David Lyons stars as Jackson Brooks, Michael Raymond-James plays Gil Harris, and Larenz Tate is Shawn Polk in "Game of Silence."

David Lyons stars as Jackson Brooks, Michael Raymond-James plays Gil Harris, and Larenz Tate is Shawn Polk in "Game of Silence."

Bob Mahoney/NBC
Game of Silence premieres with a sneak preview at 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 12. After that, set your DVRs for Thursdays at 9 p.m., its regular slot. 

Why

Game of Silence may be a bad name, but it's a good TV show. With more plot twists and turns in its first episode than some dramas manage all season, it's filled with suspense and tension. It'll grab you and throw you across the room. You will remember you watched it, and you will want to watch it again. 

"It doesn't feel like a network show," says creator David Hudgins, a former lawyer. "I think that's a positive thing. NBC and Sony never blew an uncertain trumpet on this show. As a creator and writer, that's a very meaningful thing."

What it's about

After 25 years, four men are reunited when one of them, for lack of a better word, snaps. He reacts violently upon seeing a former tormentor from the time the quartet spent in a Texas youth detention facility with a shifty warden who had too much oversight and not enough overseeing. A fifth friend is also pulled back into the fold as secrets threaten everyone. 

"These guys have something in the past that comes back to haunt them in the present," says Hudgins. "It's really a character drama more than anything else. ... It's a story about how they survived. All those bonds get tested but at the end of the day they come back as brothers."

What's in it for me

The series lends itself to binge-watching. 

"We really tried to design it so that it would pull people in and draw people in and make them want to watch the next one," says Hudgins. "It's fraught, in a good way."

So, letting it collect on your DVR wouldn't be a bad thing. Don't wait too long to watch it, though. Ratings count in this what-have-you-done-for-me-lately TV landscape.

Dallas connection

Creator Hudgins (Friday Night Lights!) is a Dallasite who worked for years here at a law firm. He adapted the series from the Turkish TV series, Suskunlar. Actress Katie Kelly of Arlington, 15, is one of the female leads; each of the older actors has a younger counterpart since the tale bounces from the '90s to now. It's all very Stand By Me-ish ... until it's not.

"The main reason I set it in Texas is because it was my home state and I know it well," says Hudgins. "I thought it would really ground the show and make it real."

Katie Kelly stars as Young Jess and Curran Walters as Young Jackson in 'Game of Silence.'

Katie Kelly stars as Young Jess and Curran Walters as Young Jackson in 'Game of Silence.'

Bob Mahoney/NBC

Tell me more

"All the actors in it are so good," says Hudgins. "Once we had the series cast, I invited all the actors to come into the writers' room. These guys just took their characters over. Larenz Tate is a star and he really got Shawn."

And some of my favorite actors are up in this piece. That includes Larenz Tate (Crash, Ray, Why Do Fools Fall in Love, Love Jones, I could go on ...); a tightly coiled Michael Raymond-James (Once Upon a Time, True Blood); and David Lyons (Neighbours, ER, Revolution).

(Another star turn from Tate: Put on your headphones for his spoken-word performance in Love Jones. I couldn't resist.)

For more TV news, views and reviews, follow @DawnBurkes on Twitter.

What's Happening on GuideLive