'The Sinner' Canceled: Why the Show Is Ending After Four Seasons

The Sinner has been canceled by USA Network after four seasons, meaning that Harry Ambrose (played by Bill Pullman) has got to the bottom of his last grisly case.

The series has been airing on Wednesdays on USA since October, and will come to an end with the current season finale.

There have been major changes at the network that likely led to The Sinner getting the axe.

Why Was The Sinner Canceled?

For the most part, The Sinner is ending probably because USA is moving away from new scripted programming entirely.

USA was once home to buzzy scripted shows like Suits, Mr. Robot and Burn Notice, but The Sinner was the last scripted original the network had in its stable of shows (though it is currently simulcasting the Chucky series with Syfy).

A few scripted dramas could come to USA in upcoming years, depending on whether they decide to give Dirty John a Season 3 and if their upcoming Nash Bridges revival movie gets turned into a season. However, for now the network is done with original scripted shows, depending instead on cheaper to produce reality shows like Chrisley Knows Best and reruns of NCIS and Law and Order: SVU.

The main reason for this is streaming, which has lead to ratings on cable taking a hit. The Sinner wasn't immune to this, with Season 4 bringing in one-third less total viewers than Season 3 (per TV Series Finale).

When Newsweek interviewed showrunner Derek Simmonds in October, he suggested that discussions were still ongoing about The Sinner Season 5. He said: "If the show were renewed, and it kept going, we've talked about continuing Harry Ambrose, we've also talked about refreshing the show completely with a new lead detective that could create another multi season journey in the show."

USA Network's move away from scripted content has also led to the cancelation of numerous other shows in the last few years. Most recently, the popular Queen of the South ended after five seasons on the network earlier in 2021. In 2020, meanwhile, Briarpatch, and Dare Me were both axed after one season. Suits and Mr. Robot, meanwhile, ended in 2019.

Can The Sinner Be Saved?

Though the show has ended on USA Network, there is still a slim chance it could be picked up by another network or streaming service.

Netflix, for example, has notably continued shows like Manifest and Lucifer before after they became hits for the streamer. This is possible but unlikely – Manifest, for example, only got renewed after long negotiations and after being top of the Netflix charts for a few weeks. Though The Sinner has been a streaming success, according to Netflix's charts, that success wasn't on the same scale as that of the NBC show.

When DoesThe Sinner End?

The show is coming to a close with the Season 4 finale (Episode 8), an extended goodbye for the series.

That will air on USA on Wednesday, December 1, from 10 p.m. ET / 9 p.m. CT. Viewers who want to catch up before then can watch the first three seasons on Netflix and the most recent season on the NBC and USA Network websites.

the sinner canceled
Bill Pullman in "The Sinner." The show has been canceled after four seasons. USA Network