In the present work, attempt has been made to analyse the metallurgical and mechanical characterization of Titanium Carbonitride (TiCN) and Titanium Aluminium Nitride (TiAlN) duplex coatings. TiCN/TiAlN and TiAlN/TiCN bilayer combinations were deposited on cemented carbide cutting insert substrates by means of the cathodic arc physical vapour deposition (CAPVD) process. The metallography analysis revealed a highly densed uniform structure and a fewer voids for the TiAlN/TiCN bilayer coating when compared to TiCN/TiAlN combination. Nano-indentation analysis was performed for the assessment of the surface hardness of the coatings followed by the measurement of adhesive strength through use of a scratch tester. The TiAlN/TiCN bilayer coating revealed a higher hardness and greater adhesion strength than the TiCN/TiAlN bilayer coating. Roughness parameters of the coated films were obtained using atomic force microscopy (AFM). TiAlN/TiCN bilayer coating showed a smooth surface, when compared to TiCN/TiAlN bilayer coating. © 2019 Elsevier B.V.