‘The Diplomat’ Episode 1: Recap & Ending, Explained: Why Was Katherine Wyler Sent To The UK?

To come across an international suspense thriller coupled with situational and self-aware humor is a rare find. It takes a special type of skill to give the audience a different kind of tale of diplomats who are constantly on the edge of their seats, or at least some of them are. This makes for an even more interesting watch and creates a genuine buzz about the show. “The Diplomat,” created by Deborah Cahn, is a Netflix Original show that talks about international diplomacy and espionage; along with that, it gives drama and situational humor. All of this sounds like a mixed bag of everything; one must watch it to understand the show and what it contains. A diplomat who was supposed to head to Kabul is suddenly sent to the UK to work on a major international crisis. Will she be able to work on it?

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Spoilers Ahead


Katherine Is Not Going To Kabul

“The Diplomat” Episode 1 begins with a British aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf being attacked by a bomb blast by a bunch of assailants; because of it, several navy officers die on board, and a rescue operation is launched to save the rest. As the event is unfolding, the United States is on high alert, for they are the UK’s biggest ally for peacetime and wartime ever since the Second World War. Katherine Wyler, an ambassador working for the US government, is all set to move to Kabul for her new posting. Katherine’s expertise has always been in the Middle East’s conflict-ridden countries, and she is looking forward to working with the people on the ground in Kabul. In countries like Afghanistan, she would have more groundwork to do, which is what Kate prefers.

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She is married to Hal Wyler, who was also an ambassador to various other countries just like Kate, but he is notoriously known for speaking up against his government, which has put him in the bad books of several high-profile people in the administration, including the Secretary of State. Hal and Kate Wyler are highly connected internationally and happen to be the most skilled ambassadors in the US government who believe in getting the work done. They have been married for a while, but they did not let their personal lives get in the way of their work.

But with the drama unfolding in the UK due to the terrorist attack, America has to take some action as a show of support to their ally, and as a result, instead of Kabul, Kate is now being posted to London, a place she does not want to work in. She believes London will not give her much energy to work daily like Kabul would. But she reluctantly takes up the posting. Kate is a career officer who believes in being on her toes all the time. So is Hal. They believe in actual work done on the ground, not just being a happy face that represents their country. Hal is a great partner who stands by Kate whenever the situation asks him to. With both in the room, if both are addressed as Ambassador Wyler, Hal chooses to step away and request that they call him Hal because right now, it is Kate who is in charge, and she needs to be the focus of attention.

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What Happens Upon Reaching London?

Katherine is briefed about the situation post-blast, and the body count is increasing as they speak. Katherine wants to get on with the work long before she reaches London. She is sure Iran is not behind this attack because they have a strategic reason not to seek confrontation with the UK openly. She is sure there is either an independent body or some other country that planned this attack, but because of the ship’s proximity to Iran, the blame is being put on the Gulf country, which also happens to be a hostile nation according to the US and their ally, the UK.

She is briefed on plenty of bureaucratic stuff upon reaching the UK, which Kate is not interested in. She would rather begin her work. But because she is a woman and the ambassador, the onus is on Hal to be the person who will always be beside her or behind her on all platforms from now on. Not that he has an issue with it. But since he is a man, he is not asked or expected to be assigned tasks that were usually given to the female spouses of the ambassadors in the past. It is kind of misogynistic to expect a woman to know her job of keeping the home running while Hal is not asked such questions. Katherine is keen on getting the CIA to work to get more information on who led the attacks. The CIA chief in London, Eidra Park, and Kate’s deputy chief of mission, Stuart Heyford, are on the ground helping her with all the information and the drama that is happening around her. With her being appointed as the new ambassador, there is a whole lot of bureaucratic work that needs to be done before she officially begins her work. Unbeknownst to either one of them, Katherine and Hal are in for a lot of surprises as she unofficially begins her work. This is only fair because Kate is a workaholic who does not care for bureaucratic and formal events.

