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Cardinal – Season Three

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Cardinal - Season Three, Kaine Vanessa, photo,
Cardinal – Season Three
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher


(January 24, 2018 – Toronto, ON) I had the double pleasure of attending a special event last night put on by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television at downtown’s Scotiabank Theatre. It was a preview screening of Season Three of Cardinal. As in the past two seasons, there are only 6 episodes so getting to see two of them was a special treat. I and a gathering of a few hundred other invitees also had the pleasure of seeing costar and Canadian Screen Award nominee Karine Vanasse, there to participate in a post-screening Q&A.


 Without any spoilers I can say seeing this very special small screen hit—the series is playing in over 100 territories worldwide—on the big screen was a true cinematic experience. Director Daniel Grou has returned this season and the story picks up as if nothing more than a careful dissolve from the last season has taken place. The camera work, editing, lighting and sound all combine to reinforce the mood of the opening scene and that of its title character John Cardinal, played so ably by American actor Billy Campbell. Without giving anything away, his performance is so real, so spot on, what you see on the screen are the true emotions of the man’s character, not an actor playing a man in distress.


 Vanasse more or less played sidekick to Cardinal as Detective Lise Delorme (pictured above) in the first two seasons, which fit her character arc as she was the newcomer and he the seasoned local cop. This year you will see her character come to the fore with equal weight and stature.

In the Q&A after, I learned that Vanasse was the first person hired for the series and that she has been instrumental in shaping the development of her character. Without negating any of Season Two’s work, she seemed very happy to have Grou back behind the camera and spent a lot of time talking about the way the director works, never leaving anything to chance, each detail in every scene plotted to perfection. If there were any mistakes, imagine having them blown up to full big screen size. What I saw was flawless. She also gave credit to the people who put each episode together. I think the entire team of editors were in attendance last night.

As I wrote in January of last year before the launch of Season Two: “For those who have complained about the blandness of Canadian TV production, Cardinal is crafted to a level equal too and in places better than foreign series such as Broadchurch or Wallander without getting as extreme as the often bizarre Fortitude.”


Cardinal returns tonight on CTV. The regular ensemble cast returns, and as in past seasons there is a new cast of supporting actors to populate this season’s story.


We don’t give out stars here at Northernstars and maybe we should. If we had a rating system, Cardinal would get our top rating. This is television and cinematic storytelling that shouldn’t be missed.

Also see: The cast & crew of Cardinal.
Also see: Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.