Nicol Trowbridge In ‘The Diplomat’ Season 1, Explained: Was He A Traitor?

The Netflix original suspense thriller by Deborah Cahn has everything going its way. “The Diplomat” not only gives you sugar, spice, and everything nice, but it is also about characters. The characters stand out for all the right reasons because they have been well written and performed skillfully. One of the many characters in the show that came across as someone who would be interesting as a supporting character, and the one whose role could be elevated to become the main role in the second season, is Prime Minister Nicol Trowbridge. His introduction is given in the first episode, where the new appointee, Kate Wyler, just took over the office of the US Embassy in London and ended up meeting the PM as part of the protocol. The PM and Kate meet at a time when there is a big crisis going on.


With Britain’s aircraft carrier coming under terrorist attack, it comes naturally that the US, their ally, is coming to their aid to gather intelligence to find out who would be behind these attacks. The head of the CIA desk in London and the deputy chief of mission, Eidra Park and Stuart Heyford, respectively, make sure to provide as much intelligence to Kate and the PM so that it can be used in their favor to get to the culprit. The PM, the political leader that he is, along with the head of the state, begins the discussion by being rational. He did not have big demands when it came to tackling intel and was understanding enough not to let any pressure get to him. He and his Foreign Secretary were livid with the way the US President reacted to this attack. 

Prime Minister Trowbridge was all about being prim and proper at the start, and Kate had hoped this man would be easy to be around and convince. He did not come across as a war-mongering leader. Kate, so far, did not have much doubt about the man’s leadership skills. Her opinion of the man changed the moment he made a statement on the day of the remembrance memorial conducted for the 41 soldiers that died on the aircraft carrier. The PM consoled a bereaved widow, by stating to her directly that he will rain hellfire on Iran if they are found to be the culprits. With media present at the event, they picked up on it, and had a field day of it. This could have been the first sign that maybe the PM is slightly more ambitious than he lets on. Kate realized she underestimated the man, and with the Iran comment being made, it was not that hard to comprehend that the man meant business. The man knew there was no proof to back his statement, but still, he went ahead with it because he wanted to float on the sentiments of the people.


Trowbridge wanted to play on the public sentiments, and he did, just to be able to get his popularity ratings up. The attack on the aircraft happened only a few days ago, but soon enough, the PM found a scapegoat so that it would let out a picture that he and his team are working on bringing justice to the brave men who died. Kate’s constantly requested Austin to ask PM to back away from the statement he made, but the man refused to do so. The PM was also made aware that Hal’s intel came from a credible source from Iran’s government, letting the US and the UK know that the attack was not Iran’s doing. The PM relentlessly was looking for a solution, even if it meant going after a hostile nation. The PM was smart, who tried to rope the US in by providing them with a rescue mission, but Kate and her team sensed his bigger plan behind the so-called “rescue mission.” The PM expected America to go to war, with the UK not having to be in the line of fire. This was again an indication that the man would do anything to get his way. Their ally helping his country to fight the war on their behalf is an easy solution. Kate could sense the deceit behind this plan and immediately asked her boss, the President, to stop the rescue mission plan. PM Trowbridge did fuss about their ally backing out at a public event. The man felt restless because he wanted answers. He comes across as a jingoistic leader who is running on the emotions of the people, and he wants people to fall for his statements so that it easily raises their opinion of him. 

Kate finds out about the Russian mercenary Roman Lenkov’s involvement in the attack from her Iranian counterpart. This piece of news was made aware that the PM, who gatecrashed the Chevening House meeting, just to let everyone know that the only agenda should be to attack Russia. Not understanding the legality of it, the man was being stubborn about letting Russia know that Britain was capable enough to carry out an attack as a way to retaliate. The man wanted answers, for he was responsible for giving those to his public. Kate and Austin tried hard to reason with him by stating that they would need solid evidence to back up the claim that an order was given to Lenkov by Russian authorities. This should have been another indication, or at least created a suspicion, of why the PM wants military action so badly. His former campaign manager, Meg Roylin, reveals to Kate that he is worried about losing Scotland and other islands to a referendum; he wants to use military action against the attackers as a strategic move to reunite the country. A big political move such as this could work in his favor if it is executed in a smart manner. The US wanted to support this legal way to get the PM what he wanted. They would attack the Lenkov mercenary in Libya and force them out of the country. An act such as this could help Trowbridge’s agenda, and he will not be questioned at any point, including by his foreign secretary, Austin. The PM is a shrewd man who was willing to put America’s head on fire in the name of the rescue mission, but now he will be making use of the British armed forces to get rid of Russian mercenaries from Libya, something that would give him the reputation of a savior, which could increase his popularity.


PM Trowbridge’s true colors were revealed to Kate when Russia offered Roman Lenkov to Britain and the US. It was their way of letting the two countries know that Russians were not behind the attack on the British warship. The US chose to back away from the Libya attack and go after Roman Lenkov because that would be more helpful, as his interrogation would give them more intel. This made the British PM all the more livid because he again wanted military action to serve his agenda, and he was again receiving the end of their ally backing away. This took a toll on Trowbridge because he was not sugarcoating his words when he expressed his disappointment to Kate about her government’s way of dealing with their allies. Kate, Austin, and Hal were clueless about how ambitious this man could be. He would go to any length to keep his seat intact. The PM’s popularity was dropping lately, but the attack on the British aircraft carrier had brought him back to the public eyes, this time with a positive spin: the man will avenge the deaths of the 41 soldiers.

Kate and Austin, while in Paris, come to a distressing conclusion that it was PM Trowbridge that hired Lenkov for his political benefit. It also dawned on them that the signs were all there; it just took a while for them to connect the dots and get their answer. This is a theory that was coined by Kate and Austin’s, but the signs are something that was hard to ignore all this while. The PM, this time, went a bit too far to save his job. With the assassination of the MP from the PM’s Conservative party, Trowbridge will be in deep trouble if the investigation brings up his name. It would be the Watergate scandal of the UK, but in this case, Trowbridge might see jail time. There is a chance the truth will catch up with him in “The Diplomat” Season 2. PM Nicol Trowbridge should have acted like a head of state but ended up acting like a politician who wanted only power.


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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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