Turn: Washington's Spies

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Turn: Washington's Spies
The new title for the series, which shows the words "TURN: Washington's Spies" (with a backwards "n") in black text on a white background.
GenreHistorical drama
Based onWashington's Spies: The Story of America's First Spy Ring
by Alexander Rose
Developed byCraig Silverstein
Opening theme"Hush" performed by Joy Williams, Matt Berninger, and Charlie Peacock
ComposersMarco Beltrami
Brandon Roberts
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes40 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
ProducersLarry Rapaport
Mitchell Amstrad
LaToya Morgan
Alexander Rose
Production locationsRichmond, Virginia, Williamsburg, Virginia, Yorktown, Virginia, Petersburg, Virginia
CinematographyLol Crawley ("Pilot")
Marvin V. Rush
Scott Peck
EditorsAndrew Seklir
Harry B. Miller III
David Lebowitz
Ian E. Silverstein
Running time41–47 minutes
54 minutes ("Washington's Spies")
64 minutes ("Pilot")
Production companiesAMC Studios
Sesfonstein Productions
Josephson Entertainment
DistributorAMC Networks (United States)
Entertainment One (International)[3]
Original networkAMC
Original releaseApril 6, 2014 (2014-04-06) –
August 12, 2017 (2017-08-12)

Turn: Washington's Spies (originally titled Turn and stylized 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),[4] a history of the Culper Ring.[5] The series originally aired on the AMC network for four seasons, from April 6, 2014, to August 12, 2017.[6]


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.[4] 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.


Main cast[edit]

Recurring cast[edit]


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
110April 6, 2014 (2014-04-06)June 8, 2014 (2014-06-08)
210April 13, 2015 (2015-04-13)June 8, 2015 (2015-06-08)
310April 25, 2016 (2016-04-25)June 27, 2016 (2016-06-27)
410June 17, 2017 (2017-06-17)August 12, 2017 (2017-08-12)


Turn: Washington's Spies was renewed for a second 10-episode season on June 23, 2014,[9] which premiered on April 13, 2015,[10] and for a third 10-episode season on July 15, 2015, which premiered on April 25, 2016.[11][12] On July 26, 2016, Turn: Washington's Spies was renewed for a fourth and final 10-episode season, which had a two-hour premiere on June 17, 2017.[13][14]


Critical response[edit]

Season Critical response
Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1 54% (39 reviews) 62 (35 reviews)
2 90% (10 reviews) 68 (4 reviews)
3 100% (5 reviews)
4 80% (5 reviews)

The first season of Turn: Washington's Spies received mixed reviews. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes rated the season 54%, based on 39 reviews, with an average rating of 6.30/10. The site's consensus reads, "Turn's uneven treatment of the American Revolution is more frustrating than exciting and memorable."[15] On Metacritic, the first season scored 62 out of 100, based on reviews from 35 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[16]

The second season received positive reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has an approval rating of 90%, based on 10 reviews, with an average rating of 7.40/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "The revolution gains steam in an improved second season that delivers on the series' promise of espionage thrills along with an expanded historical grandeur."[17] On Metacritic, the season has a weighted average score of 68 out of 100, based on reviews from 4 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[18]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the third season has a rating of 100%, based on 5 reviews, with an average rating of 8.00/10[19] and the fourth season has a rating of 80% based on 5 reviews, with an average rating of 7.60/10.[20]

Historical accuracy[edit]

The series deviated from history in certain instances:[21]

  • 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 Setauket 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.
  • Sarah Livingstone was the wife of John Jay, not a homesteader who helped Benjamin Tallmadge.
  • Amos Parker was a bodyguard for General Lafayette instead of a British Privateer.[22]
  • Isaac van Wart, John Paulding, and David Williams, the captors of John Andre, were widely regarded as popular heroes rather than brigands. Each was awarded a pension by the United States government and farms by the State of New York. George Washington and Alexander Hamilton praised them as patriots. Benjamin Tallmadge's accusations against the men were found baseless in a court of law and dismissed. The three captors were subsequently awarded an increase in their annual pensions.

[23] [24]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The first season of TURN: Washington's Spies was awarded the 2014 Media & Entertainment Award by the Daughters of the American Revolution.[25]

Year Award Category Recipient(s) Episode(s) Result
2014 Media & Entertainment Award Won
2015 Location Managers Guild Awards Outstanding Locations in Period Television Tom Trigo and Becky Beckstoffer Nominated
2016 Golden Reel Award Best Sound Editing - Short Form Sound Effects and Foley in Television George Haddad, Chad J. Hughes, Angelo Palazzo, Darrin Mann, Gregg Baxter, Catherine Harper and Matthew Thomas Hall "Gunpowder, Treason and Plot" Nominated
NAACP Image Award Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Series LaToya Morgan "False Flag" Nominated
SXSW Film Festival Excellence in Title Design Michael Riley, Bob Swensen, Aaron Bjork and Eddie Moreno Nominated
2017 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Series LaToya Morgan "Benediction" Nominated

Home media[edit]

The first season of TURN: Washington's Spies was released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 17, 2015;[26] it became available on Netflix on March 25, 2015. The second season was released on DVD on March 22, 2016[27] and became available on Netflix on April 11, 2016. The third season was released on DVD on November 8, 2016.[28] and became available on Netflix on June 4, 2017. The fourth season became available on Netflix on December 1, 2017. The series departed Netflix after four years in December 2021.[29] The fourth season still has not been released on DVD and Blu-ray. A Complete Series (Season 1-4) boxset has yet to be released in the US.


