One of the biggest Canadian TV success stories of last year is set to return Thursday. Cardinal, the thrilling drama series starring Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse, premieres its second season on CTV at 9 p.m. ET. The second go round finds Campbell’s Detective John Cardinal and Vanasse’s Detective Lise Delorme paired up again and weaving an intricate investigation that will expose the seedy underbelly of Algonquin Bay. The story in Season 2 will pick up several months after the events in Season 1.
Cardinal and Delorme find themselves on a strange case that involves a young woman (Alex Paxton-Beesley) with a gunshot wound to the head. The investigation quickly takes a turn as the partners uncover a series of disturbing, ritualistic killings that may be connected to the young woman. In addition to Paxton-Beesley (Pure), joining Campbell and Delorme for this season is a cast that includes Bruce Ramsay (19-2), Jonathan Keltz (Reign), Kevin Hanchard (Orphan Black), Kris Holden-Reid (Lost Girl) and Dan Petronijevic (19-2). Campbell recently spoke exclusively with The TV Junkies to preview the case, Cardinal’s mindsight when Season 2 opens and what else viewers have to look forward to this time out.
The TV Junkies: This season picks up a few months after Season 1, so what does that mean for John? Where’s he at and is he recovered from everything that happened at the end of last season?
Billy Campbell: Where it picks up, at least in terms of where he is, is that he’s really feeling the itch to retire. I think that’s evident in the first couple of scenes where we see him, but then of course life happens and boy, does it happen to him in this second season. This runs right through to the third season too. Without giving anything away, the last scene of Season 2 is the first scene of Season 3. I can’t tell you why without spoiling it for you, but things get ramped up there.
TTVJ: What can you share about the case that’s at the center of this cycle of Cardinal?
BC: It has to do with a fellow that is trying to take over the drug business in Algonquin Bay from a biker gang. He’s going about it in a rather disturbing fashion and we get tangled up in that. It has ramifications for us personally as well.
TTVJ: John and Lise’s partnership seemed to really solidify at the end of last year. Has that carried over to this season and why do they connect so well to each other?
BC: They connect so well because they admire each other. What they do have in common is that they are both very thorough, and even a little obsessive I think. They also both feel a lot, though they aren’t really very easily able to express their feelings. I think they both also, way deep inside, are pretty attracted to each other. But that’s something they would certainly not be able to say to the other person, let alone admit to themselves.
TTVJ: We learned a lot about Cardinal’s wife Catherine at the end of last year. Will she factor into the story this year at all and will her mental illness continue to be explored?
BC: Yes. Yes. [laughs] Very much so. All the old favorites will return and life is carrying on for all of them. That’s one of the things I like about the show. Even Sergeant Dyson (Kristen Thomson), she’s not in that many more scenes, but her storyline you come to know a lot more about her as well. They are serving all the characters and I think you’ll find the show maybe even more rich character-wise than the first season. You already know the characters so you don’t have to paint a full picture, you can just do small brush strokes that mean a lot.
TTVJ: There are some new faces though joining the cast in Cycle 2, including Alex Paxton-Beesley, Kevin Hanchard and Kris Holden-Reid. What was it like working with them and what can you share about their characters?
BC: It was terrific. “The Bees” was fantastic to work with, and I was kind of starstruck when Kevin came because I’m a big fan of The Expanse. It was a lot of fun and they are all terrific actors, as well as people.
TTVJ: You have a new director on this Cylce in Jeff Renfroe. What was it like working with him and what did he bring to the table?
BC: I had worked with Jeff before on a show we did in Montreal called Helix. I was familiar with him and we had a great time working in North Bay on the show. He’s a very easy fellow to get along with and he had a lot to play with. We were shooting a different season and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it all turned out.
TTVJ: Yes, a major character in the first season of Cardinal was the weather and the Canadian winter, however that’s not the case this time around. How relieved were you to not have to shoot in the cold again, and is there still something like that element that’s almost a character itself?
BC: Sure, the subtitle of the second season is Black Fly Season. That was an issue and there are more bugs than you can imagine — mosquitos, black flies, horse flies, deer flies. It was gruesome at times. We did deal with that and the heat. I think it comes through in the show as a character in the story. Then the third season takes place in the fall, and we’re hoping that if we have a fourth season we’ll go full circle and bring it back to winter.
Are you looking forward to more Cardinal? Sound off in the comments below!
Cardinal Season 2 premieres Thursday, January 4 at 9 p.m. on CTV. Season 1 is available on Crave TV and Hulu.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.