‘The Diplomat’ Ending, Explained: What Happens To Hal & Nicol Trowbridge? What To Expect In Season 2?


“The Diplomat,” a political drama series very heavy on dialogue and slim on action scenes, is definitely an unusual watch on Netflix, and in a fairly positive way too. The show presents Kate Wyler, who is appointed as the new American Ambassador to the UK, amidst a situation of international tension as a British warship has been bombed by some unknown perpetrators. Unlike most other shows with such a premise, “The Diplomat” is centered on the backroom decisions and meetings of officials to deal with the situation rather than on any military action or warfare. Nonetheless, “The Diplomat” is also not too layered or politically complex either, making it a fun watch for both fans of the genre and casual viewers as well.

Spoilers Ahead

‘The Diplomat’ Plot Summary: What Is The Series About?

Kate Wyler is an American diplomat preparing for her next duty in Kabul, Afghanistan, a place where she has seemingly worked for quite some time earlier. Her husband, Hal Wyler, has served as the US Ambassador to various countries before, and the couple imagines their immediate future to remain the same. However, things take a swift turn when a specific story breaks out all over the media and on their personal phones. A British aircraft carrier, HMS Courageous, had just been attacked with a devastating bomb blast at sea off the coast of Iran, and the perpetrators of this incident are unknown. With the confirmed deaths of 25 Royal Navy personnel already, the US government decided to stand in support of the UK authorities, and as a gesture of this support, they decided to send a new Ambassador to the country. Kate is appointed to this new role by the White House Chief of Staff, Billie Appiah, and the President of the United States, William Rayburn, themselves. Along with Kate’s illustrious past of working as a diplomat overseas, the government also bestows its trust in her for a particular reason. Both the American and British governments believe Iran to be responsible for the bombings, and Kate had earlier worked with the Iranian government, too, meaning that she was well-suited to deal with them if need be.

Despite not being very keen on working as a foreign ambassador, a role that places her in the public eye more than she wants, Kate goes over to London along with Hal. She makes acquaintance with the Deputy Chief of Mission, Stuart Heyford, and then with the British Prime Minister himself, Nicol Trowbridge. While most of the higher authorities, especially in the USA, seem to be in Kate’s favor, the Secretary of State, Miguel Ganon, seems dissatisfied with the woman’s quick acceptance and proximity with PM Trowbridge. Nonetheless, Kate tries to figure out more about the bomb attack and understand the vulnerable political situation in the UK, along with her team and the CIA Station Chief, Eidra Graham. But Kate Wyler is still not aware of the fact that the USA government has plans to place her in an even higher role after the matter in England is over. With the current Vice President about to be fired, the President and the White House Chief of Staff both want Kate to become the new Vice President of the United States.

Why Is Iran Believed To Be The One To Have Bombed The Ship?

Right after the bombing aboard the HMS Courageous, the act is considered to be that of Iran by both the USA and UK. The geographic location of the warship when it was bombed, does come into consideration since the incident took place off the coast of Iran. However, it was believed that a more political reason was behind it, for the USA had recently taken control of an Iranian oil tanker. Therefore, it was thought that the country was demanding its oil back and that by attacking the UK, it wanted to send a message to one of the UK’s biggest allies, the USA. Since the two countries were at the thickest of their friendly ties, always promising to stand by each other, this theory of sending a message to President Rayburn through this terrorist act does seem to make sense. As the CIA started its investigation into the matter, it was also learned that the warship had not been at the exact location for very long, meaning that whoever had carried out the attack did not get much time to plan it before. This further makes the Iranians seem suspicious because of their proximity to the place of the attack.

To make matters even worse, satellite images of a speedboat in the vicinity of the warship are discovered. This boat had also been last seen very close to a small Iranian village, which ascertains that the boat was indeed Iranian. The characters suspect that this boat had been used to approach HMS Courageous and then plant a bomb on it, which had been done by the Iranian government. However, as an ambassador, Kate knows better than to jump to any conclusions, and she remains wary of the possibility that Iran was just being framed by some other country.

Meanwhile, the diplomatic situation worsened when the POTUS very publicly said that he would launch an attack on Iran if they were found guilty of the crime. Although British Prime Minister Nicol Trowbridge is initially not as careless, he too publicly says a similar thing when urged by the relative of one of the victims of the attack. This further gives rise to islamophobia in the UK, resulting in the killing of an Iranian family as well. The Iranian government, or at least some members of it, seem to know more about the incident, too, possibly because it took place so close to their coastline. They keep claiming their innocence in the matter, and then the Iranian Ambassador in the UK finally agrees to a meeting with the British Foreign Secretary, Austin Dennison, and Kate is also secretly allowed in at the meeting. The Iranian diplomat now reveals that the Russians, or a particular Russian man by the name of Roman Lenkov, orchestrated the attack on the warship. The delegate fears for his safety, as Iran and Russia are diplomatic allies, and is also mysteriously killed right in the middle of the meeting. This murder was seemingly committed by the Russians, as they do not want their involvement in the attack known, and Kate Wyler and her team now start looking for a Russian connection.

What Do The Russians Reveal?

Just like with the Iranian lead, the information revealed about Russian involvement also seems quite convincing at first. The man named by the Iranian Ambassador is actually a Russian mercenary called Roman Lenkov, and he is quite well known by all governments as a sort of shadow mercenary working for the Kremlin. This means that although Lenkov is supposed to run a private militia, the man actually works closely with the Russian government. This discovery angers Nicol Trowbridge to the extent that he wants to launch a direct attack on the country, even asking for a list of safe places in Russia to bomb. While most of his team is heavily against any such step, as this would immediately start a war between the two countries, Kate realizes that the Prime Minister is rather adamant about taking some action that would bring a sense of justice to the citizens. Trowbridge does not mind reacting to violence with violence of his own, but Kate and the other diplomats need to stay cautious of the situation.

