The Ambassador (TV Series 1998– ) Poster

(1998– )

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Intriguing series about a British Ambassador juggling private and public issues in Ireland
Easterslic21 March 2007
This is an excellent series. Pauline Collins plays Harriet Smith, the Ambassador, who has to maneuver through difficult political obstacles as she represents the British government in Ireland. This aired originally in 1998, so the situation in Ireland is probably quite different. Since it was not a period drama it's not that educational about Irish/British relations. It's more about the difficulty of diplomacy in a general sense.

Smith has to deal with both public and personal issues, which sometimes overlap. She has children who don't understand why her job has to take precedence over their needs. And she has assistants who don't always have her best interests at heart.

Things are never black-and-white in her world, and Smith is seldom foolish enough to think they are (although she has her moments). Surprisingly, her integrity is an asset, rather than a handicap--but not in a schmaltzy way. She succeeds, not because she's more ethical than her male counterparts, but because she's ethical *and* smart *and* tough-minded.

But I emphasize that things are not clear cut and even when Smith is right, she can also be wrong.

One of the pleasures in this series is the presence of Denis Lawson, who plays her political attaché. Although he is her loyal ally, he often has his own agenda.

All in all, a very thoughtful and intriguing drama.
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Fine show that can be found on Hulu
pensman18 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Given Benghazi and all the political hoopla and side shows that have resulted, this series is almost prescient in what goes on behind the scenes. There really is no American counterpoint to this show that I can think off--perhaps The West Wing. Harriet Smith (Pauline Collins) has been brought to Ireland to serve after leaving her position in the Mideast following the death of her husband who died in a car bombing meant for his wife. Ireland is no easy assignment as relations between England and Ireland are taunt at best. John Stone (Denis Lawson) is her cultural attaché but really is an ex MI-5 spook who know how to find the facts that Ms. Smith needs to be effective. There are some subplots regarding her children but their stories are ancillary to major stories. The series deserves a view for the quality of the stories and how relevant their themes are even now. We tend to know little of what ambassadors do other than appear at lavish state affairs, so you might consider this as a bit educational show which isn't a bad thing. Owen Roe plays Irish minister Kevin Flaherty and his character is reminiscent of Sean Dooley, a role he played in the show Ballykissangel. And William Chubb plays Smith's second in command Stephen Tyler; a rather unctuous character who would rat out his best friend if it would boost his career. However, in series two he undergoes a change in character and becomes the loyal second. And the second season is a seriously marred in a subplot about the ambassador and her love affair with Michael Cochrane, a construction magnate who turns out to be . . . and that's why you watch. But the last episode shows how a series can all too easily jump the shark.
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Not worth watching IMHO
jjram-1642631 May 2018
My wife and I recently watched the first 3 episodes on Amazon Prime but were underwhelmed. While we found the premise very intriguing and the story lines promising, the ambassador did not come across as being anywhere near smart or savvy enough to have been appointed to a sensitive ambassadorial position, in Ireland or especially in her previous posting, Lebanon (where her husband died in a car bomb meant for her). We couldn't decide whether the actress playing the ambassador was miscast or the scripts made her seem stupid, but whichever it was we won't be watching any more episodes.
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