Nietzsche meets Netflix: the killer philosophy behind The Sinner – The Telegraph

Warning: contains spoilers for season 3 of The Sinner

A man on a train throws death glares at the chap across the aisle, who is playing something loud and silly on his phone. Its just a fleeting shot in the first episode of series three of Netflixs The Sinner, but one that communicates multitudes.

For schoolteacher Jamie (Matt Bomer), an outwardly perfect life is bubbling out of control. Hes boiling with resentment: towards his career, looming parenthood and the idiots with whom hes forced to share his commute. Soon this will all crystallise into dark, dangerous urges.

Quicker than you can say Fight Club rewatch, anyone? Jamie is up to his bloodied-knuckles in conspiracy, murder and out-of-body visitations. The last of these features a toxic friend from university who has clearly watched the punch-drunk David Fincher filmseveral hundred more times than recommended. And who continues to haunt and taunt Jamie even after his apparent death.

It all sounds like a rather unlikely premise for a cop show: more Twin Peaks-meets-Jordan Peterson than Law and Order. But then thats the charm of The Sinner, which has across three seasons quietly carved out its own space as a police procedural with a difference.

The series, a major hit for Netflix, is a murder mystery, but one where the identity of the killer is established from the outset. For instance, it takes of all of five seconds to work out that Jamie willsoon to be up to no good, and will quickly have blood on his hands as hedoes by the end of the first instalment. Forget the whodunnit and say hello instead to the whydunnit.

The Sinner, which has Hollywood superstar Jessica Biel as co-producer, didnt invent the whydunnit. All the way back to Peter Falks Columbo in the 1970s, a sub-strata of crime capers have tried to stand out from the mob by revealing the villain of the piece upfront.

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Nietzsche meets Netflix: the killer philosophy behind The Sinner - The Telegraph

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