel much more so in a series, especially one that you can binge. So when we looked at Ray Northwind in Season 2 and the dismemberment in that terrifying shed of his, it seemed like we needed to find something different for our first victims. But of course, it had to be something visually creepy and filled with dread because it’s Cardinal. These are the kinds of conversations we have. We cycled through a few ideas and there was indeed a burial platform version, which I loved, but then that boat image hit and it felt so right. It also tied into stuff that comes out later in the season, both visually and thematically. It connected some dots for all of us. And the way that rising boat shot was executed by Daniel Grou, Dylan McLeod and the whole crew … I find it so grimly beautiful.

And, also, Mama is male in Crime Machine. Why change the character to female? I’m not complaining. I’m just wondering from a storytelling point of view.
PT: Before Sarah Dodd started writing Season 2, she and I got together at Sienna Films for a couple of days with a pile of the Giles Blunt books and talked about what Seasons 2 and 3 might be. There was some shifting around of material, and we also realized that Ray Northwind from Blackfly Season and ‘Papa’  from Crime Machine bore a few similarities to each other that weren’t glaring in the books, but definitely would be on television. The moment that the idea of ‘Mama’ arose, it was electric. I hadn’t ever seen this character before. That is always the most exciting feeling—I have not seen this before. 

Rya Kihlstedt is fantastic as Mama. Did she audition and, if so, was there something she did in her audition that cemented she was perfect for the role?
PT: Early on one of our casting directors, Jon Comerford, sent an email with a link saying something like, ‘Hi this is Rya Khilstedt and she should be Mama but we need to move fast.’ So we all watched her reel and within five minutes it was ’YES!’ from everyone. It was instant—this was Mama. And then Rya came in with such energy and excitement to play this character. And on set, the relationship that Mama’s surrogate kids (Alex Ozerov, Sophia Lauchlin-Hirt, Nick Serino) had with her and with each other was very sweet. They bonded like a real family. Because their story runs separately to the main action for a while, we shot almost all their scenes in the space of a week or so, like its own little indie film.

The Jack/Mama relationship is an interesting one. Before she laid him down on the bed to strap him, it felt overtly sexual. Was that intentional?
PT: Yes, it was. That scene was pivotal, and it became a real challenge to find the right balance. It moved around in the editing a few times. Originally the scene played later after you’d already spent some time getting to know Mama, Jack, Lemur and Nikki. But making this Jack and Mama scene the very first scene of the episode was a bold choice that was like, ‘OK, here we go, meet the family.’ We had spent two episodes convincing the audience that Jack is a terrifying predator (which he is), only to reveal in the first scene of Episode 3 that he’s completely under someone else’s power.

It’s a big moment of character development for both Mama and Jack as you see that she knows exactly which buttons to press to make Jack do what she wants. Which is different from the way that she manipulates Lemur or Nikki. Even within that scene, she uses love and fear, intimacy and pain to keep Jack under her spell. In the book, Papa’s use of sex as a means of control is much more overt. And even though what we shot was pulled back some, I’m sure a lot of people are going to be uncomfortable watching it. I’m not looking forward to the phone call I’m gonna get from my mother on this one.

When I last spoke to you, we were in North Bay and your cycle hadn’t started filming. What was it like working with Billy and Karine?
PT: They have both internalized these characters so much. 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. And as actors, they are both so driven to do more with less. It’s a lot of work, the way that they use looks and silences to convey emotional moments rather than to find pauses between them. Sometimes Billy would come up and ask if I thought he needed to say a certain line and I learned immediately to trust those instincts. It was always better without the line. And Karine finds these emotional beats within beats. The way that she plays Delorme, every scene is really telling a story about her.

I know Podz from his directing of 19-2. What does he bring to the table as a director and what do you learn from someone like him?
PT: The writer/director relationship on Cardinal is not like on other shows I’ve worked on. Because Daniel directs the entire season, it really had to become a creative partnership. He knows his job and I know mine, but there is a lot of overlap between them. We got good at finding compromises and balancing what we each saw in the story along with what our producers at Sienna and our network saw in it. I trusted his instincts because I loved his work in the first season and I’d seen what he’d done with 19-2. What I really got from watching Daniel work is that his every directorial choice is motivated by emotion. Camera moves are emotional. Location choices, wardrobe, casting—it all comes from that place for him rather than what would look cool. The way he speaks to the actors, they can tell he’s put himself into the hearts of the characters and can engage with them about what they’re feeling. And I think that helps them feel trust and comfort and to find something true in what they’re doing in a scene.

