Jumping around the timeline in a TV series makes for an excellent and effective narrative device, particularly in mystery series like USA’s The Sinner. But it can also be a lot to take in week to week! Don’t worry: that’s where we come in. Below you can find a chronological breakdown of everything that’s happened to Cora so far in The Sinner -- from her childhood with an increasingly ill Phoebe, to meeting J.D., to all the events that lead her to that day on the beach, where she fatally stabs Frankie Belmont.
[Warning: Contains spoilers for every episode ofThe Sinner]
Phoebe is born.
The young Cora’s relationship with Phoebe is nothing if not complex, and it all begins when Phoebe is born prematurely and their ultra-religious mother, Elizabeth, blames Cora for her second daughter’s ensuing illness.
Elizabeth continues to blame Cora.
For the better part of her childhood and into her teen years, Cora is subject to Elizabeth’s unrelenting disdain. She’s made to believe that the reason Phoebe is continually sick is because Cora isn’t praying enough or because she eats contraband chocolate from her Aunt Margaret -- or any other number of inconsequential misdemeanors. It develops Cora into a subservient apologist well into adulthood.
Cora builds a bond with Phoebe, despite Elizabeth.
Now young teenagers, Phoebe and Cora have built a sisterly bond, finding a dark humor (and often annoyance) in their mother’s irrational ways and knowing that no matter what, they have each other’s back. It’s eventually at the behest of Phoebe, who’s still sick and confined to the Lacey household for the majority of her days, that Cora stops blaming herself for her sister’s illness. She learns to see the falsity of their mother’s accusations.
Cora acquaints herself with her sexuality.
Becoming more emboldened in her self-worth thanks to Phoebe’s continued prodding and support, Cora becomes sexually explorative. At first watching an adult movie with her sister and eventually seducing the neighbor across the street (so she claims), Cora takes on the role of Phoebe’s surrogate to the outside world, particularly when it comes to sex and pleasure.
Cora and Phoebe make plans to move away together.
Having had enough of living under Elizabeth’s thumb and watching their parents’ marriage crumble (their father, for one, is cheating with their next door neighbor), Phoebe and Cora devise a plan to save money and move to Naples, Florida.
Cora is saving money through…questionable means.
It’s learned that in order to save $4,000 for this proposed move to Florida, however, Cora has taken on the job of an escort for rich men who want to be seen wining and dining with a pretty girl.
Escorting leads Cora to J.D.
One night, Cora is slated to meet a married man in the park, but feeling uneasy about the encounter, she sees him sitting on the bench and decides to turn around. He comes chasing after her and grabs her by the wrist, trying to stop her from leaving, and J.D. steps in and scares him away. That’s the knight-in-shining-armor moment that makes Cora swoon and follow J.D. to a house party. Soon enough, they’re sleeping together. (Cora inexplicably claims that J.D. is her first sexual encounter, but it’s unclear if she’s lying, considering her history with the neighbor as a teenager.)
J.D. creates a rift between Phoebe and Cora.
Head over heels for J.D. and the world he’s opened up for her, Cora seems to lose track of Phoebe and her plan to get to Naples. The fact isn’t lost on either of the sisters, but Cora still feels drawn to protect Phoebe and give her the life that she knows she deserves. Annoyed by this, J.D. exerts his power over Cora (just as he does in the bedroom) and tells her to put her phone away and pack her bags because they’re going to leave town at the end of the week. The weekend is July 4, 2012 -- a string of days that get evermore important as events of the series progress. Cora agrees.
Cora and Phoebe get closer than ever before.
Phoebe’s intense curiosity and jealousy of Cora and J.D.’s sex life gets worse as Cora and her boyfriend get closer and she and her sister grow further apart. During a particularly trying bout of sickness, Cora comes to her bedside only to be interrogated about her time with J.D. Then prompted by Phoebe’s begging, Cora kisses and touches her sister. We don’t know how far they go, but it’s certainly more intimate than two sisters have any business being.
Phoebe turns 19 the weekend of July 4.
