The Diplomat ending explained: Who ordered the attack on the British warship?

The Diplomat. (L to R) Keri Russell as Kate Wyler, Ato Essandoh as Stuart Heyford in episode 105 of The Diplomat. Cr. Alex Bailey/Netflix © 2023
The Diplomat. (L to R) Keri Russell as Kate Wyler, Ato Essandoh as Stuart Heyford in episode 105 of The Diplomat. Cr. Alex Bailey/Netflix © 2023 /

Emmy-nominated actress Keri Russell stars in the new political thriller series The Diplomat, now streaming on Netflix. Russell plays Kate Wyler, an American ambassador juggling an international crisis in a high-profile job she’s not exactly the best suited for, and every decision she makes could have catastrophic implications for her political career and her marriage.

Spoilers ahead for The Diplomat ending

Given the tense, fast-paced storyline throughout the eight-episode season, you might wonder how it all ends or potentially need clarification on a few last-minute twists. We can help you make sense of some of the political strategizing and that crazy climax. Keep reading to find out what happens at the end of The Diplomat.

The Diplomat ending explained: Who ordered the attack on the British warship?

The season finale reveals that Prime Minister Nicol Trowbridge is the likely culprit behind the initial attack that started the entire international incident. In Paris, Kate learns the plan to arrest Lenkov in France has been changed, and a kill order has been issued. The only person who would benefit from killing Lenkov is the person who hired him, preventing Lenkov from revealing who did it, so all signs point to Trowbridge.

Why would Trowbridge attack one of his own country’s warships? Throughout the first season, his advisor, Margaret “Maggie” Roylin, has been helping him make moves to create a strong, unified front in the United Kingdom. Trowbridge is power-hungry and cares deeply about creating a memorable legacy.

He is terrified of being perceived as weak. By fingering a country like Russia or Iran for the attack, Trowbridge looks like a capable leader ready to go to war to avenge his people. He sees wartime unity as a way to keep Scotland in line during the upcoming Scottish referendum, in which Scotland decides whether or not to become an independent country (as Maggie explains in an earlier episode, if Scotland broke off, then several other countries would likely follow suit and Trowbridge would become known as the PM who lost the kingdom).

Trowbridge being behind everything also explains why he was so enthusiastic to buck diplomacy and bomb something and why Eidra could not figure out which person in Russia’s chain of command ordered the attack. There is also a good chance that Trowbridge’s shady former advisor, Maggie Roylin, is complicit in all of this.

The Diplomat ending explained: Who set the car bomb in Merritt Grove’s vehicle?

The end of The Diplomat season 1 ends with an explosion just like it began, but this time the blast comes from a bomb planted in Tory MP Merrit Grove’s car. The explosion goes off at the same time both Stuart and Hal are trying to talk to Grove, leaving all three men as potential victims of the bomb.

But who would put the car bomb in Grove’s car and why? That’s a mystery that I’m assuming will unfold in the show’s second season. Is Trowbridge behind this, too? Or Maggie Roylin?

My theory is that Grove might have known something about Trowbridge and Maggie’s duplicity, and after listening to Hal’s impassioned speech on diplomacy at Chatham House and believing him to be a direct line to the White House, Grove felt talking to him would be the best way to convey that information.

It would explain why Grove was annoyed when he learned Stuart would meet him instead of Hal. Kate also tipped Maggie off to the planned meeting between Grove and Hal via her phone call earlier, which makes her a suspect since she was one of the few people who knew it was happening.

The Diplomat ending explained: Are Stuart and Hal alive?

I think it’s safe to assume that Merritt Grove is dead, but Stuart and Hal’s lives are very much hanging in the balance.

At the end of The Diplomat episode 8, authorities contact Kate to tell her what happened to her husband. Still, we don’t hear anything they say, so it’s impossible to determine precisely what happened. Kate tears up, but that could be from finding out Hal is in the hospital, not that he’s dead. In other words, we won’t know if Stuart and Hal are alive until season 2.

The Diplomat ending explained: Does Kate become Vice President?

Kate appears to be more open to becoming the Vice President by the end of the season than she was at the start, but no official decisions are made in the first season. I’m guessing that’s another plotline we’ll see resolved in season 2.

What did you think about how The Diplomat ended? What are your most pressing questions for season 2? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Best Netflix shows coming in 2023. dark. Next