A pilot is analogous to a promise people make with the viewer – call it a contract – that tacitly lets them know what to expect if they commit to watching people's show every week. In the TV business, the original prototype for a television series is the “pilot.” An effective pilot sets up a world and invites people to drop in and bond with its inhabitants over an extended period of time. A TV pilot, on the other hand, is conceived and constructed as the gateway to subsequent episodes. Sustaining a series over time is not easy and requires a great deal of research, brainstorming, and reverse engineering, always staying open to The Better Idea when, and if, it comes. The significant difference between these two similarly premised series is that the central mysteries in the first three seasons of The Sinner are all grounded in realism, and the murders must be solved using traditional criminal sleuthing.