Jessica Biel may have made a name for herself all those years ago on “7th Heaven,” but she’s out to prove she can be dark and broody in her latest project, USA series “The Sinner.”
Biel plays Cora Tinetti, a seemingly normal middle-class wife and mother who, on a harmless outing to the beach with her husband and son, becomes triggered and stabs a young man to death, in front of dozens of witnesses.
“[She is] a woman who really doesn’t know who she is, and who is searching, but is protecting herself, so therefore she can’t ever really get anywhere, because she won’t let herself move forward,” Biel said Monday night from the Crosby Street Hotel, at the show’s premiere.
Her costar, Bill Pullman, plays Detective Harry Ambrose, who takes it upon himself to uncover the motives behinds Cora’s violent outburst.
“There’s a way in which he senses that there’s a behavior that is not typical and that other people would maybe pass over,” Pullman explained. “He sees in her this sense that there’s a lot of things about shame, and there’s a lot of things that seem as though there’s a part of her that she hasn’t been able to see, but he’s sensing it.”
Unlike most crime-genre series, “The Sinner” foregoes the classic whodunit narrative for a more intriguing, somewhat modern approach — what the show’s young star Nadia Alexander dubbed on Tuesday as the “whydunit.”
“I think if you’re gonna do a murder mystery, you gotta take a new approach to it, because we’ve had murder mysteries since, like, the dawn of time,” the actress explained. “To me, the psychological underpinnings of all of this were super intriguing.”
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