Game of Silence Review: The Bonds of This Brotherhood Promise Revenge

Game of Silence

NBC’s newest drama plays out like a classic revenge story, at first. When someone has wronged you, you fight back or forgive. Game of Silence proves that there are some crimes beyond forgetting, let alone forgiving. Someone should have told the criminals that the longer the bonds are, and the deeper the wounds are, the stronger the pushback.

As an adult Jackson recalls his teen years with his best friends Gil, Boots, Shawn, and girlfriend Jessie. On an ordinary day, Jackson and his friends were trying to help Jessie get away from her alcoholic mother. Jackson steals the car away from Jessie’s mom and spirits her away with their friends, only to accidentally wreck into a woman. They didn’t kill the woman, but the boys got 9 months in Quitman Youth Detention. There the boys enjoyed past times like cage fighting, physical abuse from inmates and officers alike, and a riot which ended in a particularly horrific experience for one of the boys.

In the present, 25 years after that fateful day, Jackson is a lawyer living in Houston engaged to his boss. Gil and Shawn went into business together, and Gil and Jessie are a couple. Boots stayed in their hometown and had a pretty good life, complete with a loving wife and baby on the way. Until one day on a job delivering packages, Boots encounters a familiar face from his past, and takes a golf club to the guy’s head.

Boots’s arrest pushes the former friends back together more than two decades later. Gil and Shawn explain to Jackson that Boots attacked Darryl, who through flashbacks we learn was an older inmate in the jail who abused the boys. Jackson’s face says he knows exactly what Boots was feeling when he did this, and he knows that even though he should turn this case down, he can’t. During a night out the conversation turns to talk of revenge against the guards and the warden. Jackson wants no part of that conversation, but Gil is counting on Jackson’s buried anger to resurface.

Unfortunately the years have been too good for the people who terrorized Gil, Shawn, Jackson and Boots.  Warden Ray Carroll, who took pleasure in the pain he inflicted, has moved up the ranks of politics and is now running for Congress. Secretly he is a drug smuggler who brought on the most corrupt of his former inmates onboard to his organization. Thinking that Boots is trying to mess with their operations, they have Boots taken out in jail.

Jackson prevents Gil from murdering Darryl, or worse himself, during his grief. Instead he says they will come up with a plan to take down everyone who wronged them, including the head of the snake, former Warden Carroll himself. Jackson needs to be careful though, lest his brothers and Carroll discover something he doesn’t want them to. It turns out Jackson has his own secret to keep-a murder he committed with Jessie as witness. And in the present, Darryl mysteriously turns up dead courtesy of three bullet holes, and there are three suspects who are not talking.

There are some bonds that last a lifetime. Many say they would do anything for the ones they love, but this show doesn’t settle for anything less than blood. What makes this show so captivating isn’t just witnessing the horrors the boys suffered, making their mindset understandable. Instead it’s the idea of pure, profound loyalty you can only have with someone who’s carried the same experience you have, and will continue to do so for a lifetime. When you’re pushed to the brink, when you’ve been put through hell, when you’ve watched the people you love suffer unimaginable abuse, how far would you go for revenge? The death of their brother has lit a fire under Jackson, Gil, Shawn, and Jessie, to do what they have to do. It has certainly lit a fire onscreen.

A story of blurred lines of revenge and justice, the blood bonds of brotherhood, and the scars that never heal. I’m in. Are you?

Game of Silence Season 1 Episode 1 Review: “Pilot”


NBC’s new gripping drama Game of Silence promises revenge, after four childhood friends lose one of their own to the enemies of their past.

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