Tag Archives: Patrick Tarr

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.


Production Underway on the Third Cycle of CTV and Super Écran’s Hit Serialized Drama CARDINAL

From a media release:

CTV and Super Écran, alongside producers Sienna Films and Entertainment One (eOne), announced today that production is underway on the third cycle of hit original drama CARDINAL, starring Golden Globe® nominee Billy Campbell (THE KILLING) and the multiple Genie Award-winning actress Karine Vanasse (REVENGE). Inspired by By the Time You Read This and Crime Machine, the fourth and fifth novels in the John Cardinal Mysteries series written by Ontario native and award-winning author Giles Blunt, the third season of the networks’ serialized drama is shooting six, hour-long episodes in North Bay, Ont. and Toronto.

The first season of CARDINAL was the #1 new Canadian drama of the 2016/17 broadcast season, averaging 1.1 million total viewers weekly, and received an unprecedented two-cycle renewal. eOne has successfully licensed the series internationally with the first season of CARDINAL having aired in U.S., U.K., France, Spain, and Scandinavia, among other territories. The second season of CARDINAL recently wrapped production and is slated to premiere as part of CTV and Super Écran’s 2017/18 season.

In the third season, entitled CARDINAL: BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS, the autumn season starts to shroud Algonquin Bay, but the glorious fall colours can’t hide the town’s most gruesome double murder for long. As Cardinal and Delorme’s detective work brings them precariously close to a doomsday cult with nothing to lose, Cardinal launches his own investigation into a case far more personal and dangerous.

Joining Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse in CARDINAL: BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS is an all-star supporting cast that includes Rya Kihlstedt (RAY DONOVAN), as Sharlene ‘Mama’ Winston; Aaron Ashmore (KILLJOYS) as Randall Wishart; Alex Ozerov (THE AMERICANS) as Jack; Sophia Lauchlin Hirt (THE ROMEO SECTION) as Nikki; Canadian Screen Award winner Nick Serino (Sleeping Giant) as Lemur; Tom Jackson (NORTH OF 60) as Lloyd Kreeger; Jennifer Podemski (BLACKSTONE) as Wendy Doucette; Susan Coyne (SLINGS AND ARROWS) as Susan Bell; and Devery Jacobs (THIS LIFE) as Sam Doucette.

Returning cast members include Deborah Hay (The Anniversary) as Catherine Cardinal; Glen Gould (Rhymes for Young Ghouls) as Det. Jerry Commanda; Kristen Thomson (Away From Her) as Staff Sergeant Noelle Dyson; Stephen Ouimette as Dr. Frederick Bell; and Alanna Bale (PRIME RADICALS) as Kelly Cardinal.

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

CARDINAL is adapted from the John Cardinal Mysteries series, a series of six bestselling crime novels written by Giles Blunt. Cycle 3 of CARDINAL is written by Patrick Tarr (SAVING HOPE), who also serves as an Executive Producer and Head Writer, with co-executive producer Noelle Carbone (SAVING HOPE, ROOKIE BLUE) and story editors Shannon Masters and Aaron Bala. Executive Producer Daniel Grou aka Podz (19-2) returns to direct all six episodes. The drama is executive produced by Sienna Films duo Julia Sereny and Jennifer Kawaja (RANSOM, COMBAT HOSPITAL). For eOne, Jocelyn Hamilton and Tecca Crosby serve as Executive Producers.




Saving Hope co-executive producer previews the series finale

When you have a chance to talk to one of Saving Hope‘s writer-co-executive producers, you take it. I ran into Patrick Tarr earlier this week in North Bay, Ont., where he is doing pre-production work as the showrunner on Season 3 of Cardinal. Tarr, who has written for Showcase’s King and CBC’s Cracked and the Murdoch Mysteries web series The Curse of the Lost Pharaohs, penned several instalments of Saving Hope, including last week’s “First and Last.”

Now, with the finale “Hope Never Dies” just two days away, we asked Tarr to tease his thoughts on Charlie and Alex’s final storyline.

“I don’t think that there is another ending that is true to what the show is about,” Tarr says. “I asked Adam [Pettle, Saving Hope‘s showrunner], when we were breaking the final episode and we had the idea we did: ‘What is Saving Hope about?’ This is what we’ve been doing for five seasons.”

Tarr acknowledges that, after a handful of seasons, fans are definitely going to have strong feelings if anything untoward were to happen to any of the key characters they’ve fallen in love with. To have something other than a happy ending for Charlie, Alex, Zack, Shahir, Dawn, Dana or Jackson would be incredibly upsetting. That said, Saving Hope is about life, death and everything in between. And, as the writers have proven over the show’s run, no one is safe from injury.

