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Harriet Smith (Pauline Collins), the new British ambassador to Ireland, desperately wants to make her mark in this historically difficult posting and try to put the tragic murder of her husband behind her. Harriet wants to be just and fair in her dealings with the Irish government and to try to make the relationship between the two governments less adversarial in nature. However, the situation is made considerably worse for her and her trusted assistant, John Stone (Denis Lawson), by her son Nate who refuses to accept the consequences of her new ambassadorial role and still blames her for his fathers death. Written by
Mark Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Intriguing series about a British Ambassador juggling private and public issues in Ireland
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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