We learn in Part VII that the weekend Cora disappears is also Phoebe’s 19th birthday. She celebrates quietly with her parents at home, and Cora gets her a beautiful sun dress which she wears later that night…
Phoebe joins Cora at the pub with J.D. and Maddie.
While in previous weeks the events of this particular night -- the night that Maddie was last seen and Cora went missing for two months -- have been hazy at best, Part VII clears them right up. After her birthday dinner when her parents are asleep, Phoebe convinces Cora to let her tag along to the bar, where it’s Phoebe, not Cora, who takes the molly “and some other stuff” from J.D., rolling into the morning hours of her first big night out. In fact, Cora hardly drinks at all at the bar and instead plays babysitter to her younger sister. It’s later Phoebe in the parking lot -- not Maddie as Cora’s hypnotherapy memories have indicated -- who accuses Cora of wanting her dead and abandoning her.
Phoebe pees herself in J.D.’s car.
While this event ultimately doesn’t amount to much, it is what plants itself in Cora’s memory as being stuck in the swamp near the water tower with Maddie -- which leads Harry to find those human remains. On their way to what we learn is the Beverwyck Club, Phoebe pees herself, forcing J.D. to pull to the side of the road so she and Cora can rinse off in the creek. Phoebe, still high, panics and accuses J.D. of poisoning her. J.D.’s friends then fire off a few rounds of their shotguns to mess with the girls as they hold up the party. Up until this point, Cora’s gotten the gist of the truth from her hypnotherapy, but the details of her memory have been fuzzy.
Cora reveals her plans to move in with J.D.
Cora abandoning Phoebe is a growing fear that’s further realized when Phoebe notices her sister’s bag packed with clothes. She accuses Cora of planning to spend the night with J.D. without letting her know, but it’s worse: Cora admits that she plans to move in with J.D. without telling her sister beforehand. “I’m not letting you ruin this for me,” Cora says. Both sisters, now resenting each other, then walk back up out of the creek and get back into J.D.’s car where he drives them to the evening’s after-hours destination: the Beverwyck Club.
Cora meets Frankie Belmont at the Beverwyck Club.
Upon their arrival at the Beverwyck Club, Frankie Belmont is a guest who lets J.D. and his crew in. He immediately takes a liking to Phoebe, and the two of them go off for the night, making out, dancing, and getting to know each other.
Cora meets Todd.
While her sister is swept off her feet by the cute med student, Cora is beckoned by J.D. to join him in the basement for a business transaction with a “good friend.” He needs her by his side to impress him, apparently. The friend’s name is Todd, a real estate developer and member of the Beverwyck Club. He immediately appears to be a slime ball, and is soon enough sticking a syringe of heroin in his arm and inappropriately hitting on Cora.
Maddie is told to leave for good.
In an attempt to interrupt the affections being sent Cora’s way, Maddie enters the room and promptly sits on Todd’s lap, flirting with him and stroking his chest. That’s when J.D.’s had enough of her clingy jealousy and tells her to leave. We also learn in this brief back-and-forth that it was in fact Maddie who becomes pregnant with J.D.’s child and wants to name her Winter. Later in a fit of depression and desperation from J.D.’s inability to treat her right, Maddie throws herself into traffic. She loses the baby, but stays by J.D.’s side. Then, brokenhearted, she leaves.
Cora looks for Phoebe.
Disgusted with the way J.D. had treated Maddie and uneasy from Todd’s predatory behavior, Cora up and leaves the room in search of Phoebe; she wants to get out of the Beverwyck as soon as possible. Roaming the various hallways and rooms and still not finding a sign of her sister, she goes outside and down the house -- yes, the house. There, she finds a smitten Phoebe and Frankie slow-dancing and kissing. “This night had plans for us; look at him,” Phoebe says. When Cora tells her that they have to go, Phoebe refuses, saying that she’s going to stay with Frankie but that Cora needs to look out for herself.
J.D. arrives with Todd and they head to the basement.
