If you like international politics – sold from an American perspective – and, in particular, The West Wing and Homeland, then your series of the moment is The Diplomat. Created by Debora Cahn and starring Keri Russell (The Americans), the series tells the story of (… well) a career diplomat, Katherine Wyler, who is preparing to transfer to Kabul and is suddenly (and urgently) deployed. , to London. There has been a terrorist attack that claimed the lives of 41 Britons and Prime Minister Nicol Trowbridge (Rory Kinnear) wants to retaliate against whoever the perpetrator is, to appease his growing unpopularity in the UK. Of course, no one knows who’s behind the bombing – suspects change faster than Kate Wyler can even take a shower.
There is more. Kate manages to solve global catastrophes better than her personal life. She was unexpectedly chosen by the US President, Rayburn (Michael McKean), precisely thanks to her experience in the Middle East, and even more, she only discovers much later, she is being trained to assume the Vice Presidency. Kate’s husband is Hal Wyler (Rufus Sewell), also a diplomat and brilliant writer, but recently fired despite maintaining his personal political ambitions. Their dynamic is complex, amusing, and irritating in equal measure because Kate often mistrusts him as much as she “needs” him. They are in a relationship that is not exactly a facade and has a very different symbiosis than what we often see.
Everything in The Diplomat is exaggerated, pasteurized, and surreal. The current affairs that trample Kate’s career and life are used so superficially that we don’t know whether to root for her or give up following. After a while, Kate’s neurotic nature and her lack of cleanliness and vanity make her an unsympathetic and indecisive figure. She is manipulated by Hal, but when given the opportunity to gain autonomy, she keeps him in the game.
None of these problems get in the way to the point of spoiling the series. The explosive conclusion of the first season, right after the big reveal is the classic cliffhanger of a suspense series and the certainty that there will be a second season. Whoever survives until then will have to overcome our suspicions as well as Kate’s. It’s a great vehicle for Keri Russell, even more so for Rufus Sewell. But the drama is excessive. The life of diplomacy is intense, no doubt, but people eat, bathe, and have a minimum of education. The thought of Kate Wyler in the White House is chilling. And laugh. And cry.