Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Game of Silence – Dark and Hopeless

A rising attorney finds his perfectly crafted life threatened when his long-lost childhood friends threaten to expose a dark secret from their past.

Game of Silence is a NBC mid-season release in the  Law and Order SVU time slot. This new dramatic suspense series comes from Writer / Producer David Hudgins. This is his second series, he is also known for Friday Night Lights and Parenthood. This is his first try at dramatic suspense.

Game of Silence stars, David Lyons as Jackson, a successful Houston Criminal Lawyer. Lyons, well known as Vincent Faraday aka The Cape from The Cape. Most recent from NBC’s Revolution, as the angst ridden Sebastian 'Bass' Monroe.

Also starring, Michael Raymond-James, as Gil, a temper driven construction worker, is recently known for his portrayal on Once Upon a Time as Neil Cassidy aka Rumplestiskin’s son Belfire. Also as the original Big Bad on True Blood, Rene Lenier

Larenz Tate, plays Shawn, best friend of Gil and a seemingly well-adjusted man with some commitment issues. Tate is known for his role as Malcolm Kaan on HBO’s House of Lies.

Last night I took the time to put Game of Silence to the three-episode test

**Spoiler Alert**

Jackson is a big time criminal lawyer in Houston, TX. Engaged to a beautiful lawyer, who happens to be his boss, and is up for partner at the law firm where they both work.  He’s worked hard to build his life. Jackson is focused on the future, not the past.

The past, however, always come back to haunt you. Specifically, Jackson’s past and one particular summer where he and his friends got themselves into some trouble. This trouble sent the four boys to a juvenile correctional facility call Quitman.

Now we meet Jackson’s childhood friends, present day. Then there is Boots, who is a blue collar worker, married with a baby on the way. Gil and Shawn, best friends and owners of a construction business that maybe a little shady. Shawn is well-adjusted with serious commitment issues while Gil is a hot-head with a very short fuse.

In the pilot, the story begins with Boots kissing his pregnant wife’s belly before leaving for work and bidding her good-bye until that evening. He is a mover and has a job in Houston for the day. When Boots arrives at the site, a man is standing outside smoking a cigarette and talking on the phone. Boots apparently recognizes him from flashbacks Quitman and snaps. Grabbing a golf club he beats the man to a pulp and is arrested.

Gil and Shawn arrive on Jackson’s law firm, pleading Boots case and asking for assistance. It is obvious none of them have seen each other in a while Jackson is hesitant, Gil convinces him by telling him the man Boots beat was Daryl, torturer from Quitman.

There the story rolls along pretty seamlessly. The men start to dig up old memories and experiences from Quitman. Jackson tries to play it off as the past, while Gil and Shawn are still both very raw. They want revenge for Quitman and Jackson wants no part of their plans.

Everything changes when Boots dies from being stabbed in prison, and Jackson discovers the warden who ran Quitman when they were young is running for Congress.

Jackson decides that yes, they should get justice the right way. They collect evidence, build a case and bring them offenders to justice. This plan quickly goes awry when Gil goes off the rails. It goes from bad to worse when Gil kills an ex-guard just after the group gets him to confess on video.
We also have the Warden/Congressman’s men thinking there is a group forging an attack against them.

As a reviewer, Games of Silence has all the elements of a hit. The formula is there. the show is well written, well cast and has several very lean subplots to keep things interesting.

As a viewer, I found Game of Silence to be very dark and heavy due to the content, and numerous violent flashbacks. As this can be a good thing in a television show, if there is nothing to offset the darkness it does become too much to handle. There is no lightness to the show, no hope. The characters, while well written and very complex, are not very likable. I want to root for them to succeed, however I don’t like any of them enough to care either way.
If Game of Silence were a two-hour movie I would say bravo, great, a riveting and thoughtful piece. But, it’s not a movie it is a serial drama, and I don’t believe anyone will be able to stomach the raw emotional turmoil the show projects for very long.

Nice try, NBC, but I can’t do it, sorry.

Disagree? Please let me know your thoughts on Game of Silence or any of my other posts. Love to hear from you!!

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