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Turn: Washington's Spies

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8.1/10 TV

Developed by  Craig Silverstein
Network  AMC
8/10 IMDb

Genre  Historical drama
First episode date  6 April 2014
Turn: Washington's Spies wwwgstaticcomtvthumbtvbanners12502851p12502
Based on  Washington's Spies: The Story of America's First Spy Ring (2007) by Alexander Rose
Starring  Jamie Bell Seth Numrich Daniel Henshall Heather Lind Meegan Warner Kevin R. McNally Burn Gorman Angus Macfadyen Samuel Roukin JJ Feild Ian Kahn Owain Yeoman Ksenia Solo Nick Westrate
Opening theme  "Hush" performed by Joy Williams, Matt Berninger, and Charlie Peacock
Composer(s)  Marco Beltrami Brandon Roberts
Adapted from  Washington's Spies: The Story of America's First Spy Ring
Cast  Jamie Bell, Heather Lind, Seth Numrich, Burn Gorman, Daniel Henshall

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Turn: Washington's Spies (formerly known as Turn and stylized as TURN: Washington's Spies and 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 (2007), a history of the Culper Ring. The series debuted on AMC on April 6, 2014.


Turn: Washington's Spies was renewed for a second 10-episode season on June 23, 2014, which premiered on April 13, 2015, and for a third 10-episode season on July 15, 2015, which premiered on April 25, 2016. On July 26, 2016, Turn: Washington's Spies was renewed for a fourth and final 10-episode season, which will premiere in 2017.


In 1776 and 1777, a Setauket, New York farmer and his childhood friends form an unlikely group of spies, called the Culper Ring, which eventually helps to turn the tide during the American Revolutionary War. The series begins in October 1776, shortly after British victories recapture Long Island, Staten Island, and New York City for the Crown and leave General George Washington's army in dire straits.

The first episode's introductory card titles read: "Autumn 1776. Insurgents have declared war against the Crown. Following a successful naval landing, His Majesty's Army has forced Washington's rebels into the wilderness. New York City serves as military base of operations for the British. The Loyalists of nearby Long Island keep vigilant watch out for sympathizers, and spies."

The show takes considerable liberties with the biographies and activities of the historical personalities. For example, Abraham Woodhull is portrayed as having broken an engagement to Anna Strong, in order to wed his brother's betrothed and by so doing, satisfy his father, a staunch Loyalist. This plot device is also driven by the fictional claim that the younger Woodhull had felt responsible for the death of his elder brother (a member of the Loyalist militia), due to Abraham's involvement in the Liberty Pole riots. The show portrays Woodhull and Strong as carrying on an adulterous affair during their involvement in the Spy Ring. In truth, Abraham Woodhull was unmarried during the war years, and there is no evidence that any romantic connection ever existed between him and his fellow spy Anna Strong, who was 10 years his senior and long married to one of his relatives.

Main cast

  • Jamie Bell as Abraham Woodhull
  • Seth Numrich as Major Benjamin Tallmadge
  • Daniel Henshall as Lieutenant Caleb Brewster
  • Heather Lind as Anna Strong
  • Meegan Warner as Mary Woodhull
  • Kevin R. McNally as Judge Richard Woodhull
  • Burn Gorman as Major Edmund Hewlett
  • Angus Macfadyen as Major Robert Rogers
  • Samuel Roukin as Captain John Graves Simcoe
  • JJ Feild as Major John André (seasons 1–3)
  • Ian Kahn as General George Washington (recurring season 1, main seasons 2–3)
  • Owain Yeoman as General Benedict Arnold (seasons 2–3)
  • Ksenia Solo as Peggy Shippen (seasons 2–3)
  • Nick Westrate as Robert Townsend (recurring season 2, main season 3)
  • Recurring cast

  • Idara Victor as Abigail
  • Darren Alford as Cicero
  • Andrew McKeough as John Carter
  • John Carroll Lynch as James Rivington (season 3)
  • John Billingsley as Samuel Townsend (seasons 2–3)
  • Amy Gumenick as Philomena Cheer (season 1, season 3)
  • Jamie Harris as John Robeson (seasons 1–3)
  • Stuart Greer as Officer Yates (season 2)
  • Stephen Root as Nathaniel Sackett (seasons 1–2)
  • Aldis Hodge as Jordan/Akinbode (seasons 1–2)
  • Taylor Roberts as Rachel Clark (seasons 1–2)
  • Brian T. Finney as General Charles Lee (seasons 1–2)
  • Alex Miller as Colonel Joseph Reed (seasons 1–2)
  • Michael Gaston as General Charles Scott (season 1)
  • Robert Beitzel as Selah Strong (season 1)
  • Thomas Keegan as Ensign Baker (season 1)
  • Brian Wiles as Marquis de Lafayette (seasons 2-3)
  • Mark Halpern as Lt. Appleton (seasons 1-4)
  • Josh Price as Freddy Morgan (seasons 2-4)
  • Season 1

    The first season of Turn: Washington's Spies received mixed reviews. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes rated the season 52%, based on 33 reviews, with an average rating of 6.3/10. The site's consensus reads, "Turn's uneven treatment of the American Revolution is more frustrating than exciting and memorable." On Metacritic, the first season scored 61 out of 100, based on 29 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".

    Season 2

    The second season received positive reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a rating of 80%, based on 5 reviews, with an average rating of 7.2/10. On Metacritic, the season has a score of 68 out of 100, based on 4 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".

    Awards and nominations

    The first season of TURN: Washington's Spies was awarded the 2014 Media & Entertainment Award by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

    Home media

    The first season of TURN: Washington's Spies was released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 17, 2015; it became available on Netflix on March 25, 2015. The second season was released on DVD on March 22, 2016 and became available on Netflix on April 11, 2016. The third season was released on DVD on November 8, 2016.


  • On March 26, 2014, AMC released the digital comic TURN: Origins, illustrated by award-winning comics artist Steve Ellis, that portrays childhood and adulthood events from the lives of several of the series' main characters, including Abraham Woodhull, Benjamin Tallmadge, Anna Strong, and Caleb Brewster.
  • On April 10, 2015 and April 15, 2015, AMC released the first and second chapters, respectively, of a second digital comic, TURN: Rivals, that portrays the past rivalry of George Washington and Robert Rogers.
  • References

    Turn: Washington's Spies Wikipedia

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