John & Lise, marks the end of the road for Cardinal after four excellent seasons. All good things must come to an end so watching the series’ final hour is a bittersweet affair. Television has improved considerably over the years with prestige TV eclipsing the film going experience more and more. Even before the screen goes dark on Algonquin Bay, it is safe to count Cardinal among the best television has to offer.
Sheila’s confession uncovers any lingering mystery surrounding what happened to Rebecca Bailey two decades ago and sets up a race against time and the elements to stop Scott from fulfilling his quest for vengeance. John & Lise offers viewers their best look into Scott’s psyche and his method for torturing his victims. Even though murder is on his mind, Scott is capable of acts of compassion, agreeing to ease some of the discomfort Taj and his daughter are to endure before he executes his final plan. It harkens back to the Scott that existed before Rebecca’s death but doesn’t absolve him of the menace he’s wrought on his victims.
The massive search to find Scott and Taj brings Delorme, Cardinal, Jerry and the authorities into the wilderness. After coming up empty, Cardinal has a hunch and he and Delorme decide to look where everyone else isn’t in the hope that they will find what they are looking for before it’s too late. That fateful decision leaves Delorme and Cardinal isolated in the woods far from any backup. The showdown in the woods is tense with Delorme and Cardinal fighting the elements and Scott’s marksmanship within an inch of their lives.
Amid all of the action in John & Lise is their relationship and the next steps between the titular characters. Their bond is undeniable but Cardinal and Delorme are going in different directions. Delorme has her whole life and career in front of her while Cardinal’s in in it’s sunset. Even though that’s the case, he’ll always be tied to his job. His goodbye with Delorme is interrupted by the faint wail of sirens and while her last scene is set in a bright, if barren locale it is in stark contrast to Cardinal’s. Pulled into another case almost immediately, Cardinal stares into the darkness, a man alone. There is hope for him with Delorme and his daughter in the future but what the will look like remains a uncertain.
What isn’t in question is the indelible mark Cardinal leaves on Canadian television. An achievement in front of and behind the camera, Cardinal deserves to be celebrated. Hopefully this won’t mark the end of the Cardinal universe and viewers will get to see more of him or follow Lise Delorme to Toronto. Either way, Cardinal’s four season run filled with interesting characters, complex crimes and unique locations should inspire the creation of more police procedurals set above the 49th parallel.