Television and film writer RJ Nuevas knew exactly what he wanted when he was conceptualizing the tale of an innocent young woman thrown behind bars to cover up a crime committed by a lover.
A writer, of course, could only do so much in terms of designing the plot and presenting the words.
Execution is an entirely different matter, and it’s up to the director to perfectly flesh out a concept in synch with the writer’s vision.
So just imagine Nuevas’s relief after seeing the trailer of GMA-7’s newest afternoon drama series titled, Sinner or Saint, during the press launching held last June 7 at the Kamayan restaurant on West Avenue in Quezon City.
"Nagulat ako dahil ang ganda-ganda ng texture. Maganda yung pagkaka-mount ng director [Don Michael Perez] kasi parang ramdam na ramdam mo yung squatter’s area, di ba?
"Ang ganda-ganda and parang Lino Brocka ang texture nung video. Kaya tuwang-tuwa talaga kami dahil ang ganda niya!" Nuevas proudly told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal).
CLOSE TO REALITY. While the Lino Brocka comparison might elicit raised eyebrows from critics, there are indeed elements present in Sinner or Saint that bring to mind the late great director’s favored theme in his narrative.
The Kapuso network’s latest drama offering touches on the subject of poverty, corruption, and injustice—a reflection of the nation’s deep-rooted socio-political issues frequently depicted in films produced by past directors.
Lead star Bianca King described the concept as "strong" and "intense" even for a television drama series.
"The script alone makes me cry, it moves me. Seeing the actual outcome now, parang ang bigat!" said Bianca, who is assuming her first lead role after years of portraying kontrabida and supporting roles. (CLICK HERE to read related article.)
Bianca stressed that the quality of the story convinced her to accept the project, more than the distinction of clinching top billing for a new series.
Nuevas summarized what makes Sinner or Saint different from other drama series previously seen on GMA-7.
"One, parang matapang siya. Two, may hook agad siya, e. Kakaawaan mo agad yung character ni Bianca kasi parang nag-sakripisyo na nga tapos binetray pa. Doon pa lang makukuha mo na yung atensiyon ng tao," he pointed out.
Research was integral to the overall plot especially since the main character’s setting almost throughout the story will take place inside a penitentiary.
"Last week, yung mga writers, they went to a correctional to do some research and to interview. So, after ng research, after their visit to the correctional, we had to revise para tumama siya doon sa research kasi meron kaming mga nalaman na, ’Ay, ganun pala doon!’" revealed Nuevas.
Sinner or Saint also adheres to the Kapuso Network’s strategy of clearly defining the genre under separate timeslots.
Said Nuevas: "Every now and then kasi pinag-iisip kami ng mga concepts for afternoon slot or primetime slot.
"Tapos nag-iisip lang ako ng parang what if meron isang babae na inako niya yung kasalanan ng boyfriend niya tapos ibe-betray pa siya?
"Doon nagsimula na parang nag-iisip lang ako tapos parang I find na may hook agad yung ganung story. Nung ibinato ko sa iba, ’Ay, okay yang kwento na yan!’ So from there, nabuo na yung story."
TWIST OF FATE. Sinner or Saint follows the story of childhood friends turned lovers Raul (Dennis Trillo) and Noemi (Bianca King), who dream of building a comfortable future together.
Their fate takes a sudden turn after Raul accidentally stabs Noemi’s uncle to death. The incident threatens Raul’s dream of becoming a lawyer, as well as his girlfriend’s hopes of escaping from her cruel relatives.
Noemi willingly offers to cover up the crime by taking responsibility, in the belief that Raul will eventually defend her in court after he becomes a lawyer.
Noemi is convicted of murder and is sentenced to serve years behind bars. In prison, Noemi meets and develops a friendship with a kind woman named Sally (Timmy Cruz).
Raul, meanwhile, encounters Corrine (Alessandra de Rossi), a rich young woman who falls in love with the law student and offers to shoulder his school tuition.
Corrine’s lustful desire on Raul is finally consummated one evening, prompting the manipulative young woman to demand a marriage proposal.
A torn Raul chooses Corrine and in the process dumps Noemi, who is languishing in jail for a crime she did not commit.
Noemi, brokenhearted and devastated, meets an investigative journalist named Alvin (Polo Ravales), who sets out to prove the young woman’s innocence both for justice and love.
Sinner or Saint confronts the viewers with questions about hope, forgiveness, and redemption as seen through the character of Noemi.
How will Noemi come to terms with the tragedies in her life? Will she finally learn to defend herself, and stand up to those who have wronged her? Can Raul and Noemi still heal their wounded past, and rebuild a life together?
Sinner or Saint debuts on June 13, after Blusang Itim, on GMA-7.
Filipinos based abroad will be able to watch the new drama series starting June 17 on GMA Pinoy TV.