House of Cards (U.S. TV series)

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House of Cards (2013-) is a Netflix original series based on the British miniseries of the same name detailing the rise of a scheming American politician, Francis "Frank" Underwood.

Season 1[edit]

Chapter 1 [1.01][edit]

Frank: [watching a dog that has been hit by a car] There are two kinds of pain. The sort of pain that makes you strong. Or useless pain. The sort of pain that's only suffering. I have no patience for useless things. Moments like this require someone who will act. To do the unpleasant thing. The necessary thing... [puts the dog out of its misery] There, no more pain.

Frank: Oh, Jim Matthews, his right honorable vice-president. Former governor of Pennsylvania. He did his duty in delivering the keystone state, bless his heart, and now they're about to put him out to pasture. But he looks happy enough, doesn't he? For some, it's simply the size of the chair.

Frank: Linda Vasquez, Walker's chief of staff. I got her hired. She's a woman, check, and a latina, check, but more important than that, she's as tough as a two-dollar steak. Check, check, check. When it comes to the White House, you not only need the keys in your back pocket, you need the gatekeeper.

Linda: Frank, we're not nominating you for Secretary of State. I know he made you a promise, but circumstances have changed.
Frank: The nature of promises, Linda, is that they remain immune to changing circumstances.

Claire: My husband doesn't apologize, even to me.

Frank: [of his wife] I love that woman. I love her more than sharks love blood.

Zoe: Wait. We're in a very gray area. Ethically. Legally. Which I'm okay with --
Frank: I just love this painting, don't you? We're in the same boat now, Zoe. Take care not to tip it over. I can only save one of us from drowning.

Zoe: I'm better than what they have me doing.

Claire: [about Zoe] Does that work on anybody?
Frank: Does what?
Claire: The pushup bra and the v-neck tee.
Frank: Well, if it does, I don't know who they are.

Cathy: Kern is a boy scout.
Frank: Nobody's a boy scout. Not even boy scouts.

Frank: Centuries from now, when people watch this footage, who will they see smiling just at the edge of the frame?

Chapter 2 [1.02][edit]

Frank: Every Tuesday I sit down with the speaker and the majority leader to discuss the week's agenda. Well, discuss is probably the wrong word. They talk while I sit quietly and imaging their lightly salted faces frying in a skillet.

Frank: Such a waste of talent. He chose money over power,in this town a mistake nearly everyone makes. Money is the McMansion in Sarasota that starts falling apart after ten years, power is the old stone building that stands for centuries. I cannot respect someone who does not see the difference.

Frank: [to Vasquez] I don't take well to being micromanaged, Linda. You want to do my job for me and run the White House? Good luck.

Frank: [aside] What a martyr craves more than anything is a sword to fall on, so you sharpen the blade, hold it at just the right angle, and then 3, 2, 1--
Donald Blythe: It should be me. It was my bill.

Frank: Nobody can hear you. Nobody cares about you. Nothing will come of this. Why don't you let these nice gentlemen take you home?

Chapter 3 [1.03][edit]

Zoe: I've been offered a spot on Nightline.
Frank: You want my advice?
Zoe: I don't want it, I need it.
Frank: Close your eyes.
[Zoe closes her eyes]
Zoe: Okay.
Frank: It's 11:25, Nightline is about to come on, millions of people are watching. Where are you -- home?
Zoe: No.
Frank: At the studio?
Zoe: Yes.
Frank: And what do you see?
Zoe: I see lights. I see a camera.
Frank: And that little red dot goes on. Tell me what you hear.
Zoe: I hear my voice.
Frank: And those millions of people, what do they hear?
Zoe: My voice.
Frank: And what do they see?
Zoe: My face.
Frank: So you don't need my advice.
Zoe: Hammerschmidt's gonna freak.
Frank: You don't want to work anywhere you're not willing to get fired from, Zoe. Treading water is the same as drowning, for people like you and me. Good luck, I'll be watching.

Chapter 4 [1.04][edit]

Margaret: Two freshmen girls are moving into their dorm room together. One of them's from Georgia, one of them's from Connecticut. The girl from Connecticut's helping her mother put up curtains. The girl from Georgia turns to them and says, "Hi! Where y'all from?" The girl from Connecticut says, "We're from a place where we know not to end a sentence with a preposition". The girl from Georgia says, "oh, beg my pardon. Where y'all from? Cunt?" You heard that one before?
Tom: A version of it. With softer language.
Margaret: Tom, we don't need people who follow the rules. We need people with personality. We want Zoe's face, her energy. We want to get her on TV as much as possible. It helps us cut through the noise. See what I'm saying?