Before Cora can decide whether to stay or go and leave Phoebe behind, Todd and J.D. show up to the house and quickly move the party downstairs. As everyone files down, Phoebe trails behind as the last one. Silhouetted from the basement’s light, she turns around and looks at Cora: “Cora, are you coming?”
Cora gets high in the basement.
Cora begrudgingly follows everyone downstairs and sits on the sofa with Frankie and Phoebe as J.D. cuts lines of an unnamed white powder to keep the party going. Phoebe, apparently never wanting the night to end, convinces Cora to do a line. “You deserve to feel good,” she says. The effects are immediate and Cora quickly loosens up. Soon enough, sexual tension comes to a peak and they’re all kissing and taking their clothes off. J.D. takes over for Cora while Frankie and Phoebe get busy on the couch.
Sexual ecstasy turns into a nightmare.
Things first begin going awry when Cora, in no proper state to give consent or even know what’s going on (those drugs hit her hard), is overtaken by Todd rather than J.D. When she turns around and sees Todd behind her instead of her boyfriend is also when she notices that her sister’s arm has gone limp and her eyes are glazed over. Frankie is over her performing CPR and shouting at her to breathe. Cora comes to and leaps to her feet, punching Frankie off of Phoebe (in what looks like the same motion that she later stabs him) and slapping J.D. away when he tries to intervene. J.D. doesn’t take kindly to Cora’s violence, and takes an ashtray to her head, knocking her unconscious.
Frankie brings his father into the mix.
Now with a dead teen and an unconscious, drugged-up woman in the basement of the Beverwyck’s detached house, Frankie freaks out a bit and calls his physician dad to clean up his mess. Upon his arrival, Frankie is told to leave -- the less he sees and knows, the better -- and J.D. and Dr. Belmont proceed to move the bodies to the back woods of the Beverwyck.
Dr. Belmont can’t kill Cora.
After he buries her younger sister, Dr. Belmont notices Cora waking from her daze and starting to crawl away from the scene. It’s here that she sees the school bus and the water tower from her memories. He had planned on killing her there with his shovel, but falters and is unable to follow through.
Dr. Belmont brings Cora home.
Unable to end Cora’s life, Dr. Belmont instead decides to bring her home and nurse her to health while also pumping her with opioids in hopes that she’ll forget everything about that night. He’s the man in the mask from Cora’s fuzzy memories, and she’s held captive in his spare bedroom, which has elaborately decorative wallpaper, which Cora will remember. Later, Cora remembers once waking up and finding a masked man sitting next to her, asking how she’s doing that day. She also remembers wearing a hospital gown and I.V. drip and lying down under her bed. The masked man comes in and asks her how she had gotten all the way down there. After feeling confident that Cora adequately has no memory of her July 4 weekend, Dr. Belmont packs her up in the car and dumps her in the middle of the road with the rest of junkies, hoping she’s taken for just another heroin addict who went missing on a binge. It’s exactly what the world -- including Cora and her family -- believe as the truth until the killing of Frankie Belmont.
Elizabeth refuses to call the police.
In the two months that Cora and Phoebe since disappearance, a missing person’s report is never filed because Elizabeth figures that her daughters have both abandoned her for Florida. (She had, of course, overheard their secret getaway plan to Naples and blames Cora for turning Phoebe against her.)
Cora wakes up in the middle of the street.
Two months after that fateful July 4 weekend, Cora is found lying in the middle of the road with fresh track marks on both of her arms. Her Aunt Margaret takes Cora in after Elizabeth sees the track marks and kicks Cora to the curb, shaming her for being a sexual deviant and a drug addict. Margaret remembers now the signs of how hurt Cora had been: she'd awake from nightmares screaming each night, she had a mysterious scar on her head, and more. But regrettably, Margaret never asks why, and Cora wouldn’t know what to tell her anyway.
Cora gets her life together…somewhat.
Despite the darkness in her past, Cora eventually gets her life on track and -- between being found on the street and the killing of Frankie Belmont -- meets Mason Tannetti while working a waitressing job in NYC and has a son with him, Laine. It’s clear that Cora’s depression and detachment never fully go away, though. Sure, she and Mason have nice memories and plenty of laughs (which he recalls often throughout the series), but he later admits to Cora that he had known there’s a darkness to her -- that something was wrong, and he didn’t do anything about it.
