The anthology series returns with a pair of great performances from series newcomers Matt Bomer and Chris Messina.
USA’s The Sinner returns with new cast members and a mystery so beguiling that I wish I could binge it in one sitting. Bill Pullman’s Harry Ambrose gets embroiled with the relationship between Matt Bomer and Chris Messina, and I admit that both men will become the subjects of your sexual nightmares. The first few episodes of The Sinner promise a dark crime steeped in hidden male emotion that you can’t tear your eyes away from the dread.
The Sinner could’ve been a yearly, saucy summer procedural, but it has continued to explore dark regions of an regular-joe-does-horrible-things. Executive producer Jessica Biel did have a sun kissed murder in the first year (and turned in the best performance of her career), and the second season centered on a child who murdered his parents with no motive. It’s more disturbing when the waters are muddied, and season three doesn’t seem to want to answer questions quickly.
Bomer stars as Jamie Burns, a history teacher at a private school whose pregnant wife, played with concerned warmth by Parisa Fitz-Henley, is about to pop any day now. When Chris Messina’s Nick Haas, a college buddy, randomly shows up at Jamie’s house, Jamie isn’t thrilled to see him. Is he a drinking buddy? A former lover? All of the teasing in the first two episodes is effective, and you just want to know how and if these dudes did it!
Chris Messina obliterates any lovable energy he built with his performance as Nick. The way he vacantly stares and slowly speaks is a different rhythm than the rest of the characters, so he sticks out in an unsettling way. Him and Bomer pull off a rooted chemistry so well because Messina always feels on the brink of popping off compared to Bomer’s dashing and frazzled Jamie. Bomer has always been an actor seemingly trying to prove himself, and Jamie is a leading man with a cracked reflection.
The other performance to tune in for is from Jessica Hecht. The murder at the center of this season–which I won’t describe–takes place near a secluded property owned by Hecht, and she connects with Harry whenever strange things begin occurring. Hecht has been having quite the hot streak in the last year (Emmy nominated for her fantastic performance in Netflix’s Special), and nothing makes me happier to see her pop up to tackle some heavier material.
Will The Sinner continue to be as compelling this season? Time will tell, but what is clear is that the chemistry between the two new leads feels dangerous and exciting.
The Sinner airs on Thursdays on USA.