The Sinner, a TV Series based on the best-selling novel by Petra Hammesfahr, debuts on USA Network tonight. The eight-episode miniseries tells the story of a young mother, played by Jessica Biel, who has mysterious violent tendencies. The first episode airs at 10:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, August 2. Read on for a preview of the show.
In the show, Biel plays Cora, who mysteriously stabs a man to death one sunny summer afternoon. Why did she do it? Nothing in her life would have hinted at this violent act, but there were witnesses, including her family and friends. Police think this is easily solved, but the police commissioner, played by Bill Pullman, isn’t so sure. He becomes obsessed with the case himself and unravels the dark mysteries in Cora’s life.
USA greenlit the show in January. It marks Biel’s first regular TV series role since 7th Heaven ended in 2006. It was created by Derek Simmonds, who was also a writer on ABC’s When We Rise and The Astronaut Wives Club. He also wrote all eight episodes, which are based on the novel. The plot is not based on a true story.
The rest of the cast includes Christopher Abbott (Girls), Robert Funaro, Nadia Alexander and Patti D’Arbanville.
So far, the series hasn’t earned great reviews. USA Today’s Kelly Lawler gave it two out of four stars, noting that it is “relentlessly depressing.”
“If nothing else, The Sinner achieves its goal of piquing your curiosity,” Lawler wrote. “As each new piece of information about Cora and her victim is revealed, the mystery deepens. But it’s impossible to trust the narrative, as explanations for Cora’s violence and episodes from her past turn out to be lies or misdirections. Flashbacks reveal Cora had an abusive childhood, and the image of wallpaper and a woman beckoning her have an uncertain significance.”
The New York Times’ Mike Hale wrote that Biel “doesn’t have much to play besides fear and bewilderment, which she handles capably,” adding. “The success of The Sinner will depend on how much more she and Cora have to show us.”
Biel was also a producer on the project and told IndieWire that she was impressed and shocked as she read the novel. After finishing it, she realized that she wanted to play the role herself.
“I just feel like nothing can shock me anymore,” she told IndieWire. “Like, I’ve seen it all, there’s nothing that weird, nothing that dark. We all have seen it all, I think in a sense. But every time there was a surprise, it was genuine surprise for me. It just felt incredibly rare to find a piece of material that you didn’t expect every twist and turn of the way.”
PREMIERE DATE: Wednesday, August 2, 2017
TIME: 10:00 p.m. ET
Thursday, August 3 at 1:00 a.m. ET
Thursday, August 3 at 11:00 p.m. ET
CHANNEL: USA Network (To find out what channel USA is for you, click here to go to TVGuide.com and click “change” next to “Provider.”)
EPISODE DESCRIPTION: “Part 1” – “In the premiere, an unassuming housewife violently stabs a beachgoer to death, sparking an investigation by local police and sudden confusion in a small town.”
Created by Derek Simonds
Based on the novel by Petra Hammesfahr
Episodes Directed by Antonio Campos & Brad Anderson
Executive Producers: Jessica Biel, Antonio Campos, Michelle Purple & Derek Simonds