When Cardinal starts, we see an older gentleman riding a snowmobile. He stops near a mine of sorts and ventures inside. He discovers a frozen body inside of the building. Moments later, John Cardinal (Billy Campbell) is shown snoozing in his patrol car. He is disturbed by newcomer Lise Delorme (Karine Vanasse). Lise confirms that Dyson (Kristen Thomson) sent her, before informing John that a body has been found. Cardinal asks about his colleague Detective McLeod (James Downing). He is told that Dyson wants him and not McLeod. The detectives watch as a young couple buy a television. Cardinal implies the couple should be happy, but they’re furious with one another right now.
Nonetheless, Cardinal heads to the crime scene. First, he ridicules a rookie cop, who trudged through the crime scene with his boots. Cardinal takes the man’s boots and sends him home. It is revealed that the corpse is missing a left eye. The right eye has been damaged. Dyson speaks with Cardinal and offers him the lead on the investigation. He is told that McLeod cannot be his second, since he has to be in court for the entire week. Instead, Delorme is given the spot. Cardinal is not happy with the arrangement. The corpse is lifted from the mine. After the intro scene, Delorme and Cardinal return to the station. Delorme asks Cardinal about his initial assumption that the girl had not run away. He confesses his assumption nearly got him thrown off of homicide. Delorme is given orders to take care of Cardinal’s breaking and entering cases, while he focuses on the homicide.
Delorme is given advice by McLeod. Cardinal meets with Katie Pine’s mother, Dorothy (Gail Maurice). Cardinal promises to do everything he can. Dorothy reminds him that he said the same once before. Next, Cardinal visits Katie’s room. That night, John scours over pictures of Katie and a young male victim. He calls Delorme and lays out a theory that they both could’ve been killed by a serial killer. John mentions his potential second victim, Billy LaBelle. Cardinal reveals that Billy was found face up in the water. Delorme suggests Billy being murdered would have been a stretch, since his mom was supposed to be there at the time. After the call ends, Delorme’s partner, Josh (Alden Adair), asks about the call. In the morning, John meets with Maureen LaBelle (Jenny Young).
Cardinal asks the woman about her son’s death. He suggests she lied and was asleep in bed, when the boy died. Maureen refuses to answer and forces him to leave. Back at the station, Cardinal gets a call from forensics. He offers McLeod to listen in, while leaving Delorme behind. Delorme refuses to stay behind. She forces her way into the room and listens in to the call. Len Torres (Ali Hassan) gives them a rundown of the evidence. He reveals that the girl was likely tied up and suffocated. He also admits the girl hadn’t eaten in at least 24 hours. The girl was also drugged. Cardinal tells McLeod about the potential connection between Katie’s death and Billy LaBelle’s death. McLeod isn’t buying it. John gets the receptionist to compile records of young missing people in the area. He investigates those cases, but finds nothing of interest. Meanwhile, Delorme visits a burglary victim’s house. She finds that a new microwave was stolen.
Dyson pays a visit to Dorothy Pine. She gives her condolences, before offering to help have Katie’s funeral at a nearby church. Later that night, John finds that his pipes have frozen. He ventures into the crawlspace and finds a dead animal. He fixes everything, before looking at his wife Catherine’s (Deborah Hay) photography. Then, he removes a nearby brick and grabs an envelope full of money. He leaves and meets up with Francis (Lawrence Bayne). John haves over the envelope and gets a brown bag in return. In the morning, Delorme pays John a visit. She explains her theory that someone is staking out the big retail stores and following people home, after they’ve bought big ticket items. Cardinal admits he concluded the same. He gives her a list of license plate numbers and admits he was staking out the store at the beginning of the episode.
Seconds later, Delorme is stopped by Detective Hannam (James Thomas). The couple speak about Malcolm Musgrave (David Richmond-Peck), who is standing outside. Hannam reveals that he is investigating a cop, who may be corrupt. Cardinal speaks with Father Presnell (Tom Barnett). He shows him several photographs of missing people. Persnell admits Todd Curry stayed with them for a period of time. He looks through his paperwork and finds that Curry was there on January the 7th. Curry left and never returned. Then, their conversation turns to Cardinal’s wife. He admits she thought the church could heal her and Persnell allowed it. Next, John visits his wife. She seems totally out of it. John speaks with Dyson at the church. He explains that the killer is still out there and begs for more manpower.
Surprisingly, Dorothy doesn’t show up for the ceremony. Instead, she has an Indian burial of sorts. Father Persnell calls Cardinal seconds later. He informs him that Curry did return to borrow a sleeping bag. He tells Cardinal where the man camped out. Cardinal visits the place and finds it abandoned. He tells Dyson and asks for permission to look around. Dyson insists no judge will give him a warrant. Cardinal is told that the chief is contemplating handing Katie’s case to someone else. Cardinal remains adamant that he wants the warrant. Delorme pays a visit to Kristin Baldwin (Trenna Keating). She asks Woody (Gord Rand) about a loud noise. He insists he hasn’t heard anything out of the ordinary. Cardinal returns to the abandoned house. Cardinal finds a body in a hidden crevice upstairs.
Back at the station, Delorme is told she is not going to the scene. Instead, she heads to a house and meets with Musgrave. Delorme confesses that Cardinal hasn’t suspected anything, since he is so wrapped up in Katie’s case. However, she admits she doesn’t true him. They speak with Detective Joel Hansen (Kevin Louis). Delorme is told about Kyle Corbett. The man was suspected of blowing up a drug rival’s garage in 2011. The explosion killed an 11-year-old boy. Musgrave admits they believe someone on the inside could be feeding Corbett information. He believes that someone could be Cardinal.
While some of the acting in Cardinal was a little hit and miss, the show itself is surprisingly good. Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse make for a dynamic duo. The show is slow and methodical. The snowy scenery was definitely different and helped to better represent Canada. The dialogue is realistic and far better than Bellevue. Thus far, I am impressed with what I see. It might not be a homerun, but Cardinal is certainly watchable at this point. More importantly, I am eager to see what happens next.
A 6.5 out of 10 is deserved for the opener.