I love that, this season, Lise has taken the lead and Cardinal is reporting to her. It has really refreshed that relationship for me, as a viewer. I’m assuming it was fun for you too.
PT: It was indeed. We kind of expected a bit of pushback on that, as suddenly the guy that the show is named after isn’t in charge anymore. But everyone was so into that new dynamic, and how it allowed the characters to go to places they hadn’t before. Cardinal is on this emotional journey and Delorme is taking up his slack and then some. They’ve been through the shit together and she has proven herself to him over and over. So when he starts to lose focus she’s right there calling him on it the way he called her out for digging into his past in Season 1. It also gave a new dynamic to Delorme’s relationship with Kristen Thompson’s Dyson character. Those two are each bearing silent burdens in this season, each of them trying to support someone through grief while struggling with issues of their own.

What can viewers expect from the rest of this season?
PT: Next week’s episode, written by Shannon Masters, is such a showcase for Karine Vanasse. She’s flipping from action scenes to big dramatic scenes, and she’s just so intense and incredible through all of it. You really feel the disappointment in Delorme that her partner is failing her and leaving her to deal with this huge, awful case alone. But even as she feels that she still sympathizes with him and has the patience for him. Moving into the end of the season, as things start to close in on John Cardinal, Billy Campbell will break your heart. Not to mention, we have Mama and her family headquartered at the remote cabin of Lloyd Kreeger (Tom Jackson). They are a volatile bunch. It’s a complicated season with multiple storylines and points of view, but it all comes together in the end. Things that didn’t seem like they would ever connect end up becoming hugely important. There are visual sequences that still take my breath away after multiple viewings. I really hope people will connect with it and want to come back to see what happens next.

Want to score the ultimate Cardinal contest? Visit CTV.ca to enter for a chance to win an on-set experience by watching the latest episode of Cardinal, Season 3, and visiting CTV.ca to submit your answer to the trivia question.

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

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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Cardinal: Writer Noelle Carbone reviews “Roman & Irena”

After a stellar beginning to this cycle of Cardinal, Thursday’s latest, “Roman & Irena,” vaulted the A-story forward while exploring the life of Noelle Dyson (Kristen Thomson) in a shocking way.

While Cardinal (Billy Campbell) was able to confirm his suspicions that Catherine didn’t commit suicide, Dyson was plunged into an awful situation when a young man walked into a local laundromat with a gun. Despite her best efforts to stop him, he killed himself there. The scene between Dyson and Cardinal, two people wracked with guilt and confusion, was stunning. Meanwhile, the discovery of Roman and Irena’s bodies was just plain gross. And, as it turns out, wasn’t the way it was originally written in the script.

We spoke to the episode’s writer, Noelle Carbone—whose resumé includes co-executive producing credits on Wynonna Earp, Rookie Blue, Coroner and Saving Hope—about this week’s episode.

Congratulations on being part of Season 3 of Cardinal.
Noelle Carbone: Thanks! It’s really exciting to finally get to show people what we made so long ago.

You’ve worked with Patrick Tarr before on Saving Hope. Was that the key to you signing on? How did you become part of the Cardinal franchise?
NC: Patrick was definitely the reason I signed on. We worked really well together on Saving Hope even though our creative instincts differed. And this was his first time out as a showrunner so I really wanted to be there to support him for that. But he also warned me that the tone of the show was much darker than what I’m used to writing. So he sent me a sneak peak of Season 1 and as soon as I saw the pilot I was completely invested in these characters, which sealed the deal. I did have a slight worry coming in that I might not be the best writer to capture the tone of the show. But Patrick seemed to have complete confidence in me. And he’s the boss so … [Laughs.]

What excited you about being on the writing team?
NC: There were so many things I was excited about. One, I’d never adapted anything for TV before so that was a cool prospect. Two, I’d never done a show where the audience spends time outside the point of view of the main characters—like in the bad guys’ POV, or in the victim’s POV—so that interested me.

What is Patrick like as a showrunner?
NC: He’s a wonderful showrunner. And not just because he bought me a hot dog toaster (you heard me) as a wrap gift. He’s that rare balance of super creative but also impeccably organized. He knew what he wanted and knew how to organize the workflow to make the most of our short time together. At one point we had, like, five charts going at once tracking all the different timelines and POVs that were in play. He also made a decision early on that I think the entire success of the season hinges on: combining two of Giles Blunt’s books to make one season. There was a great crime story in one of the books and a great personal story for Cardinal in the other book. So Patrick pitched the producers on combining them, which gave us so much rich material to draw from when we were breaking the season. It gave Cardinal this compelling personal story, which allowed Delorme to take command of the compelling case.

