Previewing Cardinal: “Adele” + Reflections with Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse

Previewing Cardinal: “Adele” + Reflections with Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse

[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]

Season 4 of Cardinal digs into its investigation this week with a look at the habitual victim stalking through the eyes of the as-yet-unnamed killer (played by Currie Graham). He watches and waits and we know no good can come from it. The kicker is that Graham has historically been very adept at playing charming and smarmy — smarming, if you will, but here he’s just creepy enough to be unsettling.

Cardinal Season 4

While that angle of the story gets some exposure, we also follow Cardinal and Delorme visiting Toronto, and Kelly (which is a trip to see Alanna Bale again after she was so effectively terrifying in Killjoys). They also begin actively working the case, which means attending Robert’s funeral with a secondary agenda.

Delorme continues weighing her professional and personal trajectory. An unlikely, but friendly, blast from her past helps her crystallize how far she’s come since Season 1. It also leaves a tantalizing, unspoken, “If then, now what…” question to linger.

Cardinal Season 4

It’s just one of the many moments that remind us how very good Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse are in these roles. In the second part of our interviews, they talk about getting to build that onscreen relationship, and what the show has meant to them.

“Here are two people, I think, who could never admit how they felt about each other — to the other [and] maybe not even to themselves,” says Campbell.

“But now, the main obstacle to their coming together is gone. And so, there’s this delightful kind of … I don’t know, some French word [for] electricity.”

“[They have] this wonderful thing where they are having to deal with their feelings [and they] don’t have an obstacle to hide behind anymore. Karine and I just had the most fun playing with that.”

Cardinal Season 4

Campbell has always been effusive about working on Cardinal, and now that the whole story’s been told (so far — we can always hope for a revival in this new streaming world), he confirms its place in his oeuvre. “The whole experience, in many ways, [has] been the best job of my entire career and with some of my favorite people of my entire career,” he shares.

“I’m of profoundly mixed emotions about [it] ending. I think if you love the show and the flavor and the feel of the show and the relationship between Cardinal and Delorme, you’ll love the end. I really think it’s fantastic. It’s sort of note-perfect.”

When we first met Delorme in Season 1, her arrival into the partnership with Cardinal felt like a required pit stop on an upward professional trajectory, but cut to three years later and she’s still there.

Vanasse enjoyed exploring all the facets of that decision. “I feel like the frustration we see [this season] that she has about the case is mostly about the whole situation [with Cardinal and] feeling that she’s kind of stuck in Algonquin Bay,” she says.

Cardinal Season 4

“That’s not what was supposed to happen to her professionally when we first met her in Season 1. We saw that she was driven, that she was ambitious [and] I don’t think that we expected her to still be there. She’s not that type of woman and person.”

“So to see that she’s still there, is she waiting for Cardinal? I don’t think that she knows the answers herself to the questions. It’s always been about the work, but did she stay for Cardinal? If the answer is yes … I feel like that’s really shocking to her. And so I feel like she was a little confused about the whole situation.”

“They are so difficult to read between them. I feel like us as the viewers, we can read them quite clearly, we can see what they feel for each other.”

“But I feel like between them, they’re so good professionally to support each other. And even personally, there’s something very honest and profound about them, the relationship that they have. If they don’t label it and if nothing happens, [it leaves them] in that kind of muddy place.”

“Maybe she has to move and I feel like maybe to her it feels like she needs the move because he’s stuck somewhere. But I think that she’s stuck exactly at the same place. I feel like in a few years, she will probably be like Cardinal. There’s a darkness in her and attraction to the darkness. I don’t think that she’s aware of that about herself yet.”

As Vanasse looks back on the four-season run, she shares that she’ll miss all the moments that surprised her. “Watching Billy gets emotional in a moment where he wasn’t supposed to be as Cardinal and then all of a sudden it’s like, ‘Whoa,’ so subtle yet so full and so honest and real and I’m sharing that with a scene partner. I loved it so much,” she explains.

Cardinal Season 4

“It allows you to be free yourself emotionally. Then you ride with that scene … with those characters and really see where it takes us. I feel like sometimes you know the characters [and sometimes] you don’t, [even though] you know what they’ve been through. It’s okay to be surprised by it [and] sometimes you’re confused [by their] reaction.”

“It happens in life, too. Sometimes we react a certain way to something and [are surprised]. And that was constantly present when I was working with Billy and with the other actors, too. He keeps you on your toes and you’re just vibrant.”

“It was very unique to that specific collaboration. I’m going to miss that very much.”

Cardinal airs Monday night at 10 pm ET on CTV. You can catch all of the previous episodes now on Crave and unlocked on All our coverage, including part one of this interview, is here. Click here for a sneak peek and behind the scenes goodies.

Photos courtesy of Bell Media

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