The best TV shows come via word-of-mouth and slow hype – remember when no-one even knew about Stranger Things? When The OA was just a weird show with a weird tile on your Netflix account? When someone mentioned Transparent on Stan and you were like “eh, I’ll give it a whirl”?
Well, The Sinner is one of those babies. And hoooo boy, it is a doozy.
See, most people were probably turned off due to the fact that Jessica Biel, who you possibly only remember from her role in the movie great, Summer Catch and that 90’s masterpiece, 7th Heaven. She hasn’t got a stellar film and TV past behind her, and for the last few years her real claim to fame has been being married to Justin Timberlake.
BUT – Jessica Biel is absolutely phenomenal in The Sinner. So let’s just get that out of the way. Someone throw her 50 awards, because she did good. Real good. Clearly she’d been pigeonholed or misunderstood as an actor, because she absolutely nails the nuances and tension her character, Cora Tanetti, needed in this series.
The premise of The Sinner is this. A woman, who absolutely seems not very okay to begin with, is hanging with her adorable family on the beach. There’s a hot couple nearby that are annoying the hell out of her – and then, all of a sudden, she wanders over and brutally stabs the dude to death.
What the actual fuck barely covers it. The first episode is a whirlwind of teasing little moments that hint at a deeply unsettled human being underneath the veneer of “happy families”, an insane, out of nowhere killing, and the beginnings of a mystery that unravels over the course of eight episodes in the most perfectly constructed way.
It’s literally a show you’ll start now, at 8am or whatever on Sunday morning, and will cancel all your plans today in order to finish it before sleepy-time tonight. That is no exaggeration, as I, your dear spirit guide for this show, started it yesterday afternoon, and stayed up til 2am to finish it, even though I had to work at 7am today. COOL.
A note: go into this one as blind as you can – I’ve given you the bare minimum of info and everything in this article happens in the first half of the first ep – this is one show where you don’t want to do background reading beforehand, mates.