An English royal document that could draw France into the Revolutionary War violently changes hands in "Sealed Fate," Episode 205 of "Turn: Washington's Spies" on AMC.
American spy Patience Wright (Kate MacCluggage) sacrificed her life to steal the paper from King George III (Paul Rhys) and hide it inside a wax bust bound for the colonies.
Fellow spy Caleb Brewster (Daniel Henshall) retrieved the document from privateers and delivered it to Gen. George Washington (Ian Kahn), who's astonished at what he reads. It's a ledger detailing the staggering debt Great Britain amassed by waging wars around the globe.
"In short, sir, England is all but bankrupt," Washington reveals to Thevenau De Francy (Pascal Yen-Pfister), a French intelligence agent.
America proved itself a worthy ally by winning the Battle of Saratoga, Washington says, and now these "cold, hard numbers" show the war can be won with French intervention.
Transporting the ledger to decision-makers in France is dangerous, however, because Britain's ruthless mercenary Robert Rogers (Angus Macfadyen) is poised to strike.
To mislead Rogers, Washington dispatches his cavalry on separate paths and sends De Francy in a third direction. But Rogers sees through the ploy – or someone tips him off – because he slays De Francy and intercepts the document.
The patriots endure another setback after two men enter Washington's camp at separate times and tell conflicting stories.
Redcoat Arthur Sutherland (Adam J. Harrington) claims to be a defector eager to join the Continental Army. He cautions Ben Tallmadge (Seth Numrich), head of American intelligence, that a civilian will arrive and make "some wild claims."
"But make no mistake, this man's not to be trusted," Sutherland alleges.
The civilian is Willcox Shanks (Erik Jensen), who warns Washington about an assassination plot. But Washington trusts the Redcoat rather than Shanks – a hasty decision with far-reaching consequences.
Sutherland is actually on a mission to obtain intel about America's spy ring. While doing so, he murders Nathaniel Sackett (Stephen Root), an eccentric inventor of espionage gadgets.
As for top spy Abe Woodhull (Jamie Bell), he's desperate to recruit boarding house owner Robert Townsend (Nick Westrate) as an asset. If Robert cooperates, he would secretly report on British military operations in New York.
"You are exactly what Washington needs most – a friend that's already inside the city," Abe exclaims. But Robert's answer is an emphatic "no."
There may be hope, however. Robert's father, Samuel (John Billingsley), supports the patriot cause, despite his pacifist upbringing as a Quaker. Samuel also urges Abe to return to Manhattan as soon as possible.
That's going to be difficult, unfortunately, because Abe's father, Richard (Kevin R. McNally), adamantly opposes his son's covert activities.
Richard also worries that Abe is playing a dangerous game with British Major Edmund Hewlett (Burn Gorman) by pretending to search for a band of rebels known as the Sons of Liberty.
To create "evidence" of traitorous activity, Abe writes a fake spy report and starts to hide it at a dead drop. When he's captured and beaten, Abe professes his innocence and pleads with British soldiers to contact Hewlett.
But reaching out to Hewlett is currently impossible. He's been seized by patriot troops bent on revenge after an American officer was found slain with his tongue sliced off.
A bloody note credits Hewlett with the savagery. But the perpetrator is actually Captain John Graves Simcoe (Samuel Roukin).
It's yet another despicable deed by Simcoe, whose barbaric acts once prompted his arrest by Hewlett. And with Hewlett out of the picture, Simcoe can try once again to woo American spy Anna Strong (Heather Lind).