Political thriller, drama
House of Cards is a political thriller which sets the tone immediately in a charged opening scene: politician Frank Underwood is a man who goes straight for his goal and lets nothing stand in his way. His wife Claire, a career woman, is also as tough as nails, although her emotions sometimes get the better of her... Will the Underwoods make it to the Oval Office? They’re certainly poised for it.
It’s not just the plot of this political drama that’s so compelling; the series also makes some striking departures from conventional TV. For instance, the protagonist often addresses the viewer directly, which is quite a shock the first time it happens. Text messages, YouTube clips, and games also have an important role in the story (how 2.0 can a TV series be?) not to mention the numerous references to current affairs, art and culture. Tip: look out for the episode in which “our” homegrown artist Luc Tuymans gets a mention.
Frank Underwood, as Majority Whip, holds one of the highest offices in the White House, but his ambitions stretch further – much further. After leading the President to an election victory, Underwood expects to be appointed Secretary of State as a reward. But when this does not materialize, he seeks political revenge. He leaks inside information to a young journalist, Zoe Barnes, and plays strategic games with his political rivals. Even his wife Claire gets in on the game. The Underwoods, it would appear, always get their own way.
Journalist Zoe Barnes is close to discovering the political and personal secrets of Frank Underwood. Too close, it turns out. The power games at the White House continue to unfold at breakneck speed. Even corrupt multinationals, Chinese espionage and money laundering feature in the second season. A few new characters are introduced, such as Majority Whip Jackie Sharp, a woman who smashes the glass ceiling of the White House to smithereens.
Frank Underwood now holds the highest office in the White House: that of President. But holding onto power requires ever more sacrifices. The relationship between Frank and Claire comes under serious pressure. And a familiar character returns: Doug Stamper, Frank’s ever loyal right-hand man, who had to take care of some dirty business in New Mexico. Everything culminates in a blood-curdling finale!