Ten minutes into watching the Turkish series Suskunlar, producer David Hudgins was hooked. “It was quirky, it was nostalgic, it was a thriller, and the characters were incredibly compelling,’ Hudgins said during a panel at today’s Deadline’s The Contenders event. “I was in.” With a bit of re-imagining, the Turkish drama became Game of Silence, NBC’s new NBC revenge thriller, premiering April 12, produced by creator Hudgins and Carol Mendelsohn that follows the repercussions of a long-ago crime and the group of friends wrongly imprisoned for it.
“In Turkey,” Hudgins said, “the pilots are 90 minutes long, so the normal beats didn’t break out (the same way). It felt like a film.” Still, both produced grasped the essence of the show: “If someone takes your innocence,” Mendelsohn said, “can anything ever give you back your wholeness?”
Fascinated by the psychology of childhood trauma and abuse, the producers researched the subject prior to production. Both wanted a specific tone, a balance of light and dark. “I think the beauty of Game of Silence,” said Mendelsohn, “and what David has created is, yes, there’s darkness, but there’s also an innocence to it.” She name-checked Rob Reiner’s classic Stephen King adaptation, Stand By Me as an inspiration.
“It’s good, solid network storytelling,” Mendelsohn (CSI) said of the show, which stars David Lyons heading the ensemble cast. In fact, added Hudgins (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood), NBC upended his own expectations: “They said, ‘Can you make it darker?’ I was like, ‘Good lord, how can you make it darker than this?'”