• Network:
  • Series Premiere Date: Apr 6, 2014
Season #: 1, 2
Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 105 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Based on Alexander Rose’s book Washington’s Spies, the historical drama series focuses on Long Island farmer Abe Woodhull (Jamie Bell), who forms the first American spy ring with his friends in 1776.
  • Genre(s): Drama, Action & Adventure
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Reviewed by: Jeff Korbelik
    Apr 7, 2014
    83
    Turn is a heart-racer at times. That’s the sign of a thriller done well.
  2. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Apr 3, 2014
    75
    It may not be as intriguing as "Thrones" or as tense as FX's spy thriller "The Americans," but Turn--which touches on still-relevant topics like torture, homosexuality and politics--offers a fresh spin on the War of Independence.
  3. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Apr 7, 2014
    75
    Bell, who started out as a child actor, has matured into a compelling leading man and he seems capable of conveying Abraham’s troubling journey into the underbelly of the war effort.
  4. 60
    An uneven, if promising, period drama set during the American Revolution.
  5. Reviewed by: Kristi Turnquist
    Jun 24, 2014
    60
    It's quite a story, but the pilot for Turn takes a long time to get going, and isn't all that compelling.
  6. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Apr 4, 2014
    50
    Turn isn't bad, but it's also too forgettable to deserve a long look, cool credits or no.
  7. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Apr 3, 2014
    40
    For all those neatly appointed trappings and period touches, Turn simply feels hollow at its core. And that, ultimately, is something even an accomplished spy ring can’t disguise.

See all 29 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. May 28, 2014
    10
    great show well worth watching.i was not expecting this show to be as good as it is. the scenery looks very authentic for the era and thegreat show well worth watching.i was not expecting this show to be as good as it is. the scenery looks very authentic for the era and the costumes seem very believable.the story is very well written and gives great insight into war and tactics employed by both sides while detailing some of the dark traits of human nature. Collapse
  2. Jun 10, 2015
    10
    Turn is based on the true story of the Culper Spy Ring, the most effective spy ring ever formed on either the British or the American sideTurn is based on the true story of the Culper Spy Ring, the most effective spy ring ever formed on either the British or the American side during the Revolutionary War. When the British occupied New York City in 1776, they had a strong naval base that General George Washington, the commander of the American Continental army, desired to keep under surveillance through spy networks, which were inadequate at the time. In 1778 an officer named Ben Tallmadge (played by Seth Numrich) organized a spy ring comprised mostly of trusted childhood friends and associates from his hometown in Setauket, Long Island. Washington (Ian Kahn) promoted Tallmadge to major and made him the head of this early version of the Secret Service, after firing General Charles Scott (Michael Gaston), whose spying strategy conflicted with Tallmadge's views. Tallmadge's spy ring used unconventional methods where they staked themselves out in enemy territory rather than use spies who made quick runs in and out. The ring included Tallmadge's childhood friends, Abraham Woodhull (code name Samuel Culper and played by Jamie Bell) and Caleb Brewster (Daniel Henshall).

    The series seems to be remaining fairly true to the history of the Revolutionary War. Particularly fascinating are the rules of “gentlemen's” warfare. The British military was strict about proper behavior for officers and soldiers, adhering to military protocols for prisoner-of-war exchanges, rules of retreat and withdrawal, and codes for personal conduct. Washington also sought to promote military discipline and proper decorum within his army. He was strict, resolute, and a brilliant strategist. Not all colonial Americans were passionate about liberty; many of them respected the authority and the government of the King of England. They were called “Tories” by Americans, but were known as Loyalists by the British. Approximately one third of the colonial population was Loyalist, one third rebel, and one third described by John Adams as “timid,” i.e., neutral and willing to go with whichever side won the war. Rebel spies had to maneuver themselves skillfully between the British presence and the Loyalist colonials, sometimes not knowing who was friend or foe. This is not the American Revolution we all learned about in elementary school; it is a complex and drawn-out war, fought by a dedicated Patriot army under the inspired leadership of the brilliant and commanding George Washington.

