House of Cards (2013-present)

In “House of Cards” Kevin Spacey portrays President Francis Underwood – a leader who has taken no prisoners and buried some bodies in the course of his rise to power.

NOTE: I have decided to leave this older post (below) on my blog site in spite of two unrelated but disturbing stories that surfaced in October 2017.

President Underwood is the antichrist to West Wing’s President Bartlett (referenced in another blog post). He makes Niccolò Machiavelli look like a boy scout. All of this has been aided and abetted by his wife and co-conspirator, Claire, played by Robin Wright.

This scene from early in the first season shows Underwood discussing with reporter Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara) the possibility of a mutually-beneficial news leaking relationship. Later on, their interaction evolves to include more than just sharing news and — SPOILER ALERT — none of this ends well.

NOTE: many people do not realize it but the Spacey/Wright version of House of Cards is based on a British series from the early ’90’s. Having watched both series is great fun to compare both the similarities and differences. In a rough parallel to the above video with Spacey and Mara, this scene finds Francis Underwood’s earlier British counterpart — actor Ian Richardson in the role of Francis Urquhart — also being buttonholed for newsworthy information by a female journalist.

Ironically, aside from the handful of us who are familiar with his evil persona in the British “House of Cards” series, Richardson was better known to American audiences for his Grey Poupon Mustard commercials.


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