Way back at the start of Netflix’s original TV gambit, the streaming giant gave everyone a taste of what was to come in the form of its very own prestige political drama. House of Cards was addictive, slickly produced, and included some serious star wattage. And come Thursday of this week, Netflix will return once again to that genre with The Diplomat, a buzzy political drama starring Keri Russell and Rufus Sewell that comes from a writer/producer for The West Wing.
Regarding the latter, Debora Cahn is the creator and showrunner of this new 8-episode series, the cast of which also includes Rory Kinnear and Michael McKean. I, for one, am also especially intrigued to see how this show fares, because you could argue that The Diplomat fills a hole in Netflix’s content library the way something like The Night Agent did (in serving as Netflix’s answer to 24).
From Netflix’s official logline for The Diplomat:
“Kate Wyler (Keri Russell) is the new US Ambassador to the United Kingdom. She was supposed to go to Afghanistan. She’s great in a crisis zone. In a historic home … less so. War is brewing on one continent and boiling over on another. Kate will have to diffuse international crises, forge strategic alliances in London, and adjust to her new place in the spotlight — all while trying to survive her marriage to fellow career diplomat and political star Hal Wyler (Rufus Sewell).”
Cahn was also a writer/producer for Homeland, and in a Netflix promotional interview, she explained that she was drawn to the idea that would become The Diplomat after meeting a number of ambassadors while working on Showtime’s hit spy drama.
The main characters here are the husband-and-wife team of Hal and Kate Wyler. The latter is more of a do-er — she’s particularly experienced in war-torn, crisis regions of the world. But the president wants her to go to the UK next, somewhere far more high profile and political.
Hal, meanwhile, is a veteran and legendary diplomat, one who’s negotiated the end of wars but made tons of enemies along the way. And, needless to say, playing second fiddle to his wife now doesn’t come naturally to him.
The Diplomat debuts on Netflix on April 20.