Imagine this: a political intrigue drama with 1. a strong female lead, 2. many strong female power players and 3. a female creator / writer that DOESN’T SUCK! In fact, it’s pretty great.
When it’s done right, you don’t have to crow about how woke your show is or how your cast overcame oppression. Today’s modern entertainment is so obsessed with representation and fighting the Patriarchy, Whiteness, etc., that trite, woke platitudes become the product and a good story comes in a distant second. Looking at you Disney+, Amazon and that dirtbag that nearly killed Star Trek.
Part West Wing and part The Americans, Netflix’s The Diplomat is engaging drama. Its premise is that a very capable intelligence agent, played by Keri Russell is called upon to become the ambassador to Great Britain after an international incident that implicates Iran.
Quickly we learn that she’s being groomed (in the non-creepy, original sense) to become the Vice President. One key player working behind the scenes is her charming, manipulative and ambitious husband played by Rufus Sewell (that cold and scary Nazi guy in Man in the High Castle). You’ll both admire him and hate him.
If you lean right, you’ll love the setup. The President is an old, rambling idiot. His Chief of Staff is a black woman who appears to have a Susan-Rice-as-the-real-power-behind-the-throne role. As they handle the President, they are plotting re-election which includes dumping the Vice President (I know, right?) and replacing her with the super capable Kate Wyler (Russell).
Although I suspect the creator, Debora Cahn, veteran of The West Wing and Homeland is very liberal, as of episode four, there have been no ham-handed sucker punches that mediocre Hollywood writers revel in. Yes, I said it was like The Americans earlier, but I probably should have likened it to Homeland. But Keri Russell, amirite?
There are layers of intrigue as Wyler has to put on her operative cap and make international deals on the down low while simultaneously playing the high-profile pretty faced ambassador.
Is it realistic? I HAVE NO CLUE. But it’s all made very plausible by the top notch acting and quality writing.
Rating: worth binging on.