Jessica Biel - The Sinner - LEAD
Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

Jessica Biel has sure come a long way since 7th Heaven. It’s been 10 years since the 35-year-old actress officially signed off as TV’s favorite big sis Mary Camden, and though she’s been busy with film roles—and playing mom to Silas, her two-year-old son with husband Justin Timberlake—we have to admit we’ve missed her on the small screen.

Turns out, she’s missed it too. She was just waiting for the right show to come along. Enter The Sinner, the eight-episode crime miniseries (premiering tonight on USA at 10 p.m. ET) that has become Biel’s latest passion project.

In the show, Biel plays Cora, a young mom who snaps one day while at the beach with her husband and son—stabbing a complete stranger in the middle of the afternoon in an eerie, trance-like state. What follows is a twist on the typical whodunit crime drama, with the remaining seven episodes uncovering the “why”—instead of the “who” or the “what”.

Jessica Biel - The Sinner - 2
Credit: Courtesy USA Network Media

For Biel, who also executive-produced the series, a role this layered was too good to pass up. “The story is based on the book, The Sinner, by Petra Hammesfahr, and once I read it and started learning more about this compelling character, I knew I wanted to take it on,” Biel told InStyle earlier this week while wearing a sleeveless Elie Saab frock at the premiere screening in N.Y.C. “I thought, I better jump on this before it goes to one of my peers!”

Biel describes Cora as a woman who “doesn’t really know who she is,” which comes across in the first episode’s flashbacks to her complicated childhood. In addition, she’s now struggling with both depression and addiction. “Ten years ago, this show would’ve been considered too dark or too niche for cable TV,” says Biel of the series, which was created by Derek Simonds and co-stars Bill Pullman and Christopher Abbott. “But now, it’s such a great time for unique ideas to find their audience. TV is telling the best stories out there right now, and a lot of them are female-centric, with females also at the helm.”

Though the subject matter is pretty intense, it has already received a stamp of approval from the most important person in Biel’s life—her husband. On Monday, Timberlake took to Instagram to praise his wife and her new show.

“Ok, I know I’m not exactly fair and maybe biased here, but my wife’s new show The Sinner is amazing,” he said. “It’s nothing like I’ve seen her in before, and she’s incredible in the role. You should check it out when it premieres Wednesday on USA.

Well said, JT, well said.