(courtesy of Peter Kramer/USA Network)
After a critical acclaimed first season, The Sinner returns for the Season 2 premiere, Episode 1: Part I, starring Bill Pullman and Carrie Coon. Detective Harry Ambrose (Pullman) returns to his home town to solve another whydunit myserty.
A couple and boy named Julian (Elisha Henig) are on their way to Niagara Falls. The family car ends up breaking down, which forces them to hike to a motel. Because Julian has a nightmare about a hooded man, the couple sings a lullaby to him.
During the morning, Julian gives them coffee mugs to drink. The couple end up horribly sick and vomit the poison in their system. Julian watches them both die from the poison in their coffee mugs.
Heather Novack (Natalie Paul) has just been promoted to detective and this is her first case. After investigating the crime scene, Heather finds the boy’s shoes and then heads out in the woods. Heather ends up pointing a gun at a traumatized Julian, who just peed himself.
Realizing she’s way out of her league, Heather makes a call to Harry Ambrose (Pullman), who’s just been celebrating his birthday. Harry happens to be one of her father’s childhood friends. Because he solved the case about “that woman,” Heather asks Harry for his help on the case.
Before returning to his home town, Harry has visions of his traumatic childhood. He remembers his drug-addicted mother and a tea pot steaming. Somehow it all ends with a massive fire. The fire may have been the explosion his friend refers to later on.
At foster care, Julian starts remembering things. His drawings become erratic as he mentions his dark desires and the nightmares he’s been having. He starts talking about this other personality, “Shadow Julian.”
Heather and Harry head back to the motel and meet with the landlord. The landlord mentions Julian went to the breakfast table from the back door. Harry walks out the back, wanders into the clues, and finds a major clue.
Harry then shows the leaves he found in the woods to Julian. The leaves can cause a rash on the skin, and they can also be used as poison. Julian acknowledges the poison, confessing to the crime.
In their meeting with the lawyers, Harry wants more time with the case. Heather reluctantly agrees. No one is exactly eager to take a 13 year old on murder charges in court.
Heather and her partner go over what was in the car, After looking at all of the belongings of the couple, Harry realizes there’s something odd. Where are Julian’s things? Harry then asks, What kind of parents don’t pack their child’s things on a trip?”
Vera (Carrie Coon) shows up at the police station and says she is Julian’s mother.
Season 2 of The Sinner continues Wednesdays at 10pm on USA Network.