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 Underwood: [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.

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

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

Frank Underwood: [of Michael Kern] I almost pity him. He didn't choose to be put on my platter. When I carve him up and toss him to the dogs, only then will he confront that brutal, inescapable truth.

priest: I'd like to speak today on the subject of humility. A lot of you have just won re-election. If you hadn't, you might not be sitting here. And, of course, we should enjoy our success and be grateful for it, but never let your gratitude sour into pride. You'll have many challenges ahead over the next couple of years, and a person's character isn't determined by how he or she enjoys victory but rather how he or she endures defeat. Nothing can help us endure hard times better than our faith.

Zoe Barnes: Wait. We're in a very gray area. Ethically. Legally. Which I'm okay with --
Frank Underwood: 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.

Frank Underwood: 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 Underwood: 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 imagine their lightly salted faces frying in a skillet.

Frank Underwood: 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 10 years. Power is the old stone building that stands for centuries. I cannot respect someone who does not see the difference.

Frank Underwood: [to Zoe] You might very well think that. I couldn’t possibly comment.

Frank Underwood: [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.

Doug Stamper: "[to Peter Rousso]" When it comes to your life, Peter, and what I know about it, you should assume that there's no such a thing as a secret.

Frank Underwood: 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]

Frank Underwood: I grew up here, in the up country - Bibles, barbecues, and back breaking. Everything gets just a little bit thicker this far south - The air, the blood, even me. I try to make it down here at least once a month. Every trip is a reminder of how far I've come. I hated Gaffney as a kid, when I had nothing, but now I've come to appreciate it. It's not as suffocating as it once was, except when I have to deal with the sort of nonsense that makes me want to hang myself.

Frank Underwood: When Orrin gets the jury to weep a river of shot over this dead girl, when Gaffney goes tits up because you can't afford to pay a seven-figure award in damages, when you all get booted out of the office and I lose to chase, then you can chew my ears off about principles because we'll all have nothing but time on our hands. Until then, you either contribute or you keep it shut, Travis.

Zoe Barnes: I've been offered a spot on Nightline.
Frank Underwood: You want my advice?
Zoe Barnes: I don't want it, I need it.
Frank Underwood: Close your eyes.
[Zoe closes her eyes]
Zoe Barnes: Okay.
Frank Underwood: It's 11:25, Nightline is about to come on, millions of people are watching. Where are you -- home?
Zoe Barnes: No.
Frank Underwood: At the studio?
Zoe Barnes: Yes.
Frank Underwood: And what do you see?
Zoe Barnes: I see lights. I see a camera.
Frank Underwood: And that little red dot goes on. Tell me what you hear.
Zoe Barnes: I hear my voice.
Frank Underwood: And those millions of people, what do they hear?
Zoe Barnes: My voice.
Frank Underwood: And what do they see?
Zoe Barnes: My face.
Frank Underwood: So you don't need my advice.
Zoe Barnes: Hammerschmidt's gonna freak.
Frank Underwood: 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.

[Frank is giving a service at the funeral of a teenage girl]
Frank Underwood: You know what no one wants to talk about? Hate. I know all about hate. It starts in your gut, deep down here, where it stirs and churns. And then it rises. Hate rises fast and volcanic. It erupts hot on the breath. Your eyes go wide with fire. You clench your teeth so hard you think they'll shatter. I hate you, God. I hate you! Oh, don't tell me you haven't said those words before. I know you have. We all have, if you've ever felt so crushing a loss. There are two parents with us today who know that pain, the most terrible hurt of all- losing a child before her time. If Dean and Leanne were to stand up right now and scream those awful words of hate, could we blame them? I couldn't. At least their hatred I can understand. I can grasp it, but God's wantonness, His cruelty, I can't even begin to...My father dropped dead of a heart attack at the age of 43, and when he died, I looked up to God and I said those words, because my father was so young, so full of life, so full of dreams. Why would God take him from us? [aside] Truth be told, I never really knew him or what his dreams were. He was quiet, timid, almost invisible. My mother didn't think much of him. My mother's mother hated him. The man never scratched the surface of life. Maybe it's best he died so young. He wasn't doing much but taking up space. But that doesn't make for a very powerful eulogy, now, does it? [to the congregation] I wept. I screamed, "Why, God? How can I not hate you when you steal from me the person I most love and admire in this world? I don't understand it, and I hate you for it." The Bible says in proverbs, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." Lean not on your own understanding. God is telling us to trust Him, to love him despite our own ignorance. After all, what is faith if it doesn't endure when we are tested the most? We will never understand why God took Jessica or my father or anyone. And while God may not give us any answers, He has given us the capacity for love. Our job is to love Him without questioning His plan. So I pray to you, dear Lord, I pray to you to help strengthen our love for your and to embrace Dean and Leanne with the warmth of your love in return. And I pray that you will help us fend off hatred so that we may all truly trust in you with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding. Amen.

