Cora Tanetti (Jessica Biel) was the titular sinner of season one, and, lucky for her, Det. Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman) uncovered the whole story, so Cora is able to get the help she needs to move on (though Biel remains involved in The Sinner this year as an executive producer). There are more sinners on the horizon, however, and Harry Ambrose is back to investigate them too.
As season two of The Sinner goes into uncharted territory, we have faith in Harry to get to the bottom of things. He’s already shown he has the skills to solve the most challenging cases, and he’ll need them again when he meets a new sinner. Warning: Spoilers for Season 1 of The Sinner follow.
1. He listens.
Harry was always available for late night phone calls with Cora. He gave everybody the same attention even if it was just an obligatory witness interview. He really absorbs all the details, like that Maddie wanted to name a daughter Winter, which enabled him to locate Maddie still alive!
2. He understands trauma.
Harry eventually reveals to Cora that he suffered abuse as a child himself. That’s how he could tell the signs she exhibited were PTSD, triggered by a song and manifested by repetitive behavior. Ambrose also realized that when Cora pummeled him, she used the same pattern as the one she used to stab Frankie. He knew that was no coincidence!
3. He empathizes.
If you just come at suspects with accusations, they’re going to shut down. Harry knows the best way to get to the truth is to have empathy, even with suspects who do unspeakable acts. He encouraged Cora to undergo hypnotherapy, which uncovered the key memories that solved her case, and shared his own story with her to make her feel safe.
4. He knows his plants.
Ambrose could tell the vegetation growing in the swamp was unusual, so had it dug up. Sure enough, there were human remains there (a natural fertilizer apparently). Here’s hoping Harry’s green thumb will prove useful in season two again!
5. He’s got dirt on powerful people.
Sometimes a cop’s just gotta call in a favor. That’s when it helps to have dirt on people higher up the food chain. He got the judge to allow him to bring Cora to the scene of the Beverwyck Club because he buried her DUI years earlier. Surely, a cop like Harry has saved up some other favors -- after all, this year, he's headed back to his hometown.
6. He asks the right questions.
Remember when Cora thought she was a heroin addict? Ambrose started pressing her and eventually got to a question she couldn't answer. It was then, he switched gears with uncovering the scars on her arms. Without that line of questioning, we might still think Cora had given herself those track marks.
7. He pounds the pavement.
A lot of detective work is grunt work, such as making a lot of phone calls or following up on leads in person, just as Harry did to uncover Frankie and J.D.’s drug ring. One thing we love about Ambrose is that he leaves no stone unturned -- and there will be a lot of stones in Season 2!
8. He does the math.
Remember when you asked your math teacher when you would need to know this? Harry uses that part of his brain on a daily basis -- like when he learned J.D. siphoned a gallon of gas to drive to a bar and figured out how long that would take you and which places were in a 14-mile radius. That's some fine detective work!
See how Ambrose uses those detective skills a second time when The Sinner returns with a brand-new story on August 1!