Tom: I don't think you appreciate anything. I think you're an ungrateful, self-entitled little c-
[Tom cuts himself off]
Zoe: Little what? Little what, Tom? Say it!
Tom: Cunt. You're a cunt.
[Zoe takes out her phone and begins typing]
Tom: What are you doing? Don't you dare-
Zoe: You don't even know what I'm typing.
Tom: Get out, Zoe.
Zoe: Just a second. I'm almost done.
Tom: Get out. You're fired.
Zoe: Whatever you have to tell yourself, Tom.
Tom: Get out!
Zoe: So should I press "send"? I think I should. Call me whatever you want, but you should remember, these days, when you're talking to one person, you're talking to a thousand.

Frank: It's so refreshing to work with someone who'll throw a saddle on a gift horse rather than look it in the mouth.

Frank: I know you take a lot of pride in your manhood, Bob, it's impressive. But as big as it is, Linda can still shut the door on it.

Chapter 5 [1.05][edit]

Frank: I may have pushed him too far, which is worrisome. Friends make the worst enemies.

Tom: I know how to run a paper, Margaret. What I don't know how to do is run a paper staffed with people I can't control.
Margaret: Was she really out of control? To my understanding, she simply turned down a new position.
Tom: It's her attitude. It's the way she turned it down.
Margaret: Did you think to ask her what she'd rather do instead?
Tom: Is it my job to pander to all my employees--
Margaret: My employees. And if they have something to offer that you don't, yes, it is your job. We've been through this, Tom. The paper's operating at a loss. We need people like Zoe.
Tom: I'm very aware of how much we're hurting, Margaret. Staff reductions, dip in circulation. Each one of those faces and every subscriber we lose, they keep me awake at night. Now, I won't argue the business side of things. It's neither my place nor my area of expertise, but know this-- Zoe Barnes, Twitter, blogs, enriched media, they're all surface. They're fads. They aren't the foundation this paper was built on, and they aren't what will keep it alive. We have a core readership that thirsts for hard news. Those are the people I work for. And I won't be distracted by what's fashionable.

Chapter 6 [1.06][edit]

Claire: You know what Francis said to me when he proposed? I remember his exact words. He said, 'Claire, if all you want is happiness, say no. I'm not gonna give you a couple of kids and count the days until retirement. I promise you freedom from that. I promise you'll never be bored.' You know, he was the only man - and there were a lot of others who proposed - but he was the only one who understood me. He didn't put me on some pedestal. He knew that I didn't want to be adored or coddled. So he took my hand and put a ring on it. Because he knew I'd say yes.

Chapter 7 [1.07][edit]

Zoe: [looking out the window] I can see your security guy.
Frank: Meechum?
Zoe: He's cute.
Frank: He'd never go for you.
Zoe: Why not?
Frank: You're too intimidating.
Zoe: He's the one with the gun.
Frank: But you're the one with the congressman.

Doyle: I've been doing this a long time, congressman. I know when I've scraped all the shit off the shoe.

Peter: Do you get off on this or something?
Doyle: Does a doctor enjoy it when he cups your balls and asks you to cough?

Doyle: [on Peter Russo] He's an amateur, Frank. If I can get under his skin in less than an hour, how do you think he'll hold up under the press? It'll be a Turkey shoot.

Frank: There's no better way to overpower a trickle of doubt than with a flood of naked truth.

Stamper: But the most important count I do has nothing to do with work. It's the number of days since April 4, 1999. As of this morning, that's 5,185. The bigger that number gets, the more it frightens me, because I know all it takes is one drink to go back to zero. Most people see fear as a weakness. It can be. Sometimes for my job, I have to put fear in other people. I know that's not right. But if I'm honest, like the fourth step asks us to be, I have to be ruthless, because failure is not an option. The same goes for my sobriety. I have to be ruthless with myself. I have to use my fear. It makes me stronger. Like everyone in this room, I can't control who I am. But I can control the zero. Fuck the zero.

Chapter 8 [1.08][edit]

Frank: The Sentinel, South Carolina's premier military college. They taught me the values of honor, duty, and respect. They also hazed me, tried to break me, and, senior year, nearly expelled me when I volunteered for a Senate race and my studies suffered. But that didn't stop them from soliciting a hefty sum for their new library 30 years later. How quickly poor grades are forgotten in the shadow of power and wealth.

