The Diplomat (2023) summary and ending explained

The Diplomat (2023) follows Kate Wyler, an American diplomat who is sent to the UK during a time of crisis to test her mettle under pressure. The series is streaming on Netflix.

Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers

Plot summary:

Kate Wyler is a career diplomat who is supposed to be headed to Kabul on a humanitarian mission when her assignment is changed at the final moment.

After a British naval carrier is blown up by enemy combatants, she is sent to the UK by the president to serve as the American ambassador as she has experience in handling delicate situations.

What she is unaware of is that she is actually being tapped up to be the next vice president and this assignment is meant to be a trial run to see if she can handle the pressure. A very small circle of people know about this including her husband, Hal Wyler.

Hal is a rockstar diplomat who has a reputation for being volatile in good ways and bad. He currently doesn’t hold an office of power because he made enemies with the secretary of state, Miguel Ganon.

Other people in her political inner circle are Stuart Hayford, her deputy at the embassy in London, and Eidra Park, chief of the CIA station. Billie Appiah is the president’s chief of staff and the one who thinks Kate is the best person for the job.

As soon as Kate arrives in London, she is put in touch with the UK prime minister, Nicol Trowbridge, and also meets with their foreign secretary, Austin Dennison.

She very promptly gets to work to handle the delicate political situation created by the attack that has led to several deaths. Stuart has a history of running campaigns and Billie asks him specifically to see if Kate can be a suitable candidate for VP.

While he’s focused on her public image and making sure she doesn’t step on any toes, Kate is more focused on actually finding answers and getting to the bottom of the attack.

Her job is not made any easier by Hal, who tends to get in her way time and time again, even when he’s trying to be helpful. The mystery of the attack appears to be extremely convoluted as Iran is the first suspect.

The US ran afoul of the country recently and they suspect that they retaliated by attacking a tamer ally, Britain. However, the Iranians go out of their way to prove that it wasn’t them.

Amidst all this, Kate and Hal are going through a rough patch in their marriage and initially planned on getting a divorce. However, everyone around her, including Hal, says that a divorce doesn’t look good for VP’s resume and they should stay together for a little while longer.

Once the Iranians are cleared of wrongdoing, the blame is shifted to Russia, specifically Roman Lenkov, a mercenary attributed to the Russian government.

The British and US governments divert their attention based on this new information but Nicol is under pressure to show his resolve and his preference is doing something drastic that would most certainly begin a war with Russia.

Kate and Austin look for a more diplomatic solution to their problem and eventually come up with the perfect one that pleases all parties. The case is once again thrown for a loop when the Russians offer up Lenkov to the Americans, suggesting that they didn’t have a hand in the attack.

Meanwhile, the animosity between Ganon and the Wylers escalates with moves being made to make the other look insignificant in a constant power struggle. Kate and Austin grow closer from all of their time working together, although they keep things professional.

The Diplomat (2023) ending explained in detail:

What happens between Eidra and Stuart?

Quite early on, Eidra and Stuart are shown to be in a relationship that they understandably keep a secret given their positions. They occasionally exchange information that could be beneficial to each other.

However, they also aren’t immune to the pressures of the job, and their relationship is affected when their professional lives bleed into it. Eidra had asked Stuart to accompany her to Cairo and make their relationship public but he puts a hold on that.

Later on, when Hal finds out about them, Stuart asks Eidra if she’d like to go public with their relationship and she says yes.

Even this doesn’t end up being final when Eidra finds out about Kate being the next potential VP and Stuart’s role in making it happen. The fact that he wanted to go public even though he knew he would be leaving if she got chosen is a big deal to Eidra and she breaks up with him.

How do things turn out in Paris?

The first plan that Austin and Kate propose to Nicol Trowbridge is intricate sanctions crippling the Kremlin’s finances. While he is initially accepting of the idea, he switches tracks later on.

With the threat of Scotland beginning a wholesale exodus of countries from the UK, Trowbridge wants to make a show of strength and solidify his position so Kate and Austin come up with an alternate military solution.

They offer to combat the Lenkov group mercenaries in Russia in the name of defending the people of Libya while sending a message to Russia. This is an agreeable plan until Russia hands over the location of Lenkov to Kate.

Kate and Austin head to Paris to ask the foreign minister permission to carry out his arrest on French soil. While she initially shows apprehension, she reluctantly agrees while stating her doubts about carrying out the assassination of Lenkov.

Kate says it is supposed to be an arrest so that Lenkov can rat out who hired him to carry out the attack but the French foreign minister tells her that the British forces have been ordered to take Lenkov at first sight.

Who is truly behind the attack on the British carrier?

Hal is feeling quite insignificant in his role as Kate’s partner so while she heads to Paris, she asks him to give a speech at Chatham House where she was supposed to speak.

Hal gives an impassioned speech about diplomacy and the merits of talking to everyone and is later approached by a Tory MP who requests to have a word with him.

When he mentions this to Kate, she accuses him of selling access and going after the position of secretary of state. She instructs Stuart to make sure Hal doesn’t meet with the MP.

Hal convinces Stuart to let him do a 5-minute handover at the very least and Stuart relents. They both arrive near the location as Stuart sends in a subordinate named Ronnie to inform the MP that Hal will not be coming.

The MP refuses to talk to anyone but Hal and leaves. Kate finds out about the kill order on Lenkov and confronts Austin about it but he denies any knowledge of it.

It all suddenly clicks in her head as she tells him that a dead Lenkov only benefits the person who hired him and if the British Prime Minister wants him dead, there is every possibility that he’s the one who hired him.

The Tory MP is hurriedly trying to get into his car as Hal and Stuart approach from either side but as soon he opens his car door, a bomb explodes, although the casualties aren’t revealed.

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