Most USA Network shows are pretty tame. Suits, Psych, White Collar and Burn Notice are all relatively calm, PG-13-level dramas with clear-cut resolutions. Then Mr. Robot hit the network, even though it was clearly meant for a network like HBO or Showtime. Now The Sinner is taking the channel to a new level.
So what’s got Bill Pullman’s fingertips bruised and why exactly is Jessica Biel covered in blood? That’s the mystery but there's so much more to uncover. The Sinner takes on an unusual path as the protagonist unknowingly murders a stranger in the first few minutes of the show.
Both Biel and Pullman are playing characters out of their wheelhouse, but doing so in a fantastic manner. In fact, when Bill Pullman’s wife saw his new character on the small screen, she actually had to ask, “Is your head on straight?” Pullman’s character is similar to Woody Harrelson in True Detective, but with an unusual fetish.
Outside of the pilot’s shocking moments, the series is set up as a mystery, sort of like The Leftovers. Global News writes, “Within ten minutes of the start of the eight-episode limited series, Biel’s character Cora is stabbing a stranger at the beach. No one knows why, including Cora herself.”
There’s no clear motif as to why the new mother decides to use her son’s fruit-peeling knife to stab a stranger on the beach seven times and soon we learn that we also have an unreliable narrator, similar to "Mr. Robot" himself. Biel’s character lies to the police, her husband, and herself, making the mystery all the more alluring.
As a thriller, the show is addictive. So far there’s been three episodes, and the miniseries is scheduled for five more. The show is fast moving and the clues given are scattered about, inviting the viewer to sort through them at their convenience.
Perhaps the most unusual aspect to the show comes from the title itself, which implies some troubles with a religious background. Biel’s character Cora has a troubling history, but it’s unclear exactly what made her snap and it’s unlikely we’ll see the full picture before the final moments of episode eight.