The Robin Wright political drama returns for its final season on Nov. 2 without former star Kevin Spacey, who was fired during production over sexual assault allegations.
When Netflix announced that the sixth season of the political drama starring Robin Wright would be its last, the countdown clock began on the series finale for the streaming giant’s first original series. Then, everything changed when Kevin Spacey, the show’s former star and executive producer, was fired behind-the-scenes over sexual assault allegations. House of Cards halted production to re-work the season and the result is an elevation of Wright’s character, the new President Underwood, as the star of the series.
Season five ended with Spacey’s anti-hero, Frank Underwood, ceding the power he has fought so ruthlessly — and killed — for since the start of the Beau Willimon-created series and leaving it in the hands of his wife. The finale saw Claire Underwood (Wright) fully emerge from her husband’s shadow as the new and first female president on the series, marking her turn at the Oval Office for the show’s final run.
When speaking with Wright after her game-changing finale, the producer, director and star told The Hollywood Reporter, “I would personally like [Claire] to be the greatest president we’ve ever had.”
With all eyes readying to see how the show will handle the loss of its former star when season six launches on Nov. 2, The Hollywood Reporter predicts how the soapy thriller will play out its last term below.
What will America look like under a different Underwood? If Claire’s epic five-season rise is any indication, House of Cards is going to dive into answering that question in season six.
After committing her first murder — that the audience is aware of — and killing her lover Tom Yates (Paul Sparks), the Claire viewers once knew was set on a new path in season five. Though Frank claimed it was all part of his plan, Claire is the one who now sits behind the Resolute Desk, while Frank moved out and couldn’t even get his wife to answer his calls. The former president claimed to be content playing puppet master in the private sector when viewers last saw him in the season’s final moments.
After first breaking the fourth wall in the 11th episode (“Just to be clear, it’s not that I haven’t always known you were there,” Claire said, finally addressing the audience as Frank has so consistently done), she closed season five with her second message to viewers: “My turn.” Claire cemented herself as the next murderous POTUS, poised to deliver her inner musings to viewers one corrupt day at a time. As the first trailer for the final season shows, Claire will be speaking to the audience much more once she officially takes over in season six. “Now that she’s become more ambitious, or actually just more pronounced with her ambitions openly about what she wants, her complicity is going to be different than Francis’ complicity,” explained co-showrunner Frank Pugliese when speaking to THR after the finale (and before Spacey’s firing). “How does she manifest her ambitions in that complicity that she’s looking for in the audience and eventually the voter?” His partner, Melissa James Gibson, simply added, “Fasten your seatbelts.”
With Claire’s legacy on the line and Frank finally out of her way, Wright — who also directed the final two episodes of season five — told THR after the finale that she envisions Claire being the “greatest president” that House of Cards has ever had: “How she gets there and achieves that is a whole other thing regarding the opera of the show.” As shown in the trailers, her first 100 days don’t exactly turn out as planned.