No, I didn't stutter; Cardinal is both the name of the series and the name of the episode, AND the name of our protagonist! This is a Canadian series (come back, it's gonna be awesome! Trust me! It's like Orphan Black Canadian, not like some of those other Canadian shows) based on a series of books written by Giles Blunt. I love Giles Blunt's books; they're almost American, they're so readable. I'M KIDDING. But for real: great series, highly recommend the books, let's find out what they did with moving pictures!
We open in cold. This is Algonquin Bay (a thinly veiled North Bay, perhaps (see comments, thank you!)) in northern Ontario, Canada and all you can see is COLD. A lone rider on a snowmobile pulls a small trailer through the frozen wilderness. He stops at an abandoned mineshaft, scavenging for wire when he notices a broken lock. Curious, he follows the signs of disturbance until he sees a small hand with blue and bloody fingernails.
We leave him and his screams and head to the city, where Detective John Cardinal (Billy Campbell - jussst right) is watching people argue over buying a big screen TV and ignoring Lise Delorme (Karine Vanasse) and her calls. He doesn't want to know about the chief looking for him, he doesn't care about a found body: that's not his department any more. But. It's a child, and Delorme's "we think it might be her" grabs his attention.
A path is lit through the snowy night with lanterns on either side of the ice? Road? It looks like the world's longest landing strip or most gruesome luminaria trail.
Detective Jerry Commanda (Glen Gould) meets Cardinal at the site and gives him the rundown while the Forensics team waits and Constable Fox (Eric Hicks) explains that he's already been inside. To help.
I brace myself, and sure enough: Fox is kicked off the site without his boots for negligence, wandering around an unprocessed crime scene and getting his kids' DNA all over everything. You know, we DO have television up here (obvs), course you're not supposed to run around smearing transfers everywhere.
An autopsy is performed, this poor little girl was laying on top of a drain, that's why she's encased in a block of ice.
Cardinal's boss Sergeant Noelle Dyson (Kristen Thomson) grabs him for a chat: go ahead and say I Told You So, Cardinal, because he was right that they should have kept looking for the little girl and not assumed she had run away. Dyson thinks they did what they had to; "we tried, we failed, we moved on" is the crappiest mission statement Cardinal and I have ever heard.
Not only has Cardinal been dragged back kicking and screaming into Homicide, he also has to work with brand-new Delorme, who's happy at the opportunity. Cardinal...less so.
The sight of the little girl encased in the block of ice draws their attention but I'm not showing that to you. You're welcome.
The credits bring us a lovely song, more snow and the literally peeling faces of Cardinal and Delorme. Um. Somebody get Graphic Design on the horn and tell them there's probably a less gross way to show us that we're going to be exploring the multi-layered people that are these detectives. Literally peeling. Honestly.
Cardinal quizzes Delorme about her work history, she just transferred over from Financial Crimes and has zero experience with Homicide or anything of the nature. We'll understand better why she's been put with him a little later on.
In the meantime, she'll be clearing his backload of unsolved Breaking and Entering cases while he goes out and does the detecting.
We did get a bit of backstory on the little girl; she was Katie Pine (Rebecca Ann Zinner) and when she went missing, Cardinal went through a year's worth of manpower trying to find her, running everyone ragged and driving his own tired arse into a hydro box. (Much more expensive than a dumpster)
I can't seriously believe that Delorme is reciting Cardinal's past "sins" as though it's a bad thing to look for a small missing child. Whatever the cost. People are not replaceable, not really. I mean, you can maybe try another batch of baby batter, but they never turn out exactly the same.
Katie's mom Dorothy Pine (Gail Maurice) takes the news of Katie being found with stoneface; when Cardinal and Commanda promise to throw everything they have to find the killer, she retorts "that's what you said the last time. Then you stopped looking."
Cardinal takes another look around in Katie's room, brushes off Commanda's offer to attend Katie's memorial and heads home for a bottle of wine and some ruminating.
He calls Delorme later; he's sure this murderer is a serial killer. Usually when people are killed, it's by someone they know, someone within their inner clan. Cardinal knows every inch of Katie's life, and this guy isn't in it, so that means it's about the killing and not Katie.
Delorme isn't sure how to respond, should she be a Yes Man as McLeod (James Downing) warned her not to be? Or should she disagree, which McLeod also warned her against?
Cardinal isn't done, he's even got a name of who he thinks might be another victim. Poor young Billy Labelle who was found drowned face up. It's the face up that has drawn Cardinal's attention; that isn't how drowning victims are usually found. It would almost be as though someone had held young Billy down in the water and watched him die. A young and vulnerable person, that's how they start.
But we all know that isn't how they finish.
Delorme stalls for time: what does Dyson think? He's asking you, Lise, not Dyson: spill it! She doesn't think it fits, Billy's mom was right there and the timing is wrong. Cardinal hangs up.