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‘The Diplomat’ Episode 1: Ending Explained – Why Was Katherine Sent To The UK?

As her work in London begins, she understands the politics behind being the channel between her country and the country she is residing in. She must meet up with the British PM to let him know the support America is willing to provide them. She is expected to sit in on the call between US President Rayburn and British Prime Minister Nicol Trowbridge, but she is not sure why she is being asked to do this. Meanwhile, she is also made aware of the fact that the Secretary of State and the US president are on two different tangents, and sadly, she will have to report to her boss, who is the Secretary of State, Miguel Ganon. She is not sure why she is being paraded around when the Secretary of State should have been on the call with the President and the Prime Minister. Kate is as clueless as everyone around her, but she knows she has to do her job by being proactive all the time and keeping all the intelligence at the disposal of the UK to utilize it.

Kate has a word with Ganon to let him know that it is better not to jump to the conclusion that Iran is involved. There should be thorough intelligence backing up any accusations against Iran on the world stage. But as the politics play out, the Secretary of State is ruining the mood by bringing his agenda to the table, which involves pacifying the Gulf allies, and also by putting across his displeasure that Katherine was asked to surpass him because she was on the call with the heads of the states, and he was not. Katherine is not sure what is happening to her side of the people and the people representing the country. She feels she is being squashed by two powers, and she is the channel between the two US bigwigs, which is not her job. Kate is almost fired by Ganon for being on the call. This shows, in the advent of the international incident, that the politicians do not look beyond their power and agenda and are willing to sideline hardworking people just to satisfy their egos.

Soon it is revealed to Stuart by Billie, the President’s Chief of Staff, that Kate is being sent as an ambassador of the UK because she is a potential candidate for Rayburn’s next Vice President, as the current Vice President will have to step down in the wake of an upcoming scandal against her husband. Kate is the best option as of now because of her experience in the field and her willingness to not be just a rubber stamp. Stuart is assigned the job of reporting to Billie on how exactly Kate responds to all the work that is assigned to her, beginning with the current crisis. Kate seems to have jumped into the water directly with the start of her job, and how she performs during this crisis will be a make-or-break situation for her. Kate, at this point, is not aware of being a potential candidate for the Vice Presidency, for she is too busy calming the situation down and helping the UK and her country to not blame Iran as of yet. Kate knows her job too well, and that’s why she is sure that Iran would not be stupid enough to pull off this attack, with the world powers knowing that with one misstep from them, they will be inviting themselves to a war with the UK and, as an extension, with the US as well, which Kate is sure Iran cannot afford.

But with the growing suspicion that Ganon will let her keep the job, she knows her only way to make sure that she stays in London is to do a photoshoot with British Vogue, which wants to do a profile piece on the first female ambassador to the UK in fifty years. A profile such as this one helps her keep her standing, and there will be a buzz about Kate and the work she has done for a while. This will force Ganon to reconsider his decision to fire a woman who has just been named the face of diplomacy.

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Although Kate is not in favor of all things fancy, she reluctantly agrees to do this because she realizes that maybe a good PR stunt such as this one will help her keep her job. Stuart, on the other hand, learns on the day of the photoshoot that Kate and Hal are on the verge of a divorce, and if she gets divorced, she will be out of the Vice Presidency race. Hal confirms Stuart’s doubts, but Hal is sure that Kate will want him back, and Stuart is shocked to know that Hal is aware of Billie’s plans to make Kate the next vice president. He lets Stuart know that he is out here to make sure Kate remains herself—the best version of herself—to get the top job. He and Stuart will have to guide and support her to reach that stage when there is no other option for the post of Vice President other than her. Hal is making sure to keep her on foot till the final decision is made, and till that time, he is hoping to stall the divorce process so that Kate gets what she deserves. On the day of the shoot, Hal is unfortunately sedated and taken hostage. It is not sure who it was who got in the tranquilizer and made sure to frighten him away.


Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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