Original AMC TV Series
Official Website of Turn: Includes interactive maps, story sync apps, and other interesting facts as well as an episode guide.
Based on Alexander Rose’s book Washington’s Spies, AMC’s TURN tells the untold story of America’s first spy ring. A historical thriller set during the Revolutionary War, TURN centers on Abe Woodhull (Jamie Bell), a farmer living in British-occupied Long Island who bands together with his childhood friends to form the Culper Ring — an unlikely team of secret agents who not only went on to help George Washington turn the tide of the war but also gave birth to modern spycraft.
TURN, from AMC Studios, is written by showrunner Craig Silverstein (Nikita) and executive produced by Barry Josephson (Bones, Enchanted) from Josephson Entertainment.
- Jamie Bell as Abe Woodhull
- Seth Numrich as Benjamin Tallmadge
- Daniel Henshall as Caleb Brewster
- Heather Lind as Anna Strong
- Meegan Warner as Mary Woodhull
- Kevin R. McNally as Judge Richard Woodhull
- Burn Gorman as Major Hewlett
- Angus Macfadyen as Robert Rogers
- Samuel Roukin as John Graves Simcoe
- JJ Feild as Major John André
The TV Series, Turn, is about the Culper spy ring that was formed during the Revolutionary War. The spy ring were double agents in the New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey area and reported directly to George Washington. Their contribution to the victory of the colonists can not be overstated.
The spy ring was formed by Major Benjamin Tallmadge in the summer of 1778. At the time, the British were occupying New York City. Abraham Woodhull and Robert Townsend who went by the names, Samuel Culper Sr. and Samuel Culper Jr., were the main members of the ring. Among other things, the spy ring helped to expose Benedict Arnold’s treason.
For the most part the story in Turn sticks to the real history, but there are a few liberties taken with the plot and timeline. Many are taken for dramatic effect and don’t detract from the actual history. Some are listed below.
- The Culper Ring began in 1778, not 1776.
- The real Abe Woodhull was single and childless until after the war.
- Woodhull’s father was not a British loyalist. He was a patriot.
- The white wigs the British wear in the series were out of style during that time period.
- At the time, John Andre was not the chief of British Secret Service. He was a prisoner of war.
My Review: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
My three favorite time periods in history are the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and World War II. I like to study those time periods, not because of the warfare going on, but because these three time in American history, like none other, show the conflict, resolve, and risk men and women have taken to create the character of the United States of America. These times were not easy, and sometimes the right way was not clear, but there were many who risked their lives for their country and for freedom.
That’s why I was so excited to hear that AMC was making a TV series based on the Revolutionary spy ring, Culper, based on the book, Washington Spies. When I watched the pilot, I had high hopes that this series would stay true to the spirit of what these spies went through and tell an interesting story. I was not disappointed.
There were a few discrepancies as there always are in TV shows and movies about a historical event, but they were few and didn’t ditract from the story. They’re listed above.
What I love most about this series is how it showed that these people, especially Abe Woodhull, were ordinary people trying to live their lives in peace. They also were trying to do what was right. Many times, they were conflicted and didn’t know what the right thing was just as the real Abe Woodhull was sometimes conflicted. Now history has shown what they did for this country was heroic and right and was instrumental in us winning the war. But they didn’t have that foreknowledge then, and if they were caught, they would have been shot or hung.
The one problem I do have with it is that the show seems to want to create a love triangle between Abe, his wife, and his former fiancé to create drama. This is unnecessary since the story has enough drama on it’s own. What makes it worse is that Abe Woodhull, in real life, was a single man at this time in history and a faithful husband. He was known by both sides as a man of integrity. He would turn over in his grave if he knew how he was being portrayed.
The writers and directors have created all of that tension and conflict in the story line. I am on the edge of my seat every time I watch the show. I recommend this TV, especially if you love history and intrigue, although I suggest you watch the pilot and past episodes first. AMC plays them continually, so you should have no problem catching up. I would add caution because there are some sexually suggestive and violent scenes, but nothing too graphic.