Chapter 9 [1.09][edit]

Claire: You know, Francis did a big bus tour in '98, and the bus lost its brakes going down a hill, and we landed in a tobacco field. He gets out of the car, knocks on the farmer's door, writes a check for all the damaged crops, and then borrows his pickup so he doesn't miss the next event. And it was actually fun. He was driving. I was shotgun. We had the whole staff in the flatbed. We actually got there ten minutes early.

Frank: I'm not going to lie. I despise children. There. I've said it.

Peter: The more of my words, the fewer of yours, the better off we'll both be.
Reporter: If I didn't think you were such a liability to yourself, Congressman, I might even like you.
Peter: If your circulation was as high as the Wall Street Journal, I might like you back.

Janine: I used to suck, screw, and jerk anything that moved just to get a story.

Janine: [to Zoe] So, a piece of advice as far as career strategies go: It's not worth fucking your way to the middle.

Frank: Proximity to power deludes some into believing they wield it.

Frank: [to Claire] I will not be lectured to the moment you walk in the door! I called Catherine, as promised! Her inability to deliver is not my problem or my fault! I cannot control changing global landscapes! And I will not be cornered into making promises I cannot deliver!

Matthews: I don't have a fucking shred of real influence. I'm trotted around like a goddamn mascot, and this is my home state.

Frank: A great man once said, everything is about sex. Except sex. Sex is about power.

[The watershed bill has just been voted down]
Claire: Such a shame, all of that hard work.
Frank: I want to know who lied.

Chapter 10 [1.10][edit]

Frank: I have zero tolerance for betrayal, which they will soon indelibly learn.

Remy: I don't eat pork.
Frank: When did that happen?
Remy: When we started lobbying for the meat packing industry.

Peter: You don't understand, I'm not afraid of you anymore, Frank.
Frank: Then you're misguided.

Claire: Such a shame, how naive you are.
Zoe: I'm not naive.
Claire: No? I've known everything from the beginning, Zoe. My husband and I tell each other everything. Don't you believe me? Is there a spider I can trap? I'm not here to punish you or to tell you to stop. I just thought I should open those big bright eyes.

Frank: We never played chess before, have we?
Doug: I don't know how.
Frank: You want me to teach you?

Peter: [live on the radio] I'm talking about fucking natural gas.

Chapter 11 [1.11][edit]

Claire: I envy your free spirit, and I'm attracted to it, but not all of us have that luxury.
Adam: Which is what I find so frustrating about you, Claire. You-you had a choice. You chose not to be free.
Claire: No. What I chose was a man I could love for more than a week.

Peter: [to Frank] When did your help ever help me? You can live your life the way you want to. I'm done being told how to live mine.

Peter: Failed. I failed myself. I failed my family. I failed the campaign.

Chapter 12 [1.12][edit]

Tusk: Can I ask why you do that?
Frank: Do what?
Tusk: Tap your ring like that. I've seen you do it on TV. Two taps every time you get up from a table or leave a lectern.
Frank: Something my father taught me. It's meant to harden your knuckles so you don't break them if you get into a fight. It also has the added benefit of knocking on wood. My father believed that success is a mixture of preparation and luck. Tapping the table kills both birds with one stone.
Tusk: Your father was a peach farmer?
Frank: Yes, he was. Not a very successful one.
Tusk: Lack of preparation or lack of luck?
Frank: Lack of both. He was better at giving advice than following it.

Tusk: Decisions based on emotion aren't decisions, at all. They're instincts. Which can be of value. The rational and the irrational complement each other. Individually they're far less powerful.

Frank: I said to my Professor, "why mourn the death of Presidents, or anyone for that matter? The dead can't hear us". And he asked me if I believed in heaven. I said no. And then he asked if I had no faith in God. I said, "you have it wrong. It's God who has no faith in us".

Lucas: You fucked a Congressman to get ahead.
Zoe: I'm not the first person to ever do something like that, Lucas.
Lucas: But I'm not sleeping with those other people, am I?
Zoe: What, so you just hate me now?
Lucas: No. I probably love you. That's the fucking problem.

Tusk: Fact, I have something that you want. You have something that I want.
[Frank chuckles]
Tusk: Have I said something amusing?
Frank: I've sat too many times on your side of the table not to enjoy the irony of finding myself on this side of it.

Frank: [about Tusk] He doesn't measure his wealth in private jets, but purchased souls.

Chapter 13 [1.13][edit]

Frank: Of all the things I hold in high regards, rules are not one of them.

