Cardinal is a Canadian series by Giles Blunt taken from his series of John Cardinal murder mysteries. It’s in its fourth and last season.
8 out of 10 stars. So far it’s better than the previous three seasons. There’s no narcissistic wife, no grotesque dismembered bodies (although the victims do freeze to death in some pretty creepy positions), and there’s no stupid plot involving pedophiles.
If you live in Canada or have a Canadian IP address, you can watch the series for free here:
A new episode airs every Monday night at 10 pm MST, but it usually isn’t available online until Tuesday morning. If the first time you open the page the episode looks blurry just click on the little settings wheel in the lower right corner and select a higher resolution.
Episode 1, Robert
In the first episode a female First Nations politician, Sheila Gagnier, notifies tribal police that her husband is missing. He’s a crown prosecutor who has prosecuted some pretty nasty villains. Sheila also tells them Robert was on a “date”. They have an open marriage. Cardinal and Delorme (his French Canadian female partner) go to the motel where his “date” took place and discover he’s been dragged naked out of his motel room and a peregrine falcon tail feather has been left on his nightstand.
Meanwhile we see the killer, whose name is Neil, drag Robert out into the wilderness into a clear cut spot in the middle of the forest. He puts him in a white park suit and ties both ankles to a massive log. Then he videotapes his last message to his wife which isn’t, “Honey I love you”, but “Why are you doing this to me?”
Cardinal and Delorme are called back to Sheila’s home by Jerry, the tribal police chief. Apparently Sheila was called by the killer’s accomplice who demanded $9,000 if she ever wanted to see her husband again. She put the money in an old purse and slipped a phone with GPS into the pocket so the kidnapper could be traced.
They trace the phone, catch him, and take him into custody, but he demands a lawyer, so they have another cop take him back to headquarters. When the cop returns to the police station he’s knocked out in the parking lot by Neil and Neil kills his accomplice (Wade) who was going to rat him out.
Cardinal and Delorme call in a search and rescue team with a drone plane and find Robert. He’s already dead and there are deep gashes in both legs where he successfully dragged that massive log for quite a distance. They notify Sheila. That night she gets the last message her husband left, pleas to the killer asking him why he was doing this.
As the episode ends, Neil is scoping out his next victim.
Episode 2, Adele
The coroner confirms that Robert froze to death. But he also finds stun gun marks on the body.
Neil goes to Barry’s Nursery and buys an orchid from Barry. What he’s really doing is scoping out the place and sabotaging it. Then he goes to Barry’s house and waits for a chance to abduct Barry’s mother Adele. When Barry gets a call that the heat is off at the nursery, he leaves Adele alone. She rides her scooter to the church and Neil abducts her there. He dresses her in the same white parka suit as Robert, takes her to a big car junkyard, ties her to a derelict car, and leaves her.
Cardinal and Delorme interview the local snowmobile thieft to find out which of the recent snowmobile thefts was not hers. She points to a snowmobile with a flashy paint job. Meanwhile Neil paints his stolen snowmobile black.
Delorme runs into her ex-husband Josh, his new wife, and their baby. She tells him about her promotion to Toronto.
Cardinal and Delorme go to Robert’s funeral and see a man arguing with Sheila. His name is Taz Roy and he owns a lucrative trucking company.
Barry reports Adele missing when he finds her scooter abandoned at church. Cardinal and Delorme find a peregrine falcon tail feather in her scooter and the scooter’s battery cables have been cut.
They discover Barry’s nursery was vandalized to lure him away so the killer could get Adele alone.
Episode 3, Barry
In the beginning of episode 3, Cardinal and Delorme find Adele’s body frozen solid tied by a steel cable to a car in the junkyard. They immediately check Barry’s email account for a video from the killer and it’s there.
Meanwhile, Neil (the killer) meets with a guy named Scott in a remote cabin. Scott is apparently the guy who hired him and he met Neil through the accomplice (Wade) who was killed in episode 1. Scott makes vague references to what Sheila, Barry, and the “others” did to him, “her”, and the land. He wants to taunt them with the murders and for them to know it was him. But Neil firmly says no and they part.
Sheila goes to visit Barry to give her condolences on the death of his mother. They talk about something that happened when they were teenagers working in a forestry service. Apparently the others who were in their group did something after they left and he found out about it later, but never reported it. So now they’re being punished. Sheila tells him to keep his mouth shut.
Delorme’s ex-husband Josh brings some of her stuff from their house so she can take it to Toronto with her. The killer watches this little exchange, follows him home, and abducts him.
Taz pays a visit to Barry and sort of makes him drink a bottle of liquor. Barry had been sober for several years. He starts drinking and Taz threatens him. Then Tajzleaves. The next day Barry is found frozen dead in his backyard with the bottle in his hand. No peregrine falcon feather. So maybe Taz spiked his alcohol?
Cardinal and Delorme find out that Sheila and Barry worked in a forestry service together for a year when they were teenagers. So they go to question Sheila. They ask her a few questions and she tells them to ask Barry. They tell her Barry is dead. After they leave she calls Taz and tells him Barry is dead. He also seems surprised, but not at all worried about “Ken and the others”.
Next we see an older man, possibly Ken, leaving a helicopter and calling home for his family to get ready immediately to leave. He reaches the house, walks into the garage, and Neil is there putting Delorme’s unconscious ex-husband in the back seat. He tasers him and puts him in the trunk.
Book series in order
- Forty Words for Sorrow
- The Delicate Storm
- Black Fly Season
- By the Time You Read This
- Crime Machine
- Until the Night
Until the Night, the novel
Season 4 is based on the novel, Until the Night. I’ve read six chapters of the novel and it’s not even loosely similar to the series. So if you’re anxious to buy the novel to read along, don’t bother.
8 out of 10 stars. Giles is an excellent writer. I just wish he’d pick less gory subject matter.