‘The Sinner’ season 1, episode 1 recap: An impulse kill


THE SINNER — “Pilot” Episode 101 — Pictured: Jessica Biel as Cora — (Photo by: Brownie Harris/USA Network)

From the start, ‘The Sinner’ surrounds you in the mystery of the murder, even though you know who did it.

Cora (Jessica Biel) and Mason Tannetti (Christopher Abbott) live in a small town and spend a whole lot of time with Mason’s parents. The Sinner‘s opening scene is intriguing and makes you wonder where this show will go and what the tone is. Everything seems normal until a fateful moment on the beach. Cora’s attention turns to a couple who don’t care what others think of their PDA. She loses it and stabs the man, who we later find out is Frankie Belmont (Eric Todd).

Right before she starts attacking him, there’s a moment where you can essentially see the wheels turning in her head. It’s as if she’s seeing a flashback that the audience doesn’t have the luxury of seeing. My initial thought is that she was attacked at some point because she didn’t stab him until after he was on top of his wife.

More from Hidden Remote

Cora is sent to country jail for the night. We get a major flashback that gives some clues as to what possibly triggered the violence. It’ll be interesting to see how much they utilize flashbacks in this since it’s only an 8-episode limited series. That’s not a whole lot of time to tell a story, but like I mentioned before, all that’s really left to do is reveal why.

Detective Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman) is the one who wants to know why she killed Frankie. Most detectives would take the confession and eyewitness statements and leave it at that. He goes to see Mason the next day and Mason reveals that Cora thought she was saving Leah, Freddie’s wife. His interest in the reason why this happened seems like the main thing that fuels a lot of this story.

Photo Credit: The Sinner/USA Image Acquired from NBC Media Village

The detective goes to see Leah and Frankie’s friend Ken is there. Ken ends up revealing that Frankie grabbed Cora’s elbow after the first stab and gave her a look of recognition. You can see the wheels in his head turning now as he starts to make some sort of sense out of this. It’s a piece of information that suddenly makes the story even more interesting than it already was.

Mason goes to visit Cora at the county jail and she walks him through what happens next. His confusion is understandable and if the audience were put in the same situation, one can only assume they’d react similarly. In this opener, he’s the most relatable character.

Must Read: Interview: Composer Ronit Kirchman gives us the scoop on ‘The Sinner’

The Sinner kicks off with a solid episode. It’s a new take on the murder mystery. Instead of wonder “whodunit,” you’re just left wondering why with everyone else in the show. I can’t wait to see how this plays out.