Rahul is a TV addict who can't get enough of twisted, gasp-inducing shows like "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Black Mirror".
What TV Shows Are Like The Sinner?
The Sinner is an American crime series inspired by the best-selling book from German writer, Petra Hammesfahr. Petra is also known as “the German Stephen King” for use of gore and violence in her books.
The show was originally supposed to end after season one, but the huge success led to greenlighting the second one. However, only the first one was fully adapted from Hammesfahr’s work, while the rest follow the protagonist, detective Harry Ambrose, solving different cases.
Just like True Detective and Black Mirror, both of which are great thrillers, none of the seasons is related to each other. The first season revolves around detective Harry trying to figure out why a young mother killed a stranger on the beach.
For the second installment, the protagonist follows the case of a 13-year-old boy who poisons and kills his family for no apparent reason. The Sinner is not about the criminal or the crime, but more about the motive.
With each passing episode, the viewers start understanding that the old adage of “to see is to believe” may not always be true. No one can actually look inside the mind of another person, so determining the exact chain of events leading up to the murder can become almost impossible.
Both the seasons released so far pack eight episodes each, with every frame engrossing the viewers. Fortunately for us, the show has been picked up for a third season. It’s said to follow our favorite detective investigating a mysterious car accident. No trailers have been released yet, but it surely will tread the same familiar path. So, while you wait, here’s a list of similar shows to The Sinner.
Series Like The Sinner
- Mr. Robot
- The Alienist
- How to Get Away With Murder
- The Purge
- The Leftovers
1. Mr. Robot
Computer genius Elliot Alderson works at a cyber-security company, but his free time is spent breaching into other people’s privacy by hacking, just so he can dig deep into their secrets. However, his moral dilemma reaches its peak after he’s recruited by an underground hacker association. Their endgame is the destruction of all financial information in hopes of liberating the common citizens. The lead character is played by Rami Malek who brings out one of his best performances ever, right alongside his role in the 2018 movie, Bohemian Rhapsody - a role that got him an Oscar.
The fact that the top one percent truly run the world drives our protagonist crazy, as he looks for ways to unshackle everyone from the grips of corporates. His slipping sanity becomes apparent as he starts to lose memory and indulges in drugs to stay focused, and in some cases distract himself from reality.
He talks directly to the viewers, constantly breaking the fourth wall. Thanks to a brilliant performance from Rami and the surreal nature of the plot, the show hits home in a way The Matrix did back in 1999. With one of the best finales ever, Mr. Robot has established itself has a future cult-classic.
Those looking for a cerebral show like The Sinner will love what Mr. Robot brings to the table.
Even though the world has become comparatively open-minded when it comes to sexuality, it’s not easy for any member of the LGBTQ community to open up about their personal life.
Lukas and Philip keep their relationship hidden from the world, but things take a dark turn when they witness a murder. Should they tell everyone what they saw, or stay quiet and hope things settle down on their own? As they struggle with this dilemma, the killer starts hunting them down to cover up his tracks.
This show constantly lays down one obstacle after another in front of our heroes as they deal with them in their own way. Fear of the unknown is undoubtedly the biggest challenge people face. Once things happen, there’s nothing you can do about it, but waiting for a threat without the knowledge of “when” or “if” it will happen can drive anyone crazy.
The two lead characters know someone is after them. Constantly having to look over their shoulders makes them paranoid, which in turn leads to rash decisions. The show, which is based on a Norwegian crime thriller of the same name, has only aired for one season, with no talks for a second one.
3. The Alienist
Based on the best-selling book by Caleb Carr, The Alienist revolves around a group of people trying to catch a mysterious serial killer who has been ruthlessly murdering male prostitutes. Dr. Laszlo Kreizler is an alienist, a term used in the 19th century to describe a person who studies mentally disturbed individuals in an attempt to better understand them. Serial killings are one of the hardest crimes to solve as they have no clear motive. Finding a traceable pattern is difficult, to say the least. The show brings the viewers on the edge of their seats as protectors of the law try to capture a truly evil mind.
One can’t help but notice similarities between the show’s elusive killer and Jack the Ripper. The latter was an actual serial killer who murdered a lot of female prostitutes between 1888 and 1891 in London, and his true identity was never revealed. Instead of England, however, the story is set in New York, with a startling amount of gore and violence. If you’re looking for a TV show like The Sinner, but with a darker tone, give The Alienist a try.
4. How to Get Away with Murder
Being an attorney is not an easy job as you have to know your clients better than they know themselves. Justice truly resides in your hands, and how you go about presenting the case can land an innocent man in jail or let a criminal walk free. So, without a doubt, there’s a huge amount of responsibility involved.
Annalise Keating, played by Viola Davis, is one of the best criminal defense attorneys who shares her talents as a teacher. She only picks four lucky people from her class to help her with different cases, so students need to pull up their socks if they want to be a part of this prestigious group.
The characters learn many skills along the way that will help them professionally. But it’s not restricted to work AS these invaluable tips can be used for personal motives as well if the students don’t learn to control themselves. This American drama series has it all - friendships, betrayals, tragedies, valuable life lessons, and most importantly, mind-boggling crimes.
Watch How to Get Away with Murder for a look inside the lives of individuals who’ve sworn to protect the innocent, even as they deal with the darkness within themselves.
5. The Purge
After four different movies, The Purge has finally come to the small screen. If you don’t know the plot already, it follows a dystopian America where all crime including murder is completely legal at a fixed date once a year. All anger, hatred, and hidden desires are released on that one day, hence earning the name “The Purge”. The pro-purge crowd believes it significantly reduces the overall crime rate. Do the means justify the end, or is it just another excuse for the powerful to prey on the powerless?
There is no doubt that people would treat each other differently if it was a real thing. Conversely, the world could potentially become a paradise for gorehounds.
Can people truly be kind to each other with a planned anger-release, or is the human race violent and self-destructive by nature, with no way of taming the inner animal? The movies gave you a glimpse of the idea, but the TV show delves deeper.
6. The Leftovers
Two percent of the world’s populace mysteriously disappears without a trace and the remaining people are left to deal with the consequences. The Leftovers plays with this premise over three mind-blowing seasons and makes the viewers question their own stance on the issue. Yes, most of us would be devastated if our loved ones suddenly vanished, but a few have their own sadistic agendas that make them support the event.
Is all of this the result of a science experiment gone wrong, an act of God, or a mass-killing with a pre-planned motive? While these questions linger on the minds of the people left behind, there’s no telling if it’ll happen again. This HBO production gives the viewers a taste of brilliant psychological fiction while staying believable. It's undoubtedly one of the most underrated shows of the last decade. Give it a shot.
Did I miss out on any other shows like The Sinner? Let me know in the comments section.