'The Sinner' season 2 showrunner Derek Simonds reveals why death by poison was their choice of evil
The Sinner season 2 follows our diligent Detective Ambrose as he returns to his hometown when a 11 year old boy fatally poisons his parents.
USA Network's 'The Sinner' has just made its return for the second season. Dark, mysterious and murderous, this show is based on the novel of the same name by Petra Hammesfahr. The second season follows our diligent Detective Ambrose as he returns to his hometown to solve a bizarre crime. After an 11-year-old boy confesses to fatally poisoning his parents, secrets start unraveling that the townsfolk would rather keep under wraps.
In a recent interview with IndieWire showrunner Derek Simonds revealed that this particular the cause of death was picked because of how common yet deadly it is. "We did a lot of research. What would be a deadly poison that occurs in the natural world in upstate New York? There were a few options but Jimsonweed proved to be the deadliest. What we liked… is that it’s a very common shrub. Most people have walked right by Jimsonweed. It grows on the sides of roads, in backyards; it’s a weed. It doesn’t need a lot of cultivation, so it’s very commonly found. We liked that idea that there was this kind of sinister quality to this plant that’s so common and widespread. It kind of hits on our themes of the turmoil underneath the sort of placid surface of our daily lives."
He also confessed that a few tweaks were made here and there to keep things interesting. "We took a few creative liberties. The length of time it takes from ingestion to actually dying is longer in reality. We elided that a little bit, obviously, so that they’re not waiting around forever for them to die. The process is longer and you’re sicker for a longer period of time before you die. The convulsions are definitely part of what happens. Your body basically seizes up." He also mentioned one symptom that they had to keep out because it was so "difficult to dramatize". "There's also another symptom that we were interested in but it was difficult to dramatize, and that was that people have hallucinations when they take it,” Simonds said, "It ended up making it seem like they would be crazy, that they were seeing things that we didn’t see, so we kind of stayed away from that. "
If you're hooked on to this season, then know that there may be a lot of personal story to Ambrose. "We like the idea that he’s brought back to his hometown in a place where he suffered his own family trauma and has not had much occasion to revisit, so bringing him back there and also having his investigate the case of a child murderer when his traumas as a child happened at roughly the same age, I kind of liked the inner/outer child parallel there," he said.
Commenting on Ambrose's mother's character of Vera, he said that she's an antagonist. "She’s this formidable, very capable leader of this group of people. I’ll say this. She’s an antagonist, and someone who holds certain keys to the larger mystery, and then at the same time she’s also one of the people we’ll be relating to as the story unfolds, and seeing from a very different perspective further in the season,” Simonds said.
"She occupies this interesting area that I think we play with throughout the season, which is at times we are suspicious of her and fear what she’s up to, and then there are other times when we really relate to her both as a mother and as a human being who’s had her own traumatic experiences. We play a lot with who Vera is and what we can expect from her and find out if what she says is true or a version of events. There’s a lot of layers of mystery around her," he added.
'The Sinner' airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on USA Network.