How do you know if you really know someone? You may live with them and be married to them for years, but do you really, really know them? Are they being their authentic self?
The third season of USA Network’s anthology series The Sinner takes us on the most thrilling and thought-provoking psychological journey yet, raising questions on one’s identity and morality throughout.
Executive producer and showrunner Derek Simonds brings back Bill Pullman to reprise his role as Detective Harry Ambrose, and pairs him against the radiantly versatile Matt Bomer, who steps into the character of Jamie, a handsome upstate New York resident and expectant father with an intriguing past.
When we meet Jamie, he seems to have everything going for him. He’s revered by his students at the illustrious all-girls school in Manhattan for which he works. He has a beautiful wife with a thriving career. He’s expecting his first child. He’s recently moved to the suburbs to start a family life. He’s an extremely relatable guy. But slowly we learn that something is missing, and then quickly realize we need to buckle in for what’s going to be one complex and chaotic ride. A ride Bomer was more than excited to be a part of.
“You’re always looking for a multifaceted character, someone who has a public persona and a very distinctly different private persona. And if they’re at odds with each other, all the better,” Bomer tells us. “It was a great combination for me. Jamie’s at odds with society in a way that I think a lot of us are these days. Questioning where our sense of morals and ethics have led us, and where are we now, and do we really live in this world where we’re just competing and competing and competing … sacrificing any type of personal authenticity to do so? And are we just going to be on our phones our entire commute and not actually interact with each other, but only connect in these disparate ways via social media? And so I think, in that way, he’s a very relatable character, but he’s also a little bit Hamlet, a little bit Holden Caulfield [The Catcher in the Rye], a little bit Macbeth, and a little bit Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. So, it was quite a nice soup to dip into.”
And that “soup” is made up of one complex, messy, emotional mix of ingredients — a major one being Jamie’s friend from the past, Nick Haas (Chris Messina, Sharp Objects), whose prior relationship with Jamie takes us down a shocking road that questions one’s morality and authenticity.
“The show is so great about investigating the shadow. The shadow side of ourselves and how it’s what we often most fear. But it’s what we really need to contend with for our well-being, both personally and as a society,” Bomer adds. “So much of what Jamie is going through is an existential crisis and a feeling that the sense of morals and ethics that we live by in our society is not working. So why not go the way of Nietzsche [19th-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche] and create your own sense of morals and ethics? And that’s the level that he was able to connect on with Nick.
“Just when you think you know Jamie or you might have a bead on him, all of a sudden he does a 180 and you have to reinvent your assessment of him and how you feel about him. And then he does another 180,” Bomer concludes. “You never really have solid ground underneath you until really, I would say, towards the end.”
And the end of this eight-episode journey is going to be well worth the ride.
Thursdays beginning Feb. 6