On March 26, 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.[5][30]

On April 10 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.[31][32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Turn: Washington's Spies". AMC. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  2. ^ "AMC Revolutionary War Drama 'Turn: Washington's Spies' Begins Production on Season Two in Colonial Williamsburg". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on October 2, 2014. Retrieved November 27, 2014.
  3. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (5 September 2013). "eOne, AMC Networks Ink Multi-Year International Output Deal for Scripted Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 4 November 2021.
  4. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (July 26, 2014). "TCA: AMC Picks Up 'Halt & Catch Fire' & 'Turn' To Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Lee, Dayton (March 26, 2014). "TURN: Origins Comic Now Online". AMC-TV. Archived from the original on December 30, 2019. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  6. ^ Bibel, Sara (January 11, 2014). "AMC Announces Premiere Dates for Final Season of 'Mad Men', 'Better Call Saul', 'Turn' & More". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on January 11, 2014. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  7. ^ "AMC Revolutionary War Drama 'Turn: Washington's Spies' Begins Production on Season Two in Colonial Williamsburg - Ratings". TVbytheNumbers. Archived from the original on 2014-10-02.
  8. ^ Deerwester, Jayme (August 13, 2017). "'Turn: Washington's Spies' finale: What became of all the characters?". USA Today.
  9. ^ O'Connell, Michael (June 23, 2014). "AMC Renews 'Turn' for a Second Season". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  10. ^ Kissell, Rick (February 23, 2015). "AMC Expanding Monday Push, Sets Season 2 of 'Turn' For Night". Variety. Retrieved February 23, 2015.
  11. ^ Stanhope, Kate (July 15, 2015). "AMC Renews 'Turn' for Third Season". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  12. ^ "First-Look Photo and Premiere Date Released for TURN: Washington's Spies Season 3". AMC. January 8, 2016. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  13. ^ "TURN: Washington's Spies Renewed for Season 4". AMC. July 26, 2016. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
  14. ^ "TURN: Washington's Spies Returns to "Finish the Fight" in Its Final Season on Saturday, June 17". AMC. April 25, 2017. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  15. ^ "Turn: Season 1 (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 19, 2021.
  16. ^ "Turn: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved October 19, 2021.
  17. ^ "Turn: Season 2 (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 19, 2021.
  18. ^ "Turn: Season 2". Metacritic. Retrieved October 19, 2021.
  19. ^ "Turn: Season 3 (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 19, 2021.
  20. ^ "Turn: Season 4 (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 19, 2021.
  21. ^ "TURN in Real Life: Abraham Woodhull, Setauket, and the Real Culper Spy Ring". War History Online. 2 June 2016. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  22. ^ "Amos Parker (1761-1842) - Find a Grave Memorial". Find a Grave.
  23. ^ Raymond, Henry Jarvis (1853). "An Oration Pronounced Before the Young Men of Westchester County, on the Completion of a Monument, Erected by Them to the Captors of Major Andre, at Tarrytown, Oct. 7, 1853".
  24. ^ "Cyclopaedia of American Literature". 1881.
  25. ^ "TURN 2014 DAR Media & Entertainment Award Ceremony". AMC. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  26. ^ "Turn: Washington's Spies - The Complete First Season Blu-ray". Blu-Ray.com. January 14, 2015. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
  27. ^ "TURN: Washington's Spies DVD Release Date". DVDs Release Dates. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  28. ^ "Turn: Washington's Spies: The Complete Third Season DVD". Blu-ray.com. September 11, 2016. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  29. ^ "'Turn: Washington's Spies' Leaving Netflix in December 2021". What's on Netflix. October 22, 2021.
  30. ^ Ellis, Steve (illustrator) (March 26, 2014). TURN: Origins.
  31. ^ Bell, Shavonne (April 10, 2015). "10 Ways to Get Ready for the TURN: Washington's Spies Season 2 Premiere". AMC-TV. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
  32. ^ Neuman, Clayton (Producer) & Morgan, LaToya (Writer) & Hunt, Chris (Colors & Pencils & Ink) & Colden, Kevin (Inks & Letters) & Plummer, Shay (Colors) & Lindemann, Karl (Development) (April 10, 2015). Rivals (Online comic book ed.). Retrieved April 13, 2015.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)

External links[edit]