A family day at the beach leads to murder.
And that brings us to the series’ opening scene, where Cora, clearly in a depressive state (she tries to drown herself in the middle of the lake, for instance), is driven to murder when she hears the song from the basement playing on a nearby stereo. Taking the knife she was using to peel a fruit snack for Laine, Cora runs over to Frankie Belmont and his friends (none of whom she recalls knowing) and stabs him seven times in the neck and throat in the same pattern she previously hit him off her sister. He dies and she’s caught literally red-handed.
Detective Harry Ambrose is assigned the case and becomes obsessed with Cora’s motive.
From the start, Harry is one of the only people in Cora’s corner. Intrigued by the fact that she doesn’t have an apparent motive and her claims to having never met Frankie before her knife hits in his throat, Harry knows that there’s something else at work here and he dives head-first into the case.
Cora pleads guilty.
After a lot of build up and the decision to represent herself in court, Cora pleads guilty to the murder of Frankie Belmont.
Harry finagles her out of the plea.
Harry speaks with the judge before Cora’s final plea and convinces her that Cora needs a medical and mental evaluation to render competency to stand trial. Her behavior not only appears to be that of an unsound mind, but Harry also needs to buy himself more time to investigate. After speaking with one of Frankie’s friends, he says there had been a flash of recognition between Cora and Frankie, indicating what we now know about their shared history that night at the Beverwyck.
Frankie’s girlfriend, Leah, says there was a mysterious girl in Frankie’s past.
Speaking with Harry in the hospital, Leah reveals that Frankie had spoken about a mysterious girl from his past. Leah doesn't know her name, but she knows there is someone years before with whom Frankie had an intense connection, but something was wrong with her. And then “some sort of accident happened and it almost ruined his life.” We know now that she’s speaking of Phoebe.
Harry catches Cora in a lie.
Presented with this new information, Cora, subconsciously recalling Maddie’s pregnancy and miscarriage, makes up a story about how she had been pregnant with Frankie’s baby, but at the time, he went by the name of J.D. That story is quickly snuffed, though, when Harry speaks with others and begins learning about the night Cora was seen in the bar with a blonde guy (the real J.D., not Frankie) and a blonde girl. Forcing her to tell the truth, Harry takes out his phone and plays the song that Cora heard on the beach that day and in the basement. She freaks out and attacks him, yelling, “I’m gonna kill you.”
Harry sees a pattern in the attack.
Episode 102 closes with Harry standing shirtless before his mirror and noticing the bruises Cora left on his chest and neck. Analyzing the bruises and comparing them to the stab patterns on Frankie, they come to the same conclusion: “She’s repeating exactly what she did on that beach, and she doesn’t even know it.”
Harry learns of Cora’s heroin addiction.
After Cora has a particularly intense breakdown in her jail cell, prison guards discover the track marks lining her arms. And through discussions with Cora’s parents (who Cora previously claimed were dead) and Aunt Margaret, Harry learns of Cora’s addiction and two-month period of going missing. But he doesn’t believe Cora had been an addict; he thinks someone was giving her drugs because the scars are only on her arms, when most heroin users start by sticking their hands and feet. That hypothesis is proven when Cora is unable to shoot herself up in front of Harry -- she doesn’t know how.
That night, Cora remembers the masked man.
It’s after the breakthrough realization that she may have been held and drugged against her will that Cora remembers the masked man watching her sleep.
Mason knows J.D. and gets them both arrested.
While the investigation continues, Mason learns from his high school friend-turned-cop Caitlin Sullivan that an anonymous “J.D.” character has been getting thrown around the case, though his involvement is still unclear. Mason knows J.D. as a drug dealer and friend of a friend, so he eventually tracks him down and approaches him while drinking at a bar, which leads to them roughing each other up and getting arrested. They’re both questioned in the precinct.
