The Diplomat ending explained: Everything that happened in the finale of the Netflix thriller

Has anyone survived that second explosion?

Keri Russell as Kate Wyler in episode 108 of The Diplomat
(Image credit: Alex Bailey/Netflix/Future)

The series ended with a classic cliff hanger ending, but what does that mean for the characters of The Diplomat?

The start of The Diplomat saw US diplomat Kate Wyler played by Keri Russell, reluctantly take the role of ambassador to the UK. She is left navigating the aftermath of an attack on British aircraft carrier, the HMS Courageous, that left a number of British servicemen dead. With suspicions that Iran was behind the attack, finding the culprit becomes her mission - often hindered by Prime Minister Nicol, and the team assigned to helping her. With her marriage failing, Kate has a lot to deal with, and when a second explosion hits in the season finale, the stakes are higher than ever. But who was behind it, and what does that mean for the future of the series? All will be explained.

The Diplomat filmed in many recognisable locations, and we reveal where they can be found. The series has left viewers desperate for more thrilling political action, and there have been some hints dropped about The Diplomat season 2.

The Diplomat ending explained

The Diplomat season finale begins with Kate worrying about how she perceives to have failed in the role of US ambassador and possible future failures.

Prime Minister Nicol Trowbridge is angry that Kate's been unable to persuade President Rayburn to get on board with the Libya Plan. The plan would see Britain attack the Russian Lenkov Group in Libya, as a response to Russia's alleged masterminding of the HMS Courageous bombing. Instead, British Special Forces plan to arrest Roman Lenkov in France, where he has a secret family in Cap d’Antibes. A previously apoplectic Trowbridge, eventually gets on board with plan B. 

Kate flies to Paris, accompanied by US Secretary of State Miguel Ganon, British Foreign Secretary Austin Dennison, and Deputy Chief of Mission Stuart Heyford. Kate needs to ask permission from French minister Brielle Fournier, to utilise British Special Forces during the planned Lenkov arrest. Kate's marital issues are still bubbling away in the background - she offered for husband Hal Wyler to join her on the Paris trip, but he refuses, instead choosing to take on a speech at Chatham House that should've been delivered by Kate.

Hal's speech is a huge success, and an obvious ploy to get his hands on the probably upcoming secretary of state role. Hal meets MP Merritt Grove at Chatham House, who is keen for the pair to meet for dinner the same evening. Hal turns down the offer, instead offering to set up a meeting between Grove and White House Chief of Staff Billie Appiah. On hearing about Hal's shenanigans at Chatham House, a furious Kate has her suspicions confirmed that Hal is up to something, and is even more sure in her convictions their marriage must end. 

Rufus Sewell as Hal Wyler in episode 108 of The Diplomat

(Image credit: Netflix)

Kate insists Hal shuts down the meeting between Grove and Appiah, confiding her woes to Dennison. Caught between her husband's treachery and feelings she should make attempts to make the marriage work, Dennison provides comforting words to the conflicted diplomat. 

Elsewhere, Stuart and Ronnie also try and sort out the mess Hal is making, telling him the meeting with Grove can go ahead, while warning against using his position to leverage access to the White House. This only serves to make Hal exceedingly angry. 

Back in Paris, Kate heads to the Louvre in her attempt to convince Fournier to let the British Special Forces be a part of the Lenkov arrest. He agrees, but shocks Kate with the revelation that Trowbridge has no intention of arresting Lenkov - he intends to have him assassinated. Making a hasty retreat from the party, Kate initially believes Dennison knows about Trowbridge's real plan but has kept this information from her. 

However, after a confrontation with Dennison, Kate believes that he is as suitably shocked at the revelation as she is. Concerned they could be bugged, she takes Dennison's phone and hands it to their bodyguard, playing loud music instead, to avoid anything further they say being overheard. The penny drops that it must've been Trowbridge who hired Lenkov in the first place, accounting for why he now wants him dead.

David Gyasi as Austin Dennison, Keri Russell as Kate Wyler in episode 108 of The Diplomat.

