If you’re a fan of Keri Russell or a fan of political dramedies in the vein of The West Wing and Veep, then The Diplomat is your ideal entertainment destination. My wife and I binged the eight-episode season over the course of two nights and shared more than a few laughs together. Russell (Felicity, The Americans) is superb as Kate Wyler, a United States ambassador to the Middle East who gets an assignment from the president to be the new liaison in the United Kingdom. Unbeknownst to her, this assignment is a test-run to see if she’s the right fit to be the next vice president; the current VP is embroiled in a scandal and expected to tender a resignation. Only a select group of people know of this tangential objective, but one of them is Kate’s husband, Hal Wyler (Rufus Sewell). Hal is also a U.S. ambassador, but he excels in all the areas Kate does not. Hal is manipulative, loves the spotlight, and is naturally predisposed to wreaking his own brand of havoc and capitalizing on it, thriving in the ensuing chaos. Kate’s qualifications, however, are better suited for the vice presidency, as she is content with letting her diplomatic skills and political savvy speak for themselves.
On the surface, The Diplomat is a geopolitical series that highlights the delicate web of international diplomacy, but in the end, the show is about the basics of a struggling marriage and the emotions involved in balancing conflicting personalities. The Genesis author writes that two people come together in marriage to become “one flesh.” The Diplomat is another iteration of how difficult it can be to form a one-flesh union. Miraculous, even. My wife and I loved this show for that reason and often found ourselves pointing fingers at one another saying, “That is so you!”
Keri Russell plays Kate with an affable quirkiness, great comedic timing, and a confident self-awareness that makes her performance a joy to watch. Rufus Sewell as Hal is equally entertaining, if annoying. Together, they make The Diplomat a riveting show that engages our marital imagination. How much do we like it? We have already added it to our queue in anticipation of season two. (Netflix, Rated TV-MA for offensive language, sexual content and violence)