Frank: [speaking to God] Every time I've spoken to you, you've never spoken back, although given our mutual disdain, I can't blame you for the silent treatment. Perhaps I'm speaking to the wrong audience. [Looks downward] Can you hear me? Are you even capable of language, or do you only understand depravity? Peter, is that you? Stop hiding in my thoughts and come out. Have the courage in death that you never had in life. Come out, look me in the eye and say what you need to say. There is no solace above or below. Only us - small, solitary, striving, battling one another. I pray to myself, for myself.

Gillian: [putting Claire's hand on her belly] Do you feel that? The kicking? I won't let people like you fuck up the world my child has to live in. If I have to tell a few lies to do that... I've learned one valuable thing from you.

Tusk: I'm must say, I'm surprised, Frank. You have a reputation for pragmatism.
Frank: And I've also avoided a reputation for indentured servitude.
Tusk: I never make an offer more than twice, Frank. Tell me now if I can count on your cooperation.
Frank: You're not offering cooperation, you demanding tutelage. So let me make you a proposal. I am absolutely willing to work together as equals. I will take your opinions seriously, just as the president does. But I will not bind myself to them in advance. If that doesn't interest you, fair enough. Good luck finding a vice president in the next four days who will prove as pragmatic as I. You can't purchase loyalty, Raymond. Not the sort I have in mind. If you want to earn my loyalty, then you have to offer yours in return. And if we can agree to that - well, you're a man with imagination.

Season 2[edit]

Chapter 14 [2.01][edit]

Frank: Did you think I'd forgotten you? Perhaps you hoped I had. Don't waste a breath mourning Miss Barnes—every kitten grows up to be a cat. They seem so harmless at first—small, quiet, lapping up their saucer of milk—but once their claws get long enough, they draw blood. Sometimes from the hand that feeds them. For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain, there can be no mercy. There is but one rule: Hunt or be hunted. Welcome back.

Chapter 15 [2.02][edit]

Frank: One heartbeat away from the presidency and not a vote cast in my name. Democracy is so overrated.

Chapter 16 [2.03][edit]

Frank: If we never did anything we shouldn't do, we'd never feel good about doing the things we should.
[The Capitol is locked down during an anthrax scare]
Frank: I don't know about you, but if it really is anthrax and these are our final moments, I want to die with a buzz on.

Chapter 17 [2.04][edit]

Chapter 18 [2.05][edit]

Lucas Goodwin: You think you're a badass because you're on some vigilante anarchy kick? At least I have the balls to put my name on the work I do.
Gavin Orsay: You've never faced 100 years in prison, you self-righteous prick! Most of my friends are locked up and rotting away because they poked the bear one too many times. Why? They wanted to expose government surveillance, the PRISM program, embezzlement, abuse, fucking torture, lies! You're a journalist? Who gives a shit? We're fucking soldiers. It's personal for me now. I don't have a choice, but you still do.
Lucas Goodwin: I don't have a choice.

[Frank refuses Feng's demands, suspecting that he is working with Tusk]
Feng: Why did you want this meeting? To attack me?
Frank: To send a message. The President of the United States and I are not his puppets. Now you tell him that.
Feng: Fine. The bridge deal is dead. There will be no saving it.
Frank: Stick a knife in its heart and put an apple in its mouth, I won't shed a tear.
Feng: Your President will ascribe the failure to you.
Frank: I'll take the risk.
Feng: Think strategically, Mr. Vice President. You're setting us on a very dangerous course.
Frank: Do you know how Grant defeated Lee? He had more men, that's all, and he was willing to let them die. It was butchery, not strategy, that won the war.
Feng: Mr. Tusk and I have great resources at our disposal.
Frank: Add up all your billions and you get the GDP of Slovakia. I have the federal government of the United States of America. Your money doesn't intimidate me. The most that you buy is influence, but I wield Constitutional authority.
Feng: The strongest army doesn't always win. Mao started out with only a few thousand men. They took over half a continent.
Frank: Mao is dead, and so is his China.
Feng: But I'm not.
Frank: Not yet.
Feng: Don't forget, your ancestor fought for the losing side. There is no sacred ground for the conquered.

Chapter 19 [2.06][edit]

Frank: Two minutes in the office and Tusk may be back in his good graces. I need to disrupt the nuptials and prevent a second marriage.

Frank: You may have all the money, Raymond, but I have all the men with guns.

Chapter 20 [2.07][edit]

Frank: Presidents who obsess over history obsess over their place in it, instead of forging it.
President Walker: Who said that?
Frank: I did, just now.

Dan Lanigan: You know what I like about money? I can stack it on a table, like this one. I can measure it with a yardstick. I can see it, smell it, buy things with it - houses, cars, clothes. Things that are real. You're going to have to show up with more than beads.

