Sinner, The – Season 3


Hate the Sin, Love The Sinner

Main Cast: Bill Pullman, Matt Bomer

Creator: Derek Simonds

In case you aren’t familiar with The Sinner, it’s an anthology series featuring Bill Pullman as the eccentric Detective Harry Ambrose investigating a different crime each season. It doesn’t matter a whole lot if you drop in at season 3 or start at the beginning, the seasons stand alone.

Each season is named after the character presumed to be the sinner, or criminal. In the case of season 3 that character is Jamie. Matt Bomer plays Jamie Burns, a married high school teacher about to become a father. His friend from college, Nick (Chris Malina), shows up one night and things get weird really fast. It isn’t long before Harry Ambrose is involved.

The first thing to know is that Harry Ambrose is a strange man with strange methods and a strange life. Not lovably eccentric, more like offputtingly odd. But he’s trying to be a better dad and grandpa this season and Bill Pullman fully embodies this role. We can feel how uncomfortable Harry is just trying to exist in the world and every season it adds a layer to the main plot.

Every season one of the main components of The Sinner is Harry’s interaction with the suspect, and this season is no different. Harry is always looking for something, something he feels missing in his own life, and he’s fascinated by his cases. Season 3 brings him the troubled but charming Jamie Burns.

Matt Bomer walks Jamie along the razor thin edge of charismatic, confused, frightened, and dangerous. Like most antagonists in The Sinner, Jamie is a slowly, deliberately developed, very complex character. Bomer brings him to life with an astoundingly good performance.

Supporting performances from Chris Messina as the existentially terrifying Nick, Jessica Hecht as an artist drawn into the drama against her will, and Parisa Fitz-Henley as Jamie’s increasingly worried wife add context to the characters of both Jamie and Harry. The result is a deeply realized set of characters able to bring clarity to what could have been confusing plotting.

The small town in Upstate New York where Harry lives is pretty well offset by New York City, giving the plot and characters some room to breathe and explore beyond the scope of a small town investigation. Overall, this may well be the best season of The Sinner. Matt Bomer’s character is very well written, and his portrayal makes the tension feel intimate and the fear feel terribly personal. Harry Ambrose continues to evolve and it’s great to see Pullman get yet another layer out of this character. I’m looking forward to season 4.

The Sinner airs on USA. Seasons 1-3 are available to stream on Netflix.

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