Interview: The Cast and Showrunner of ‘The Diplomat’ on Carving Out an Engaging Political Thriller

In the new Netflix series The Diplomat, Kate Wyler (Keri Russell) is sent to London instead of Kabul at the behest of the American president to deal with a tense and potentially volatile situation. Both Kate and her husband Hal (Rufus Sewell) have a history as ambassadors, and they have to play to a watchful audience in their new roles as the series unfolds.

Ahead of the series premiere, Awards Radar had the chance to speak with Russell, Sewell, David Gyasi, and showrunner Debora Cahn about the appeal of the show and how best to describe it. Russell shared what she enjoyed most:

“It’s such a fun combination of very dense, interesting political information and opening up the audience to this world of diplomacy and state department and ambassadors. That whole world of people that we don’t know anything about. Debora’s humor, which, to me, is what made it so fun. Really investigating and unraveling a complicated, juicy relationship within that world.”

Cahn responded well to the classification of the series as an amalgam of her past work and the inspiration for the show:

“I absolutely wanted to make a strange baby of The West Wing and Homeland, and a little bit of Veep. When I was working on Homeland, we had this incredible parade of experts that would come in and talk to the writers. This ambassador came in and talked about the work that she had done, and she was so down to earth and unassuming, and had just mind-blowing experiences.”

Sewell addressed his somewhat bizarre casting:

“It’s nuts. I’m so lucky to have got this role. That’s the thing. I was worried. I live in Los Angeles. Now, spending six, seven months a year pretending to be an American in London. It’s like the irony of ironies. All this money I spend on flights! To tell you the truth, I was worried that the Brit actors I was going to work with were going to give me so much shit, but, actually, I think, it’s a new world. There’s so much international traffic…people are now kind of used to it.”

Watch the full conversations below.

Season one of The Diplomat begins streaming Thursday, April 20th on Netflix.


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Written by Abe Friedtanzer

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