Cardinal, one of the best crime dramas to have graced our screens, comes to a close in the Lower 48 with the premiere of its fourth and final season.
As noir as many of the crime dramas out of the Nordics, and as brilliant as the best ones from anywhere, Cardinal is set to bow in the US for the last time. And Season 4 of this award-winning hit drama is arguably its finest.
Based on Until the Night, the sixth title in Giles Blunt’s series of “John Cardinal Mystery” novels, the final season of Cardinal opens with Algonquin Bay Detectives John Cardinal (Billy Campbell, The Killing, The 4400) and Lise Delorme (Karine Vanasse, Blue Moon, Revenge) investigating a possible missing person case, reported by a politician after her crown prosecutor husband didn’t return home from a date (theirs is an open marriage) and then failed to show up for a hearing the next day. But as Cardinal and Delorme soon discover, the victim was abducted. And then left for dead.
Working in conjunction with Detective Jerry Commanda (Glen Gould, Mohawk Girls) of the Ontario Police, the detectives piece together the few clues they have while the killer preps for the second victim. And the third. Hearing the news reports, the politician puts two and two together and begins to freak out: the victims’ deaths are connected and she knows why. She’s also sure who the fourth target will be…
Meanwhile, Cardinal is living under the immense weight of the guilt he feels over what happened to his late wife, and his daughter is deeply concerned about him and how disconnected he’s become from his life outside of work. The saving grace here is Delorme; she and Cardinal have grown closer as both partners and friends, and have developed a strong bond as well as an unspoken and (as yet) un-acted-upon attraction. But what will happen when their professional partnership ends, which is imminent?
In the present moment, though, that question has to go on the back burner, as Delorme and Cardinal must race against the clock to find and save the final abductee from dying a tragic, unwarranted death, putting their own lives at stake in the process.
Moody and stark against the frozen, snow-covered landscape, Cardinal: Into the Night delves into the darkness that lies within men’s souls and that propel them into the actions they take in the hopes of gaining relief. For some this looks like safety; for others, justice. Either way, the story is riveting. (I binged all six episodes in one 36-hour period.)
It is a very well-crafted standalone whodunit-whydunit story, so you can get immersed in it without knowing what came before. However, each of the previous three seasons is fabulous and well worth your time, both for the mystery-crime stories as well as the backstories of the two lead characters — the latter of which play into their beings, their actions, and their relationships in Season 4. For their portrayals of John Cardinal and Lise Delorme, Billy Campbell won the Canadian Screen Awards Best Lead Actor, Drama Series award three of the four times that he was nominated, and Karine Vanasse took home the Best Lead Actress award two of the four times that she was nominated.
Another award winner is Danish singer-songwriter-musician Agnes Obel, whose “Familiar” is the haunting theme song for Cardinal, a piece that contributes to the noir vibe of the show and still sends chills up my spine, even after 24 episodes.
Returning for the final season are Kristen Thomson (Saving Hope), James Downing (Fargo), Zach Smadu (Family Law), Eric Hicks (Bad Blood), Alanna Bale (Killjoys), Alden Adair (Workin’ Moms), and Kathryn Alexandre (Murdoch Mysteries).
Key guest actors in the Season 4 storyline include Carmen Moore (Blackstone), Cas Anvar (The Expanse), Canadian Screen Awards 2021 Best Guest Performance, Drama Series award winner Shawn Doyle (Unspeakable), Currie Graham (Project Blue Book), Duncan Ollerenshaw (Van Helsing), Chantal Saab (Burden of Truth), Tom Rooney (This Is Wonderland), Linda Goranson (The Moodys), and Aaron Poole (Copper).
Cardinal: Until the Night premieres in the US tomorrow, Friday, December 24, at 3 AM ET / 12 AM PT, exclusively on Hulu.
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