J.D. is represented by a slimy lawyer.
How J.D. is able to afford one of the best-known (and slimiest) defense attorneys in town is unclear, but the lawyer’s arrival brings J.D.’s questioning in the precinct to a quick halt.
Mason follows the J.D. lead and buys drugs from his girlfriend.
Later, Mason decides to take matters into his own hands and tries to get J.D. arrested by going to his home (where his girlfriend and infant baby are) and buying cocaine off of her while recording the conversation. He’s found out but gets what he needs, and he takes the incriminating evidence to Caitlin, but she refuses to keep helping him because he’s only looking out for himself.
Cora tells Mason about her relationship with J.D.
Cora remembers dating J.D. and tells Mason that she lost her virginity to him. She’s now beginning to question whether or not he had something to do with her blackout.
Cora undergoes hypnotherapy.
This is where we begin having the bombshells of that night at the bar. The methods are questionable, but it’s the first time that Cora begins remembering what happened to her that night when she went with Maddie and J.D. to the house.
Harry finds where Cora may have been held.
Using the details Cora reveals in her hypnotherapy, Harry finds the wooded area with the water tower and swamp lands that he believes Cora is talking about.
Harry learns that Maddie has been missing since that weekend in 2012.
Connecting with the ex-landlord and lover of Maddie, Harry is told that Maddie mysteriously disappeared the weekend of July 4, 2012 and never returned for her things. He also learns that she lived in fear of J.D., which is just making the case against him stronger.
Human remains are found near Cora’s site.
While exploring the wooded area that Cora claims to remember, Harry begins digging and finds the remains of a young woman. But who is she?
The remains bring Captain Anne Farmer to the case.
Now that this is an active homicide case related to Cora’s murder trial, state-level police step in in the form of Captain Anne Farmer, who immediately butts heads with Harry and questions his growing closeness with Cora.
Welcome to the Beverwyck Club.
Harry discovers that the plot of land those human remains were found on belong to the Beverwyck Club, a ritzy country club with a questionable past. (One employee, for instance, filed a wrongful termination lawsuit after she was fired for accusing members of sexual assault.) Turns out, Mr. Hearding (the same slimeball who represents J.D.) represents the club, as well.
Cora is offered a plea bargain.
Practically assuming that Cora’s guilty of killing Maddie in a fit of passion, Anne goes against Harry’s wishes and offers Cora a flashy plea-bargain in hopes of getting her to confess to both Frankie and Maddie’s murders. (It should be clarified, though, that the remains have still not been proven to be Maddie’s.) Cora is tempted, but sees through Anne’s emotionally manipulative tactics and turns it down. She refuses to confess to a crime that she does not remember committing.
Cora’s DNA is found all over the blanket the human remains were found wrapped in.
Sadly, it looks like Cora may have been better of taking that plea-bargain. Her blood is found on the blanket that the human remains were wrapped in, which makes a pretty strong case that Cora did, indeed, have some involvement in this death.
J.D. attacks Mason’s father.
Mason’s father Ron ends up in the hospital after J.D. attacks him on an A/C delivery with a bat.
Mason chases J.D. down, gun in-hand.
Episode 105 ends with Mason driving away from the hospital and pulling up to J.D.’s driveway. Walking across his lawn, he holds a cocked pistol in his right hand. It looks like he might be taking a page out of Cora’s book for the worse.
Mason finds J.D. dead in his home.
Upon his arrival, Mason ducks around the corner while two other men leave the premises. After sneaking through the back door, he notices J.D.’s body shot dead at close range. Mason calls 9-1-1 from J.D.'s phone before fleeing.
Anne suspects Mason in J.D.’s murder.
Mason is found on a security camera near J.D.’s home just before the latter shows up dead, so Anne brings him in for questioning. He admits that he was going to intimidate J.D. and tell him to back off -- and that he was armed. It all fits Anne’s proposed “you went for revenge” narrative. Meanwhile, the suspected getaway car of the other two men at the scene of J.D.’s death is found: a black Pontiac Grand Am with Jersey plates. However, Anne is treating the murder of J.D. and Cora’s case as two separate cases, so she hands jurisdiction over to Harry’s partner, Leroy.
