Cora Tannetti, house wife and mother to a young son, has just been arrested for murder. No one is disputing the fact that she committed the act; all the sunbathers at the beach she was at witnessed her spontaneously jump the guy the next beach blanket over, stabbing him repeatedly with the paring knife she had been using to slice a pear only a minute ago.
Lately, Cora has been experiencing some weird flashes of memory, almost like a dream. She isn’t sure where they are coming from, nor what they mean…a blurred vision of someone wearing a balaclava, soft bare skin, odd wallpaper, and flashbacks to her childhood growing up with an ailing sister, and religious parents. The reason for her sudden act of violence eludes her. She doesn’t understand why she did what she did. The police are investigating and discover she knew the victim – a guy from her past, named Frankie – but relationship details about him are out of reach to her, like that month of her life had been completely erased. She has evidence of drug abuse thanks to scars on her arms, but doesn’t recall taking drugs. And there’s that electronic dance music that was playing on the beach that day, the same music the detective on the case, Harry Ambrose, decided to play for Cora the day of her arrest, that triggered her into a dizzied rage, that resulted in her assaulting Ambrose. Although the Police have their woman, and should have an open and shut case of Capital Murder, Ambrose thinks there is more to this than meet the eye, and there ensues quite a deep dive into Cora’s past to discover what these suppressed memories were all about.
The Sinner is an 8-part mini-series that originally aired on USA channel, and of this post, there are two episodes left to air on Showcase in Canada. Jessica Biel plays Cora, and let me tell you, it’s been a long time since she was Mary Camden on 7th Heaven! Biel’s flawless performance really makes this show something to see. She is also ageless, and at age 35, is still able to get away with playing a 19-year-old! (Looks like that L’Oreal contract is working in her favor!) A haggard-looking Bill Pullman plays Ambrose, the detective with some personal and disturbing demons himself who tries to navigate Cora through her suppressed memories to get to the truth.
I’ll be honest. After the third episode of the Sinner, I felt like something was disingenuous. I understand this is a work of fiction, but still, I’ve watched enough detective shows to know that the number one interest the cops have is finding the person responsible for the crime, and closing the case. Cora’s case almost got to that point until Ambrose cut in. His colleagues at the cop shop, the judge on the case, even Cora asked why he was going to the lengths he was going to find out what happened. He said he didn’t think she did it with malice intent. I hung in despite this shortcoming, and I am glad I did. The show turned out so good – so suspenseful in fact, last night I downloaded the last two episodes to watch them instead of waiting until next week for Showcase to air the next episode. The Sinner twists and turns in areas you will never expect to a satisfying conclusion. Highly recommend!
Starring Jessica Biel and Bill Pullman