*Content warning: This post contains spoilers for The Sinner. Read on at your own risk.
The Sinner is one of the most talked about TV shows of 2017.
It’s a sleeper-hit that kind of crept up on all of us and very quickly began to dominate all of our conversations. “Have you watched The Sinner?” is now a perfectly acceptable way to greet someone.
In many ways The Sinner has been groundbreaking.
LISTEN: The Binge hosts discuss The Sinner’s most controversial scene and it’s biggest plot hole. Post continues after audio…
Firstly, it’s a ‘why-dunnit’ rather than a ‘who-dunnit’. In the first episode we witness Cora murdering Frankie Belmont on the beach, seemingly on impulse. We then spend the next eight episodes trying to figure out why. This is very different to the ‘who-dunnit’ narratives we’re used to.
Secondly, it was intended to be a one-time series event. Everything that needed to happen, happened in those eight episodes. Well, kind of.
And thirdly, The Sinner is one of the rare shows that’s pretty much female-focused. Most of the time the story-line focuses on Cora, her sister Phoebe, and to a lesser extent Maddie, and the horrible events that unfolded that night.
It’s Cora’s story that we’re invested in from that very first episode and we continue to be on her side right up until the final episode, even though we know she’s committed a horrific crime.
But there’s one scene in The Sinner that lets us down.
It’s the final moment of the series where Detective Harry Ambrose (played by Bill Pullman) is sitting in his car outside the courthouse. The series ends with the camera zooming in on the bruises on Ambrose’s fingernails.
It’s a very jarring scene – Jessica Biel’s character is supposed to be at the centre of the story and we’ve just left her behind bars. So why are we now focusing on the detective?