A meeting is finally set up between Kate and the Russian Ambassador to the UK as well, and a great confrontation is expected at this meeting. It is only Kate who is allowed into the room, and what she experiences is rather bizarre. While the Russian Ambassador loudly reprimands the British government for its decision to bomb its territory, the man hands Kate a note with very clear instructions to sneak out of the building and go to a specific wine shop. Kate follows and is secretly met with another Russian woman, who tells her that Roman Lenkov will be present at a certain place in France on a specific date a few days later. It now becomes clear to Kate that the Russians are actually handing out Lenkov to the USA and UK alliance, and that means only one thing—that the Russians are confident that they were not involved in the bombing of HMS Courageous.

While Prime Minister Trowbridge had initially planned to attack Lenkov’s unlawful military operations in Libya as a means of retaliation, the Russian government’s decision to give up the mercenary’s location now brings about another change in his plans. As much as the PM is disgruntled by this change, the US and UK governments now decide to plan an operation in the French village where Lenkov is to arrive and arrest him there. The main motivation behind such an operation is to find out why Lenkov orchestrated the attack and if he worked on anybody else’s order.

‘The Diplomat’ Ending Explained: Why Did Nicol Trowbridge Bomb The British Warship?

In order to get this secretive mission on French soil sanctioned, Kate and Foreign Secretary Dennison go over to meet with the French official, Fournier. During their first meeting, Fournier is very much against the idea of letting a joint operation of the US and the UK arrest a Russian man from her country. The fact that the Russian government itself had led Kate and her team towards Lenkov cannot be revealed due to the secretive manner in which the revelation had been made and also because there is no proof of this either. Kate and Dennison try to persuade Fournier that they are of the opinion that the Russian government would not be cross at such an arrest, but Fournier refuses to take the risk of turning the Russians against France. However, later in the evening, Kate personally meets with Fournier during a public event, and now the French official grants permission to carry out the mission. Although Kate is relieved by this, what Fournier says next shocks her tremendously and makes her realize that she is not the one in control. Fournier mentions that she has been briefed by the higher authorities that this joint mission is planned for assassinating Lenkov and not arresting him. This is news to Kate and then to Dennison, too, as they both knew an arrest and extraction mission for Lenkov was being planned.

They quickly realize that the only reason anybody would want to kill Lenkov would be if they had hired the Russian mercenary to carry out the attack on the warship. The fact that this decision to kill instead of arrest had been made by the higher authorities makes the situation turn out to be the worst for Kate and her allies—Prime Minister Nicol Trowbridge was himself involved in the bombing. This was the reason why he was trying to kill Lenkov so that the Russians could never reveal that it was Trowbridge who had hired him. Although “The Diplomat” ends without giving any concrete answer to this, it is most definitely suggested that Trowbridge was the one to have orchestrated the attack.

There are also suggested reasons for the PM to stage an attack on his own country, particularly through the conversations with his close ally, the Tory politician Margaret Roylin. After having departed from the European Union, the UK was facing demands for similar splits within its own regions. There was the possibility of a Scottish Referendum being held soon, in which it would be decided whether Scotland wished to remain under the UK or wanted to be a country of its own, and the current scenario was such that Roylin was confident that Scotland would choose to exit the UK. She was also sure that such a decision would be followed by other governments, like Northern Ireland and Wales, wanting to split from the UK. Therefore, the United Kingdom would be truly broken, and the Prime Minister, Trowbridge, would be the one most blamed for it. In order to avoid such a scenario, Nicol Trowbridge was desperate to reinstate a feeling of unity among his citizens, and to him, rallying the people against some made-up enemy seemed like the best solution. This was most probably the reason why he staged a false bombing aboard the Royal Navy aircraft carrier, and he did not mind killing 40 servicemen in the process, for he was more interested in creating a public image for himself as a strong Winston Churchill-like Prime Minister of the UK.

Is Hal Dead?  What To Expect In ‘The Diplomat’ Season 2?

The manner in which “The Diplomat” ends its season confirms that a second season will surely come out unless Netflix decides against it, which seems unlikely. Around the same time that Kate Wyler and Austin Dennison make this scandalous discovery, the former’s husband, Hal, is also very close to learning more about it. As Kate had gone to Paris for the urgent meeting, Hal had taken her place for a speech at Chatham House. After this successful speech, Hal had been approached by a senior Tory politician named Merritt Grove, who had wanted to speak with any high-ranking American official about an urgent matter. Hal had agreed to listen to Grove, and that night he made his way to meet the MP at a restaurant. But Kate was against any such development, and so she sent her deputy, Stuart Heyford, to stop the meeting. In one of the very last scenes in “The Diplomat,” both Heyford and Hal walk towards Grove on the street while the senior politician readies to drive away in his car. As soon as Grove opens the door to his car, though, there is a horrible explosion that surely kills the politician and probably injures Hal and Heyford as well.

This bomb was also seemingly fitted into Grove’s car by Trowbridge’s men, and the seemingly obvious reason is that Grove must have found a link between the PM and the bomb attack on the warship. This was also the reason why Grove wanted to meet with Hal, believing he was the US Ambassador, for he wanted to inform the Americans about Trowbridge’s role in the terrorist attack. Nonetheless, none of this is confirmed, and “The Diplomat” ends with its biggest question still mostly unanswered. A further 2nd season will surely answer how Trowbridge orchestrated the attack and also reveal whether Hal and Hayford survived the car bomb in the end, as well as whether Kate Wyler agrees to be the next US Vice President.

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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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