Cardinal hits the ground running the next morning; he interviews Billy's mom Maureen Labelle (Jenny Young) about that fateful morning. Cardinal thinks the ten minute interval in which Billy died is a convenient fiction. Maureen was out until 2 am the previous evening with a friend, what are the odds she's up bright and early on the beach with Billy the next morning? Slim and none; her face tells us the answer and she kicks him off her jobsite.
Forensics calls, Cardinal asks his FORMER partner McLeod to sit in on the discussion, he could use another brain in the room. Delorme is sitting RIGHT THERE. McLeod gives her a pity glance while Delorme tries to swallow all the bile and fury that just rose in her throat, you can practically see it.
Woo hoo and she storms in and introduces herself to Len on the phone, she's second on the case!
Hahahahaha, that was brill!
Not brill is the report on Katie; she was tied up for sure and suffocated, not sure if strangled or not, but there was a drug in her system and a speculum might have been used to hold her eyes open. Jeebus wept.
Cardinal thinks the killer wanted to be seen, just like poor little face-up Billy in the water, but McLeod doesn't like Cardinal's repeater theory any more than Delorme did. Pfft. Cardinal's out with a comment to Delorme to keep on the B&Es, he's off to ask Mary (Claire Calarco) to pull all the Missing Persons files for the past two years. And on the downlow, Mary!
Investigatory montage time: Cardinal checks the missing persons database with no success while Delorme tries to figure out why someone stole beer-making equipment but not beer from Phil (Alex Poch-Goldin). Phil would rather talk shite about the police department not solving any of these B&Es anyway, he has a friend on the paper! Delorme is too busy noticing a missing microwave, but I can't think why that's important, unless it's that it was so recently installed.
Sergeant Dyson and the rest of the top brass (you know, Canadian police brass, so still in parkas and toques) are at Katie's ceremony. Katie and her family must be of indigenous descent, given the fire and smugding with sage.
Dyson knows that Mrs. Pine is planning to have a Christian burial for Katie, however, she's there to offer the use of the St. Francis church at the cost of the city so everyone can pay their respects.
Or assuage their guilt for not investigating more thoroughly. One of those.
Cardinal is almost at the point of giving up. So many lost children, so many "no"s.
He heads home, alone once more, to find he has no water. Checking his pipes, he finds the insulation has been torn off and eaten by a now-dead racoon, this day just gets better and better! Good thing it's not minus eleventy billion degrees outside!
He re-insulates the pipes and makes the mistake of letting his eye wander to the box marked "Catherine's Photos" in the corner. Catherine is his wife, I'm sure we'll find out soon why she isn't there with him.
He retrieves a packet of money from behind a brick in the chimney and drives to a lonely road in the middle of nowhere to meet Francis (Lawrence Bayne). I think Francis is a drug dealer, coz he wants to know why Cardinal wants so much this time. He spins his tires off like an ahole, catching Cardinal in the face with a flying rock and giving him a cut high on his cheekbone. I don't know if it's important that Francis's truck grill is all bashed to shite, but I've included it just in case.
Delorme's come to check on Cardinal: his phone is off again. Also to explain her theory of what's happening with the rash of breaking and entering crimes lately. Every time someone's house was broken into, someone had just bought something new from one of the two electronics stores in town. Which is where Cardinal was when she interrupted him with the news of the murder.
He doesn't say anything, but you can tell he's pleased she's figured out his theory. He's been recording license plate numbers of people with big purchases AND anyone who followed the car out of the lot, he's got five plates for her to run for the case of the stolen microwave.
Dishy Detective Hannam (James Thomas) points out the RCMP Staff Sergeant Malcolm Musgrave (David Richmond-Peck - Olivier from Orphan Black! You remember, Sestra cut off his tail) lurking outside the station; there must be an investigation of a dirty cop which is awesome timing.
Cardinal finally gets a nibble, Father Presnell (Tom Barentt) recognises one of the photos of missing youth, a Todd Curry (Dylan Colton) who stayed with them one night in January and didn't return. Father P presses his luck and asks why Cardinal stopped coming to church and asks how his wife Catherine (Deborah Hay) is doing? Better now that you're not trying to help her with religion instead of medicine, is the answer, essentially. Cardinal leaves him with a stack of photos and instructions to call immediately if anyone shows up.
Cardinal goes to visit his wife after, he needs some tea in a Styrofoam cup! Ah Caroline is beautiful in a small, delicate, fragile way but in an as-yet-undefined facility. She's not well, but she wants to come home. She can't yet.
The funeral at St. Francis is exceedingly well-attended, police are everywhere. Cardinal is disgusted, where was all this manpower when Katie was alive? And there's still a murderer out there, why are all the cops doing theatre instead of police work? Dyson insists they're there to pay their respects, but guess who isn't there to collect?
