Karine Vanasse on Helping to Bring Cardinal to a Satisfying Conclusion

Bell Media
Bell Media

Throughout the years, viewers have watched as Detectives John Cardinal (Billy Campbell) and Lise Delorme (Karine Vanasse) have grown closer. The pair have a bond that is stronger than most and yet, things between the two characters often remain largely unspoken. That bond is once again being tested in the final season of the CTV drama series, airing Mondays at 10 p.m, as the case of a missing person turns into a spree of murders. 

Cardinal: Until the Night returns the drama series to the hostile environment of an Algonquin Bay winter. For star Varnasse, the biggest challenge wasn’t shooting in the harsh winter landscape so much as the pressure of wanting to leave fans feeling satisfied with the series’ conclusion. However, she agrees that the fourth season was the right time to end the drama. “It would’ve been great to keep on going,” Vanasse told The TV Junkies, but “at the same time, I’m just really glad we’re leaving on such a high note.”    She spoke with us more about her feelings on the end of the series, as well as why this season may be the most personal one yet for Delorme. 


The TV Junkies: Where is Lise at emotionally coming into this season? What’s her mindset like?

Karine Vanasse: Other than in Season 1 where we saw her boyfriend who she wasn’t very committed to, the most intimate scenes we’ve seen of Delorme have been by herself in her car. This season we get to see a little more of where she lives, but you still feel everything is oriented toward work and Cardinal. She wasn’t supposed to stay in Algonquin Bay in Season 1, it was to investigate Cardinal and then move on to something bigger and more challenging. But something happened and she stayed, she loved the partnership, and then Catherine died and she wanted to support Cardinal. However, now professionally she’s more ambitious than we’ve seen her.

TTVJ: John and Lise have always had this connection. Now that he’s gotten some closure on his wife’s death, will we see any progression in their relationship this season?

KV: It will be very Cardinal-esque. I think we could’ve gone somewhere quite obvious, but what we end up seeing and what we feel between them is very true to the characters. At the same time, we give something to the viewers to be satisfied with. I was very happy when I read the script, and the writing was done in a way that really respects what we know of them. It is very emotional. Relationships are complex, whether it’s romantic or a friendship, so what is a satisfying relationship? What is a relationship worth having? At the end there is something very sad and beautiful at the same time. It’s very true to what we all go through.

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Bell Media

TTVJ: I love that the show is back full circle to winter. It always brings a beautiful element and is a character on its own.

KV: The case this season is really strong. It’s rich and we’re in winter so when people are left outside for a night they are going to freeze to death. You have to find them quickly and there’s a sense of urgency this season. Winter brings that to the show. At the same time, people are all frozen and cold so you try to move fast but you can’t. There’s something hard, difficult and demanding of you. You have to do more than you would normally to get through the situation. It suits the show though and we love to see when they have to push their limits. 

TTVJ: Did this being the final season affect your approach at all this year?

KV: We shot Seasons 2 and 3 consecutively and didn’t know if we were coming back for a fourth season. So when we shot Season 3, a part of me was accepting that could be the last season. I lived that as if it were our last. I felt as if I was grateful throughout the entire show, but yes, it was bittersweet and you don’t want to miss any notes. You just want viewers to be happy with where you leave the characters. That was the pressure for me that came with shooting the final season.

Bell Media
Bell Media

TTVJ: What have you enjoyed the most about playing Lise and your biggest takeaway from her during that time?

KV: It was such a joy to play scenes with Billy and just being open to the moment. We’d try a scene one way, then without talking try it another way the next take. It was a lot of listening to each other and being aware of spontaneous reactions. To me, that’s what acting should be. You have the words written, the scene is set, just feel free now and explore. You can do that when you feel supported by the crew, the production team and producers, and your partner. You can push yourself a little bit more because people are there to respond and pay attention. It’s about being open to what comes up and not shutting down. On Cardinal, truth and honesty of the feeling is what finds its way. Billy was an amazing guardian of that specifically. The fact that that could stay the driving force for four seasons is what I’m most impressed by.


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Cardinal: Until the Night premieres Monday, April 6 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.