‘The Diplomat’ Characters, Explained: What Happens To Kate And Hal’s Marriage By The End?

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The new political drama show on Netflix, “The Diplomat,” is enjoyable to watch because of the general pace that it maintains, the acting performances, and also the manner in which it shapes its characters. A crucial element with regards to its characters is the romantic relationships that they find themselves in, for the series is also about protagonist Kate Wyler’s terribly difficult and confused marriage with Hal. The show also presents another romantic pair in Stuart and Eidra, while two other characters, Austin and Cecilia Dennison, also play out romantic roles with the protagonists. It is perhaps the imperfection of their love lives that makes the characters in “The Diplomat” all the more convincing.

Spoilers Ahead


What Happens To Kate And Hal’s Marriage By The End?

When “The Diplomat” first begins, Kate and Hal Wyler are like any other long-time couple, not necessarily bubbling with romantic chemistry but surely with love for each other. It is clear that the diplomat couple is comfortable with their lives, as Hal has served as Ambassador to different countries over the years and Kate has herself worked in diplomatic roles in the Middle East. But things start to seem off about their marriage once Kate agrees to her role as the U.S. Ambassador in England, and they move to Winfield House. The residence manager, Frances, immediately notices that Kate has asked for the guest room to be prepared as well, and Stuart soon deduces what this means. Kate asks for the guest room for her husband Hal, as the two do not sleep together, which makes it clear that their marriage is not a happy one. Kate and Hal are indeed stuck in a rough marriage, as we are made part of their conversations about it, and the two are ready to end it as well. At present, Kate only brings her husband along so that he can help her settle into her new role, and she then expects him to leave Winfield House after a few days.

Hal is also initially of the same opinion, as Kate reveals that it was he who had taken the final decision to end their marriage only some time ago. However, the husband’s character goes through a change of heart in this respect, and he seems to want to get back close to his wife. Whether Hal genuinely feels like mending their marriage or pretends to do so for other reasons is really difficult to understand, for the man is truly brilliant at hiding and pretending things. There are plenty of reasons for Hal to keep wishing that his marriage to Kate stays alive. The very first of them all was that Kate was the most probable candidate to be America’s next Vice President. There are moments when it feels like Hal tries to repair his distant romantic relationship with Kate for her sake, as a divorced woman would not be considered as heavily to be selected as Vice President. The deputy chief of mission, Stuart Heyford, who also becomes the closest associate Kate has at her workplace, also worries about this same matter. Although Kate is not yet informed about the POTUS’ decision to make her the next V.P., both Hal and Stuart are aware of this, and they, especially the latter, are very keen on convincing his boss to stay put in her marriage.

As the series progresses and Kate is eventually made aware of her future position, there are more possible reasons that Hal seems to have for trying to improve their relationship. These possibilities are actually mentioned by Kate herself, when she is seriously unconvinced that her husband’s sudden show of love is genuine. At first, Kate feels like Hal is eyeing the illustrious position of being the Vice President’s partner, which would still keep him in the thick of international diplomacy. Later on, Hal also seems to be eyeing an even bigger role as the new Secretary of State, when President Rayburn decides to fire current official Miguel Ganon. The reason for Kate’s suspicion about this is that it was Hal who had convinced her to work against Ganon after the Secretary of State was clearly not on the same page as her. Kate had followed this advice and worked accordingly, which surely resulted in the post of Secretary of State being empty. Kate suspects that Hal manipulated her into easing his own way into government, which is something that is consistently a part of Hal’s character. The man is definitely manipulative and extremely shrewd with his thoughts, always managing to get his work done by people around him. Therefore, when Kate has a feeling that Hal actually wants to become the Secretary of State and possibly even the President later on, her suspicions cannot be taken as baseless either.

To Kate, real emotions and actual feelings are much more important in a relationship than any political benefit that such a relationship can bring. To her, the only reason she would want to remain in her marriage with Hal would be if she was genuinely attracted to him and felt for the man. She admits that the two are a very powerful couple, and she even fears that the only reason the U.S. government wants her as the next V.P. is because they actually want Hal to be the mastermind. But the thought of sticking to a loveless marriage only to be selected as the Vice President, a post that she is not even interested in, is very absurd to Kate. This is the reason why she is extremely hurt and livid when she confronts Hal about his earlier wish to end their marriage. The husband now admits that he had seriously fallen out of love with Kate earlier but had then decided to stay on with her only because he was told about Kate being a candidate for vice presidentship. To Kate, such a change of heart and decision to do something contrary to one’s feelings is almost like a grand betrayal, and understandably so, for she values emotions over any transactional relationship.

Gradually, though, both Kate and Hal change their perspective on each other and their marriage, as it seems to genuinely grow better. When Hal stays on as the husband of the Ambassador, he probably realizes how Kate, too, once had to sacrifice aspects of her life in order to support him. Similarly, Kate also admits that Hal had always supported her and encouraged her to do things when she was just the wife of an ambassador, and therefore she now wants her husband to be more involved in her work. Kate was initially irritated at the fact that Hal was being referred to as the Ambassador and even at times treated like one, owing to the fact that he once held the post, even though Kate was present at the scene. But now, towards the end, she genuinely sees her husband as part of her team, and Kate happily encourages Hal to take her position at the Chatham House speech. The woman admits that she has finally understood how Hal needs to be constantly involved in work, or else he will create problems for others around him.

