Cardinal Season 4 [9/10]

Cardinal” began life based on the spellbinding police procedurals written by Canadian novelist Giles Blunt (the first one and among the best was Forty Words for Sorrow), but quickly established a separate life on the screen. The first two seasons were hypnotic and the third, one of my 2019 highlights, was almost unbearably dark and suspenseful. Season 4 is billed as the finale and I wish it were not so. Set in chilling Canadian snow country, the cinematography and scenic direction are as controlled and beautiful as in the first three seasons. After a harrowing opening murder scene, the plot swirls for the first three episodes, then settles into a duel between evil and the two detective heroes of “Cardinal,” John Cardinal (played as ever more worn-down but indefatigable, by wonderful Billy Campbell) and his junior partner Lise Delorme (Karine Vanasse shines in this role). The embers of the attraction between the two of them glow. As ever, the supporting cast is stellar, and Shawn Doyle exudes tormented evil as the key opponent. The final two episodes, set in the white, white, frigid snow, pound with tension, and the denouement is apt and sweet. A triumph.

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