Netflix: The Diplomat

Just finished, the first season Netflix’s: The Diplomat, starring Kerri Russell as the American Ambassador to UK.

It terrific mix of Aaron Sorkin, style dialogue, The Crown’s production values, House of Card plots, with a dose of “The Americans” spy thriller tension added. I suppose it helps if you been in love with Kerri Russell since she was the adorable Felicity, and you think that "The Americans is one of the best TV shows ever. "

The 8 episodes went by way too quickly and the cliff hanger at the end will have you begging for a season 2. (Very likely but no time frame announced.)

Overall quite deserving of its 90% Rotten tomatoes rating.

It was enjoyable to watch, but man it lacked all plausibility. It’s a weird show as the premise reads like it’s for a smart audience (e.g. it is about a diplomat ambassador with strengths in negotiations, not someone with executive power or ability for subterfuge like the CIA/NSA/President). But then the plot is like what would be in an ambassador’s wet dream when they start to feel unimportant and irrelevant in this world, not an ambassador’s actual life (whether during extraordinary circumstances or not).

I know you were restricting the comparison to the West Wing and Aaron Sorkin to the dialogue alone, but I was ready to cringe before I read the caveat.

I obviously went into it with the wrong expectations, anyone who doesn’t mind quite a bit of melodrama will enjoy this (as I mentioned I did).

I thought it was really enjoyable. But yeah, the implausibilities stacked up, and the final reveal on who financed the Russian mercenaries was absolutely absurd.

In the age of Trump is anything really absurd or implausible?

I’ve still got one more episode left. But I was very happy to see this.

Also shouldn’t this be moved to the TV sub forum?

Actually, it probably should be moved to the Netflix show thread

I really tried searching for “The Diplomat” and saw no mention of it, but there are 1/2 dozen posts about the show…
Is this something @tomchick will do?

@Strollen, you can move this to the right forum yourself without mod action, since you created the thread. There’s an icon of a pencil next to the title of the thread, right at the top. Click on that, and it’ll let you edit the title or change the forum.

Please don’t get this moved into the generic Netflix thread. It is impossible to find discussion of any specific show there. It’s fine for announcements or for things that are not worth discussing. Sounds like this show is.

Done, that was easy.

I’d take that reveal at the end with a giant heaping of salt. It’s just one character’s hypothesis. I think there are some hints as to who actually did it though.

This is a fun read. Foreign Policy Magazine talked to actual Foreign Service Officers about how accurate the show is. Some high points for accuracy in some areas and some areas not so much.

But it does veer from accuracy a bit in the interest of making things interesting:

Overall sounds like the show has a lot of fans in the real-life State Department:

Really enjoyed this one and it’s interesting to see how it gets a lot of details right according to the Foreign Policy article. A guilty pleasure of mine back in the day was Madame Secretary which was dumb, lightweight fun but never gave you the impression it was concerned with the details deeper than a quick Google search level. Some conversations in The Diplomat felt more detailed and grounded than the entirety of Madame Secretary’s run. Maybe it wasn’t actually, but it felt like a credibility existed to The Diplomat.

Anyway, glad this is coming back for a second season.

Two episodes in and I’m loving it, but I can’t believe (in this thread, anyway) that no one is talking about Rufus Sewell in this. I mean, Keri Russell is amazing as always, but their dynamic together is incredible and unusual. Also, is it me or is his American accent impeccable? I didn’t realize it was him for awhile. Anyway, they have been threatening to send him away, and I hope that isn’t actually what happens, because these first two episodes make for a brilliant two-hander. Maybe it’s a weird comparison, but it brought to mind Nick and Nora Charles from The Thin Man. A totally different relationship, but equally quirky and fireworky.

Also, I think it makes sense to compare this with West Wing in some ways, but I appreciate all the ways that its dialogue is NOT Sorkin-esque. It’s much more grounded and not-spelling-everything-out than Sorkin (whom I do have a soft spot for, I admit). More like The Americans. It’s so well written.

Lastly, I hope we get to learn more about Jess Chanliau’s Ronnie, the non-binary (I’m assuming) attache with the bow tie.
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ADDENDUM: Wait! There’s one more thing: It’s absolutely WILD that they chose to have Rory Kinnear play the Prime Minister after his unforgettable turn as PM in the first Black Mirror episode. Wow. How am I not supposed to think of him as the same guy?

I would be very surprised if that happens. I think he’s every bit as important as Keri Russell to this show.

UK actors are really good. So many of them master accents. It no longer surprises me when I start a show and read about the actors to see that two or three are from the UK and have impeccable American accents.

It’s where the money is for a lot of these actors. They work at the American accent.

Of course you’re right about actors and accents. For some reason Sewell seems to be at the next level to me. Like, I know Sarah Snook from Succession is Australian, and it’s not like I’m constantly reminded of that when she uses an American accent in Succession, but I wouldn’t say her speech patterns are totally natural either. Rufus Sewell in this just seems so comfortable with every syllable. I’m sure this is true of a lot of other actors, especially of his caliber, but it just seems like second nature to him.

From the Official US State Department YouTube Channel:

Official US Embassy in London video