The Sinner debuted in 2017, originally intended as an eight-part miniseries. Yet after the first season starring Jessica Biel did well with both audiences and critics, the USA Network renewed the show and turned The Sinner into an anthology series, which has now run three seasons, with a fourth on the way. The show’s third season recently debuted on Netflix, which has led to the series becoming the third most-watched show currently on Netflix streaming in the United States.
Each season of The Sinner stars Bill Pullman as police detective Harry Ambrose – the only recurring lead on the show. With every season, Ambrose tries to solve crimes from unlikely culprits and tries to discover their reasoning for committing such crimes. In the first season, Ambrose investigated Cora Tannetti – played by Jessica Biel – who stabbed a man to death. Cora confesses her murder, but Ambrose still wants to try and figure out what led Cora to kill a stranger.
Once the case of Jessica Biel’s Cora Tannetti was solved, Season Two moved on to the story of Julian (Elisha Henig), a child who poisoned his parents. Season Three, which just dropped on Netflix, follows Jamie (Matt Bomer), who lives through a car crash that kills an old acquaintance. So far, these three seasons have featured impressive casts that include Christopher Abbott, Carrie Coon, Tracy Letts, and Chris Messina.
The first season of The Sinner was nominated for a pair of Golden Globes, including for Best Miniseries or Television Film, while Jessica Biel was nominated for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film. Biel was also nominated for an Emmy in the category Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie. Even though Biel only starred in the first season, she remains an executive producer for the series. The Sinner was Biel’s first time as an executive producer, but she said she wanted to work in production so she could help develop projects that had interesting roles, rather than just waiting for them to appear.
Over The Sinner’s three seasons, the show has received a surprisingly steady critical appreciation. Jessica Biel’s first season currently has a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com called the first season “The television version of a page-turner.” The second season received an even greater reception, receiving a 97% rating on the Tomatometer. The third season that just premiered on Netflix is currently the lowest-ranked on Rotten Tomatoes, but still has an impressive 85%, even if the audience score sank to a 47% after relatively high scores for the first two seasons.
But for the USA Network, Jessica Biel’s The Sinner was another step in the network’s attempts at being more than just the channel for WWE and NCIS reruns. USA started to gain more validity as a network of original programming in the 2000s, with comedies like Monk and Psych. But in the 2010s, USA became well-known for its somewhat generic-looking dramas, such as White Collar, Suits, and Burn Notice.
In the mid-2010s, however, USA started to branch out into more critically acclaimed and unique programming. A big step in this was the Rami Malek-starring Mr. Robot, which quickly became one of the network’s most buzzed-about shows ever. The network continued with intriguing projects, like The Purge, Playing House, and last year’s Briarpatch. But with these shows canceled, the Jessica Biel-produced The Sinner now reigns as the network’s most acclaimed original drama.
Since her leading role on The Sinner, Jessica Biel has stayed relatively quiet. Her last film role was in 2017 – the same year as her season of The Sinner, with Rob Reiner’s Shock and Awe. The film also starred Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, James Marsden, and Milla Jovovich. After this, Biel appeared in her husband Justin Timberlake’s video for “Man of the Woods.” Her only other television project since The Sinner has been 2019’s Limetown, which was made for Facebook Watch, and was canceled after only one season.
But with three seasons of The Sinner on Netflix right now, it’s the perfect show to binge and an excellent thriller to get lost in. Whether you just want to watch Jessica Biel’s Emmy-nominated performance in the first season, or plow through all three seasons in anticipation of the upcoming fourth season, you can join the droves of people flocking to The Sinner on Netflix right now.