Harry pulls a favor to get Cora to the scene of the crime.
While Mason is still in question for J.D.’s murder, Cora calls Harry and tells him that he needs to get her out -- that if she could see the bar or the woods or the Beverwyck Club, she imagines that the memories might come to her. Even with Anne’s permission, he still needs the go-ahead from the presiding judge. Luckily, Harry has some longstanding dirt on her and blackmails her into a favor to let Cora out of prison with Harry for two hours.
Cora doesn’t remember anything.
By the time Harry and Cora get to the Beverwyck Club, they only have 30 minutes to explore the premises. She soon exclaims upon arriving that she’s been there before, and Harry knows right where to take her: the basement where he had seen ski masks. She explores the dark storage space trying to find answers, but comes up empty-handed.
Harry takes Cora to her childhood home.
On the way home, Cora and Harry take a detour past Cora’s childhood home. After a few reflective moments together in the car, Cora gets out and walks to the front stoop of her house. She then turns around and tells Harry that they have to go back to the club. She thinks she can remember.
Cora explores the Beverwyck on her own, then goes missing.
Harry and Cora arrive back to the club and this time, Harry undoes her cuffs. While Harry takes a call, Cora goes into the club by herself, and when Harry comes back inside, she’s nowhere to be found. He runs through the library and eventually out to the back, frantically in search for her. Did she run away? Did someone take her?
Running down a hill in the backyard, Harry comes upon an old house with the front door ajar, and Cora is standing in the living room in front of the doorway to the basement. It’s the house from her memories and dreams. “That’s it. It happened down there,” she says. “I feel sick.” After mustering the courage to creep down the stairs, Cora reaches the midway point and stops. “I remember now,” she says.
...But she doesn’t recall everything.
Episode 108 opens with Cora on her knees in the center of the basement room of the Beverwick Club where Phoebe died while having sex with Frankie and J.D. knocked her unconscious. That’s all she remembers though—the next two months are still a black hole. She just remembers the decorative wallpaper and the man in the mask.
Cora is visited by her mother for the first time.
In the day leading up to Cora’s final sentencing, Cora’s mother finally visits her for the first time at the behest of her husband. While few definitive answers come from the exchange, we do learn why Elizabeth never filed a missing persons report. “We just wanted to live,” Cora says, defending their desire to flee to Florida. “And look at you now, just look at what you’ve done to yourself,” Elizabeth responds. But Cora shuts her down: “I’m more free now than I ever was with you.”
Cora is sentenced to 30 years behind bars.
Time eventually runs out for Cora and the date of her sentencing finally comes. Though she tries to offer her defense (she knows she was held captive by someone involved with J.D. after Phoebe’s death), the judge shuts her down, saying that she forfeited her right to trial when pleading guilty. Cora is found guilty of murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Mason promises to visit her each week.
Shortly after, Mason visits Cora with their son, Laine, for the first time. While Cora is at first reluctant to let Laine see her behind bars, Mason promises that they’ll visit her every Thursday from then on and remain faithful to their family.
Harry finds the men who killed J.D.
With the help of his partner, Harry tracks down the license plate of the getaway car of the men Mason saw fleeing the scene of the crime at J.D.’s home, and they identify one of them as Daniel Burroughs (AKA Duffy). He’s easy enough to find after he rents a large, multi-passenger white van. Kaitlin follows said van to a medical clinic where the two suspects from J.D.’s murder are purportedly inside, and when Harry gets to the scene, he strolls right in. There, he finds a waiting room full of women, and before he can figure out exactly what’s going on, Duffy walks in. Realizing he’s got his back to a wall with Harry prepared to make an arrest, Duffy runs; that’s when the police come. Cornered in the middle of the street, he pulls his gun on Harry but is shot down and dead by Kaitlin.
Duffy’s partner reveals the truth of their situation.
