The Sinner season 2 from USA Networks doesn’t fail to live up to the stellar record of the first. Every bit as intricate and nuanced as the previous season, this outing keeps you guessing right up until the very end.
This story centers around the Mosswood Grove Commune (although they would hesitate to label themselves as such) and young boy named Julian who appears to have a committed a gruesome double homicide. Bill Pullman (ID4, Torchwood, Lake Placid) turns in another wonderfully controlled performance as Detective Harry Ambrose. The unique thing about this series is while Det. Ambrose is of course trying to solve the case, he does so with the interesting perspective of being an advocate for the alleged suspect. In the current climate of #MeToo and the trend of believing the victim first, he refuses to just look at the crime from a single perspective. Sometimes there is more than one victim on both sides of a tragedy. This wasn’t entirely apparent to me in the first season with Jessica Biel (who serves as an Executive Producer on season 2), because of how well they balanced the character’s responsibility to his job and at the same time his ethics.
As with the first season, there are riveting performances delivered throughout the whole cast. Sticking with more unknown (yet veteran) actors, you are never sure exactly when the story will start to zero in on a particular character and bring an exciting new twist to the plot. Carrie Coons plays Vera Walker, the default leader of the Mosswood Grove, who is also Julian’s mother. She shows herself to be utterly ruthless and unrelenting when it comes to defending her son’s actions in horrible murder. On an odd note, Ms. Coons is married to Tracy Letts (who plays Jack Novak, father of newly appointed Detective Heather Novak) in real life.
It is difficult to give a synopsis, or even call out characters without drawing undue attention to an aspect of the story and therefore ruining some of the “mystery”. We always prefer to remain as spoiler free as we can with these reviews, so we’ll concentrate on other factors in the production. It’s safe to say that if you are a fan of murder mystery / true crime style stories, The Sinner will be a rea treat for you to enjoy. While difficult at times to watch, given the brutal portrayal of some very sensitive subjects, it never shies away from an honest portrait of the dark side of life. Beautifully shot by Radium Cheung with Art Direction Maki Takenouchi it is subtle, yet impactful at the same time. There is a sense of foreboding that comes through, even during the daylight scenes. As with other areas of the production, discretion of delivery makes for a shockingly realistic take on what would otherwise be sensationalized subject matter.
Well worth watching both seasons for anyone looking for a satisfying mystery to keep you on the edge of your seat up until the end. I will mention that there may be some pretty disturbing material for some to watch in this season, but as Harry said, sometimes you have to stare down what you fear. The Sinner is also available on Netflix.