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When she speaks, they listen

Keri Russell as Kate Wyler in ‘The Diplomat’ NETFLIX PHOTOKeri Russell as Kate Wyler in ‘The Diplomat’ NETFLIX PHOTO 

Kate Wyler (Keri Russell) has just been appointed US ambassador to the UK. She is smart, has great instincts and thinks on her feet when the world’s fate just might be in her hands.

Kate constantly looks frazzled in basic business outfits. She doesn’t bother with makeup or needs to make sure every strand of hair is in place. What this top diplomat needs to fall in place are her plans. She can speak confidently to the US and UK heads of state and undoubtedly has their ear in times of crisis.

Two things are at play when Ambassador Wyler steps into her newly appointed office. First, a British aircraft carrier is bombed in the Middle East, leaving scores dead. The US President William Rayburn (“This is Spinal Tap’s” Michael McKean) gets involved, and the UK Prime Minister (“Penny Dreadful’s” Rory Kinnear) wants to show some spine (and then some), yet who is responsible for the attack?

Second, Kate is a strong candidate for the vice presidency of the United States. The current one is expected to be on her way out. Additionally, she’s been wanting a divorce from her husband, Hal Wyler (played with such relish by Rufus Sewell), which is always challenging.

Hal is a former ambassador and diplomat. He is clever, charming, and sneaky and will do anything to stay by her side.

“The Diplomat” is entertainment and a work of fiction. It probably gets some aspects right, while others may not quite resemble the day-to-day of someone at that level of ambassadorship or foreign service.

I do have a feeling that one thing it gets right is what we see with all these state visits–magazine covers and press conferences are truly all theater. Behind the powerful presidents and would-be presidents is a team of diplomats and foreign service professionals scrambling, stressing out and negotiating trading favors and information.

This show is a mix of politics, relationships, intrigue and comedy with a cast of great characters. Creator Deborah Cahn’s past credits include “The West Wing” and “Homeland,” and Keri Russell was in the spy thriller, “The Americans,” so this show is totally in their wheelhouse. A second season has already been greenlit.

Meanwhile, GMA’s “Maria Clara at Ibarra” is now on Netflix and does a good job of getting people interested in Rizal’s classic novels. Great care is taken with the sets, locations and costumes, which bring viewers back to Laguna in the 1880s.

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