House of Cards (season 1)

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House of Cards (season 1)
House of Cards season 1.png
Blu-ray cover
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes13
Original networkNetflix
Original releaseFebruary 1, 2013 (2013-02-01)
Season chronology
Next →
Season 2
List of House of Cards episodes

The first season of the American television drama series House of Cards premiered exclusively via Netflix's web streaming service on February 1, 2013.[1] The season was produced by Media Rights Capital, and the executive producers are David Fincher, Kevin Spacey, Eric Roth, Joshua Donen, Dana Brunetti, Andrew Davies, Michael Dobbs, John Melfi, and Beau Willimon.

House of Cards was created for television by Beau Willimon. It is an adaptation of a previous BBC miniseries of the same name by Andrew Davies, which was based on the novel by Michael Dobbs. Set in present-day Washington, D.C., House of Cards is the story of Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), a Democrat from South Carolina's 5th congressional district and the House Majority Whip, who, after getting passed over for appointment as Secretary of State, decides to exact his revenge on those who betrayed him. The series also stars Robin Wright, Kate Mara, and Corey Stoll in lead roles.



No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release dateProd.
11"Chapter 1"David FincherBeau WillimonFebruary 1, 2013 (2013-02-01)HOC-101
Francis "Frank" Underwood is an ambitious Democratic congressman and the House Majority Whip. Frank helped ensure the election of President Garrett Walker, who promised to appoint him as Secretary of State. However, before Walker is sworn in, Chief of Staff Linda Vasquez announces that Walker will instead nominate Senator Michael Kern. Linda informs Frank that their administration requires his help from within the House of Representatives, starting with working on an education reform bill with Representative Donald Blythe. Furious at Walker's betrayal, Frank and his wife Claire (an environmental activist) make a pact to destroy Walker, starting with Kern. Frank starts seeking out pawns in his war against Walker. When the troubled Representative Peter Russo (who has a history of drug and alcohol abuse) is arrested for driving drunk with Rachel Posner, a prostitute, in the car with him, Frank offers him a reprieve in exchange for his loyalty, covering up the incident by bribing the police commissioner. Frank also encounters Zoe Barnes, a young political reporter for the Washington Herald newspaper. The two come to an agreement in which Frank will leak inside information to incriminate his political opponents, while Zoe advances her career by publishing it. Frank leaks a copy of the first draft of Donald Blythe's education bill, which proposes massive increases in government control of education, promptly causing a scandal the very first day after the Presidential inauguration.
22"Chapter 2"David FincherBeau WillimonFebruary 1, 2013 (2013-02-01)HOC-102
In the aftermath of the leak of the education bill draft, Frank secures full control of the legislative course from the President and promptly removes Donald, who graciously takes the fall for the published controversy. Frank hires a team of young congressional staffers to write a draft of the bill in a week (a process which would usually take months). Claire, at her environmental company, is forced to lay off more than half of the staff at her NPO (Clean Water Initiative) after a donation which was contingent on Frank being appointed Secretary of State is withdrawn. Via Zoe, Frank plants a story that loosely ties SoS-nominee Michael Kern to an anti-Israeli editorial column that ran in his college newspaper while Kern was editor. Kern mishandles the resulting media scrutiny. Frank forcefully arranges for Peter Russo to meet a conspiracy junkie, Roy Kapeniak, who wrote for that college newspaper, and convinces him to go on the record and state that Kern himself wrote the article, which destroys Kern's candidacy chances. Frank then tosses Catherine Durant's name to Zoe as a likely replacement before reinforcing her credentials with Linda Vasquez.
33"Chapter 3"James FoleyKeith Huff and Beau WillimonFebruary 1, 2013 (2013-02-01)HOC-103