Mrs. Pine is back at the fire completing the four day ritual of laying her daughter to rest with her people.
And Cardinal needs some air.
Beautiful shot, beautiful contrast.
That's Cardinal in a nutshell: not comfortable at the ceremony because he feels he failed Katie and her family, but also can't stomach the hypocrisy of Dyson and her issued directive to show support now that it doesn't matter.
Cardinal gets a call from Father Presnell, one of the shelter kiddos remember Todd Curry borrowing a sleeping bag and heading to squat at an abandoned house. Now he needs a warrant from the Sergeant he just yelled AND gloated at about Dorothy Pine refusing to accept the police's blood money.
I would really LIKE to respect Dyson, but beside that bullshit about "we tried, we failed, we moved on" there's the fact that she keeps threatening Cardinal's job. She doesn't want to go to bat for the warrant; she wants him working on the Katie Pine case as a solo act because all of a sudden everyone's noticed that the victim was an indigenous girl who fell through the cracks.
More on that later.
Delorme's eliminated every license plate but the last one, she pretends she's investigating a noise complaint to get a look at the driver, he's definitely hinky. And definitely doesn't buy her story about a noise complaint.
John gets his warrant!
And Delorme's got her guy: the driver is Woody (Gord Rand) and he has priors. She phones Cardinal to gloat but he's distracted by his discovery of a crime scene at the abandoned house. He'll call her back.
Ah and there's poor Todd Curry, killed and stuffed into an attic storage room.
It's suddenly very busy at the police station; OPD (Ontario Police Department?) is involved but Delorme isn't, not right now. She's got a meeting with RCMP Staff Sergeant Malcolm Musgrave.
Oh and it's not the first, is it Delorme? She's been sent to investigate our Cardinal; they think he's dirty and taking money from mobster/criminal Kyle Korman. Hmm. There was that packet of money hidden in the fireplace, but does Delorme really think Detective John Cardinal is the kind of guy to do that? Take money for compromising police investigations?
No, of course you don't, because there is no way John Cardinal is that guy. But did he do it? Anyone can do anything, really, type of person you'd expect or not. Time will tell and we are OOT!
Yay Canadian show with mostly Canadian talent, woo hoo! It's a little stiff yet, our characters are still settling in. Early standouts are Karine Vanasse as Lise Delorme and Kristen Thomson as Noelle Dyson: dose guys I believe.
The books are unrelentingly cold and bleak, here they've done the same thing with light, or lack thereof. Everything is monochrome and blah; even our crime scenes are muted and long bereft of colour. It takes some getting used to.
I do love seeing local shows, but it feels nooooot quitttte polished as you'd expect, but still good. I am looking forward to seeing it and the mystery develop. Even though I totally know whodunit. NO SPOILERS, swearsies!
RELATED TANGENT: I mentioned before about getting back to you on the loss of indigenous youth in Canada. The fact that Katie Pine's disappearance wasn't investigated as thoroughly as at least Cardinal would have liked probably owed a lot to her ethnic background. In Canada, we like to pretend we aren't racist and bigoted and love everyone and go around being super polite, but the fact is that how indigenous peoples have been treated in our country is a massive, gaping wound in Canadian history.
Almost literally a hole, because it's only now we're beginning to see some of the wrongs being addressed on a large scale. For decades, all indigenous children were taken from their homes and placed in Residential Schools. I understand there are these elsewhere, but in Canada it reached the scale of a hidden genocide. These children were stripped of their identities (assigned numbers instead of names), their families, their language, their culture and were subject to widespread abuse including sexual, physical and emotional abuse. Some were experimented on, some ran away and died, all in the name of "bringing Christianity to the savages," which ended as late as the 70s.
The ripple effects of this upon the indigenous peoples of Canada are incalculable. Whole languages wiped out, multi-generational addiction problems and cultural self-esteem at an unimaginable low.
I probably don't have to tell you about the missing indigenous women in Canada, but then again: maybe I do. Indigenous women are killed at a rate of 6 times more than that of non-indigenous women. There are so many missing indigenous women in Canada (between 1200 to 4000, depending on who you ask) that an inquiry has been launched to find out exactly WHY indigenous women are at such a higher risk.
As with most things: socio-economics plays a huge part, guess who aren't exactly living the high life on the Rez like we're all told? Between the unclean water, substandard schools and lack of actual support, the poorer reserves (ones not sitting on an oil well or two), it's not exactly the free-college and free-house utopia we all hear about. Did I mention multi-generational addiction issues?
ANYWAY: the upshot is: missing indigenous people, especially women and girls, do NOT get perhaps as much notice as an affluent white kid from Sudbury, you dig?
Until next time, you lot! Cheers.