On November 15th 2015 CTV announced that it had ordered a serialized, six-part, one-hour drama series titled Cardinal from Toronto-based Sienna Films and Entertainment One (eOne). The murder mystery was based on the John Cardinal Mysteries, a series of six bestselling crime novels written by Ontario native and award-winning author Giles Blunt. The venture marked CTV’s first-ever series adaption from a novel. This series was planned to premiere as part of CTV’s 2016/17 schedule, with production set to begin in February 2016.
Cardinal was first put into development by CTV in 2011 with adaptation developed for television and written by Canadian Screen Award-winner Aubrey Nealon who also served as an Executive Producer and Showrunner, directed by the award-winning Montréal native Daniel Grou and was executive produced by Sienna Films’ Julia Sereny and Jennifer Kawaja
Cardinal was adapted from the award-winning novel Forty Words for Sorrow, the first of the John Cardinal Mysteries series. The series began with the discovery of Katie Pine, a missing 13-year-old whose body was discovered in the shaft-head of an abandoned mine. The series followed detective John Cardinal as he attempted to uncover the mystery of what happened to the young girl. At the same time, unbeknownst to Cardinal, he came under investigation by his new partner, Lise Delorme, a tough investigator in her own right.
In February 2016 CTV announced that production had begun on Cardinal. Casting included Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse as series leads. Directed by Daniel Grou aka Podz, the cinematic murder mystery began shooting in Sudbury, Ont. The series also had locations planned in North Bay, Ont., Atikameksheng Anishnawbek in northern Ontario, and Toronto. Cardinal was planned as part of CTV and Super Écran’s 2016/17 schedule.
Also announced were additional cast members including Deborah Hay as Catherine Cardinal, John Cardinal’s wife; Alanna Bale as Kelly Cardinal, Cardinal’s teenage daughter; Glen Gould as Jerry Commanda, a police contemporary and friend of Cardinal; David Richmond Peck as Corporal Musgrave; Gail Maurice as Dorothy Pine, mother of young murder victim Katie Pine, and Kristen Thomson as Sergeant Noelle Dyson, Cardinal’s commanding officer.
Cardinal premiered on CTV on January 25th 2017, and within a week CTV announced that the series debut of the series had been the most-watched debut of any Canadian series in the 2016/17 broadcast season with total viewers, A25-54, and A18-34.
On February 28, 2017, CTV announced it had greenlit second and third cycles of Cardinal for broadcast in 2017/18. The order marked the first time CTV had ordered two consecutive seasons of a drama. Produced by Sienna Films and Entertainment One (eOne) in association with CTV, and commissioned for French-language Canadian broadcast by Super Écran, an additional two self-contained cycles, each consisting of six, one-hour episodes, had been ordered. Both series stars, Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse would return for Seasons 2 and 3.
On November 29, 2017 CTV officially announced that Cardinal would return for Season 2 on January 4 2018. It ran from that date through February 8th 2018.
Directed by Jeff Renfroe, Season 2 of the series continued to star Billy Campbell as John Cardinal and Karine Vanasse as Detective Lise Delorme, as they wove through an intricate investigation that exposed the seedy underbelly of picturesque Algonquin Bay.
Filming on the third series completed in July 2018, with no airdates announced, and shortly after, CTV announced that the programme had been renewed for a fourth series.