The Diplomat
Genre
Created byDebora Cahn
Starring
Music by
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes8
Production
Executive producers
Producers
  • Daniel Toland
  • Russ Hammonds
  • Amanda Johnson-Zetterström
Cinematography
  • Julian Court
  • Philipp Blaubach
Editors
  • Gary Levy
  • Agnes Grandits
Running time44–56 minutes
Production companies
  • Let's Not Turn This Into a Whole Big Production
  • Well Red
Original release
NetworkNetflix
ReleaseApril 20, 2023 (2023-04-20) –
present (present)

The Diplomat is an American political thriller television series created by Debora Cahn. It premiered on Netflix on April 20, 2023. In May 2023 it was renewed for a second season. Keri Russell was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series at the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards.

Premise

The series centers on Kate Wyler, the new United States ambassador to the United Kingdom, as she helps to defuse an international crisis, forges strategic alliances and adjusts to her new place in the spotlight. She also manages her deteriorating marriage to fellow career diplomat Hal Wyler.

Cast

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met the cast and producers of The Diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in London.

Main

Recurring

Supporting

Episodes

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"The Cinderella Thing"Simon Cellan JonesDebora CahnApril 20, 2023 (2023-04-20)
Amid diplomatic tensions between the United States and Iran, a British aircraft carrier is attacked in the Persian Gulf, killing 41 sailors. Career diplomat Kate Wyler reluctantly accepts reassignment as the US ambassador to the UK on the request of US President William Rayburn and White House Chief of Staff Billie Appiah. Arriving in London with her diplomat husband Hal, she is introduced to deputy chief of mission Stuart Hayford and CIA station chief Eidra Park. Appiah asks Hayford to groom Wyler as a potential replacement for the US vice president. Wyler meets Foreign Secretary Austin Dennison and Prime Minister Nicol Trowbridge, who is concerned over Rayburn's hostile rhetoric towards Iran. Realizing that Hal arranged the meeting, Kate convinces Secretary of State Miguel Ganon to keep Rayburn from making any statements for one day. The US mission discovers an Iranian military boat in the vicinity of the carrier around the time of the attack. After learning that Ganon is trying to fire her, Wyler agrees to a magazine shoot to boost her profile. Upon discovering that the Wylers are planning to divorce, Hayford discusses Kate's consideration for the vice presidency with Hal. Hal is drugged by unknown assailants and driven away.
2"Don't Call It a Kidnapping"Simon Cellan JonesPeter NoahApril 20, 2023 (2023-04-20)
Hal regains consciousness from being drugged and takes a phone call from the deputy foreign minister of Iran, Rasoul Shahin, an acquaintance who stresses that Iran is not the perpetrator of the attack. He claims that a planned assassination of a retired US general (in retaliation for the killing of Qasem Soleimani) was called off in order to prevent a diplomatic escalation. After his release, Hal informs Eidra of the encounter, while Kate attends a memorial for the fallen sailors. At the event, Trowbridge says to a grieving widow that he will “rain hellfire” on Iran should they be found responsible. This statement goes viral, heightening tensions. Following a vehicle-ramming attack targeting a Muslim family, Eidra decides to relay some of Hal's information to the CIA before it can be fully verified, though Kate is unsure. Rayburn announces a surprise visit to London to meet Trowbridge. Kate opposes the trip but fails to convince Ganon and Dennison. She discovers Hal had tipped Shahin about his presence in London via a mutual contact in Italy. While awaiting Rayburn’s arrival, she implores Hal to leave her; he blurts out the potential vice presidency offer, leaving her stunned.
3"Lambs in the Dark"Andrew BernsteinDebora CahnApril 20, 2023 (2023-04-20)
