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Like The Diplomat? Here are 5 TV shows just like it

Keri Russell returns to the small screen in The Diplomat, a new political thriller on Netflix that has knocked Love is Blind off its perch as the current No. 1 series on the streaming service. With just eight episodes, Russell stars as Kaye Wyler, a newly appointed U.S. ambassador to the U.K. navigating a potential international crisis while also dealing with her own fractured personal life.

Once you have blazed through the eight episodes, you might be looking for something else to watch with similar pacing, subject matter, and political intrigue. We have you covered with a handful of options worth considering.

The Americans (2013-2018)

Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys stand in a kitchen in The Americans.
F/X

If you’re looking for more of Russell, check out The Americans, a period spy drama that aired for six seasons on FX. She stars as Elizabeth, a Soviet KGB intelligence officer who poses as a suburban wife and mother alongside fellow agent Philip (Matthew Rhys) who is posing as her husband. While deep undercover, the couple navigates the conflict between the Washington FBI office and the KGB Rezidentura, providing a unique perspective from both sides.

Set during the Cold War, The Americans covers the time period following Ronald Reagan’s inauguration and ends prior to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which was signed by the U.S. and Soviet Union in 1987. The series was largely praised as being one of the best of the 2010s, lauded for its writing, characters, and acting, including Russell’s nuanced performance as a dedicated communist supporter.

Stream The Americans on Hulu

The Night Agent (2023)

Peter holding down Colin, Agent Monks holding a gun to his, Maddie and Chelsea in the background of a shipping yard in a scene from The Night Agent.
Dan Power / Netflix

Netflix’s latest smash hit, The Night Agent, is one of the most popular shows on Netflix right now. Some believe that The Diplomat could pull in comparable numbers to the political thriller series. Indeed, the two shows share similarities. They both cover the intricate relationship between politicians and the FBI. In The Night Agent, Peter Sutherland (Gabriel Basso) is a young agent tasked with the mundane job of sitting in a windowless room, manning a single phone dedicated to secret night agents. If they are ever in trouble, they call this number. It never rings, but when it finally does, Peter, who works partly for the FBI and partly for the White House, becomes embroiled in a complicated plot that involves murder, assassins, a train bombing, and a potential mole in the White House.

The Night Agent is more surface action and thrills while The Diplomat is fueled by highly intelligent and nuanced political dialogue. But fans of the latter will appreciate the escapism and twists and turns in The Night Agent along with the similar political slant. It’s much faster-paced, but the series draws you in with each of the 10 episodes.

Stream The Night Agent on Netflix. 

Designated Survivor (2016-2019)

Kiefer Sutherland as Thomas Kirkman standing in his office with his arms folded in a scene from Designated Survivor.

In The Diplomat, Kate is thrust into a new, high-ranking position, struggling to navigate the drastic changes in her life and job. What’s more, it’s also revealed that she has been short-listed to take over as vice president due to a pending scandal. Something similar happens to Tom Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland) in Designated Survivor. He’s the low-ranking U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development who is chosen as the designated survivor during the State of the Union address. This position is designed to ensure that someone from the current administration is left in a safe, underground location in the event of a catastrophe. Of course, no one ever suspects something will go wrong. But it does. A bomb goes off killing everyone in the administration, except Tom. Suddenly, the often-overlooked politician becomes the new U.S. president.

Like Kate, Tom at first struggles with Imposter Syndrome, wondering if he’s truly qualified. But he also recognizes the tremendous opportunity to finally make important changes. Like Kate, Tom truly cares about people and doing work that will help, not fit a political agenda. There’s also the mystery surrounding what and who caused the attack in the first place. Designated Survivor aired on ABC for two seasons and was saved by Netflix for a third after its cancellation.

Stream Designated Survivor on Netflix.

Madam Secretary (2014-2019)

Tea Leoni in Madam Secretary leaning over her desk, the American flag in the background.
Mark Schafer / CBS

Another female-led series, Tea Leoni stars in Madam Secretary as Elizabeth “Bess” Adams McCord, Secretary of State who also worked previously as a CIA analyst. Like Kate, she is tasked with working on international diplomacy. Also similarly, she has a complicated relationship with her equally intelligent and talented husband Henry (Tim Daly), a former Marine. When Bess is eventually named U.S. President, he becomes First Gentleman, in a position similar to Kate’s husband Hal (Rufus Sewell) who now must sit on the sidelines.

Madam Secretary is about navigating the complicated world of politics and dealing with international threats, and it’s the perfect one to watch after The Diplomat. Originally airing on CBS, the show managed to survive for six seasons before finally ending in 2019.

Stream Madam Secretary on Netflix or stream Madam Secretary on Paramount+.

Homeland (2011-2020)

Carrie and Saul walking down the street in a scene from Homeland.

Almost universally praised, Homeland is an espionage thriller with a female protagonist who, like Kate, has a deep understanding of dealing with war-torn countries and diplomatic relations. Carrie (Claire Danes), however, is a CIA officer. Her personal struggles, meanwhile, don’t deal with a husband but rather her bipolar disorder.

Through the series, Carrie navigates the intricate relationships between the U.S. and other countries. Her main role is to help thwart terrorist attacks and her unique intuition and understanding of others given the time she has spent in areas like Kabul (similar to Kate) make her uniquely qualified for the job. But just like Kate, sometimes, Carrie gets in her own way. Debora Cahn, creator of The Diplomat, previously worked on Homeland, so it’s no surprise the two shows would likely appeal to the same audiences.

Stream Homeland on Hulu.

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Christine Persaud
Christine is a professional editor and writer with 18 years of experience in trade and consumer journalism. While she started…
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