Zoe Barnes: You can speak to me like an adult, Tom. You don't have to lecture me like a little girl.
Tom Hammerschmidt: You haven't earned the right to be treated as an adult. You think a few front-page stories and some face time on TV makes you the next Judy Miller? You've got a long way to go. Don't be so arrogant.
Zoe Barnes: Okay, so you think when a woman asks to be treated with respect, that's arrogance?
Tom Hammerschmidt: Are you accusing me of sexism?
Zoe Barnes: Just making an observation.
Tom Hammerschmidt: No TV for a month.

Frank Underwood: [to Dean Masters] Would you like me to resign, Mr. Masters? Just say the word, and it's done. If it will bring you any satisfaction. I asked the reverend once, "What are we supposed to do in the face of so much senseless pain?" And he said to me, "What else can we do but take what seems meaningless and try to make something meaningful from it?" He's right. That's how God works: through us. Will you let me work for you? [aside] What you have to understand about my people is that they are a noble people. Humility is their form of pride. It is their strength, it is their weakness, and if you can humble yourself before them, they will do anything you ask.

Chapter 4 [1.04][edit]

Margaret Tilden: 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 Hammerschmidt: A version of it. With softer language.
Margaret Tilden: 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?

Frank Underwood: Love of family: most politicians are permanently chained to that slogan, family values. But when you cozy up to hookers and I find out, I will make that hypocrisy hurt.

Frank Underwood: 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 Underwood: You see, Freddy believes that if a fridge falls off a minivan, you better swerve out of its way. I believe it's the fridge's job to swerve out of mine.

Tom Hammerschmidt: I don't think you appreciate anything. I think you're an ungrateful, self-entitled little c-
[Tom cuts himself off]
Zoe Barnes: Little what? Little what, Tom? Say it!
Tom Hammerschmidt: Cunt. You're a cunt.
[Zoe takes out her phone and begins typing]
Tom Hammerschmidt: What are you doing? Don't you dare-
Zoe Barnes: You don't even know what I'm typing.
Tom Hammerschmidt: Get out, Zoe.
Zoe Barnes: Just a second. I'm almost done.
Tom Hammerschmidt: Get out. You're fired.
Zoe Barnes: Whatever you have to tell yourself, Tom.
Tom Hammerschmidt: Get out!
Zoe Barnes: 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.

Chapter 5 [1.05][edit]

Marty Spinella: [to Frank] Either you assure me right now that amendment is out, or I'm walking out that door and I'm gonna start launching missiles.

Frank Underwood: Marty and I have a good working relationship. Or used to. You can see he has a temper, but I can usually cut through that and reason with him. But I may have pushed him too far, which is worrisome. Friends make the worst enemies.

Tom Hammerschmidt: 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 Tilden: Was she really out of contro?! To my understanding, she simply turned down a new position.
Tom Hammerschmidt: It's her attitude. It's the way she turned it down.
Margaret Tilden: Did you think to ask her what she'd rather do instead?
Tom Hammerschmidt: Is it my job to pander to all my employees--
Margaret Tilden: 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 Hammerschmidt: 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.

Zoe Barnes: Nobody tells me when to work and when to play.

Frank Underwood: [to Peter] Everyone in that room wanted to cross you off the list. I said no. I stuck up for you. I said, "Peter Russo, he's got potential. He's young. He's capable. He's going places". I made them keep you in contention. You're still on that list. You show up at my house in the middle of the night, drunk, to whine, to try to shift the blame on me instead of taking responsibility for yourself and your own actions. Maybe they were right in that meeting. Maybe you are worthless. I'm the only person who believes in you, Peter, but maybe that's one too many. The hot water will open up your capillaries. The aspirin you just took will make your blood thinner. It's up to you, Peter. Oh, and if you do decide to take the coward's way out, cut along the tracks, not across them. That's a rookie mistake.

Chapter 6 [1.06][edit]

Linda: So you've been wrong twice about this. Why should I believe you're right about holding out?

