On Friday, Netflix debuts the first season of its new series “House of Cards” — releasing all 13 episodes at once. (A second season is guaranteed.) The show, built for binge-watching, stars Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood, the scheming House majority whip bent on consolidating his own power — possibly at the expense of the newly elected president.
In the show’s first few minutes, Spacey’s Underwood strangles a dog to death as an act of mercy; it may be the kindest thing he does in the first two episodes. He’s the ultimate political creature, and on the warpath after getting passed over for the secretary of state nomination. Robin Wright plays his equally duplicitous wife, while Kate Mara plays Zoe Barnes, a young, eager journalist willing to take anything Underwood says as gospel.
The showrunner of “House of Cards” is well-acquainted with the corridors of power; Beau Willimon co-wrote the film “The Ides of March” and was a campaign worker for various Democratic Party campaigns in the 1990s and 2000s. We spoke to Willimon about the unorthodox distribution deal with Netflix and why the will to power may not be such a bad thing.