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Sexiest Economic Boost 

Critics' Pick

click to enlarge Jamie Bell as Abe Woodhull and Heather Lind as Anna Strong in “Turn.”

Jamie Bell as Abe Woodhull and Heather Lind as Anna Strong in “Turn.”

The film and television industry is the most glamorous way to pump money into the economy. War dramas have turned Richmond into a city where history is made sexy through steamy and action-filled plots and beautiful faces. Location managers working on the productions of AMC’s “Turn” and PBS’s “Mercy Street” have praised Virginia for its wide variety of historical sites and affordability for tight production budgets.

“Turn” is a Revolutionary War spy drama that follows the life of Abraham Woodhull, who masquerades as a loyalist while covertly delivering vital information to the Continental Army. The tale is loosely based on the history of the Culper Ring — a group of American spies organized in 1778.

There’s plenty of drama in Woodhull’s personal life too. He’s trapped in a loveless arranged marriage and succumbs to the temptations of fellow patriot Anna Strong. You’re bound to recognize a few streetscapes and sites in Central Virginia — such as the historic Southside Depot in Petersburg — used to create the feel of colonial New York. The series has been filmed in various locations throughout the state since 2014.

click to enlarge Jack Falahee, who portrays Confederate spy Frank Stringfellow in the historic drama “Mercy Street.”
  • Jack Falahee, who portrays Confederate spy Frank Stringfellow in the historic drama “Mercy Street.”

If you love NBC’s “ER” and are a bit of a history buff, you’re sure to enjoy “Mercy Street,” which began filming in Richmond and Petersburg this year. The drama is inspired by the Civil War-era Mansion House Hospital in Union-occupied Alexandria.

Like the modern-day drama “ER,” the show is filled with its share of love affairs and medical jargon. Of course, “ER” fans also recall the gorgeousness that is George Clooney. Young actor Jack Falahee — who portrays Confederate spy Frank Stringfellow in the historic drama — is pretty easy on the eyes himself. And if you’re in the right place at the right time, you just might catch him jogging around town.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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