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The Sinner's Derek Simonds breaks down the series finale

·4 min read
Photo credit: Zach Dilgard/USA Network
Photo credit: Zach Dilgard/USA Network

Note: The following article contains discussion of themes including suicide that some readers may find upsetting.

The Sinner season 4 finale spoilers follow.

The Sinner has wrapped up its run after four seasons, though it seems show boss Derek Simonds hasn't completely closed the door to revisiting the show in the future.

In last night's (December 1) finale, we finally learned that Percy Muldoon (Alice Kremelberg) accidentally killed Bo Lam while trying to break up a fight between him and Sean (Neal Huff).

However, the Muldoons tried to keep the Lam family quiet by giving them a fishing permit and an island, though Sean eventually goes to the police to confess all, while we learn that Percy died by suicide.

Photo credit: USA Network
Photo credit: USA Network

Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman), who still has his own demons over the death of Jamie Burns in season 3, relates to Percy's guilt, though the show ends with him deciding to find "another way" to deal with his demons.

Speaking to TVLine about the conclusion to Ambrose's story, executive producer Simonds explained that he was "very interested in crafting a season around the theme of guilt – what we do with it and how it festers if we don't process it".

"The show in general is about trauma, and how if you don't deal with it, it usually shows up in different ways in life, so he and I definitely talked a lot about that ­– the weight on Ambrose and what ultimately will shake him out of that burden and redeem him.

Photo credit: Zach Dilgard/USA Network
Photo credit: Zach Dilgard/USA Network

Related: Why Netflix's The Order was cancelled – and the chances of a season 3

"That becomes the reason Ambrose is so invested in what happened to Percy," he added. "She's someone who is undone by her own guilt, which is a mirror to the struggle that he is on. The two journeys are parallel, so he's just following in her footsteps, a few beats behind."

The show boss described the solving of the Percy mystery as an "ambivalent victory" for Ambrose, going on to explain his final conversation with the imagined Percy about moving on, and whether it is referring to him turning away from contemplating suicide.

"That moment, to me, is the whole point of the season," he explained. "It's great that you focused on that line, because we established at the beginning of Season 4 that Ambrose is kind of sleep-walking through his life, through a fog of guilt, and it's slowly destroying him.

Photo credit: USA Network
Photo credit: USA Network

"And he does have some suicidal ideation. It's why he fixates on Percy's suicide and why it resonates with him so deeply.

"By the end of this season, Ambrose sees through Percy, and through this story, the cost of self blame, and the cost of holding yourself responsible. It's a neurotic cycle, and it's its own form of narcissism, in some way – to constantly feed, and be fed by, your own guilt.

"The idea of this season was to push Ambrose so deeply into [self blame], and the consequences of it, that he comes out the other end. He hasn't even saved the day or gotten the superhero's welcome, so by the end there is this question which is, 'Do you see another way?'

"You see him nod and it's kind of this release, this exhale that comes out of him and it's like, 'OK, we can leave this series knowing Ambrose is not going to go down this self-destructive path anymore.'"

Photo credit: USA Network
Photo credit: USA Network

Simonds admitted that he considered it a "happy, hopeful ending for Ambrose", though could we see more of Pullman's character at some point in the future?

"I could definitely see revisiting the show," he said. "I think that would be a fun experience, after some time, to revisit the character. I will say this: Right now, I don't know what else to say with Ambrose.

"I feel like if there were more seasons consecutively following this one, we'd be in danger of repeating ourselves with diminishing returns. But I love the idea of working with Bill again, and revisiting this world that I've lived in for the past five years and have really cherished, so I'm always open to that."

The Sinner season 4 airs on the USA Network, while seasons 1-3 are available to stream on Netflix.

We would encourage anyone who identifies with the topics raised in this article to reach out. Organisations who can offer support include Samaritans on 116 123 ( or Mind on 0300 123 3393 ( Readers in the US are encouraged to visit or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

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