Jessica Biel Anthology 'The Sinner' Picked Up to Series at USA Network

Bill Pullman co-stars in the anthology from Universal Cable Productions and Biel's Iron Ocean Films banner.
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Jessica Biel

It's official: Jessica Biel is returning to television.

USA Network on Tuesday handed out a series order to drama The Sinner, starring and executive produced by Biel and her Iron Ocean Films banner. Included in USA's announcement was news that the drama will be an anthology, with each season closed-ended.

Based on Petra Hammesfahr’s best-selling book, The Sinner centers on a young mother (Biel) who is overcome by a fit of rage and commits a public act of violence. The incident launches a surprising crime thriller whose driving force is not the who or the what — but the why. A rogue investigator (Bill Pullman) finds himself obsessed with uncovering the woman's motive, and together they travel a path into her psyche and the secrets hidden in her past.

Derek Simonds (ABC's When We Rise) penned the pilot, which was directed by Antonio Campos (Simon Killer). They executive produce alongside Biel and her Universal Cable Productions-based Iron Films banner partner Michelle Purple. Charlie Gogolak also exec produces.

“We are pleased to announce The Sinner as our first series pickup of 2017,” USA Network president Chris McCumber said in a statement. “The series’ unique perspective intrigued us from the very beginning, and Universal Cable Productions, Jessica Biel and the entire team behind and in front of the cameras have delivered something very special.”

The Sinner marks the 7th Heaven grad's first TV series regular role since The WB Network drama 15 years ago. Since her six-season regular run on the soap, Biel has focused on film with credits including Valentine's Day, The A-Team and The Illusionist.

The drama marks USA Network's latest foray into darker subject matter in line with Mr. Robot after the NBCUniversal-owned cabler abandoned its "Blue Skies" fare, with Suits being the only holdover from that period. The Sinner joins a slate that also included Colony, Queen of the South and Shooter as well as rookies Eyewitness and Falling Water, with a verdict on the latter two still yet to be determined. 

On the pilot side, Damnation, Unsolved and The Tap remain in contention.

“From the moment Dawn [Olmstead] brought in this provocative thriller, we knew that only an exceptional creative team would realize its full potential," said Jeff Wachtel, president and chief content officer at NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. "Jessica, Bill, Derek and Antonio take us on an unforgettable ride." 

The Sinner puts USA into the ultra-competitive limited-series category featuring such series as FX's American Crime Story — which will not return until 2018 — as well as ABC's American Crime.

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