Kate convinces Rayburn that Iran is not behind the attack by revealing Hal as the source. Kate reaches an agreement with Dennison for a lunch between Rayburn and Trowbridge where the president can in turn convince the prime minister. Eidra learns from Kate that Hal had reached Shahin first. Rayburn intends to send a carrier battle group to escort the British carrier to port, but Kate learns from Dennison that Trowbridge lied about the condition of the carrier to get the Americans involved. Kate talks with Appiah about the vice presidency, and slowly warms to the idea. However, after learning Hal floated her name to try to keep their marriage, Kate attacks him. Kate convinces Rayburn to hold off the carrier group, but also tries to resign as ambassador and turn down the vice presidency offer. Rayburn rejects her resignation, and Billie pretends to not hear her.
4"He Bought a Hat"Andrew BernsteinAmanda Johnson-ZetterströmApril 20, 2023 (2023-04-20)
Kate, Hayford and Eidra formulate a plan to send a hidden signal to Iranian intelligence requesting information about the carrier attack. Kate attends a gala where Trowbridge makes a surprise appearance and reveals publicly Rayburn's U-turn, causing a rift in US-UK relations. Iran responds, and Kate has Dennison summon the Iranian ambassador while she secretly makes her way to their meeting. Hayford reveals to Kate that he was a campaign manager alongside Appiah before he grew disillusioned, and subsequently joined the Foreign Service to get out of Washington, D.C. The Iranian ambassador writes down the name Roman Lenkov, head of a Russian mercenary group who appears to have directed and provided funding for the attack, then collapses and later dies. While debriefing later, Dennison accidentally spills a drink on Kate's blouse and begins wiping it off before awkwardly handing over the napkin to her. Kate goes home and has sex with Hal.
5"The Dogcatcher"Liza JohnsonTeleplay by : Mia Chung and Anna Hagen and Debora Cahn
Story by : Mia Chung
April 20, 2023 (2023-04-20)
Kate, Hal and Hayford attend a meeting at the country house Chevening, hosted by Dennison, to formulate a strategy on Iran and Russia. Trowbridge crashes the meeting and demands a shift to a tough response toward Russia. The group suggests a list of sanctions, but Trowbridge insists on military action. Dennison points out that this might elicit a nuclear response. Hal spends time with Dennison's sister Cecilia, they kiss while skinny dipping in a pond, and Hal confesses the incident to Kate. The Iranian ambassador's death is revealed to be a heart attack, clearing suspicion from Kate and Dennison. Kate shocks the meeting by giving Trowbridge a list of Russian targets.
6"Some Lusty Tornado"Liza JohnsonAnna HagenApril 20, 2023 (2023-04-20)
Kate's bombshell derails the meeting and causes Dennison to lose trust in her. Hal takes Kate to raid the kitchen, where they find Trowbridge and share a supper. Kate convinces him to give her a chance to come up with diplomatic responses. Kate, Dennison, and their teams spend the night crafting a package of sanctions on Russian oligarchs, but Trowbridge wants to bomb Russian forces in Syria. Kate and Dennison admit they have feelings for each other. Kate realizes Trowbridge is in contact with Roylin, who engineered Trowbridge's election as prime minister at the expense of Dennison. Eidra is unable to find the person in the Russian government who gave the order for the attack. With Cecilia's help, Kate talks to Roylin, who suggests bombing Lenkov fighters in Libya. Trowbridge agrees, but Ganon does not. Hal realizes that Ganon wants to be president and is trying to make Rayburn look bad, and urges Kate to take the plan directly to Rayburn. Hayford and Eidra agree to go public with their relationship. Rayburn overrules Ganon's objection to the plan for military action against Lenkov in Libya.
7"Keep Your Enemies Closer"Alex GravesPeter NoahApril 20, 2023 (2023-04-20)
Kate meets with the Russian ambassador, who gives her information that Lenkov will be visiting a villa in southern France. After meeting Appiah, Hal tells Kate that Rayburn intends to fire Ganon. Kate flies back to Washington, D.C. to deliver the information to Rayburn personally, but her attempts to speak are all interrupted in a short, crowded meeting. Rayburn authorizes an operation with the British to arrest Lenkov. Kate meets with a colleague, who tells her that the diplomatic situation in Kabul, Afghanistan, where she was previously assigned, has deteriorated badly. Back in London, Trowbridge expresses his frustration to Kate about the aborted Libya plan.
8"The James Bond Clause"Alex GravesDebora CahnApril 20, 2023 (2023-04-20)