In the midst of negotiating the education bill's reforms with the teachers' unions, Frank must visit his hometown of Gaffney, South Carolina when his main local opponent stirs trouble. A young woman has been killed in a car accident after texting while driving, apparently distracted by a peach water tower which Frank had advocated to keep standing. (The tower is provocatively similar to the female bottom, which was the subject of the driver's text.) His rival encourages the parents to sue, forcing Frank into a difficult negotiation. Claire meets and hires a hesitant Gillian Cole, an activist for WorldWell (another environmental water NPO), to employ her international expertise. Peter Russo makes an effort to clean up his life, in order to maintain his relationship with his girlfriend, Christina Gallagher, who is also his chief of staff. Zoe gets into trouble for talking on national TV about the Herald and her editor, Tom Hammerschmidt, after being told not to.
44"Chapter 4"James FoleyRick Cleveland and Beau WillimonFebruary 1, 2013 (2013-02-01)HOC-104
Frank resorts to intricate political string-pulling when House Speaker Bob Birch refuses to support the education bill with its controversial amendments. Frank organizes a coup against Birch using the majority leader David Rasmussen, in order to pressure Birch to cooperate. Frank ensures Representative Terry Womack's support for the coup by forcing Peter Russo to allow a shipyard in his district to close in order to keep a military base in Womack's district open. Birch relents, and Womack replaces Rasmussen as majority leader. Tom Hammerschmidt is exasperated with Zoe's rebelliousness but the Herald's publisher supports her. Tom offers Zoe the position of White House correspondent and she indicates acceptance, but Frank convinces her to decline it, which further antagonizes Hammerschmidt. Remy Danton, a lobbyist and former employee of Frank's, offers Claire double the donation previously promised to CWI, which would allow them to hire back the staff they laid off, but Frank pressures Claire to refuse it, fearing Remy's motives. Claire meets with photographer Adam Galloway, a former lover who tries to rekindle their relationship. Zoe invites Frank to her apartment for an intimate encounter.
55"Chapter 5"Joel SchumacherSarah TreemFebruary 1, 2013 (2013-02-01)HOC-105
Claire is aware that Frank is having sexual relations with Zoe, but goes along with it as long as it achieves their goals — this, however, rejuvenates her interest in Adam. The changes to the education bill lead to an irate meeting between Frank and Marty Spinella, the lobbyist for the teachers' union, who vows to fight back. The fallout from being forced to allow the shipyard to close and a breakup with Christina sends Peter Russo into a depression. An inebriated Russo confronts Frank at his home. Frank forcefully berates Russo's drinking and immaturity, then confides that he has set the stage for Russo to run for governor if he can clean up his act. Tom Hammerschmidt fires Zoe and is in turn forced to resign for profanely insulting her. Frank and Claire foil Spinella's televised attempt to disrupt their fundraising event with a charm offensive. In retaliation, Spinella initiates a nation-wide teachers' strike.
66"Chapter 6"Joel SchumacherSam FormanFebruary 1, 2013 (2013-02-01)HOC-106
As the teachers' union strike persists, President Walker instructs Frank to water down the bill. Frank decides he has to achieve total victory over Spinella or he will lose all of his influence with the President. A brick thrown through a window of Frank's home allows him to target Spinella, and the pair debate on CNN with Frank performing poorly and embarrassing himself. Frank barely manages to keep Walker from forcing him to abandon the bill. A cleaned-up Russo informs Frank that he will accept Frank's help and run for Governor of Pennsylvania. Frank sets the wheels in motion by enlisting Claire's help to draft an environmental bill that will help CWI and also replace some of the jobs lost with the shipyard closure. Monitoring the police radio, Frank uses a local shooting to force Spinella to The White House, provokes Spinella into a rage (by revealing that Frank organized the brick incident himself) resulting in Spinella punching him in the face. Frank advises Spinella to end the strike immediately or else face felony charges.
77"Chapter 7"Charles McDougallKate Barnow and Beau WillimonFebruary 1, 2013 (2013-02-01)HOC-107
President Walker signs the education bill into law, earning Frank a major victory and affording him influence and favor. Vice President Matthews feels sidelined and expresses discontent with Walker. Peter Russo readies himself for the governor's race ahead by attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Via Zoe, Frank generates some positive spin on the announcement. Frank meets with Christina and requests her to forgive Russo and become his deputy campaign manager, reigniting her personal relationship with Russo. The prostitute, Rachel Posner, approaches and blackmails Doug Stamper for financial assistance. In preparation for his nomination, Russo is grilled by one of Frank's team about his drug and prostitution use, making him very uneasy. We learn that Doug attends AA meetings regularly. Zoe recommends Janine Skorsky for a job at Slugline.
