The Diplomat – Season 1 Episode 1 Recap & Review

Episode 1

Episode 1 of The Diplomat introduces us to the beautiful setting of the series – Barcelona. Initially, we see visuals of a party on a yacht. Amy Callaghan, a new server, is the lone witness in the murder of Jay Sutherland, a bar manager at the El Faro Restaurant.

Based on the evidence, it is being treated as an accident but we all know it will change soon. He is dead after a terrible jet ski accident. Laura Simmonds is the Consul for Catalonia, Aragon, and Andorra at the British Consulate General, Barcelona. Her team includes Carl and assistant Alba Ortiz, who speaks Spanish as well as she does English.

Inspector Castells at the La Comisira is their English-speaking liaison. Mr Colin Sutherland arrives to pick up his son’s body. The toxicology report shows the consumption of cocaine, which Colin rejects. Sam Henderson is the new Consul General and is in the city for the Valencia trade fair. He is backfilling Alan Mulgarry’s post. Colin asks about Jay’s watch when he gets his possessions but it is not there. Colin is surprised and repeatedly says it cannot be true. The parents got it on his 18th birthday. He always had it on. Castells assures him that he will double-check.

The report also says that Jay’s blood had alcohol three times over the drinking limit and also traces of cocaine. Colin reveals though that he never did hard drugs. Fabian Hartman owned the yacht that Jay was bartending at and he also owns the El Faro.

The police’s story checks out that Jay died in an accident. Sam wants the story to be that way and not change too much so that the case can be done with. Mariona Cabell is Sam’s lover and Fabian Hartmann’s lawyer. Her father too is a bigshot lawyer in town. Fabian owns the El Faro and various properties around Barcelona. She asks him to come to the “wedding venue”, which is a codeword for something secret.

Thomas is Laura’s boyfriend and he is posted in Warsaw currently. Colin questions the report and the missing watch. He inspects the jet ski and questions the narrative spun around by the police. According to them, the kill chord was still attached to Jay’s wrist. He fell off and the engine cuts. He panics and due to drugs can’t think rationally. Colin wants to speak to the girl whom jay invited but Castells doesn’t want him to interfere with witnesses. Castells asks cops to look for the ski’s master key also, indicating that the police aren’t completely convinced of that story.

Colin waits for El Faro to open where Jay was the bar manager. He meets Gemma from Merthyr Tydfil from Wales. She consoles him. She is with her friends. Bethany is getting married they are in Barcelona for a bachelorette party. Sam goes to El Faro to meet Mariona, which she says will be the “wedding venue.” He asks her to get away from Fabian.

Mariona is called to talk to Colin at the bar of El Faro. Colin is anxious. He wants to talk to Amy but Mariona is making excuses. He gets too animated and annoyed at the lack of answers and generic assurances from Mariona. As a result, security has a physical fight with him.

In other news, Alba informs the Consul that there have been four stabbings in as many days of British citizens in Barcelona. Sam asks Laura to send Colin home and silence him on questioning the investigation. Laura says they should not brush away legitimate questions and Sam agrees. But there is something more than what meets the eye given his eagerness to send away Colin. Someone tries to rob Gemma and her lover Kelly like they have other British citizens but they overpower him and steal cocaine from him.

Castells mentions the missing master key to Laura. It is often left in the glove compartment so that it can be removed at night to prevent theft. The jet ski with Jay didn’t have the key and it won’t move without it. Castells has ordered the return of the yacht from Formentera and a second autopsy, delaying the repatriation of the body. He asks not to tell Colin about the key.

Castells tell Laura about the knifing incidents, while Mariona picks up Fabian and updates him on the case. He laments that Castells is handling it as he is honest and dedicated.

Laura leaves the dinner early with her Consulate mates to secretly go over the transcript of the conversation between Amy and Castells. On El Faro’s website, she sees a photo of Fabian and Jay together. Castells goes to see Amy but she isn’t there. He checked at home and she isn’t there either. Fabian is vary of Castells digging deeper into the case.

Amy is actually at the airport waiting for her flight to Ibiza. She attempts to run away and escape the forthcoming scrutiny. It is revealed that she indeed has the watch. A flashback shows a wealthy guest sexually harassing Amy and Jay standing up for her. The guest threw a martini in Jay’s face. We see Amy going to the boarding gates as the episode ends.

The Episode Review

The Diplomat offers us a solid first episode. The tone and rhythm of episode 1 instantly differentiate the series. In this day and age, most shows go for a modern, chic look and that often ends up distancing them from the desired outcome.

One big downer was the sappy elevator music that is used as the background score. There is room for improvement in that department for sure. The substance of the investigation isn’t inherently exciting, limiting the scope of world-building. The series promises not to be very edge-of-the-seat modern thriller kind but sedate drama with occasional moments of heat. Let us see how layered the narrative is as we start to unpack The Diplomat!

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You can read our full season review for The Diplomat here!

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