Some stories work in any language.

It's not good news that stories about the horrific abuse of children figure among them.

Game of Silence, a new drama about childhood friends reunited years after a prank gone wrong landed four of them in a nightmarish juvenile detention facility, arrives at 10 p.m. Tuesday on NBC looking like some other network dramas.

There are secrets. There are lies. And there are conspiracies meant to be labyrinthine enough to stretch beyond a single season.

But the justice system that supposedly inspired the Texas-set series about revenge isn't ours. It's Turkey's.

Adapted by David Hudgins (Friday Night Lights), from a 2012 Turkish drama, Suskunlar, about men who were children together in Istanbul, Game of Silence stars David Lyons (Revolution) as Jackson Brooks, a Houston lawyer whose past comes knocking just as he looks to have escaped it.

An old friend, Boots (Derek Phillips), is in trouble, and two other former pals, Gil Harris (Michael Raymond-James, True Blood) and Shawn Cook (Larenz Tate), insist Jackson defend him. Their reunion also includes Jackson's boyhood sweetheart, Jesse West (Bre Blair), who alone escaped punishment in the incident that led to the others' incarceration.

What follows may appear to have parallels to the 1996 Barry Levinson film Sleepers, based on a book by Lorenzo Carcaterra, but we don't have to look much farther than Pennsylvania's "kids for cash" scandal for stories about children who become pawns in a judicial system that's increasingly run for profit.

Or farther than Showtime's Ray Donovan to see adult TV characters dealing - not well - with the long-term effects of their abusive childhoods.

This is grim stuff, and Game of Silence doesn't dress it up. Most of its main characters carry the scars of what they've done and what's been done to them. The evil personified by the warden-turned-politico (Conor O'Farrell, CSI) is unrelenting.

And unrelenting occasionally turns into predictable.

A few characters - among them Jackson's fiancée, Marina (Claire van der Boom), and Terry (Demetrius Grosse), a canny criminal with ties to the warden - prove unexpectedly nuanced, but most behave in the ways we've come to expect of TV characters, if not real people, when faced with situations to which conventional justice is blind.

In the end, the most shocking thing about Game of Silence may be that it's not as shocking as it deserves to be.

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