With its first season premiering back in 2013, House of Cards has since become one of Netflix’s crown jewels, with viewers continually flocking to the series each year to watch Frank and Claire Underwood’s deliciously evil political plots unfold. Following Frank Underwood’s ascension from meager House Majority Whip to President of the United States, the series has been chock-full of dark twists and turns that constantly keep its fans on the edges of their seats.
In preparation for the fast-approaching premiere of Season 5, Entertainment Weekly recently released an exclusive interview with House of Cards showrunners Melissa James Gibson and Frank Pugliese, both of whom took over for show creator Beau Willimon when he left at the end of the show’s previous season. Season 4 ended with Frank (played by Kevin Spacey) and Claire (Robin Wright) declaring war on ICO (the extremist terror group within the show’s world) to draw attention away from an article that reveals the Underwood’s corrupt and murderous plots from previous seasons. Come Season 5, the Underwoods will have to deal not only with ICO and the threatening article, but will also have to square up against Republican contender Will Conway (Joel Kinnaman), who is running against Frank for President.
Since the election of Donald Trump, the state of American politics has been at the forefront of everybody’s minds, with the inner workings of the Presidential Office under especially intense scrutiny. A show like House of Cards, which prides itself in its stylized depiction of the American political system, then seems especially relevant today. Creator Beau Willimon did, after all, have his own career in D.C. before he penned one of today’s most-enjoyed television dramas.
However, producer Melissa James Gibson is hesitant to draw any immediate parallels between real life and House of Cards. “Sure, the resonance sometimes feels eerie,” Gibson suggests. “But Trump is an outsider who’s trying to blow up the system, and Francis is the opposite.” Still, Gibson says the show will resonate a great deal with American viewers and how they feel about the state of politics today – whether they be conservative, liberal, or otherwise. “The battlefield for Season 5 is the American psyche,” Gibson reveals. “That may be one parallel with our real world.”
While Seasons 3 and 4 placed Frank and Claire in contention with one another, Gibson says that the two will turn to each other for support come Season 5. “They are a couple of survivors, and power is the Underwood’s religion,” she explains. “They need each other as much as ever and are constantly navigating the other’s character.” Also to be expected in the new season is a further exploration of the competitive relationship between Doug Stamper (played by Michael Kelly), Frank Underwood’s Chief of Staff, and Leann Harvey (Neve Campbell), key advisor to Claire. As for whether or not the upcoming season will include the results to the show’s highly anticipated presidential election, executive producer Frank Pugliese merely offered one word: “Possibly.”
Season 5 of House of Cards will premiere May 30 on Netflix.