Turn: Washington’s Spies (originally titled Turn and stylised as TURИ: Washington’s Spies) is an American period drama television series based on Alexander Rose’s book Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring (2007), a history of the Culper Ring.
A Long Island farmer bands together a group of childhood friends to form an unlikely group of spies who turn the tide in America’s fight for independence.
The series originally aired on the AMC network for four seasons, from 06 April 2014 to 12 August 2017.
The story covers events from 1776 to 1781, and features a farmer from Setauket, New York and his childhood friends. They 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 and the Port of New York for the Crown, and leave General George Washington’s army in dire straits. The first episode opens with the following introductory text:
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.
- Jamie Bell as Abraham Woodhull.
- Seth Numrich as Captain Benjamin Tallmadge.
- Daniel Henshall as Lieutenant Caleb Brewster.
- Heather Lind as Anna Strong.
- Meegan Warner as Mary Woodhull.
- Burn Gorman as Major Edmund Hewlett (Based on Richard Hewlett).
- Samuel Roukin as Captain John Graves Simcoe.
- Kevin R. McNally as Judge Richard Woodhull.
- Angus Macfadyen as Major Robert Rogers (seasons 1-3; special appearance 4).
- JJ Feild as Major John André (seasons 1-3).
- Ksenia Solo as Peggy Shippen (seasons 2-4).
- Ian Kahn as General George Washington (recurring season 1, main seasons 2-4).
- Owain Yeoman as General Benedict Arnold (seasons 2-4).
- Nick Westrate as Robert Townsend (recurring season 2, main seasons 3-4).
- Idara Victor as Abigail, code named Agent 355.
- Darren Alford as Cicero.
- Andrew McKeough as John CarterRobert Beitzel as Selah Strong (seasons 1, 4).
- Jonny Coyne as Colonel Jonathan Cooke (seasons 1, 3-4).
- Brian T. Finney as General Charles Lee (seasons 1-2).
- David Furr as Walter Havens (seasons 1, 4).
- Michael Gaston as General Charles Scott (season 1).
- Amy Gumenick as Philomena Cheer (season 1, season 3-4).
- Jamie Harris as John Robeson (seasons 1-3).
- Aldis Hodge as Jordan/Akinbode (seasons 1-2, 4).
- Thomas Keegan as Ensign Baker (season 1).
- Alex Miller as Colonel Joseph Reed (seasons 1-2).
- Taylor Roberts as Rachel Clark (seasons 1-2).
- Stephen Root as Nathaniel Sackett (seasons 1-2).
- John Billingsley as Samuel Townsend (seasons 2-3).
- Ralph Brown as General Henry Clinton (seasons 2-4).
- Stuart Greer as Officer Yates (season 2).
- Josh Price as Freddy Morgan (seasons 2-4).
- Brian Wiles as Marquis de Lafayette (seasons 2-4).
- Lilli Birdsell as Martha Washington (seasons 3-4).
- John Carroll Lynch as James Rivington (seasons 3-4).
- Sean Haggerty as Colonel Alexander Hamilton (seasons 3-4).
- Adam J. Harrington as Lieutenant Gamble (seasons 2-3).
- Edward Akrout as Amos Parker (season 4).
- Kelly AuCoin as Hercules Mulligan (season 4).
- Chris Webster as John Champe (season 4).
- Mark Halpern as Lieutenant Appleton (seasons 1, 4).
- Laura Meakin as Hesther Carney (season 4).
The series deviated from history in certain instances:
- Abraham Woodhull was unmarried and childless during the period in which he was a spy.
- He did not marry Mary Smith until 1781 and did not have a son named Thomas.
- Anna Strong was 10 years older than Abraham Woodhull.
- There is no evidence to suggest that they had anything other than a professional relationship.
- Edmund Hewlett is a fictitious character.
- The commander of the garrison at Sektauket was Richard Hewlett, although he did not succeed John Andre as spymaster.
- Richard was married with 11 children, and there is no evidence of an affair with Anna Strong.
- Richard Woodhull was not killed in a skirmish.
- Robert Rogers did not engage Benjamin Tallmadge in a battle.
- Abraham Woodhull did not join the regiment of loyalist American volunteers founded by Benedict Arnold.
- Nathaniel Sackett survived the war.
The first season of TURN: Washington’s Spies was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 17 March 2015; it became available on Netflix on 25 March 2015. The second season was released on DVD on 22 March 2016 and became available on Netflix on 11 April 2016. The third season was released on DVD on 08 November 2016. and became available on Netflix on 04 June 2017. The fourth season became available on Netflix on 01 December 2017.
On 26 March 2014, AMC released the digital comic TURN: Origins, illustrated by 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 10 April 10 and 15 April 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.
Turn: Washington’s Spies Series
Production & Filming Details
- Developed by: Craig Silverstein.
- Producer(s): Henry Bronchtein, Andrew Colville, Michael Taylor, Barry Josephson, Craig Silverstein, Larry Rapaport, Mitchell Amstrad, LaToya Morgan, and Alexander Rose.
- Music: Marco Beltrami and Brandon Roberts.
- Cinematography: Lol Crawly (pilot), Marvin V. Rush, and Scott Peck.
- Editor(s): Andrew Seklir, Harry B. Miller III, David Lebowitz, and Ian E. Silverstein.
- Production: AMC Studios, Sesfonstein Productions, and Josephson Entertainment.
- Distributor(s): AMC Networks.
- Release Date: 06 April 2014 to 12 August 2017.
- Running Time: 41 to 47 minutes (Pilot 63 minutes and some episodes 54 minutes).
- Rating: TV-14.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.