I have no idea the degree to which "The Diplomat," on Netflix, accurately reflects any sort of reality when it comes to international governmental wheeling and dealing. (Politico writes that many State Department employees around the world "find it preposterous — and utterly amusing … They binge it while understanding that their jobs are "not nearly as sexy as Ambassador Wyler’s romps through foreign policy.")
"Romp" is exactly the right word - because "The Diplomat" is one of the best series fielded by Netflix in some time, smartly written, directed and acted, and created by Debora Cahn, who was an executive producer on "Homeland" and started her career as a writer on "The West Wing."
The story focuses on the aforementioned Kate Wyler, a career diplomat who instead of taking her expected posting in Afghanistan is named Ambassador to the Court of St. James in the UK, where she is expected to help defuse an international crisis that could turn into a world war. (She's also being tested to see if she might make a good vice presidential candidate.). Life is complicated by her troubled marriage to Hal Wyler, a legendary US diplomat currently on the outs because of some indiscreet comments and struggling with the fact that his wife is now occupying the limelight.
Keri Russell and Rufus Sewell play the Wylers, and they are terrific - there's a Tracy-Hepburn frisson to some of their exchanges, and Sewell is especially good at keeping us wondering about his actions and motivations. Among the supporting cast, Rory Kinnear is excellent as the UK prime minister, as are David Gyasi as the UK foreign secretary, and Ato Essandoh and Ali Ahn as members of the US embassy staff. (The always great Michael McKean has a few terrific scenes as a seemingly befuddled US president.)
"Romp" is absolutely right word, and it is a welcome one. "The Diplomat" is bingeworthy TV, and the best news when the eighth and final episode ended was that it has been renewed for a second season. Can't wait.
That's it for this week. Have a great weekend - Happy Mothers' Day to all the moms out there - and I'll see you Monday.