Roush Review: Nothing Is Quite as It Seems in ‘The Sinner’ Season 2

The Sinner - Season 2
Zach Dilgard/USA Network

The shower curtain falls as a murder victim collapses in a motel bathroom. A nod to Psycho? Why not? Only this time, the Norman Bates is all of 13.

Julian (Elisha Henig), a traumatized child, appears to have poisoned his parents — although nothing is quite as it seems in this gripping follow-up to last summer’s surprise hit of disturbing psychological mystery.

Which is a perfect excuse for inscrutably perceptive detective Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman reprising his role) to visit his sleepy upstate New York hometown as a favor to a friend and try to unravel this macabre mess.

All clues lead Harry to a utopian cult commune led by solemn Vera Walker (the mesmerizing Carrie Coon), who has an intimate connection with Julian. The local sheriff warns Harry away from this “hornet’s nest,” but that only whets his curiosity. And ours.

Skeletons from Harry’s past further rattle his composure in an atmospheric tale that might be just the thing for those who find HBO’s similarly unnerving Sharp Objects too pokey.

The Sinner, Season 2 Premiere, Wednesday, August 1, 10/9c, USA