(Image credit: Netflix)

The pair are too late in piecing the puzzle together, as the plan is already underway. Stuart and Ronnie arrive at a restaurant to meet with Grove. Hal is also on his way to the restaurant to crash the meeting, and calls Stuart wanting some time alone with Grove when he gets there. Stuart tells Ronnie to go ahead into the meeting, while he finishes up his call with Hal. Once Grove learns from Ronnie that Hal isn’t the person he’s meeting, he storms from the restaurant. 

Hal arrives just as Grove reaches his car and opens the door. The opening door triggers an explosion, with Grove, Hal, Stuart and Ronnie all caught in the blast. In Paris, Kate and Dennison hear of the explosion, with a terrified Kate sure to be wondering if her husband is alive. 

Is Hal dead?

Although the cliff hanger ending didn't reveal Hal's fate, many are assuming he survives the blast.

In an interview with Netflix Tudum, Dennison actor David Gyasi appeared to hint that a large part of the show is the relationship dynamic between Kate and Hal, which wouldn't be the same if Hal dies. He said "I’m just excited to see what that relationship [becomes]. They’re so opposite to one another, and yet, when you scratch the surface, [you see] what drives them [and they’re] probably more connected to one another than a lot of other characters. I think they’re both people that understand that they’ve been gifted these positions of authority and power."

Others have theorised that Kate's shock and tearful face when she's told of her husband's fate, come from being told he's alive and actually in hospital, rather than dead. David Gyasi concluded "I hope we all survive. What can I say? I mean, I loved the dramatic turn. And I just have to hope a) that there’ll be a second season, and b) that everyone will be OK." 

Keri Russell as Kate Wyler in episode 108 of The Diplomat.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Who was behind the second explosion?

This person behind the second explosion remains unclear. 

As Trowbridge had hired Lenkov to carry out the HMS Courageous explosion, many have assumed he is once again covering his tracks and the one responsible. It is possible Grove might have found out something about Trowbridge, and was on the lookout for somebody trustworthy to impart the information to. 

Meeting Hal at Chatham house and apparently believing he had strong links with the White House, could be the reason Grove was set on meeting with Hal at the restaurant the night of the explosion, and Hal only. He could have been planning to convey intel about Trowbridge to Hal, believing it would stop him - this could have resulted in Trowbridge finding out, and having the bomb in Grove's car planted.  

Keri Russell as Kate Wyler, Rufus Sewell as Hal Wyler in episode 101 of The Diplomat

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Diplomat ending: Fan reaction

Most of the fan reaction surrounding The Diplomat, focuses on dissatisfaction with the ending, and a need for season 2.

One viewer wrote on Twitter "What the actual ****?!? The Diplomat on Netflix was really good! Even though politics was never a strong suit of mine, it kept me invested all throughout. Please tell me they're working on a Part 2 or a 2nd season because there is no way they're ending it with that cliffhanger!"

Another added "How are they ending The Diplomat like this? Is Mr. Wyler dead or not? So the prime minister is the one who hired the kill on the UK soldiers? I’m not understanding. There better be a season 2 coming out and fast too." Quick to agree, another added "The Diplomat Season 2.  Well, after that Season 1 ending there MUST be a second season!  Too many loose ends to not bring it back." 

Another viewer didn't hold back in their review of the show and its ending, writing on Twitter "THE DIPLOMAT on Netflix is a 3/10. Other than the lady Ambassador who eats with her unwashed hands, does not like to shower/bathe, prefers to wear black because it does not show dirt, there's nothing else memorable in it. Its ending is very weak too, ends like a short film." 

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Lucy Wigley
Parenting writer - contributing

Lucy is a mum-of-two, multi-award nominated writer and blogger with six years’ of experience writing about parenting, family life, and TV. Lucy has contributed content to PopSugar and In the last three years, she has transformed her passion for streaming countless hours of television into specialising in entertainment writing. There is now nothing she loves more than watching the best shows on television and sharing why you - and your kids - should watch them.