The morning after Trowbridge vehemently rejected the plan to arrest Lenkov, Dennison informs Kate that Trowbridge now supports it. They plan to go to Paris to convince the French to support a British special operation. Appiah asks Hayford to tell Eidra that Kate is being considered to replace the vice president. Hayford says that he will go to Washington with Kate if she accepts the post. Eidra feels betrayed by this, recalling Hayford had previously persuaded her to refuse a posting in Cairo, and ends their relationship. Kate persuades Hal to deliver a speech at Chatham House in her stead while she is in Paris; he requests that a draft of the speech be sent to Appiah. His speech attracts the attention of Merritt Grove, a Tory MP. Kate learns that Hal attempted to put Grove in contact with Appiah, and believes he is maneuvering to become secretary of state. She forbids him from contacting Grove and instructs Hayford to stop him. In Paris, Kate receives approval from the French government for the arrest of Lenkov but learns that the operation will actually be a British-led assassination. Kate relays this information to Dennison, who still believed the operation was to be an arrest. She tells Dennison that the only person to benefit from Lenkov's death would be the person who hired him, implying that he was hired by Trowbridge. In London, Hayford and Hal reach Grove, but are caught in a car-bomb explosion; Kate is informed of the explosion, leaving her devastated.

During the credits a British voice identifying as Dolphin 3–6 is heard trying to make radio contact, but receives no response.

Production

In January 2022, Netflix announced it had given a series order to The Diplomat from creator Debora Cahn.[2] In February of that year, it was announced Keri Russell would star in the series.[3] In March, it was announced Ali Ahn and Rufus Sewell joined the cast.[4] In April 2022, David Gyasi, Ato Essandoh, Rory Kinnear, Miguel Sandoval, Nana Mensah, Michael McKean, Celia Imrie and Penny Downie joined the cast.[5] The series was released on April 20, 2023.[6]

Filming took place at a range of locations in the UK. In London, producers obtained permission to film inside the American embassy in Nine Elms, and the Foreign Office in Westminster, including The Durbar Court and the Foreign Secretary's office.[7] Outside of London, Wrotham Park in Hertfordshire doubled as Winfield House, the residence of the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom while Ditchley Park, Oxfordshire was used to represent Chevening the foreign secretary's country residence in Kent.[7] Filming also took place at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, Cotswold Airport, Gloucestershire, and The Louvre in Paris.[8] A number of scenes were filmed within London North Studios, located in Mill Hill, North West London, where sets for The Oval Office and US Embassy are located.[citation needed]

On May 1, 2023, Netflix renewed the series for a second season.[9] Filming for season 2 began in June 2023 with locations including St Paul's Cathedral.[10][11] In January 2024, it was announced that Allison Janney had been cast as US Vice President Grace Penn for season two.[12]

Title conflict

The choice of title reportedly caused frustration among the British producers of a Barcelona-set series also titled The Diplomat, which was announced in early 2020 and began airing in the UK two months before the Netflix series. Neither party has indicated a willingness to change the title to avoid confusion.[13]

Reception

Critical response

Rotten Tomatoes reported an 83% approval rating with an average rating of 7.8/10 based on 53 critic reviews. The website's critics consensus reads, "Keri Russell's scrappy performance negotiates the best possible terms for The Diplomat, a soapy take on statecraft that manages to make geopolitical crises highly bingeable entertainment."[14] Metacritic assigned a score of 75 out of 100 based on 21 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[15]

Julian Borger wrote in The Guardian that there "is a fair amount to be incredulous about", with Netflix having "taken a lot of liberties to keep The Diplomat racing along like a thriller." However, "for all the dramatic licence taken with the plot and characters", the producers "made sure they got at least some of the details absolutely right." He argued that "most current and former diplomats were ready to overlook the impurities" and were appreciative that diplomacy was being "given its moment under the bright lights." Nevertheless, Borger noted that some felt that the series was a "missed opportunity" that "carries on a long tradition of shows that put a foreign policy focus in the title, and then veer completely off into something that has nothing or little to do with actual diplomacy."[7]

The Evening Standard described the first series as "an interesting take on the time-honoured political drama" that "doesn’t reach the lofty heights of The West Wing" but "does have a refreshing lack of the moral high ground."[16] The Radio Times was more critical, calling it a "simplistic, bland, and easily digestible political drama" that "isn't particularly thrilling or complex" and "never feels particularly high stakes."[17]

Meanwhile, the Financial Times lamented that the series "spurns the opportunity to provide a considered look at international relations in favour of a generic and improbably-plotted yarn" and "lacks delicacy and nuance." The paper described it as "so exaggerated that it has little to say about actual statecraft and so dry and insistently talky that it struggles to entertain."[18]

Accolades

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2024 Golden Globe Awards Best Television Series – Drama The Diplomat Nominated [19]
Best Actress – Television Series Drama Keri Russell Nominated
2024 Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards Best Streaming Series, Drama The Diplomat Nominated [20]
Best Actress in a Streaming Series, Drama Keri Russell Won
Best Supporting Actor in a Streaming Series, Drama Rufus Sewell Nominated
Best Directing in a Streaming Series, Drama Alex Graves (for "The James Bond Clause") Nominated
2024 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Drama Series The Diplomat Nominated [21]
Best Actress in a Drama Series Keri Russell Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Rufus Sewell Nominated
2024 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Keri Russell Nominated [22]
2024 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series Keri Russell Nominated [23]
2024 Producers Guild of America Awards Best Episodic Drama The Diplomat Nominated [24]
2024 Writers Guild of America Awards Drama Series Eli Attie, Debora Cahn, Mia Chung, Anna Hagen, Amanda Johnson-Zetterstrom, Peter Noah Nominated [25]
New Series Nominated

Viewership

The show featured in the global Netflix top 10s for four weeks picking up 173.46 million hours watched. The series featured in the Nielsen top 10 charts for two weeks in the US picking up 44.90 million hours watched.[10]

