‘The Sinner’: Bill Pullman and His Character’s Sexual Proclivities Are the Most Intriguing Parts of the Series

IndieWire | 9/13/2017 | Hanh Nguyen
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Although “The Sinner” is bent on discovering why Cora Tannetti (Jessica Biel) stabbed a stranger to death out of the blue, another storyline has captured the attention of viewers beyond that central mystery. The USA Network limited series also centers on Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman), a detective determined to get to the bottom of Cora’s case.

In the Petra Hammesfahr crime novel from which “The Sinner” is based, the detective on the case is fairly generic and not very interesting. This is a far cry from the series’ Det. Ambrose, whose private life is far more colorful than that of the typical embittered detective stereotype. In fact, his character is one of the most brilliant deviations from the novel.

Credit - Writers - Pullman - Ambrose - Tenacity

All credit goes to the writers and also to Pullman himself, who embodies Ambrose with a quietly unapologetic tenacity. No matter what the situation, Pullman is able to give Ambrose a bit of a glint in his eye and half-smile. It’s both unsettling and comforting all at once considering that he’s often discussing a brutal murder. That, coupled with a seriously impressive salt and pepper beard, are the physical reflections of the complex man underneath.

Because, of course, Ambrose also has a secret, and it’s one that contributed to the breakdown of his marriage: He’s been seeing a **** named Sharon (Meredith Holzman) on the side. This infidelity tarnishes his reputation in the eyes of the viewer, making him imperfect and therefore somewhat relatable. It also gives him an oddball quirk that is in keeping with the colorful personalities that have been introduced in Cora’s family.

Bill - Pullman - Meredith - Holzman - Sinner

Bill Pullman and Meredith Holzman, “The Sinner”

Ambrose is in denial that this is anything more than a penchant for kink or merely letting off steam. It becomes rapidly clear to viewers that this has evolved into an addiction. Not...
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