The cops on the scene are able to bring Duffy’s partner into the precinct for questioning, where they learn that they had a business with J.D. where they’d get a prescription from him and hire these minority women to go fill them. The women would get $50 and they’d keep the bottles for drug distribution. Duffy killed J.D. in fear of his own safety after J.D.’s girlfriend was taken in and police were circling his life closer and closer. Unfortunately, it appears to be a dead end in terms of linking J.D.’s death to Cora’s capture. Appears being the word…
Maddie is alive.
Good news comes when the human remains in the back of the Beverwyck are determined to be Phoebe’s, not Maddie’s, which means that Maddie may well still be alive. After hours of mulling it over, Harry has an epiphany: Winter. That was what Maddie had said she wanted to name her child with J.D., and after doing some preliminary searching, Harry finds only one Winter registered in the Dorchester area. He goes to the address, and there, he finds Maddie with her child, Winter.
J.D. didn’t start selling opioids until after July 4, 2012.
While Maddie fled the scene of the Beverwyck Hotel on July 4, jumping on a bus to Vermont and never looking back, she confesses to Harry that J.D. wouldn’t stop calling her after then. He kept insisting that she should go into a new business venture with him: selling opioid pills. That’s news to Harry: It wasn’t until after the events of July 4, 2012 that J.D. began selling opioid pills. So how was he getting the scripts and licensing numbers of physicians?
How was J.D. doing it? By blackmailing Dr. Belmont.
After making a few phone calls, Harry connects the dots and learns that all of the fraudulent license numbers J.D. was using to obtain his painkillers were colleagues of Dr. Belmont, which means that J.D. was using Frankie’s father’s involvement in the case of Phoebe and Cora as leverage to get the drugs he wanted to sell.
Cora visits the Belmont home.
This new evidence is enough to allow a second release of Cora to go to the Belmont home and see if she remembers anything. Going upstairs to a back bedroom, something clicks, but Cora can’t quite put her finger on it. Then, noticing a nick in the wall, Cora begins peeling the wallpaper back to reveal her worst fear: the decorative, old-fashioned wallpaper from her memories of being held captive. This was the room where the masked man kept her sedated for two months then dumped her on the side of the road. She realizes now that her captor was Frankie Belmont’s father all along.
Cora confronts Dr. Belmont.
Cora leaves the bedroom, stunned and knowing that Frankie’s father is going to pay for his crimes against her. Before leaving, she confronts him in the living room, both of them with tears in their eyes. “It was you,” she says. “I remember your eyes. I know you did it for your son.” All Dr. Belmont can say is how sorry he is.
Harry reveals his dark past and trauma.
We’ve known all along that there’s more to Harry than meets the eye, but we finally learn in the car ride back to the precinct with Cora that he, too, has experienced his share of trauma when younger. Is this why he doesn’t have normal relationships, the cause of his behavior ticks, or the reason he goes to see Sharon? It’s also why he was drawn to help Cora in the first place. “The way you were blaming yourself, I realized that felt familiar because I do that, too,” he tells Cora. “The thing is, what somebody did to us when we were young, I know it wasn’t our fault. I know we didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow I don’t know what to do with it all.”
Cora’s case is reopened for a retrial and she is found guilty of manslaughter, not murder.
Now presented with this mountain of new evidence, the judge reconsiders her 30-year sentence against Cora and instead takes her charges down from a murder to a manslaughter and orders her to a psychiatric facility until she it is determined to no longer be a danger to herself or to others. Her actions were not done with the intent to harm but instead were done due to psychological trauma. After sharing a hug with Harry, she thanks him for all he’s done for her. “It’s gonna be OK,” he says.
Harry walks away, the unsung hero.
Harry exits the courthouse to a chorus flashing cameras and reporters circling Cora’s lawyer; none of the attention is on him, perhaps just the way he likes it. He walks to the parking lot, an unsung hero. And just before the credits roll for this final episode, Harry sits silently in his car taking a moment to himself and -- after looking down to his crushed and bruised nails thanks to Sharon -- heads to his next case, his next destination.