International relations and diplomacy take centre stage in this new series from Netflix that has the gloss of House of Cards and the drive of The West Wing in one political package.
The series, starring Keri Russell and Rufus Sewell, centres on the newly appointed United States ambassador to the United Kingdom, Kate Wyler, as she is called up to defuse international crises, form strategic alliances and be the face of her administration. All the while, Kate must manage to survive and endure her failing marriage to fellow career diplomat Hal Wyler, who himself is finding it difficult to adjust to assuming second place in the family.
Struggle in power negotiations, both on the global stage and internally behind closed doors, is at the heart of this series filled with jaw-dropping moments. Russell blew everyone away as one of the leads in the spy drama The Americans, and she does it once again working this time for the government rather than conspiring against it. Paired with on-screen husband Sewell, and an attractively efficient supporting cast, including Rory Kinnear, Ato Essandoh and Ali Ahn, the whole team deliver this loaded show with an enthralling decisiveness.
Dramas such as these can be a daunting prospect to sit down and watch, but The Diplomat isn’t quite as heavy in subject matter and jargon as other governmental thrillers, particularly The West Wing. This does make the plot easier to follow, but you do still need a little bit of political know-how to follow the dialogue at times. Maintaining the “special relationship” can be a turgid task for ambassadors with countless dinners, speeches and handshakes, but inject a little international war and the drama is taken up a notch. The series makes for particularly enjoyable viewing if you are interested in Western foreign policy, but it is not vital, and it possesses a slick and savvy screenplay nonetheless.
It would be easy to wrap the main characters up in a whirlwind of panic, events and decision-making to give the impression of a frantic workplace, but by choosing to pace the action carefully, directors Liza Johnson, Simon Cellan Jones and Alex Graves continue to develop the characters throughout the show, along with the crumbling environment they are surrounded in. It is a joy to watch if they sink or swim. We feel the pressure slowly being applied more and more with every passing dilemma, and The Diplomat keeps us wondering how their web of intertangled motives with eventually unravel. It appears Netflix have another delightful political thriller on their hands.
The Diplomat is released on Netflix on 20th April 2023.
Watch the trailer for The Diplomat here: