Magazine article Variety

Musical Mystery Tour Shapes USA's Tense Tale

Magazine article Variety

Musical Mystery Tour Shapes USA's Tense Tale

Article excerpt

FOR USA NETWORK'S new murdermystery drama "The Sinner," the question isn't whodunit but why.

In the limited series, a young mother, Cora Tannetti, played by Jessica Biel, commits a horrific act of violence but doesn't know what motivates her. A detective, Harry Ambrose, played by Bill Pullman, becomes obsessed with discovering the reason.

The show, based on Petra Hammesfahr's novel of the same name, debuted on USA Network to high ratings on Aug. 2.

It includes no manhunt, no reviews of security footage and no epic arrest. In the first episode, Cora confesses. What follows is a psychoanalytic journey through her past. As the detective pursues his quest, he learns that a certain song could help lead him to the truth.

The show's music expands beyond that single tune, adding layers to the multidimensional spectrum of emotions and themes.

In addition to turning the murder genre on its head, creator Derek Simonds wanted the program's score and audio cues to sound unique and fresh. And so they were - in more ways than one: The show finished shooting in mid-August, with composer Ronit Kirchman still submitting new material even as the show continued production.

Simonds used Kirchman's talents to give "The Sinner" a distinct sound palette. Gone are purely orchestral sounds. In their place are electronic textures and melodic material that, in Kirchman's words, "keep the audience enmeshed in the experience."

The duo met as students at Yale University, in a music theory class. …

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