88"Chapter 8"Charles McDougallBeau WillimonFebruary 1, 2013 (2013-02-01)HOC-108
Frank visits his alma mater, a military college, which is honoring him by naming a new library after him. He spends the night reminiscing and drinking with old buddies, including one who is implied to be his former lover. Remy Danton has concerns about Peter Russo running for governor. Peter visits Philadelphia and tries to convince the former shipyard employees to support him. An angry meeting with them reveals an uphill struggle ahead, but he perseveres.
99"Chapter 9"James FoleyBeau Willimon and Rick ClevelandFebruary 1, 2013 (2013-02-01)HOC-109
Peter Russo goes on a bus tour around Pennsylvania with Vice President Matthews for support. Matthews initially thwarts Peter's campaign but Peter eventually wins his respect. Frank tries to whip support in Congress for the environmental bill. President Walker requests Linda Vasquez to assist him, but Frank instructs her to instead attend to her son's college admission issue (he is being refused entry). Frank requests Claire to present a justification for the large financial commitment, but she causes the bill to fail in exchange for assistance for CWI from Remy Danton. Zoe decides to terminate her intimate relationship with Frank but changes her mind when he withdraws the professional aspect as well.
1010"Chapter 10"Carl FranklinSarah TreemFebruary 1, 2013 (2013-02-01)HOC-110
Frank is furious with Claire for organizing the environment bill's failure. Claire visits Zoe and informs her that she knows about Frank's affair. She then spends some time with her own lover Adam in New York, to Frank's consternation. With the environment bill defeated, Peter Russo demands an alternative, and threatens to reveal the conspiracy that brought down Michael Kern. Frank decides to take Russo down; Doug Stamper enlists Rachel Posner to pick up Russo at a fundraiser and get him drunk. A drunk Russo makes a mess of a live-radio interview, destroying his candidacy. Frank does a favor for Linda Vasquez by having Gillian Cole recommend Vasquez' son's college admission. Zoe approaches her former colleague Lucas Goodwin for intimacy.
1111"Chapter 11"Carl FranklinKeith Huff and Kate Barnow and Beau WillimonFebruary 1, 2013 (2013-02-01)HOC-111
Frank convinces Vice President Matthews to give up his office and run for Governor of Pennsylvania. Linda Vasquez asks Frank candidly if his ambition is to become Vice President himself; he admits it and reaches out to her as an ally. After attempting to reconnect with his children, a still-inebriated Russo hands himself in to the police for the previous DUI for which he was not charged. Frank picks him up from jail and, recognizing Russo to be too great a liability, kills Russo in his car by carbon monoxide poisoning, making it look like suicide.
1212"Chapter 12"Allen CoulterGina Gionfriddo and Beau WillimonFebruary 1, 2013 (2013-02-01)HOC-112
With Vice President Matthews about to win the governor's race, Frank is helping the White House vet candidates to replace him. President Walker sends him to evaluate Raymond Tusk, a billionaire who lives modestly in St. Louis. Frank discovers deeper connections between Walker and Tusk, and realizes that it is actually Tusk who is vetting him. Tusk offers to recommend Frank in return for an unspecified favor but Frank refuses. Gillian Cole obstructs SanCorp's media presence at CWI's establishment in Botswana, resulting in Claire firing her. Janine Skorsky investigates the Philadelphia shipyard closure in connection with Russo's apparent suicide and enlists Zoe's help with the political aspect.
1313"Chapter 13"Allen CoulterBeau WillimonFebruary 1, 2013 (2013-02-01)HOC-113
Frank attempts to leverage Raymond Tusk by requesting Remy Danton to compromise Tusk's nuclear industry assets but Tusk purchases enough of SanCorp's stock to defuse any threat. Tusk again attempts to obtain Frank's unquestioning loyalty in relation to international trade tariffs, particularly Chinese-controlled raw materials for his nuclear reactors. Frank wins his respect by offering only to work pragmatically with future developments. President Walker offers Frank the vice-presidency, and he accepts. Gillian Cole initiates a wrongful termination lawsuit against Claire. Claire ponders with Frank the point of their plans, and then consults a doctor about possible fertility treatment. Zoe, Janine and Lucas uncover Peter Russo's uncharged DUI, Rachel Posner's identity and Doug Stamper's involvement.


