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The political thriller, "House of Cards" is based on a novel of the same name by former British Conservative politician, Michael Dobbs, who wrote the original trilogy. The latest adaptation of the trilogy by Dobbs was developed by writer Beau Willimon and switches the location of the plot from London to Washington D.C.
Democrat Frank Underwood is a Congressman from South Carolina who acts as the Majority Chief Whip for the President of the United States. Underwood has pledged his support for the newly-elected Democrat President Garrett Walker and wakes following his election safe in the knowledge he will soon be nominated for the position of Secretary of State.
Underwood is first seen rushing from his Washington D.C. home when he hears what he thinks is a car accident. The politician finds his neighbor's dog has been run over by a car and is injured, initially comforting the animal, Underwood later strangles it explaining he is putting the dog out of its misery. The South Carolina Democrat explains he does not support the work of the newly-elected President of the United States but offered his support after being offered the top job of Secretary of State.
Frank quickly makes his way to Washington where he hopes to meet with the President-Elect but is instead given a meeting with the Chief of Staff, Linda Vasquez. In the meeting, Underwood is shocked to be told the President-Elect has decided not to appoint him as Secretary of State as he is too important to the passage of a new education bill which could be difficult to pass for its progressive nature. Incensed by what he sees as the treachery of Garrett Walker, Underwood swears revenge for the snub he feels he has suffered, Frank's wife, Claire is also angered when the news reaches her because she hopes to expand the work of her "Clean Water Initiative" charitable program.
Plotting his revenge on the newly elected President and his Administration, Frank Underwood is shocked when a young reporter arrives at his home late at night looking to curry favor with the Chief Whip. Zoe Barnes is desperate to further her career as a reporter in Washington D.C. and offers to work with Underwood to undermine the Administration of President Walker if she receives inside information about the major stories in U.S. politics directly from the Congressman.
Underwood is quickly assembling a small team to aid him in his plan for revenge against the new President enlisting the aid of former Chief of Staff, Doug Stamper. Frank seizes on every opportunity to undermine the newly-elected Administration but hides his true feelings and goals from his fellow politicians. As Frank is working on his plans, young Congressman Peter Russo is arrested driving drunk through the capital with a prostitute by his side. One of the first to be informed of the incident is Frank, who begins to pull his fellow politician into his plans in return for keeping the incident from the public.
As Zeo finds herself being given more responsibility at her newspaper, "The Herald" because of the aid she receiving from Frank, the politician also sees his revenge plot taking shape. Despite beginning his plot with only revenge on his mind, Congressman Underwood soon finds himself becoming a powerful figure among Democrats who are unaware of his actions.
"House of Cards" showrunner, Beau Willimon has a long history of working on various high profile political campaigns in the late-1990s through the early 21st-century. While working on political campaigns for leading Democrat figures, such as Hillary Clinton and Howard Dean, Willimon wrote a number of plays which have been produced on stage across the U.S. and in London. The writer adapted his play, "Farragut North" as "The Ides of March" for a feature film directed by George Clooney. Beau Willimon developed the initial idea for "House of Cards" and acted as the showrunner for the first four seasons of the political thriller.
Actress Robin Wright plays Claire Underwood, the wife of the scheming Frank Underwood and takes on a more prominent role in the later seasons. Wright has been a popular actress for a number of decades and has appeared in various iconic movies, such as "The Princess Bride" and "Forrest Gump." The role of Claire Underwood allowed the actress to become the first actor to take home a Golden Globe for a role in a show first streamed on a Web-based platform.
Kate Mara appears in "House of Cards" as the reporter, Zoe Barnes and has enjoyed a long career on TV and in films starting with a role in "Law and Order" in 1997. Mara made her big screen debut alongside Harrison Ford in the movie, "Random Hearts" in 1999. The actress has appeared in TV hits such as "24" and "American Horror Story" before being nominated for a Primetime Emmy for her role as Zoe in season two of "House of Cards."
"House of Cards" was produced for the streaming platform, Netflix which backed the production for executive producers David Fincher and Kevin Spacey. The show is made using a production partnership involving a number of major companies, including Trigger Street and Media Rights Capital. Hollywood director David Fincher directed the first episode of the show, which was the first attempt by Netflix to develop its own TV shows for its platform. The majority of "House of Cards" is filmed in Maryland with a warehouse used as the location for an almost complete reconstruction of the West Wing of The White House.
The first and fourth seasons of "House of Cards" have been positively reviewed by professional critics and online reviewers suing sites such as Rotten Tomatoes. On Rotten Tomatoes, season four has the highest rating of 86 percent with season one receiving a rating of 85 percent. Other seasons have also been positively reviewed with rating in the 60s and 70s on most review sites. The first season was praised for the acting of the majority of performers, particularly that of Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood. The sixth and final season of "House of Cards" brought the story of the Underwoods to a close following the allegations made against the lead actor, Kevin Spacey.
"House of Cards" was originally adapted for the BBC in the U.K. in 1990 from a script written by Andrew Davies. The character in the original show retained the name created by creator Michael Dobbs, Francis Urquhart. Executive Producer David Fincher offered the role of Claire Underwood to Robin Wright when she was appearing in his movie, "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo." Robin Wright appeared in "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" alongside Kate Mara's sister, Rooney.