Aubrey Nealon created this world and Sarah Dodd expanded it. What did the Season 3 team do to leave their mark on the franchise?
NC: We tried not to screw it up? (laughs) I think Aubrey—and Russ [Cochrane]— did extraordinary work in Season 1. Aubrey took a lot of risks with pacing and tone and character development. And the audience, myself included, really responded to it.

I thought it was really cool how Sarah and Patrick worked together to make sure the seasons flowed nicely together and that we weren’t repeating or missing anything, or using anything that would be better in Season 2 and vice versa. It’s rare that you get an opportunity to collaborate that much with the person showrunning the season before you. I think they really made the most of it and helped and supported each other.

In terms of Season 3, I think the biggest thing was calibrating the Cardinal and Delorme dynamic. In Season 1 she’s investigating him and that was a great dynamic and super compelling. Then in Season 2 they’re working together and learning to trust and respect each other immensely. So for Season 3, we had to figure out what the third point on that arc was—to find a new and fresh dynamic for them, but stay true to the first two seasons and how far they’ve come individually and as partners. That’s the heart of the show right there. Hopefully, we did it right.

I’ve read all of the John Cardinal books. Now I can ONLY picture Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse in these roles. They are that good. What was it like writing for and working with them?
NC: I remember hearing an anecdote from the House of Cards showrunner, Beau Willimon. He said that any time there was a scene with Robin Wright, she would ask to cut 90 per cent of her lines because she knew she could act the rest. That’s how I feel about Billy and Karine. They can communicate all the emotion and intensity of a scene without ever talking about what they’re feeling. That’s a gift for the writers and the actors. But you have to trust that the audience will go along for the (silent) ride. So as I was writing a scene I was kind of thinking, ‘What’s the least amount of dialogue I can get away with here,’ and pushing myself to make sure that the stage directions were precise—where and when people sit or stand, what they do in their hands, their furtive glances. All of that stuff matters. I know a lot of shows where the stage directions are glazed over and rarely followed because all that matters is the talking. And here it matters so much, so you have to write it like it matters. That was a lot of fun as a writer. But also kind of scary when you’re first getting used to it. But really rewarding. There’s a scene in Episode 2 that I’m particularly proud of. It’s between Cardinal and Dyson at a café and it’s a great example of what I’m talking about. And of course, any scene between Cardinal and Delorme is gonna give you that.

I love that the writing and direction from Podz allows for scenes to breathe. There is no rush. That’s so rare on conventional television and I applaud CTV for allowing something like that to exist. It must be so rewarding to see the scenes acted out that way.
NC: I also applaud CTV for allowing something like this to exist! I wish we could have more of this on our screens. But I understand why that’s a scary proposition for a broadcaster. The way audiences watch TV has changed so much—people are generally doing other things while they watch a show. And a show that has minimal dialogue, and one where every silent beat and every look and every breath counts, you can’t fold your laundry or be on Tinder (that’s still a thing, right?) while you’re watching a show like that. You have to just watch otherwise you miss so much. It’s asking a lot more of an audience. But the gamble seems to have paid off for CTV and I’m really happy about that. I know a lot of Canadian writers are really happy about that.

Do you get chills when actors and actresses say the words you have written on the page?
NC: Sometimes. Like sometimes you think you know how a scene is gonna play out and then when the actors do it, they elevate it to such a height that you can’t even believe it’s the same scene you wrote. That’s an amazing feeling and really makes you realize how collaborative this job is. And yes, I’m always completely in awe when something I’ve written makes it on screen. That feeling never goes away. It’s the coolest thing in the world.

Let’s get into this episode, ‘Roman and Irena.’ You had the luxury of writing a pretty gruesome scene: the murder victims being cut from the boat seat and the autopsy in Toronto. It was pretty gross; well done!
NC: The funny thing is, the ‘discovering the bodies’ scene I wrote was completely different than what ended up in the show. But maybe equally as gruesome? You’ll have to ask Patrick. The original idea was that the victims were discovered on a burial platform in the woods, pecked to pieces by turkey vultures. Like a sky burial ritual. For story reasons—and I think production reasons—Patrick ended up changing it. When he sent me the cut of the new scene, and those bodies come up from the lake, I literally yelled ‘HOLY S**T!’ at my computer and then immediately sent Patrick a string of alternating vomit and thumbs up emojis. It was just a gorgeous sequence. But I’m with you, Greg, totally gross at the same time.

