The Sinner, coming under genres like Crime, Drama, Mystery and Thriller, is binge-worthy for more than one reason, but it does have some shortcomings as well. It is not about who, but about why. “The Sinner” is more of a whydunit than a whodunit because we see the crime take place and the killer confess to it. There is an open-and-shut case, but what led to it?
Season 1 follows Cora Tannetti (Jessica Biel) and season 2 follows (Elisha Henig). Cora is a distant and depressed housewife, who impulsively kills a seeming stranger at a beach, and Julian kills a couple, who appear to be his parents, in a motel. In both the seasons we see detective Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman), trying, more than any other character, to find out what happened. It’s not simply his empathy that drives him, but also the urge to get the case right.
While there are numerous characters involved to list, the well written characters – almost all of them – and the believable performances by the cast are brilliant and noteworthy. The series is as much driven by the characters as it is by the plot. The secrets are uncovered gradually with usual police work without too much of technological jumbo as we see in many in the genre, with Ambrose going further than warranted, and through flashbacks. The characters’ involvement in and impact on the story are well presented.
Season 1 starts with a bang and the impact of each episode gradually falls down as you progress. Season 2’s beginning is relatively less impactful, but it maintains the depth of each episode more or less. But as you watch, you fall into the rabbit hole and you have to continue to watch to find out more because there is more, a lot more, to the story, until you have almost reached the end, at which point you just finish watching it.
There are times, however, where the series clings too much to its gradual nature with deliberately slow narration and plot progress. While it can be subjective as to whether they add to the allure or not, they sure do seem to be unnecessary.
I have tried to review it with as little disclosure of the plot as possible. It is the equivalent of a page turner on TV, anything but not interesting. It is dark and is unsettling at times, and if you can, I would recommend that you watch it.