Espionage reports travel a circuitous route from British-controlled Manhattan Island to the Continental Army in New Jersey on “Many Mickles Make a Muckle,” Episode 306 of AMC’s “Turn: Washington’s Spies.”
Coffeehouse proprietor Robert Townsend (Nick Westrate) gathers intel on British military operations in New York and writes down his observations using invisible ink. Then he initiates a lengthy relay system by placing a coded newspaper ad that alerts the Culper Spy Ring.
Robert’s father, Samuel (John Billingsley), picks up the message in New York and returns to his farm in Oyster Bay, Long Island. Then spy ring leader Abraham Woodhull (Jamie Bell) retrieves the message from Samuel and rides home to Setauket.
Finally, Lt. Caleb Brewster (Daniel Henshall) transports the message from Setauket to Gen. George Washington (Ian Kahn) at his Middlebrook encampment.
Because of this convoluted delivery system, Washington received word too late for his troops to intercept a ship laden with counterfeit bills.
Orchestrating the printing and distribution of these fake dollars is Major John André (JJ Feild), head of British Intelligence, who intends to wreak havoc on the colonial economy.
To hasten the flow of spy reports, Washington orders Caleb to cut Abe out of the loop by picking up messages directly from Samuel.
But there’s a problem.
At Abe’s request, Caleb once posed as a British Queen’s Ranger and viciously beat Samuel. This cruel deception prompted Robert to retaliate against the Redcoats by agreeing to spy for the Americans.
Courageously volunteering to replace Caleb is Anna Strong (Heather Lind), who meets Samuel and Robert on Thanksgiving in Oyster Bay. Abe also attends the holiday dinner as Caleb hides nearby.
The gathering almost turns deadly when mercenary Robert Rogers (Angus Macfadyen) arrives and demands intel on his hated rival André. According to a spy report, André is smitten with a young woman. And unless Rogers learns her identity, he’ll shoot Anna.
That’s when Caleb bursts in and blows his cover.
“You’re him,” Samuel exclaims. “You attacked me and you burned my farm!”
“It’s true,” Abe admits. But he claims the assault was necessary because Robert, a pacifist raised in a Quaker home, wavered about serving as a spy.
“I chose for you,” Abe says, “because you couldn’t do it yourself!”
“I want you gone,” Robert angrily insists. “You think I would trust any of you?”
Now Robert reveals the information Rogers brutally requested: André’s female friend is actress Philomena Cheer (Amy Gumenick).
Figuring he can use Philomena to locate André, Rogers takes off with murder on his mind. In close pursuit are the real Queen’s Rangers led by Captain John Graves Simcoe (Samuel Roukin).
Rogers isn’t aware, however, that André’s true love is Philadelphia socialite Peggy Shippen (Ksenia Solo). And Peggy is so devoted to André that she pretends to adore Patriot Gen. Benedict Arnold (Owain Yeoman) while encouraging him to commit treason.
Peggy’s artful manipulations hit a snag, however, when Arnold and Washington renew their friendship.
Arnold faces a court martial for allegedly misappropriating property that could have been sold to support the war effort. Seeking to clear his name, Arnold pleads for Washington’s help in conducting the trial as soon as possible.
Opposing an early trial is Joseph Reed (Alex Miller), an influential politician needing more time to gather evidence against Arnold. And aggravating Reed would complicate Washington’s work with Congress to address the counterfeiting fiasco by recalling all currency in circulation.
After careful consideration, Washington sides with Arnold by promising to expedite his hearing.
“You’ll have your day before the board of inquiry,” Washington tells a grateful Arnold. “It is the least you are owed.”