20 Facts from House of Cards

Frank Underwood

If there is one thing that is not a secret about the seat of the United States national government, it is that Washington, D.C. is full of secrets. Nothing displays the political intrigue and drama in a more fascinating way than the masterful, award-winning Netflix Original series House of Cards. For those that were hooked by the first two seasons, season three is fast approaching. Those prepping for its arrival will be titillated by these facts you may not have noticed from House of Cards seasons one and two.

This is Actually Another British Invasion Remake

british house of cards

The version of House of Cards we know and love today is actually just another American remake of a British television show. In 1990, the original House of Cards was released in Britain, but even that was originally based on the novel of the same name by Michael Dobbs.

They even add a nod to it in the very first episode where Underwood states that he couldn't possibly comment, a line lifted word for word from its British brother.

How Much Now?

frank underwood money

The first two seasons of House of Cards cost $100 million dollars to make for a full 26 episodes. While it sounds like a huge outpouring of money for two seasons, the massive subscriber base that this Netflix exclusive attracts, it is well worth the investment.

On Screen Chemistry


Michel Gill and Jayne Atkinson, who play President Garrett Walker and Secretary of State Cathy Durant respectively, have some serious chemistry on screen, but they made House of Cards a family affair. The pair is actually married in real life, but even producers didn't realize it until they were putting the credits together.

Underwood and the Giant Peach


The producers of House of Cards like to keep things grounded in reality throughout this political dreamscape. In Gaffney, South Carolina, the very same Gaffney that Francis Underwood lived in and represents in the United States Congress, actually has a Peachioid, a massive 135 foot peachy colossus.

Real, but Really Not?


Although the show creators like to add touches of reality to their show, surprisingly the bulk of the show is not actually shot in Washington, D.C.  Locations such as Gaffney township, Frank's House, Congress and the apartment of Zoe Barnes are all shot in Baltimore, Maryland to avoid adding higher costs to the show. The only things actually filmed in Washington, D.C. are the monuments.

My First Emmy

david fincher emmy

When David Fincher took home the prize of Best Director of a Drama Series in 2013 it was not only his first Emmy win, but the first ever Emmy win for a Netflix Original Series. If they keep things up with great shows like House of Cards, it most certainly won't be their last.


kevin spacey

While shooting promotional stills for House of Cards, Kevin Spacey burned his hand while holding a burning flag. They covered the bandage he was forced to wear up in the show by having Underwood conveniently burn his hand on a cup of coffee in episode nine.

Girl That Always Gets the Call Backs


Originally the young prostitute Rachel Posner, played by Rachel Brosnahan, wasn't going to be developed much further into the series. However, show creator and writer Beau Willimon spontaneously decided to add more depth to the character upon meeting the actress.

Bad News About That Hotel

Hotel Cotesworth

You know that absolutely beautiful Hotel Cotesworth where Claire Underwood throws that ritzy gala? Well, some bad news about that, it's not actually a beautiful hotel. It is actually a library in Maryland, not a hotel at all.

A Serious Footballer

kate mara

Kate Mara, who plays journalist Zoe Barnes, is actually part of a great American Football dynasty. On both maternal and paternal sides of her family are founders and owners of two of the East Coast's biggest football team - the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers. After Mara missed s Steelers Super Bowl victory due to work in 2005, she added a clause to her House of Cards contract that stipulates time off if either team is playing in the Super Bowl.

How Long?

beau wilimon

Ever wonder how long it takes writer Beau Willimon to write a full season of House of Cards? During a Twitter Q&A, he revealed that it takes at least seven months to get it done right. So between writing and filming, it can be awhile between seasons.

Full of Symbols


Both the writer and the director of House of Cards love to utilize symbolism throughout the show. One of the best examples of this is when Freddy is talking about slow bleeding pigs in the first episode of season two. It relates to the entire second season that is filled with more pain, drama and mess, but provides for the best barbeque that Underwood has ever had.

So when you're sitting down to season three, keep those eyes wide open.

This Show Is an Awful Lot like The Wire

the wire

Fans of both House of Cards and HBO's The Wire will notice a lot of similarities. Not only does Reg E. Cathey, the actor that plays Freddy, appear in both shows, but the local diner was also home to many scenes throughout both shows. They were also both shot in Baltimore, Maryland and any similarities may be due to the fact that director David Fincher is a big fan of The Wire as well.

Frank Underwood is Purposely Ambiguous


Underwood and his wife Claire have both had affairs throughout the show, but they have never let it come between them as long as they don't have any actual affection for another person. However, the show makes subtle hints that Frank Underwood's sexuality is not so clearly defined as most would think, especially when he is cavorting with old school friends.

Show creator and writer Beau Wilimon states that Underwood has no patience for typical labels that come with sexuality. As the characters himself says, when he wants something, he takes it. And this particular character has a big appetite.

First Choice

house of cards staff

Every actor and actress seen in the main cast was the first choice of director David Fincher. He even told them that before even filming the first episode of House of Cards. He ended his inspirational speech by telling his "first choice crew" not to "f**k it up."


un security council

The House of Cards team wanted to film scenes for the show in the UN Security Council while it was in session. However, Russia used its veto power to stop filming. They were, however, allowed to use other parts of the UN building.

I guess Russia isn't a fan.

Political Inspirations

Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy

In order to prepare for his part as the majority whip of Frank Underwood, Kevin Spacey shadowed a real political whip - the Republican House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy. Viewers should wonder just how much McCarthy inspired him. Perhaps there are some parallels between the character and the real life man.


robin wright

The two scenes where Freebird is playing while Russo does cocaine at Kepeniak's and the old lady is yelling at Claire in the cemetery are actually throwbacks to actress Robin Wright's older and uber-famous  movies, Forrest Gump and The Princess Bride.

Not Your Average TV Show

muted color

House of Cards was never meant to be a typical TV show, and fans certainly aren't complaining about the show breaking typical television conventions. The show maintains strict rules that keep House of Cards playing like a 13-hour movie rather than a television show. This includes using a muted color palate, in which viewers will never see characters wearing red. They try to do everything they can to make characters as conservative and reserved as possible.

Big in Washington


While you are settling in to binge watch House of Cards season three when it come out later this February, keep in mind that even the big wigs on the political scene in the real Washington, D.C. are doing the same in between their own political drama. House of Cards is really big among the folks in Washington including President Obama himself.

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