Series that got a immediate positive response from the publica little less by critics and insiders, The Diplomat is one of the new jewels in the crown of Netflix.
The eight episodes that make up the first season were released on April 20 this year and the success achieved led to an immediate renewal for a second season (rumors have already predicted the release for the end of 2024).
Come showrunner of this political thriller drama there is Debora Cahn, a past between The West Wing, Grey’s Anatomy e Homelandwhich is called “very happy to continue this adventure together with an exceptional cast” among which Keri Russell stands out (Felicity e The Americans), Rufus Sewell (The Man in the High Castle), Ato Essandoh (Blood Diamonds), David Gyasi (Carnival Row), Ali Ahn (Billions) and Rory Kinnear (Penny Dreadful).
Thanks to her experience as a screenwriter Debora Cahn has managed to make The Diplomat quite a product of its own kind choosing the best ingredients from the series in which he worked. Mixing well, one came out show whose story could bring the world to the brink of the Third World War, seasoned with brief moments of irony, such as to lighten the constant tension allowing the viewer to catch his breath.
References and citations, for those who know the series in which Debora Cahn has worked, follow each other rapidly allowing the viewer to recognize them and smile at them. For those who, on the other hand, are on their first date with a genre that Americans really know how to do well, will be pleasantly surprised by so much devour one episode after another.
An important contribution to the narrative is clearly given by the leading actors capable of instill in their characters a certain credibility. The superficial impression is that of having already seen them again and again in a thousand other shows of the kind. Actually primary and secondary have, each in its own way, one verve which characterizes them making them unique, perfectly functional and even indispensable to the show.
As always happens, the characters establish a series of relationships between them through the plot. And never as in the case of a story about an ambassador and hers entourage relationships are important.
Will DurantAmerican historian and philosopher, once expressed a thought: “Saying nothing, especially when speaking, is half the art of diplomacy“. Now, considered that one show silent television would be deadly boring, the protagonists of The Diplomat, each in his role, they have things to say and how. What if you could make the interactions between the various characters visual through a pattern interesting things would be discovered. For example that Kate (Keri Russell) speaks to everyone and not just as an ambassador. Another big talkative character is certainly her husband, Hal (Rufus Sewell), who is also capable of interacting with everyone. The others, on the other hand, either by nationality, by position, or by social background, they do not have reciprocity with everyone, leaving empty boxes in the diagram but still highlighting preferences in the exchanges.
Eidra (Ali Ahn) and Stuart (Ato Essandoh), for example, respectively head of the CIA station in London and deputy head of the American diplomatic mission at the embassy. The two work closely together on a daily basis and are also partners outside of working hours.
Or the British prime minister and his foreign secretary trying to resolve a crisis in opposite ways, one with bombing and the other with diplomacy.
Or even the president of the United States and his chief of staff who bet on Kate as ambassador first and vice president later. And why not, let’s add the sister of the English foreign minister and a sort of eminence grise represented by an influential member of the English Conservative Party.
Our heroes they live their roles with pride and pride. Everyone in him is probably the best in the world and as such convinced that he has to say something about him by forcing others to listen to him. A pinch of self-centeredness to get to certain levels is a must. But also a strong ability to adapt and resilience when dealing with a world, that of diplomacy, where words have weight and at least a second if not a third meaning implied.
Henry Kissinger he said that “diplomacy is the art of curbing power“. That power which, in the series, would like to destroy the world unleashing a war against one enemy and then another without knowing with absolute certainty who, actually, is guilty of having triggered the world crisis with an attack on a British aircraft carrier. Iran? Russia? Mercenaries in the pay of an oligarch? Facts? Few. Words? Many, far too many.
With the idea of preserving a world peace already undermined by the war in Ukraine in The Diplomat goes on stage the representation of a clash that hovers in the air: the one between those who want to excel and those who, instead, prefer to remain in the shadows. A sort of reinterpretation of the classic bad guys against good guys even if in this case, the bad guys aren’t really bad guys but, rather, need to show off. So on the one hand we find Halcumbersome former ambassador that everyone respects and considers a hero, self-centered, self-referential and terribly bored, follows his wife, from whom he is about to separate, to London, resulting in unbearable and uncomfortable; the influential member of the Conservative Party, a friend of Hal’s, whose interests are to make Britain great again and to do so she needs to instill the virus of megalomania in the Prime Minister; the prime minister that after being infected by the virus he is ready to unleash an armed power he has no enemies against whom he does not know; And the President of the United States too old and characterless not to flap in the wind like a weather vane.
On the other side of the fence, however, we find all the others with, in the lead, Kateon her way to Afghanistan to help women survive the Taliban and sent to London to try to prevent the end of the world; Eidrawho lives in the world of spies never trusting anyone; Stuartwho knows everything about the embassy, the etiquette and the liasons diplomatic; the Chief of Staff of the President who pacifies where he can and acts as caregiver; the foreign minister English, ambiguous like a spy because he is eager not to compromise himself but at the same time thirsty for justice; And his sisterfree spirit but tormented by a painful past.
Each character is an excellent political animal who knows perfectly the tricks of the trade. And in the continuous meetings that take place, between two or more parties, he is capable of unleash master strokes to try to bring home the best result. At the risk, perhaps, of ruining the whole world.
Therefore, paying close attention during the various meetings, and in the organizational behind-the-scenes of each of them, the chilling sounds of the cracks in diplomacy can be heard which widen inexorably due to the pride of some characters.
We mere mortals will survive? While not yet knowing the second season of The Diplomat we got an idea. Yes, we will survive. Indeed, from what we have seen so far it will be they, the actors involved, who will sacrifice themselves for us (also because the idea that the world is falling apart because of certain characters is quite depressing!).
There are several series in which the fascinating world of diplomacy is staged. Not to mention those of espionage that use diplomacy, exploit it and then get rid of it in the first rubbish bin. Debora Cahn, of diplomacy, fell in love with it the moment met with an American ambassador in a meeting private with the creators of Homeland: “I’d always thought being an ambassador was drinking cocktails at a party, but the woman in front of me was anything but.“. A fairly common notion, indeed, also supported by insiders who have described the work at St James’s Court as “of representation and entrusted to politicians or financiers of the presidential campaign“.
Debora Cahn, however, was not discouraged and he created a world in which to insert his characters, proud and diplomatic, stubborn and shrewd, determined to pursue their own interests, who each dance to a different music, creating an interesting, yet complex, score that goes beyond twelve-tone. And among them poor Kate, capable of shed bitter tears not to be in Afghanistan to actually do something concrete surrounded by her husband unable to step aside, by an elderly and forgetful president, by an excessively dutiful aide, by a distrustful CIA station chief, by a foreign minister who is an ally day in and day out, and by a prime minister eager to win support with a war that no one wants.
The Diplomat it’s pure entertainment. While taking from The West Wing it’s yes Madam Secretaryyes Political Animals it’s yes Homeland, gives us really interesting, deep and even fascinating characters. Fighting each other, projected towards an enemy of which nothing is known yet, proud and diplomatic travel in the field of information and knowledge that seem more gossip than anything else. After all, as the American journalist Walter Winchell said: today’s gossip is tomorrow’s headline“. Hoping that title, at least in our realityis pacewritten in large letters.
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