Canadian TV crime drama Cardinal returns to its elements

Duo at heart of acclaimed crime drama, Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse, glad to be back in Canada’s north for a global audience.

Karine Vanasse and Billy Campbell star as detectives Lise Delorme and John Cardinal in CTV's Cardinal. (BELL MEDIA)

There is a pervasive sense in Cardinal — the excellent detective drama that returns for a second season on CTV on Thursday Jan. 4th — of hidden things.

In Season 1, a murder victim’s body was hidden in the ice of an inhospitable northern Ontario winter; in the second, set in summer, the forest obscures evidence of crimes and the people who commit them while a young woman’s amnesia clouds details of the gunshot to the head that she survived.

There are also unexplored depths in the series’ main characters: detectives John Cardinal and Lise Delorme, played by American actor Billy Campbell and Quebec actress Karine Vanasse.


Delorme is an observer, Vanasse says in a phone interview: “She doesn’t talk that much, but she really sees through people, through situations. . . . She doesn’t reveal herself entirely at first and I admire that.

“That might be a way to protect her. It’s also what makes her a great detective.”

Likewise Campbell, interviewed while shooting scenes in Toronto, says Cardinal’s depths attracted him to the role.