"The new Netflix series that's so good, I watched the entire season in one sitting."

*Warning: This post contains mild spoilers for The Sinner season one. 

I watched the whole first season of The Sinner in one sitting.

When I sat down to watch the psychological thriller on Netflix I knew it was going to be an interesting series, but I had no idea I would emerge eight hours later with my mind completely blown.

What The Sinner presents us with is a why-dunnit, a twist on the classic whodunnit narrative.

In the first episode, young mum Cora Tanetti (played by Jessica Biel) murders a stranger, seemingly on impulse, while her family is enjoying a day at the beach.

the sinner review
What The Sinner presents us with is a why-dunnit, a twist on the classic who-dunnit narrative. Image via Netflix.

We immediately know who did it, but we spend the rest of the eight-episode season finding out why.

With the help of Detective Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman) Cora slowly untangles her hidden memories to reveal a shocking secret from her past.

You see, not long before Cora met her husband, Mason, something happened to her. Something so brutal, so horrifying, so traumatising, Cora's mind blocked out the memories to keep her safe.

She also mostly blocked out the memories from her troubled childhood in a strict Catholic household with a terminally ill sister who relied on Cora as her connection to the outside world.

Cora never talks about her past and only tells Mason that both her parents are deceased and that she was in a terrible "accident" not long before she met him.


While Cora was going about her normal life, working in her husband's family business and raising her young son, something sinister was bubbling up inside her.

The music playing on the beach that day triggered something in Cora's mind and she slowly started to recover her memories - leading her to commit an unthinkable crime.

And this is what is so goddamn compelling about The Sinner, it takes a common fear and plays it out for us on screen in such an enthralling way, we cannot look away. Every woman, deep down inside, fears they could be Cora Tanetti. We can all see ourselves walking in her shoes.

Every woman has at one point in her life wondered if there's something lurking in her past that she just doesn't know about.

Listen: If you liked The Sinner, you'll love Mindhunter. (Post continues after audio...)

Every time we hear a story about child abuse or gang rape where the victim experienced repressed memories for years, there's a little niggle at the back of our minds asking, "What if that happened to me?".

Every time we hear a story about a woman who one day seemingly snaps and commits an unthinkable crime, we wonder whether, deep down, we're capable of such brutality ourselves.

So, as viewers, we're heavily invested in finding out what happened to Cora. We need answers - for both Cora's sake and our own.

Along with Cora, we have to dig down to her deepest, hidden memories so we can finally find out the truth. And in the end, the truth is more shocking than we thought conceivable.

The Sinner is the kind of TV show that grips you in the first episode and doesn't let you go into the final credits are rolling; the sort of TV experience you'll immediately want to discuss with your friends so you can dissect every little detail.

And it's the kind of story that will follow you around for days - if not weeks - after you've watched it. Cora and her story will stay on your mind as you try to process the brutality of one woman's experience and wonder whether anyone can ever truly move on from their past.

If you have plans for the weekend - cancel them - you need to watch The Sinner ASAP.

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