“The Dogcatcher” uses a hopelessly circuitous argument as the frame of an episode that folds in romance, comedy, and a last-minute curveball.
This recap of the 2023 Netflix series The Diplomat Season 1 Episode 5, “The Dogcatcher”, contains spoilers.
You know that feeling when you wake up the morning after a big night? Maybe you’ve got a hangover. Maybe you slept with someone you shouldn’t have. Maybe you’d dreamed about a world in which a particular problem didn’t exist and woke up to remember that it’s your reality after all.
“The Dogcatcher” feels like that, both on a small scale, since Kate selfishly – her word – had sex with Hal despite the breakdown of their marriage being non-negotiable, and on a large scale, since the West might be on the cusp of war with Russia.
The Diplomat Season 1 Episode 5 Recap
In Episode 4, an Iranian ambassador died after sharing very sensitive information that Russian mercenaries were to blame for the attack on the HMS Courageous. The logical assumption is that he was poisoned by the Russians, probably before he even got to the Foreign Office, where he died on the Foreign Secretary’s floor.
Naturally, the handling of this situation needs to be incredibly sensitive. British Foreign Secretary Austin Dennison needs to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Miguel Banon at the former’s countryside estate, Chevening House, but there’s so much paranoia surrounding the ambassador’s death that even Dennison must be screened by Kate’s security to make sure he doesn’t poison anyone.
The initial meeting is a mess, delayed by security necessities, a ludicrous discussion about the suitability of Kate’s chair for her slender feminine frame, and a lot of toing and froing about whether the U.K. or the U.S. can be seen to publicly apologize to Iran.
What’s more is that they can’t accuse Russia, despite having credible evidence supporting their involvement, without first exonerating Iran, which will be difficult to do without a proper apology, which nobody is willing to give.
What does Trowbridge want to do about Russia?
There’s also the fact that Kate was present for the Iranian ambassador’s death, which nobody but Dennison is supposed to know but that she keeps accidentally implying when she gets too annoyed with the discussion, and the fact that Trowbridge, not initially present, wants to cut ties rather publicly with the U.S. and prove that American might is not always right.
And then Trowbridge himself turns up.
Trowbridge arrives in a convertible, looking and sounding ridiculous, and very much with a point to prove about a strong response to Russia, naturally with no real thought spared for the potential consequences of antagonizing a nuclear superpower.
Like the car, Trowbridge’s approach to politics is all about showing off. Everyone else present thinks he’s an embarrassing lunatic, but they all work for him, so what is there to do?
Does Hal cheat on Kate?
While Kate tries to brainstorm proportionate responses to Russia that’ll make the U.K.’s point clear without risking war, Hal spends the afternoon with Dennison’s sister, Cecilia, whom Kate initially assumes is his wife.
This is all part of Hal’s final effort to win Kate over by playing the “doting wife”. He deliberately doesn’t offer any advice on geopolitics whatsoever, even when the PM asks him. He goes for a picnic and a swim with Cecilia and gets high and crucially not hard when they skinny dip in a deeply unsanitary body of water.
As it turns out, Hal can’t get it up for anyone other than Kate, much as he’d perhaps like to. When he later reminds Kate of this – it’s clearly not the first she’s hearing of it, justifying her adamance that he doesn’t cheat back in Episode 2 – she thinks it’s preposterous that he believes this is a way to save their marriage. And she’s right, isn’t she?
So, it turns out Hal does cheat after all, just not in as comprehensive a way as he’d like.
The Diplomat Season 1 Episode 5 Ending Explained
The episode ends by throwing a bit of a curveball.
Outside, Hayford gets a call from Eidra sharing two crucial pieces of information. The first is that the Iranian ambassador died of a heart attack, and seemingly wasn’t fed Novichok by Russian assassins, the Foreign Secretary, or anyone else.
The second is that Kate has asked the Department of Defence for a list of potential targets to bomb in Russia.
It’s this list, to the surprise of everyone, that Kate presents to Trowbridge as his next step. He can pick a target, the Americans will bomb something, and his point to the British public will be proved.
Kate presumably has an ulterior motive here. But what is she planning?
You can stream 2023 series The Diplomat Season 1 Episode 5, “The Dogcatcher” exclusively on Netflix.