TURN: Washington’s Spies

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An excellent show with the narrative set right smack in the middle of the American Revolution, following the formation of a cloak and dagger network of spies passing along information about the British to General Washington. In a modern context, the issues faced by the characters seem they should be more black and white, but everything was much more complicated in real life than in the history books. At the time, it was inconceivable that the colonial cause could possibly hope to win against the might of the British Empire, and those who struggled against it knew very well if they were caught, it meant losing their lives. Many of Long Island’s residents were staunch supporters of the Crown and those with leanings toward the other side had to be very quiet about it. By putting faces and names to the plot, the story becomes very real to the viewer and I for one got thoroughly sucked in. I watch each episode on the edge of my seat, because even though you know how the war eventually ends, you have no idea what will happen to each character. Most of the actors actually are Brits and those that aren’t do an excellent job adopting the accents appropriate to the times (if you can understand everyone in Pirates of the Caribbean, you should have no problems here.  The comparison is appropriate as the actor who plays Judge Woodhull also plays Joshamee Gibbs in the Pirates movies).

The one thing that makes the show a little hard to watch for me is that I hate rooting against the English and the Scots. It’s true that while they are America’s close friends now, they weren’t always. But the writers have done an excellent job drawing their characters so well as to make some of them sympathetic.  You care about them and flinch when bad things happen to them and it’s always a bit mentally jarring when you remember they’re on the wrong side.  Other than that, I love everything else about the show and can hardly wait to see what happens with Abe Woodhull and the nascent spies of the Revolution. Amazing costumes, attention to historical detail and an incredible script made this my favorite new show of 2014 and the second season was even better than the first. – BETHANY

For more on TURN, visit the Internet Movie Database

Abraham Woodhull (Jamie Bell), a cabbage farmer from Setauket.

The truly vile Capt. Simcoe (Samuel Roukin), terrorizing the residents of Setauket.

Angus Macfadyen as Major Robert Rogers of the Queen’s Rangers.

                                             I love this actor so much and his character might be one of the most interesting on the show.

The man himself, General George Washington (Ian Kahn), who still has all his teeth.

Major Benjamin Tallmadge (Seth Numrich), childhood friend of Abe and instigator of the Culper spy ring.

Anna Strong (Heather Lind), Abraham’s one-time love.  She is in the unenviable position of carefully rebuffing the constant advances of creepy Capt. Simcoe.

Daniel Henshall as Lieutenant Caleb Brewster, a smuggler and courier for the Culper Ring, also a childhood friend of Abe and Ben.

The Woodhull household with the honorable Judge Richard Woodhull (Kevin McNally, seated) and Abe’s wife, Mary Woodhull (Meegan Warner, center).

General Benedict Arnold (Owain Yeoman, The Mentalist) – is it a spoiler to tell you this guy is a turncoat?

                                    JJ Feild as Major John André, incredibly shrewd head of intelligence for the British.

Peggy Shippen (Ksenia Solo), a staunch Tory and member of Philadelphia’s high society.

*whistling Yankee Doodle*

Burn Gorman on his character, Major Hewlett.

 

 

 

Photos courtesy of AMC Studios (unless otherwise credited in clickable form)

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