References

  1. ^ "Netflix upcoming Deborah Cahn series 'The Diplomat': Release date, cast & plot". The News International. Archived from the original on April 11, 2023. Retrieved April 11, 2023.
  2. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (December 24, 2020). "Netflix Greenlights Drama Series 'The Diplomat', Inks Overall Deal With Creator Debora Cahn". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on April 13, 2023. Retrieved March 26, 2023.
  3. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 16, 2022). "Keri Russell To Headline Netflix's Political Thriller Series 'The Diplomat'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on March 27, 2023. Retrieved March 26, 2023.
  4. ^ Petski, Denise (March 4, 2022). "'The Diplomat': Rufus Sewell & Ali Ahn Join Netflix's Political Thriller Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on December 11, 2022. Retrieved March 26, 2023.
  5. ^ Ritman, Alex (April 28, 2022). "David Gyasi, Ato Essandoh, Rory Kinnear Join Keri Russell in Netflix Political Thriller 'The Diplomat' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on April 28, 2022. Retrieved April 28, 2022.
  6. ^ Netflix [@netflix] (March 16, 2023). "Keri Russell stars in The Diplomat, a new series created by Debora Cahn (Homeland, The West Wing), premiering April 20. She plays a career diplomat who lands a high-profile job she's unsuited for, with seismic implications for her marriage and political future" (Tweet). Retrieved March 16, 2023 – via Twitter.
  7. ^ a b c Borger, Julian (May 6, 2023). "'I don't recall so many attractive people': experts reveal what The Diplomat gets right – and wrong". The Guardian. Retrieved May 6, 2023.
  8. ^ Hibbs, James. "Where was The Diplomat filmed?". Radio Times. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  9. ^ Rice, Lynette (May 1, 2023). "'The Diplomat' Renewed For Second Season By Netflix". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on May 1, 2023. Retrieved May 1, 2023.
  10. ^ a b Robinson, Jacob (June 19, 2023). "'The Diplomat' Season 2: Netflix Release Date Estimate & What We Know So Far". What's on Netflix. Retrieved June 19, 2023.
  11. ^ "Filming in London - June 2023 | London City Hall". www.london.gov.uk. Retrieved June 19, 2023.
  12. ^ Otterson, Joe (January 25, 2024). "The Diplomat Season 2 at Netflix Casts Allison Janney (EXCLUSIVE)". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 31, 2024.
  13. ^ Sherwin, Adam (April 7, 2023). "BBC and Netflix in 'diplomatic' stand-off as two dramas called The Diplomat go head-to-head". i. Retrieved April 24, 2023.
  14. ^ "The Diplomat: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 18, 2023.
  15. ^ "The Diplomat: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved May 28, 2023.
  16. ^ Jessop, Vicky (April 21, 2023). "The Diplomat on Netflix review: political drama packs in the thrills". Evening Standard. Retrieved May 6, 2023.
  17. ^ Hibbs, James. "The Diplomat review: Simplistic, bland and easily digestible political drama". Radio Times. Retrieved May 6, 2023.
  18. ^ Einav, Dan (April 21, 2023). "The Diplomat, Netflix review — an embarrassment to the embassy". Financial Times. Retrieved May 6, 2023.
  19. ^ Lang, Brent; Shanfeld, Ethan (December 11, 2023). "Golden Globes 2024: Full Nominations List". Variety. Retrieved December 11, 2023.
  20. ^ Schneider, Michael (January 8, 2024). "'The Boys,' 'Succession' Land Most Honors at Astra TV Awards — Full Winners List". Variety. Retrieved January 15, 2024.
  21. ^ Lewis, Hilary (December 7, 2023). "'The Morning Show' Leads 2024 Critics Choice TV Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 11, 2023.
  22. ^ Rice, Lynette; Hipes, Patrick (July 12, 2023). "Primetime Emmy Awards Nominations: The Complete List". Deadline. Retrieved July 13, 2023.
  23. ^ "The 30th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards | Screen Actors Guild Awards". www.sagawards.org. February 25, 2024. Retrieved February 26, 2024.
  24. ^ Bergeson, Samantha (January 12, 2024). "PGA Awards 2024 Nominations: Maestro, Killers of the Flower Moon, and Past Lives Among Contenders". IndieWire. Archived from the original on January 12, 2024. Retrieved February 27, 2024.
  25. ^ Lewis, Hilary (February 21, 2024). "WGA Awards: 'Air,' 'Barbie,' 'Oppenheimer,' 'May December' Among Film Screenplay Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Penske Media Corporation. Archived from the original on February 21, 2024. Retrieved February 27, 2024.