How do you approach writing a limited-run series of six episodes as opposed to a 10- or more episode season? IS there a different approach?
NC: Write faster! Seriously though, I think a story expands or contracts to fit the amount of time you have to tell it. Plus with six you have the ability to go, ‘OK. This is just a three-act structure, times two.’ And for some reason that makes writers feel better even though half of us don’t actually know what that means or how that’s helpful. With a super serialized show like Cardinal, and especially when you’re using source material, I think six is a good number because you have to keep the details of every episode in your head at all times while you’re breaking—in case you get to Episode 5 and realize things are moving too slowly and you have too much story left to tell. Or you realize nothing happens until Episode 3 so you have to pull up a bunch of story elements and re-break everything. Or you realize that some small detail in Episode 4 actually makes Episode 3 much better. I personally am not smart enough to keep 10 episodes in my head. I barely had enough brain capacity to do that with six.

The character of Noelle Dyson has gradually expanded in the last two seasons. Now she really has her own story, concerning the death of her sister and then Perry at the laundromat. Why was that decision made, to include more personal stories of the supporting characters?
NC: It’s impossible to tell everyone’s story at once, especially when you’re only doing six episodes. With those first six (Season 1) episodes you really have to focus your energy on getting to know your two leads and cementing their dynamic. You need the audience to fall in love with Cardinal and Delorme otherwise you’re sunk. Once you get into later seasons—like if the whole series was one season, we’d only be on episodes 13-19 by now—there’s room to dig deeper with the rest of the ensemble. And Dyson is such an integral part of the team that she seemed like an obvious choice for more personal stories.

The parallels between she and John are chilling. Neither of them want to go home. The scene between them in the restaurant was so sad.
NC: That’s one of my favourite scenes I’ve ever written. And Billy and Kristen made it even much better than I imagined. Apparently, the napkin ripping was a HUGE pain in the ass for the post production people but I was looking for something Cardinal could be doing with his hands since I knew he wouldn’t be doing much talking. He doesn’t want to talk about his grief so he doesn’t expect her to talk about hers. All they have to offer each other is proximity. I thought they played it beautifully.

By the end of the episode, you unveil Mama. Who is she??
NC: Let’s just say that everything you need to know about that woman is in her name.

What have you learned, as a writer or otherwise, from working on Cardinal?
NC: That less is more. Don’t overwrite. Trust your actors and director to convey and deliver what’s left unsaid — and trust your audience to pick up on the nuances. And if they don’t, have enough murdery bits to keep them invested and entertained.

Want to score the ultimate Cardinal contest? Visit CTV.ca to enter for a chance to win an on-set experience by watching the latest episode of Cardinal, Season 3, and visiting CTV.ca to submit your answer to the trivia question.

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

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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Cardinal: New showrunner Patrick Tarr previews Season 3 of CTV’s miniseries

For Season 3 of Cardinal, Patrick Tarr had a, perhaps, unenviable task ahead of him. After Aubrey Nealon created the world of John Cardinal for TV from that made by author Giles Blunt, Sarah Dodd followed up with the second season. Now Tarr unveils his interpretation of the source material—and Algonquin Bay—in Cardinal.

Returning Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on CTV, Tarr has done a magnificent job of furthering Blunt’s vision while picking up the ball from Nealon and Dodd and running with it. Combining the novels By the Time You Read This and Crime Machine, viewers rejoin John Cardinal (Billy Campbell) and Lise Delorme (Karine Vanasse) moments after the Season 2 finale, when Cardinal arrived at the scene of a suicide to discover it was his wife, Catherine (Deborah Hay), who was dead. Reeling from her death, Cardinal nonetheless plunges back into work when a double murder occurs, shattering the quiet of Algonquin Bay in autumn.

We spoke to Tarr, who most recently served as a writer and executive producer on Saving Hope, during a set visit to Cardinal in North Bay, Ont., last year.

How did you come on board? Did the fact that you’re already in the Bell Media family and your relationship with them via Saving Hope have anything to do with it? 
Patrick Tarr: I think that helps a lot, yeah, that they knew my work from three seasons of Saving Hope. I’m someone who hasn’t done this job before. I think they were looking for some fresh eyes. Sarah [Dodd] was in the same situation, someone who worked on Motive and is about at the level where she would do this.

So, I think they were looking at both of us, and then there was the realization, well rather than have one person do two seasons, we could two different people do a season. I think it gives it its own real flavour. Because they are technically miniseries, they have different writing styles, where each marry to the season that we’re in. So Cycle 1 is very much about the winter, and that frosty inhospitable landscape. Two is about summer, and about the bugs, and it’s beautiful, but there’s decay and there’s things behind it. And then fall, I have. It’s really woven into what the season’s about and the theme of the season.