Critical response[edit]

The first season received positive reviews from critics. On Metacritic, the season received a weighted mean score of 76 out of 100 based on 25 reviews, which translates to "generally positive reception."[2][3] On Rotten Tomatoes, the season received a score of 85% with an average rating of 8.2 out of 10 based on 39 reviews; the site's consensus reads, "Bolstered by strong performances — especially from Kevin Spacey — and surehanded direction, House of Cards is a slick, engrossing drama that may redefine how television is produced."[4] USA Today critic Robert Bianco praised the series, particularly Spacey and Wright's lead performances, stating "If you think network executives are nervous, imagine the actors who have to go up against that pair in the Emmys."[5] Tom Gilatto of People Weekly lauded the first two episodes, calling them "cinematically rich, full of sleek, oily pools of darkness."[2] In her review for The Denver Post, Joanne Ostrow said the series is "Deeply cynical about human beings as well as politics and almost gleeful in its portrayal of limitless ambition." She added: "House of Cards is a wonderfully sour take on power and corruption."[6]


On July 18, 2013, House of Cards became the first Primetime Emmy Award nominated series for original online only web television for the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards. Among those nine nominations were Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for Kevin Spacey, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for Robin Wright, and Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for David Fincher. The first season was also nominated for Casting, Cinematography, Editing, Music, and Main Title Music at the 65th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards.[7] On September 15, the series became the first web television series and the first web television webisode to be Primetime Emmy Awarded with two wins at the 65th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards: Eigil Bryld for Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series and Laray Mayfield and Julie Schubert for Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series.[8] On September 22, Netflix made history with a total three wins including Fincher's Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for directing the pilot episode "Chapter 1" in addition to the pair of Creative Arts Emmy Awards, making "Chapter 1" the first Primetime Emmy-awarded webisode.[9] None of the Emmy awards were considered to be in major categories, however.[10]

Spacey received best actor nominations at the 20th Screen Actors Guild Awards,[11][12] 71st Golden Globe Awards,[13] and 18th Satellite Awards.[14] Wright won best actress at both the 71st Golden Globe Awards and 18th Satellite Awards, while Stoll was nominated at both for supporting actor and the series was nominated at both for best drama.[13][14][15] Wright's Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama for her portrayal of Claire Underwood made her the first actress to win a Golden Globe Award for an online-only web television series.[16][17][18] The show won a 2013 Peabody Award for Area of Excellence.[19]

At the 3rd Critics' Choice Television Awards, Kevin Spacey and Corey Stoll were nominated for Best Drama Actor and Best Drama Supporting Actor, respectively.[20] The show has also been nominated at the 29th TCA Awards for the Outstanding New Program and the Program of the Year.[21] The show was also nominated at the 40th People's Choice Awards for Favorite Streaming Series,[22] at the Producers Guild of America Awards 2013 for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama,[23] at the 66th Directors Guild of America Awards for Outstanding Directing – Drama Series,[24] at the Writers Guild of America Awards 2013 for Television: Dramatic Series, Television: New Series and Television: Episodic Drama, winning new series.[25][26][27]

In addition, the success of House of Cards and popularity of Breaking Bad, both of which are only available in the United Kingdom online has caused a rule change for the British Academy Television Awards and British Academy Television Craft Awards beginning with the ceremonies for the 2013 calendar year on May 18, 2014 and April 27, 2014, respectively.[28][29] At the 2014 British Academy Television Awards the show was nominated for Best International Programme.