Chapter 21 [2.08][edit]

Frank: [advising President Walker regarding Linda's threat of resignation] Do I think she oversteps sometimes? Yes. Does she wrongly equate her advice with mine? Often. But the question that occurs to me is not about Linda. Let's say you refuse her resignation, if this gets out, and it could, won't you be sending a signal to anyone who works for you that you can be leveraged? She offered her resignation. She's already gone, even if she stays.

Frank: [following Linda's resignation] I've never thought higher of her than I do at this moment. She lost, but she played to win.

Chapter 22 [2.09][edit]

Frank: A little sibling rivalry isn’t such a bad thing, especially between adopted boys. They either push each other to be the best versions of themselves, or one of them gets booted back to the orphanage.

Frank: Do you think I’m a hypocrite? Well you should. I wouldn’t disagree with you. The road to power is paved with hypocrisy, and casualties. Never regret.

Chapter 23 [2.10][edit]

Frank: I've always loathed the necessity of sleep. Like death, it puts even the most powerful of men on their backs.

Frank: The only thing more satisfying than convincing someone to do what I want is failing to persuade them on purpose. It's like a do not enter sign. It's just begs you to walk in the door.

Chapter 24 [2.11][edit]

Frank: From the lion's den to a pack of wolves. When you're fresh meat, kill and throw them something fresher.

[of Claire] I don't know whether to be proud or terrified. Perhaps both.

Chapter 25 [2.12][edit]

Frank: Exile. I've managed to isolate the president from everyone, including myself.

[Frank has just asked Jackie to help him get Walker impeached]
Jackie: Mr. Vice President, what you are asking is just shy of treason.
Frank: Just shy, which is politics.

Chapter 26 [2.13][edit]

Tusk: [to Frank] When they put you in that box barely bigger than a coffin remember how beautiful the music was tonight. It might give you some small degree of comfort.

Claire: I've done what I have to do. Now you do what you have to do. Seduce him, give him your heart. Cut it out and put it in his fucking hands!

Frank: [in a letter to Walker] Dear Mr. President, I'm writing you on an Underwood portable my father gave me when I left for the Sentinel. It was the words my father said when he gave it to me that resonated even more than this 70-year-old machine. "This Underwood built an empire", he said. "Now you go and build one of your own." Those words have been a large part of what has motivated my life. I've only written one other letter with these keys. It did not fail me then. I hope it will not fail me now. You said I wanted to diminish you. The truth is I don't. You said I wanted to challenge you in 2016. The truth is I don't. You said I wanted the presidency for myself. The truth is... I do. What politician hasn't dreamed of about what it would be like to take the oath of the highest office of our land? I've stared at your desk in the Oval and coveted it. The power. The prestige. Those things have a strong pull on someone like me, who came from a small South Carolina town with nothing. But since you assumed office, my only aim has been to fight, for you and alongside you. Wether that be in Congress, or as now, the battle over impeachment. Maybe one day I'll have my chance to serve as President. But not while you are the nation's leader. And in you, sir, I see a brave man. A just man. A president whom I would follow anywhere, no matter how strong the wind blows against us... I want to tell you something I have never told anyone. When I was thirteen, I walked in on my father in the barn. There was a shotgun in his mouth. He waved me over. "Come here, Francis," he said. "Pull the trigger for me." Because he didn't have the courage to do it himself. I said, "No, pop," and walked out, knowing he would never find that courage. The next seven years were hell for my father, but even more hell for my mother and me. He made all of us miserable; drinking, despair, violence... My only regret in life is that I didn't pull that trigger. He would've been better off in the grave, and we would have been better off without him. I'm not going to put you in the same position as my father put me in. You will find enclosed, on a separate sheet, a confession to the crimes you have been accused of. They're false words, but my signature will make them true. Use them, if you must. If you truly believe that I have only served myself, then I have forever lost your trust. All I can do now is give you my freedom to save your own. I said I would take the fall for you. And now I give you the means to make that happen. I am pulling the trigger myself. We all must make sacrifices to achieve our dreams. But sometimes we must sacrifice ourselves for the greater good. It is my honor to make such a sacrifice now. Your loyal friend, still in my heart, if not in yours, Francis.

Rachel: [to Doug] All you have ever done is fuck up my life! You fucked up the Fellowship. You fucked up what I had with Lisa! Even when I did what you asked! Your sick fucking visits and reading to you like a fucking child! What is wrong with you?! Why can't you just leave me be?!

Cast[edit]

External links[edit]