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Like The Diplomat? Here are 10 TV shows just like it

If you’re into political intrigue, drama, and intense twists and turns, you probably fell in love with The Diplomat on Netflix. In the political thriller, Keri Russell stars as Kate Wyler, a talented diplomat who has historically worked in war-torn areas. But when she’s called upon to serve as the U.S. ambassador to the U.K. to help navigate a potential international crisis, she finds it’s a whole new ballgame. It doesn’t help that her marriage is in trouble, and that her husband, a ruthless and manipulative diplomat himself who has rubbed others the wrong way, is along for the ride.

If you were sad once you pushed play on that final episode of The Diplomat, knowing it was all coming to an end, don’t fret. You can check out these 10 shows that are just like it.

Bodyguard (2018)

An agent standing in front of a woman, his earpiece in in a scene from Bodyguard.
Sophie Mutevelian / World Productions / Netflix

Also set in England, Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden stars as PS David Budd, a war veteran who, while struggling with PTSD after serving, is working as Principal Protection Officer at Protection Command. His marriage is in shambles and he has a temper he sometimes can’t control, along with a deep mistrust of politicians. So, when he is tasked with protecting MP Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes), whose political leanings he disagrees with, David tries his best to do his job without letting his personal feelings get in the way.

David is fiercely dedicated to his job and caught in the middle of a bombing and potential terrorist threat. He also needs to protect someone with his life and avoid accusations that he had anything to do with the nefarious acts. Bodyguard is a quick six-episode watch and fans of The Diplomat will love the political intrigue.

Stream Bodyguard on Netflix.

House of Cards (2013-2018)

Robin Wright sitting behind a presidential desk in a scene from House of Cards on Netflix.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The idea of a husband and wife both working in politics, both equally intelligent and ambitious, is also a key focus in House of Cards. In both cases, the marriages are unique in that the pair aren’t necessarily in love, but rather rely on one another in a sort of marital arrangement of convenience — and, yes, some type of twisted love. However, while Kate is morally sound and truly cares about helping people and doing the right thing, it turns out that Claire Underwood was just as heartless and ruthless as her husband. In both cases, the women were tired of living in the shadow of their husbands and believed they could do things a better way.

Nonetheless, you’ll find a lot of the same type of political discourse, corruption, and underhanded tactics througout House of Cards as you would in The Diplomat.

Stream House of Cards on Netflix.

The West Wing (1999-2006)

The West Wing on HBO Max shows the president standing at a podium, addressing the press.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

A serial political drama, The West Wing remains one of the most iconic shows in this genre and has influenced others that have come since. It’s set in the White House and features an ensemble cast of characters playing various roles within the government. From congressmen to the chief of staff and the president, there are plenty of hands involved in every issue, just as Kate experiences in her job on The Diplomat.

For fans who love politics, political jargon, and watching things play out in real time, from the perspectives of different people and with different angles, The West Wing is just what you’re looking for. The similarities between the two shows are no surprise given that The Diplomat’s creator, Debora Cahn, was previously a writer and producer on The West Wing.

Stream The West Wing on Max.

Scandal (2012-2018)

Kerry Washington in a red power suit in Scandal.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

A complicated romance is at the center of Scandal, like it is on The Diplomat. But in Scandal, it’s about infidelity, a rigged election, and a president who is in love with the woman tasked with being the government’s “fixer.” Nonetheless, both shows feature powerful female political players at the center of the story.

Both Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and Kate are simultaneously confident in their abilities ,but also always second-guessing themselves. For Olivia, it’s her powerful and critical father who shatters her ego while with Kate, it’s her husband who, presumably unintentionally, makes her overthink every decision. Like The Diplomat, the series is mostly set in the world of politics, complete with drama, corruption, and murder.

Stream Scandal on Hulu.

The Good Wife (2009-2016)

A woman sits behind her desk looking up at a man speaking to her in a scene from The Good Wife.
Jeff Neumann / CBS

Another series with a powerful woman at the helm, The Good Wife is about Alicia (Julianna Margulies), a former lawyer who goes back to practicing law after she and her husband are embarrassed by his public sex and political corruption scandal. Like Kate, Alicia has to deal with the mistakes her husband has made, while also picking up the slack and becoming more than just the wife in the background.

Alicia’s choice to take on a demanding job is to provide for her children and deal with her husband being jailed. Nonetheless, the two women find themselves in similar situations, trying to rise above what their partners have done.

Stream The Good Wife on Paramount+.

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.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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 involve 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.

Editors' Recommendations

Christine Persaud
Christine has decades of experience in trade and consumer journalism. While she started her career writing exclusively about…
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