Tarr joined Saving Hope in Season 3 and has been involved in the last 54 episodes and exits with fond memories.

“I’ve been lucky to come on board a successful show that works really well and has great characters and directors,” he says. And now it’s coming to an end this week.

Saving Hope‘s series finale airs Thursday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.



Link: 5×5 With The Hook: Patrick Tarr

From You’ve Been Hooked:

Link: 5×5 With The Hook: Patrick Tarr
“A couple of much-loved doctors will be coming back for a visit, and that romantic entanglements among the HZ staff will continue to be filed under ‘it’s complicated’. I can tell you that some of the patients are going to get pretty personal – read that however you choose. And I can tell you that we’re going places with the spirit world in season 5 that we’ve never gone before.” Continue reading.


Saving Hope celebrates with a holiday episode

Christmas is upon us, and the folks over at Saving Hope have given fans one heck of a present: a special holiday episode. Yup, Thursday’s newest instalment, “Shine a Light,” combines an ice storm, ugly sweaters, family, wayward spirits, an injured Santa and a dose of miracles into a feel-good story that’s unique to the series. As co-writer Fiona Highet says, creating an episode of Saving Hope for the holidays means dropping ongoing storylines—such as Dawn’s sexual assault and Maggie’s near-death experience—from the mix so the episode can air out of sequence from the series.

Before we talk about “Shine a Light,” I want to chat about this season overall. There have been some really strong episodes and storylines, particularly Dawn’s sexual assault and the marathon bombing that led to Maggie chatting with Charlie.
Fiona Highet: The show has so much heart, you want to take people where you know they’ll be moved. The trick in a story like the bombing one is to position our characters in it rather than have patients come into the ER. We positioned Maggie into the race and then took the unusual step of having her speaking to Charlie. That opened up Charlie’s world wider than it’s been.

Did Adam Pettle really push the writers’ room this season to explore those boundaries?
With the addition of new characters, every episode so far has served a lead character, a guest star and a new character. That’s three angles to come at rather than two, which is much harder. That construct really challenged us. We needed bigger stories. The cast is playing more like an ensemble than they ever have. I wouldn’t say that Adam specifically said anything, but we’ve moved away from the love triangle and have said, ‘Now what? What obstacles can we put in everyone’s way?’

OK, let’s talk about “Shine a Light.” How does it feel to have a writing credit on something that will live on and be broadcast every holiday season?
I was so excited, and it’s not even because Patrick Tarr and I are the Christmassy-ist. He and I were already lined up to write Episode 12, and that’s the one it turned out to be. I’ve written with him before and he and I just clicked, so I knew this was going to be good. I was really excited to be writing it for a couple of reasons. One, as you say, it has a life outside of the show, but it also comes with its own challenges. We couldn’t use the new cast members or serial information. All of the stories and drama around Charlie and Alex were gone. We have to play Dawn as though she has not come through this experience … those things seemed to be more challenging than they were once we were in it.

Were there certain items on the Christmas episode checklist that you felt needed to be addressed?
I had to do a little research. I could picture M*A*S*H and Christmas in The Swamp, but not much else. I very consciously watched some Grey’s Anatomy and some ER Christmas episodes to see what they did and what they were talking about. There is always a kid on the verge of life and death. There was certainly conscious thinking around story balance and structurally saying, ‘We cannot go from this child waiting by the tree to the guy whose genitals hurt.’ That was much harder than I thought it would be.

We knew we wanted to cover ugly Christmas sweaters because it’s funny, we knew it would be funny to put Dana and Shahir together because we don’t often see them together and we knew we could give them some of the anti-Christmas sentiment and they would play it with exactly the right touch.

You spoke earlier about doing research for this episode by watching holiday episodes of Grey’s and ER. Are there holiday episodes, TV movies, movies or specials you watch during the holidays?
I can’t not watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. My kids are 13 and 11, so they’re too old for it but I’ll drag them back in every year. Elf is a modern classic and I’m a fan of a more recent movie called Arthur Christmas. My family has a funny tradition—I don’t even know how it started—of watching Gene Kelly movies at Christmas, the big musicals, so I’m sure I’ll be seeing Anchors Aweigh even though it has nothing to do with the holidays. I’ve also come around to the Love Actually phenomenon.

Saving Hope airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.