At the end of “The Diplomat,” though, Kate and Hal seem to have a disagreement once again, and Kate seems to have decided on breaking up, at least for the time being. This is because Hal agrees to talk to Merritt Grove and also tries to establish contact between him and the White House Chief of Staff, Billie. Kate is enraged because Hal technically has no right to do all this, and he once again seems to be manipulating his relationship with her to achieve all this. However, at the very end of the series, Hal is last seen in the car bomb blast that surely kills Grove, and the incident seems to have hurt Hal terribly. A team in Paris informs Kate about this, and she looks genuinely concerned about his well-being, probably meaning that she and Hal will continue to be a couple.


What Roles Do Austin And Cecilia Dennison Play?

The brother-and-sister duo of Austin and Cecilia Dennison play interesting roles in making Kate and Hal’s relationship stronger in some sense. Despite being distant from each other and having no emotional connection towards the beginning of the show, Kate and Hal are never ones to cheat on their partners. It is not like such a decision is based on any moral judgment, but rather that neither of the two is interested in spending time and effort pursuing other lovers. However, the brother and sister, Austin and Cecilia, bring about a change in this briefly in the middle.

As the Ambassador, Kate has to work closely with the Foreign Secretary, Austin Dennison, and she admittedly gets attracted to the man in a very short time. However, Kate is a diplomat, meaning that she knows better than to get romantically involved with other high-ranking officials and also does not have much time to indulge in such frivolities. But her attraction does take a very real shape when Austin also expresses his interest in her, and the two share a vulnerable moment, ironically on the night of the Iranian diplomat dying in front of them. “The Diplomat” does not show in detail whether the two get intimate, and it might very well be that they do not, but at this moment, both their attractions towards each other are revealed and laid bare. Austin tries to address it later on too, but Kate clearly does not want to give the matter any thought, so she changes the subject. Although her physical attraction towards Austin Dennison remains till the end, it can be argued that Kate grows warmer and more accepting towards Hal after her moment with the man.

On the other side, Hal had successfully understood that his wife had found a new interest in Austin Dennison. Despite knowing that she will never pursue such an interest, Hal keeps suggesting that she should, if she is interested, trying to strike up some sort of agreement in their marriage. But like most things about Hal, there seems to be a clear ingenuity in this act of his as well, as the man does seem to show hints of jealousy. This is probably why he decides to take a very passive role in the duties of an ambassador’s partner and then gets intimate with Austin’s sister, Cecilia. Unlike Austin and Kate, Hal and Cecilia’s interaction is totally sexual, with no emotional attraction in it. This one-off interaction does not turn into an affair either, and Hal even tells Kate about what happened. Furthermore, Hal is even able to make use of this connection by getting Kate in touch with Margaret Roylin through Cecilia Dennison.


What Happens To The Other Couple—Stuart And Eidra?

“The Diplomat” also features a second romantic couple in CIA Station Chief Eidra Graham and Deputy Chief of Mission Stuart Heyford. Because of their professional roles, Stuart and Eidra have to keep their romance under wraps for the most part. They sneak some time off work to meet with each other or mostly spend time after work as they are seen to stay together. But despite their efforts to hide their relationship, some of the keen-eyed characters easily get to know of their romance, or at least successfully pretend to do so. This makes the two consider coming clean with their relationship and publicly accepting that they are dating each other. It is not like Stuart and Eidra’s professional responsibilities would be affected anymore if they openly date, and the fact that both are quite serious about the relationship makes it all the more certain. Especially Stuart had been quite expressive about his wish to start a family of sorts with Eidra, but he was also careful not to push the woman into any decision. When Eidra finally decides not to make their romance public right away and to instead wait till the HMS Courageous case is solved, Stuart does not seem to mind it either.

However, “The Diplomat” seems to stress on how maintaining one’s personal life is a very difficult task when their professional commitments are so demanding. Kate and Hal face this same issue throughout the series, but they seem to hang on to their marriage based on mutual understanding and a decision to support each other. The major reason for their relationship continuing is their ability to accept each other, but Stuart and Eidra’s romance does not have the same fate. In the end, it is revealed that Eidra had no idea about Kate possibly being the next Vice President. If Kate was indeed made the next Vice President, then it would mean that Stuart would also have to accompany her to Washington, D.C., and this sudden revelation angers Eidra. She cannot digest the fact that her boyfriend kept such major news a secret from her, especially since it would have a direct effect on their relationship. Eidra would always be based in London, or at least for the time being, while Stuart would be in Washington. In contrast, Stuart had been very expressive about how Eidra should not take up a new assignment in Cairo because then she would have to move to Egypt. Realizing the lopsided expectations that Stuart was seemingly having of her, Eidra breaks up their relationship, and “The Diplomat” ends with the two no longer a couple anymore.


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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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