I was finishing up Saving Hope. Sarah and I got together before we started down this road, and we had both read all of the books, and just talked about what her season was going to be, and what my season was going to be. So from very early on, we were collaborating on what these two seasons would be and she read everything of mine, and I read everything of hers. I was thrilled that they thought of me, and took a chance on me. This is great.

Did you look at Season 1, and what director Podz and Aubrey had done, and then say, ‘I want to keep the flavour of what they did?’ Or do you try and make it your own, within the confines of the books?
PT: Both. I mean, I’ve watched those Season 1 episodes probably five or six times each. And sometimes when I’m writing, I like to have just images in the … so I’ll just put it on with the volume down and you see these people in this town … it inspires a little bit. But at the same time, I’m adapting different material, and it takes place at a different time. Who your villains are really define the flavour of your season so much too. So there’s a big element of that. It’s taking I think, largely just the great character work, and the great relationship between Cardinal and Delorme. I think that’s the spine really. And to a certain extent, the character of the town, and Dyson, and all of these people that you keep. But then you bring in all of these other elements, and it’s like chemistry. Well, how does it react with that?

One of the things that’s been really interesting about the first season, and going back to the books again, is that so much of the story is in Cardinal’s head.
PT: You let the images tell the story.

Has that been a bit of a change for you? Saving Hope, where there’s so much dialogue.
PT: It’s night and day. It’s a wonderful change. You’re about to write a line and then you’re like, ‘No, I don’t need that line. I don’t need that line either.’ It’s a show where it’s like the writing is the tip of the iceberg, and there’s so much underneath in both of those actors. And in the way that the stylistic template for the show that [director] Daniel [Grou] set up, that you can feel things, and you don’t need to spell them out. Because Saving Hope is more of a soap, and so people talk, and they say what they’re thinking, and that’s a really fun way. There’s a lot of humour in that show. It’s a fun one to write. But it’s about doing the opposite thing. It’s about less, less, less, less, all the time less.

Who did you have in the writer’s room beside yourself?
PT: Noelle Carbone from Saving Hope. A writer named Shannon Masters, who is an old, old friend of mine from the Canadian Film Centre who wrote was on Mohawk Girls, and she wrote a movie called Empire of Dirt. And Aaron Bala, who also came over from Saving Hope. We wrote an episode of that together. And then Matt Doyle is helping me with some of the revisions.

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

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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Exclusive: Season 3 of CTV’s Cardinal returns on January 24

A new year. A new season of Cardinal.

CTV announced that Season 3 of Cardinal—starring Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse—returns Thursday, Jan. 24, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Cardinal: By the Time You Read This picks up following the shocking finale of Blackfly Season when John Cardinal (Campbell) arrived at the scene of a suicide and discovered the body was that of his wife, Catherine (Deborah Hay).

CTV says the latest six-episode instalment begins in autumn in Algonquin Bay. And while the leaves and changing, the fall colours can’t mask a shocking double murder. Cardinal and Lise Delorme (Vanasse) investigate and come dangerously close to a doomsday cult in the process. Returning characters include Det. Jerry Commanda (Glen Gould), Staff Sgt. Noelle Dyson (Kristen Thomson), Dr. Frederick Bell (Stephen Ouimette) and Kelly Cardinal (Alanna Bale). New faces to the story are Sharlene “Mama” Winston (Rya Kihlstedt), Randall Wishart (Aaron Ashmore), Jack (Alex Ozerov), Nikki (Sophia Lauchlin), Lemur (Nick Serino), Lloyd Kreeger (Tom Jackson), Wendy Doucette (Jennifer Podemski), Susan Bell (Susan Coyne) and Sam Doucette (Devery Jacobs).

Patrick Tarr is the head writer and executive producer on Cardinal alongside co-executive producer Noelle Carbone and story editors Shannon Masters and Aaron Bala. Executive producer Daniel Grou a.k.a. Podz directed all six episodes.

As if that isn’t all great news, Cardinal has been renewed for a fourth season with production beginning on six more instalments in Toronto and North Bay, Ont. in January.

eTalk will give viewers an exclusive peek at the making of Cardinal with eTalk Presents: Investigating Cardinal; it will be broadcast every Friday following the Thursday episode. If you missed Seasons 1 and 2 of Cardinal, you can catch up via CTV.ca, the CTV app, Crave and on demand.

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

How excited are you about the return of Cardinal? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Bell Media.

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