Why Jessica Biel Stayed Off TV After 7th Heaven

Mary Camden

One child actress that has remained at the top of the pop culture lexicon is Jessica Biel, who first captured our hearts starring as Mary Camden in The WB's 7th Heaven. The black sheep of the Camden family, Biel portrayed Mary for a whopping 134 episodes spread out across 10 seasons. While she's kept busy with acting projects, her USA drama The Sinner marks the first time she had a series regular role on the small screen since 7th Heaven. She recently explained why, saying:

There wasn't like a driving force behind it. I got on a path of doing films. But, as we all know, the film industry has become very limited. I wanted to take control of my career again, which is what I had in mind when I started this small production company [Iron Ocean Studios]. I felt that it was my duty to step into my own and say, 'You can't just sit back and wait for someone to call you; this is not how careers are built. You have to step forward, develop material, find things and get behind them.' I felt finally confident in my life, as a person, to do that. Also, television was changing: It's become such an incredible place where if you have a thought-out, interesting, fresh idea, you have a great opportunity, especially as a woman, to put something on television.

It's looks like The Sinner occurred through the natural progression of Jessica Biel's career. And while she was mostly focused on film roles post 7th Heaven, the small screen has quickly become the go-to place for great storytelling. Biel has made a place for herself as a producer, and therefore can control the type of stories she's telling. Move over Mary Camden, hello Cora Tannetti.

Biel in The Sinner

Jessica Biel's show The Sinner is about as far away from 7th Heaven as you can get. The series focuses on Biel's character Cora, who is shown brutally murdering a man on the beach. Here's the thing: she has no idea why. The Sinner is a deep dive into its protagonist's psyche, and Biel got to show a range of emotions that we haven't seen from the actress in years. The shocking series finale certainly set up the ability for more storytelling, and the show was eventually renewed for a second season.

In the same interview with THR, Jessica Biel teased that she might not be starring in the full second season of The Sinner, although she'll be involved as producer regardless. She said,

I'll definitely be involved as a producer. I can't really say much at this point without giving anything away how much I will be involved onscreen --- that's still being developed and looked at. But lucky for me, no matter what I will always be able to be a part of the show and I'm very proud of it.

It should be interesting to see where The Sinner takes the series, now that the truth about Cora's attack on Frankie Belmont has been realized. There's defintiely more layers to peel back, so hopefully Jessica Biel's protagonist ends up staying on throughout the entirety of the upcoming second season. The new trailer was noticeably void of Cora, and featured new characters played by Bill Pullman and Carrie Coon.

The Sinner will return to USA on Wednesday, August 1. In the meantime, check out our summer premiere list to plan your next binge watch. plus our Amazon premiere list and superhero premiere list to ensure you don't miss a single episode of your favorite show.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.