[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
Here at The Televixen, we’ve been all in on CTV’s Cardinal since day one, and we’re happy to have it back on our TVs Monday night for its fourth and final season. I spoke with series stars Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse last week about the four-season run and what we can expect this season. I’ll have installments from those conversations over the next couple of weeks. First up, we’ll give you a tease of the new investigation and the actors’ thoughts on returning to where they began with a season set in winter.
This season in “Until the Night,” the final chapter, Cardinal and Delorme are at professional and emotional crossroads as he’s attempting to move on from losing his wife and solving her murder and she’s weighing an opportunity to move on, up, and away from Algonquin Bay.
As with previous seasons, it’s what these two don’t articulate that informs the gravitas of their relationship. And they’re once again treading carefully over not only what to say, but when and whether to say it.
That gets tabled a bit when they pick up a fresh investigation that hits close to home for the department. A local prosecutor, with whom Cardinal shared a cordial professional friendship, is kidnapped and [spoiler alert] murdered. That sets off a chain of events that revitalizes the format with an active serial killer committing a new crime each episode for an in interconnected series of individual cases.
In some ways, that episodic nature makes this feel more like a first season than a final one. And it drops them back into the dead of winter, where everything began. Campbell and Vanasse reflected on the way winter, as in the first season, is intricately woven into the action, and the sense of urgency created by the slight switch up in the format.
“It’s terrific. I really like to say [that] none of the seasons are exactly the same. And I really liked it. They mixed it up and it became, in some ways, [a] much more physical season,” shares Campbell. “We get to do a lot of running around in the woods. Just from a planning perspective, it was a lot of fun.”
“I think it was a great decision. I was lobbying for [a winter shoot] from the beginning. We all knew that it was a limited series and there had to be a final season and I just thought, the show really is a winter show in some weird way.”
“The metaphor we played with the first season [that] we talked a lot about, was [that] all these feelings [are] underneath a layer of ice for both characters. And it really did feel like coming home or coming full circle to shoot the final season in the winter.”
For Vanasse, all roads lead to winter for these characters. “I feel like the other seasons … are seasons they have to go through to come back to winter. I feel like winter never really leaves them,” she explains.
She enjoyed the format change, and that the case eventually comes closer to Delorme similar to previous cases shadowing Cardinal. “Every episode, I feel like, it’s cold outside. They have to find the killer quickly,” she says.
“The clues are not really precise. [And they have to figure out]. ‘What’s the link between those two? Is there a link? Are we missing something? What’s happening?’ And then at some point … that gets very personal.”
As this season kicks off, the real world is in a much different headspace than previous seasons with the pandemic and global stay-at-home orders. Vanasse hopes audiences are still drawn to the storytelling, which is expert as ever, but still somewhat grim. “Right now, people want to want to be entertained. But I feel like we want to see real stuff happening from real characters, whether they’re in a detective show or law or whatever it is,” she points out.
“I feel like we’re looking for something real and honest … right now more than ever [and] an audience might be responding to that even more.”
Cardinal begins its final season Monday night at 10 pm ET on CTV. You can catch all of the previous episodes now on Crave and unlocked on CTV.ca. All our coverage is here. Click here for a sneak peek and behind the scenes goodies.
Photos courtesy of Bell Media