    The series also delves into the fictionalized personal life of Abraham Woodhull, who is torn between his wife Mary (Meegan Warner) and his ex-fiancee, Anna Strong (Heather Lind), as well as his loyalties to the American cause which were in conflict with the beliefs of his Loyalist father, Judge Richard Woodhull (Kevin McNally). The romantic narrative never happened—Anna Strong was a spy in the Culper Ring, but she was ten years older than Woodhull, happily married to Selah Strong (Robert Beitzel), and already the mother of seven children by 1778. She was never secretly engaged to Woodhull, and Woodhull himself was still single when he began spying in 1778. His father was said to have had Patriot leanings.

    There are interesting personality profiles for the British officers—Major Hewlett (Burn Gorman), who loves his horses, his fine wines, and who can quote great poetry that he knows by heart. There is Lieutenant Simcoe (Samuel Roukin), an officer gone rogue who is the antithesis of the decorum and gentlemen's honor held in such high esteem by the British army, and Major Andre (JJ Feild), who is disciplined by day and debauched by night. And there is Major Robert Rogers (Angus Macfadyen) of the Loyalist unit known as the Queen's Rangers, who like Simcoe, resorts to guerrilla tactics one time too many for British military standards.

    Perhaps the key to the American victory was that the British thought they were merely suppressing a colonial skirmish and that victory for the Americans against the British war machine was hopeless and impossible. We see from this series that the United States of America was born partly out of British arrogance and the gross underestimation of the fierce American determination to be self-governing and free.
    Expand
  3. Jul 6, 2015
    10
    Literally my new favorite show. I think we need things like this show that promote America and freedom now more than ever, and this does theLiterally my new favorite show. I think we need things like this show that promote America and freedom now more than ever, and this does the trick. It's not cheesy in the slightest and the costumes and culture are well done and portrayed. Expand
  4. Apr 20, 2014
    9
    AMC has brought us yet another incredibly well-written drama. With it's fantastic setting, characters, and story it's one of the best newAMC has brought us yet another incredibly well-written drama. With it's fantastic setting, characters, and story it's one of the best new shows of the year. While I can't tell you how historically accurate the actual tale is, I can tell you that the setting is filled with historical accuracies. This helps sell the world and tale that is being established here. Overall I am really enjoying the show and find myself looking forward to each new episode. As of right now this is one show I highly recommend. Expand
  5. Apr 11, 2014
    9
    I really enjoyed the first episode. I'm a sucker for Revolutionary War period pieces, and Turn didn't disappoint. I'm not sure why this isI really enjoyed the first episode. I'm a sucker for Revolutionary War period pieces, and Turn didn't disappoint. I'm not sure why this is receiving bad reviews, the characters seem legitimate and the action is not overly dramatized. I'm excited for the progression of the show and how the writers will keep the plot interesting for multiple seasons. Expand
  6. May 19, 2015
    8
    Comments on Season Two: Last year I found this show to be slow and disjointed. The plots, concentrating on the character, Abraham Woodhull,Comments on Season Two: Last year I found this show to be slow and disjointed. The plots, concentrating on the character, Abraham Woodhull, wandered around and lacked focus. I am fascinated by history but this show simply left me behind. I stopped watching mid-season. This year, seeming to have more production money, they have chosen to really be about the Revolutionary War and the rebels early attempts at espionage. So much better than the show had been last year when it seemed to concentrate on Mr. Woodhull's uninteresting love affairs and marital problems.

    I was prompted to write this review by the May 16, 2015 episode which was essentially about George Washington's well known, but rarely portrayed, major difficulty in making decisions. Well written and very well played. It was a new high in the new and much improved "Turn".
    Expand
  7. Apr 13, 2015
    4
    It feels like a low-budget History Channel reproduction without grit. I find it hilarious all these soldiers and woodmen are out in the wildIt feels like a low-budget History Channel reproduction without grit. I find it hilarious all these soldiers and woodmen are out in the wild for weeks, clean faces and bright clean uniforms. It breaks immersion, everything is too clean and sterile, especially the cities. There was a market scene that looked like it was in a warehouse, some of the locations look like modern locations with historical props. Combined with wooden acting from some of the support characters, the show feels like a children's play than an actual war. Expand

See all 33 User Reviews

Trailers