TURИ: Washington’s Spies is a period drama based on Alexander Rose’s book Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring, a history of the Culper Ring. The series debuted on AMC on April 6, 2014. Sit down to watch Turn and you will need to prepare yourself for an amazing journey into real American history – the kind you didn’t hear about in high school. The interesting kind. Follow our characters through complicated allegiances and perilous plots. The Revolutionary War was anything but boring!
The story follows the Woodhull family and the spy ring led by one of the members of the family, Abraham Woodhull, played by Jamie Bell. His story is a sad one, but full of adventure. He is in love with his neighbor and all set to marry her when his elder brother dies suddenly in a riot, and Abe is forced to take on his obligations, both on the farm and in wedlock. His true love, Anna Strong, played by Heather Lind, is devastated. And so begins a subplot which will lead us through both of the characters’ motivations for siding with the revolution, and risking their lives for the cause.
Whether it is love, family honor, politics or religion, everyone has their reasons for choosing the side they do. One thing the series does well is that almost no one seems unreasonable, especially for that time period. There are a few exceptions, Lieutenant-Colonel John Graves Simco, played by Samuel Roukin who plays the crazy sadist better than anyone I’ve ever seen, and Abe’s father, the unrelenting and unforgiving Judge Richard Woodhull, played by Kevin R. McNally.
Abe’s former love, Anna Strong, has her own reasons for joining the spy ring, one of them being her dislike for having her property seized by the crown and having to feed and care for soldiers living in her home. The other being that, for a while anyway, Abe is on the other side. Anna’s character is so strong and formidable. She’s a force to be reckoned with, and frequently comes up with the plans used by the Culper Ring to smuggle messages to General Washington. This is a juicy part for any actress and one that delves deeply into one of the roles women played in the revolution. In fact, most of the female character’s in the story possess strength of character and of mind and spirit. They do what needs to be done. Abe’s wife, Mary Woodhull, played by Meegan Warner frequently aides her husband in his efforts; she’s smart and tough, and in one episode actually attempts to assassinate Lieutenant-Colonel Simco. (You’ll wish see succeeded!)
Another female character, Peggy Shippen, played by Ksenia Solo, seduces Benedict Arnold and manipulates events in order to convince him to switch sides and join the Loyalists. She too, is not to be underestimated, and while her story is one of tragedy, it reminds the audience of the lengths to which women went to play a crucial part in the outcome of the war.
On July 26, 2016, Turn: Washington’s Spies was renewed for a fourth and final 10-episode season, which was aired as a two-hour premiere on June 17, 2017.
So quick, catch up and join the Revolution! This time, the revolution will be televised.