Party Diary: at premiere of AMC’s ‘Turn,’ spies and cocktails

Just how close can you get a cocktail to the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence?

Champagne flutes in hand, a group women at the cocktail party at the National Archives following the Monday night screening of AMC’s new show “Turn,” are heading for the (glass-encased, obviously) documents across the room… “I’m sorry, no drinks allowed,” a guy in a suit and name tag says and steers the tipplers away. Whew, the Republic is saved!

Still, one could sip a stiff drink in sight (if you squinted) of the famed documents. As far as party decor goes, that’s not too shabby.

And fitting, since “Turn” dramatizes the clandestine doings of the Culper Ring, the group of spies who helped George Washington win the Revolutionary War. At the screening, the cast of the show and AMC  executives including Charlie Collier, the network’s president, mingled with a Washington crowd, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), former CIA Director Michael Hayden and Debbie Dingell, the wife of retiring Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) who is seeking her husband’s congressional seat, as well as Alexander Rose, the author whose book, “Washington’s Spies,” is the basis for the show. 

One could say it’s an unlikely time to be celebrating spies, what with the NSA’s tactics under such scrutiny of late. But Hayden, who spoke on a panel after the showing of the drama series’ first episode, seemed to think the show underscored their timelessness. “Espionage is as old as the Republic,” he said. “Baseball, apple pie… it goes back to our roots.”

He also noted that the story of the Culper Ring isn’t as well known as Nathan Hale’s or Benedict Arnold. “The iron rule of espionage is that you know about the spies who failed, not the spies that succeeded.”


The cast also attracted other fans in official Washington today:


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Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.



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Helena Andrews · March 24, 2014