Tube Talk: Revolutionary turncoats: ‘Turn’ premieres April 6 on AMC

By Paula Hendrickson
Contributing Writer

Few people probably expected FOX’s quirky supernatural drama, Sleepy Hollow, to be one of the breakout hits of the past season, but it was. (Fear not, Ichabod Crane fans, the show was not canceled. Its first season was only 13 episodes long, and the show will return for its second season this fall.)

While mysticism and the Free Masons figured heavily into Sleepy Hollow’s narrative, so did espionage. Indeed, during the Revolutionary War, this Ichabod Crane was a British officer who switched sides to become a confidant of George Washington and a spy for the rebellious colonies.

Sure, the espionage on Sleepy Hollow involves far-fetched supernatural elements (and even Zombie George Washington), but the fact remains that spies, double agents and turncoats have been around throughout history, passing along secret information they hoped would topple kings, dictators and governments, or at least sway the course of history. Even during the Revolutionary War.

This week, AMC enters the Revolutionary War spy game with its new series, Turn, based on historian Alexander Rose’s non-fiction book, Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring.

Maybe it’s because my cousin, through genealogical research, recently discovered that many of our ancestors lived in pre-Revolutionary War Colonial New England (both sides of our paternal grandfather’s lineage, in fact, including a many-times great-grandfather who died on a British prison ship in 1777), but the idea of Revolutionary War spies really intrigues me now more than ever.

For that reason alone, I’d want to watch Turn. My appreciation for Sleepy Hollow’s offbeat take on the Revolutionary War also feeds my interest in Turn. Being on AMC only increases my interest, since the network has a reputation for airing well-written, well-produced and well-acted series.

Some people might assume a historic drama about Revolutionary War spies — who, face it, don’t have any cool James Bond-like spy gear to impress viewers with — would be dull, pedantic or boring. I’m hoping the opposite is true. The only way we’ll know for sure is to tune in to AMC Sunday, April 6, at 8 p.m. Central for the series premiere.

Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications, including American Bungalow, Television Week and TVGuide. Follow her on Twitter at P_Hendrickson and send your suggestions to

From the April 2-8, 2014

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