I’ve always been a big fan of James Bond. When other kids wanted to be Batman or Superman, I wanted to be 007. Smooth, quick-witted, and always willing to do what needed to be done, James Bond always beat the bad guy and got the girl. He’s always made espionage seem like the coolest job in the world, and he’s the epitome of the Macho Sophisticate to me.
The truth is, real spies are never as cool as 007. Most of them are paper pushers – bureaucratic, nerdy types who have access to information and pass it on to other parties. Espionage has actually been around for centuries, and I’ve gotten hooked on a new show that tells the story of the first spy ring in America.
TURN introduces us to four colonists who bravely assisted in the fight against the occupying British forces. Cabbage farmer Abraham Woodhull (Jamie Bell) , tavern keeper Anna Strong (Heather Lind), and patriot militiamen Ben Talmadge (Seth Numrich) and Caleb Brewster (Daniel Henshall) make up a ring of spies in New York. Fed up with the British solders boarding in their houses and enforcing the crown’s oppressive regulations, the four spies take action to thwart the loyalist cause.
Instead of cool gadgets, these spies rely on standard weapons. Rather than fire off witty quips, this crew must keep their wits about them. Where James Bond has the backing of a massive government organization, this group counts on clandestine rendezvous and elaborate signals involving hanging laundry to pass on information. And their escapades are just as fascinating as anything Ian Fleming could devise.
Each of the spies has his or her own problems that complicate their roles. Abraham Woodhull must contend with his father, a loyalist judge, and Anna Strong fends off lusty British soldiers. Ben Talmadge must deal with a commanding officer who threatens to court martial him over his interrogation of a British captain, while Caleb Brewster fights nature and his own enthusiasm for the patriot cause.
The coolest thing about TURN is that it’s based on a true story. I haven’t read the book on which the show is based yet, but each of these characters were real people who experienced the exhilaration of playing a part in the birth of a new nation. Knowing that these great characters were real American heroes makes TURN even more fascinating.
You can check out TURN on AMC at 9:00 on Sunday nights. If you want to catch up on the show, visit http://www.amctv.com/shows/turn.
Have you seen TURN? What do you think?
Contributing writer: Chris Queen (read more from Chris at ChrisQueen.net)