Home video release[edit]

The first season was released on DVD and Blu-ray in region 1 on June 11, 2013,[30] in region 2 on June 10, 2013,[31] and in region 4 on June 27, 2013.[32]

Director's commentaries for all of the first-season episodes premiered on Netflix on January 3, 2014. They had not been included on the home video release.[33]


  1. ^ Ryan, Maureen (January 22, 2013). ""House of Cards" On Netflix: Inside Intel on Kevin Spacey's Dark Drama". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "House of Cards (2013): Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  3. ^ Stone, Jeff (February 1, 2013). "Netflix's 'House of Cards' Earns Rave Reviews, CEO Reed Hastings Promises Hollywood Takeover". International Business Times. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  4. ^ "House of Cards: Season 1 (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
  5. ^ Bianco, Robert (February 1, 2013). "'House of Cards' is all aces". USA Today. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  6. ^ Ostrow, Joanne (February 1, 2013). "Ostrow: Kevin Spacey shines in "House of Cards" political drama on Netflix". The Denver Post. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  7. ^ Stelter, Brian (July 18, 2013). "Netflix Does Well in 2013 Primetime Emmy Nominations". The New York Times. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  8. ^ "Netflix Makes History With Two Primetime Creative Arts Emmy® Awards". PR Newswire. September 15, 2013. Retrieved September 16, 2013.
  9. ^ Sharma, Amol; Cheney, Alexandra (September 23, 2013). "Netflix Makes Some History With Showing at Emmys". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  10. ^ Prudom, Laura (September 23, 2013). "Netflix Wins Three Emmys, 'House Of Cards' Shut Out Of Major Categories". The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  11. ^ "'12 Years a Slave' Leads SAG Awards with 4 Nominations". December 11, 2013. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  12. ^ "SAG nominations 2014: The complete list of nominees". Los Angeles Times. December 11, 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  13. ^ a b Farley, Christopher John (December 12, 2013). "Golden Globes Nominations 2014: '12 Years a Slave,' 'American Hustle' Lead Field". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  14. ^ a b "The International Press Academy Announces Nominations For The 18th Annual Satellite Awards". PR Newswire. December 2, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  15. ^ Kilday, Gregg (February 23, 2014). "Satellite Awards: '12 Years a Slave' Wins Best Motion Picture". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  16. ^ Zurawik, David (December 12, 2013). "'House of Cards' star Robin Wright earns series' sole Golden Globes win". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  17. ^ Hyman, Vicki (January 12, 2014). "2014 Golden Globes: Robin Wright wins best actress for online-only 'House of Cards'". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  18. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (January 12, 2014). "Golden Globes: 'Brooklyn Nine Nine' Nabs Upset TV Comedy Wins". Variety. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  19. ^ "2013 Peabody Awards". Peabody Award. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  20. ^ "Big Bang, Horror Story, Parks & Rec, Good Wife, The Americans Lead Critics Choice Nominations". TVLine. May 22, 2013. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  21. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (June 10, 2013). "FX's 'The Americans' Leads 2013 TCA Awards Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
  22. ^ Glee, Katy Perry Lead People's Choice Award Nominations, 2 Broke Girls' Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs to Host E! Online, Retrieved November 5, 2013
  23. ^ "Nominations for Theatrical Motion Picture, Animated Theatrical Motion Picture and Long-Form TV". Producers Guild of America. January 2, 2014. Retrieved January 2, 2014.
  24. ^ "DGA Awards Film Nominees Have No Shockers: Cuaron, Greengrass, McQueen, Russell, Scorsese". Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  25. ^ "2014 Writers Guild Awards Winners Announced". Writers Guild of America. Writers Guild of America. Archived from the original on April 21, 2016. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  26. ^ "Captain Philips and Her win top awards". CBS News. February 3, 2014. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  27. ^ "Her and Captain Phillips win at Writers Guild Awards". Guardian. February 2, 2014. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  28. ^ Plunkett, John (October 1, 2013). "Bafta embraces US shows only available online". The Guardian. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
  29. ^ Hodgson, Claire (October 1, 2013). "Breaking Bad and House of Cards could be set for BAFTA nominations thanks to new rules". Daily Mirror. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
  30. ^ "House of Cards: The Complete First Season (2013)". Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  31. ^ "House of Cards - Season 1 (DVD + UV Copy) (2013)". Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  32. ^ "House Of Cards - Season 1". JB Hi-Fi. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  33. ^ Spangler, Todd (January 3, 2014). "Netflix Adds 'House of Cards' Director's Commentary for Season 1". Variety. Retrieved March 3, 2014.

External links[edit]