AFTERBUZZ TV — Turn edition, is a weekly “after show” for fans of AMC’s Turn. In this episode host Megan Salinas, Keith Black and Katie Cullen break down episode 9.
TURN: Washington’s Spies (formerly known as TURN and stylized as TURИ 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.
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 recaptured Long Island, Staten Island, and New York City for the Crown and left General George Washington‘s army in dire straits.
According to the first episode’s introductory card titles: “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 ten years his senior, and long married to one of his own relations.