Turn: Washington Spies … A Villain !!


Turn: Washington Spies … a very interesting AMC tv series

If good drama needs a despicable villain, “Turn” has found theirs.  Captain Simcoe is insidious, lecherous,  devious, and not to be trusted, even by his own side.  The Captain has his own agenda, and will be a force to reckon with in the foreseeable future.

Samuel Roukin must be commended for making this character so creepy, obnoxious and dangerous!

John Graves Simcoe (Samuel Roukin) in Season 2
Photo by Antony Platt/AMC



13 comments on “Turn: Washington Spies … A Villain !!

  1. Twosocks says:

    In some strange way, you have to admire this guy. He may be creepy but he’s tough! And Mr Roukin is wonderful in this role. I’ve noticed that some season two episodes are available on iTunes so if I get through the first season and can’t wait for the DVDs I may download a few. I was actually looking to see if there was a soundtrack album–the music is so good. Sadly, nothing. The opening credits are good, too. I have had way too many odd hobbies in my life, but I love the papercuttings and silhouettes they have used. They have put so much thought into everything about this series.


    • Creepy in his advances to Anna, and fanatical in his hatred of any people opposed to Britain’s rule anywhere in the world … ready to kill them all if not reigned in by higher authority … and maybe not even then. The ‘rules’ of ‘civilized warfare’ are a great encumbrance to Captain Simcoe.


    • Joan … Music for Season 1 available at the following link:
      Available on I-Tunes.
      I, too, have been impressed with the care given to this series. And, as well, the music selected and the artwork for the opening credits. So glad you are enjoying it.


  2. It should be noted that the real Simcoe became the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada from 1791 to 1796 and was instrumental in introducing institutions such as the courts, trial by jury, English common law, freehold land tenure, and the abolition of slavery The liberties taken with his character are for dramatic effect, though it is said that he was definitely a hard-nosed soldier who didn’t flinch at getting bloody when achieving an objective.

    We might ask how far liberties may be taken when writing a part for a real person … even for dramatic effect? Though we wonder this, we are nonetheless enjoying this series as presented.

    We also enjoy being led to interesting information about historical persons portrayed in this series.


  3. Twosocks says:

    Never imagined this was an actual person. Is this in the book? I have been holding back reading it because I’m in the middle of another and fear I won’t get back to it if I stop now. Think this may give a bit more color to my view of this character. Even make him more interesting.


  4. J Warner says:

    The Alexander Rose book is a great read, I recommend it. Don’t worry about spoilers, because TURN is mostly fiction now. Simcoe is a complete fiction. The evil caricature in the show has zero in common with the real Simcoe. The real Simcoe was actually more like Hewlett, educated at Eton and Oxford, he loved theater, wrote poetry, and was passionately anti-slavery even as a young man. He DID fall madly in love with a Patriot girl (not Anna.) He is credited with sending the first Valentine’s Day card in America in 1779, a love poem to Robert Townsend’s 19-year-old sister, Sarah. (I don’t expect we will see her in TURN. If she does show up, she’ll likely be used only as cannon-fodder by the scriptwriters.) His courtship of Sarah wasn’t the least bit creepy, as he was only 25 or 26 years old, much younger than the actor cast in the role. I do like Sam Roukin and think he’s a great actor, but the producers erred in hanging a decent man’s name on such a vicious creature.


    • Thank you for joining the discussion. We noted that there were liberties taken with John Simcoe on a previous comment and are not sure why his name was chosen to play the villain. Our comment on the post alluded to the character as played for the series, not to the real person. We always appreciate additional information on historical persons, and thank you for contributing.
      Please come again. Suntsse


    • Twosocks says:

      About one third of the way through the book and really seeing quite a few differences in the characters. Woodhull’s father in the series is really just cut from whole cloth and I kind of wonder why they couldn’t have made Simcoe just a totally fictional character with a different name. I am enjoying the book and reading it is beginning to help me sort through some of the names. And a really good chapter on ciphers. I love the look of the series but am glad to be reading the book, too. (I see where the author also has a book on the Percys. May have to check that one out.)


  5. Twosocks says:

    Finishing ‘Washington’s Spies’–while the series took a lot of liberties from the persons in the book (including ages, marital status, family), Alexander Rose does characterize Simcoe as “exemplifying the worst aspects of the British army.” So, whatever Simcoe’s true nature, he is being portrayed in a way that this particular author sees him.


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