And the lavish breakfasts in the ambassador’s residence? “I don’t eat breakfast,” Emanuel said.
What the show gets right
Multiple ambassadors said the relationship between Kate and her No. 2 in the embassy, the deputy chief of mission, was accurate — along with the show’s use of the acronym D.C.M.
Emanuel’s office is next to that of his deputy chief, Raymond Greene, he said, so they pop in and out all day long. “Ray is often the first phone call or text at 6 a.m. and, somewhere around 9 p.m., also the last,” Emanuel said. “And also 1,000 times between.”
Here’s what else the show gets right:
A sprawling staff managing everything: “You really don’t have control of your life,” Emanuel said. “There’s parts of your life that gets cut up, chopped up, and everybody has a piece of it, and all of us are Type A personalities that like control.”
The packed suitcase: “I laughed out loud during the scene where Ambassador Wyler freaked out after her household staff packed her suitcase, everything neat and tightly folded,” Buangan said. “When my household staff packed my suitcase for my first trip up country, I freaked out, too. I’m not used to others touching my things.”
The gender dynamics: “Women leaders who watch and learn before making changes, as opposed to the male ‘marking their territory’ approach,” Roberta Jacobson, a former U.S. ambassador to Mexico, said. “She’s smart, funny, pushes back on some of the nonsense and is a fast learner — traits essential for any ambassador and perhaps more so for a woman.”
Some said they hoped the show would be good marketing for attracting recruits.
“‘Top Gun’ drove enlistments and interest in military aviation in the ’80s,” Feeley said. “I’m hopeful that ‘The Diplomat’ drives interest in foreign affairs and diplomacy despite its evident Hollywood veneer.”
Keith Bradsher, Steven Erlanger, Natalie Kitroeff, David Pierson and Dionne Searcey contributed reporting.