Frank Underwood: This is the worst possible position to be in. If I water down the bill, the president will still see me as a failure. If the strike doesn't end in a week, I forced myself into a corner. Only total victory will put me back into his good graces. The alternative is exile, which would mean the last five months were for nothing. I cannot abide falling back to square one.

[on live television, regarding the brick incident]
Marty Spinella: Mrs. Underwood, Claire, I am sincerely sorry that you had to go through that ordeal, truly. And it actually sickens me that someone made you feel unsafe in your own home. And I give you my word that to the best of my knowledge, none of our people had anything to do with it. But you know what sickens me more? That right now, your husband is using you as a prop on national television to try and win a debate. So I think you're the one that owes your wife an apology, Frank. And when you're done apologizing, can we please get back to the issue here of educating our children?

Garret Walker: Are you letting pride cloud your judgment, Frank?
Frank Underwood: Respectfully, sir, you're allowing fear to cloud yours.

Claire Underwood: 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.

Frank Underwood: You know the difference between you and me, Marty?
Marty Spinella: What?
Frank Underwood: I'm a white-trash cracker from a white-trash town that no one would even bother to piss on. But here's the difference — I've made something of myself. I have the keys to the capitol. People respect me. But you, you're still nothing. You're just an uppity dago in an expensive suit turning tricks for the unions. Nobody respects the unions anymore, Marty. They're dying. And no one respects you. The most you'll ever make of yourself is blowing men like me. Men with real power. Yes. I can smell the cock on your breath from here.
Marty Spinella: You think you can get under my skin?
Frank Underwood: I know I can.

Chapter 7 [1.07][edit]

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

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

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

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

Doug 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 Underwood: The Citadel, 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.

Mrs. Russo: [to Christina] So, you're fuckin' my son? [Christina says nothing] Relax. I'm just messin' with you.

Peter Russo: You elected me to represent you, but I couldn't forestall the inevitable. The shipyard was gonna close. If not this year, then next year, or the year after that. You all know that. Here's another truth that's gonna be hard to swallow: I'm all you've got.

Chapter 9 [1.09][edit]

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

Peter Russo: 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 Russo: If your circulation was as high as the Wall Street Journal, I might like you back.

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

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

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

Chapter 10 [1.10][edit]

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

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

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

Claire Underwood: Such a shame, how naive you are.
Zoe Barnes: I'm not naive.
Claire Underwood: 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 Underwood: We never played chess before, have we?
Doug Stamper: I don't know how.
Frank Underwood: You want me to teach you?

Chapter 11 [1.11][edit]

Adam Galloway: What were you interested in?
Claire Underwood: Being more than an observer.
Adam Galloway: You wanted to be seen.
Claire Underwood: Not just seen. I wanted to be significant.

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

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

Chapter 12 [1.12][edit]

Raymond Tusk: Can I ask why you do that?
Frank Underwood: Do what?
Raymond 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 Underwood: 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.
Raymond Tusk: Your father was a peach farmer?
Frank Underwood: Yes, he was. Not a very successful one.
Raymond Tusk: Lack of preparation or lack of luck?
Frank Underwood: Lack of both. He was better at giving advice than following it.

Raymond 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 Underwood: 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."

Raymond Tusk: Fact, I have something that you want. You have something that I want.
[Frank chuckles]
Raymond Tusk: Have I said something amusing?
Frank Underwood: 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 Underwood: [about Tusk] He doesn't measure his wealth in private jets, but purchased souls.

Chapter 13 [1.13][edit]

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

Frank Underwood: [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 Cole: [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.

Claire Underwood: [to Gillian] I am willing to let your child wither and die inside you, if that's what's required. Am I an enemy you want to make?

Raymond Tusk: I'm must say, I'm surprised, Frank. You have a reputation for pragmatism.
Frank Underwood: And I've also avoided a reputation for indentured servitude.
Raymond Tusk: I never make an offer more than twice, Frank. Tell me now if I can count on your cooperation.
Frank Underwood: You're not offering cooperation, you are 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]

Christina Gallagher: I've been running a congressional district for the past nine weeks with zero assistance. Nobody elected me. Nobody taught me. I've done it because somebody had to.

Frank Underwood: Was there something different about these ribs this morning?
Freddy Hayes: Better or worse?
Frank Underwood: I didn't think that they could get any better, but these were something special.
Freddy Hayes: Well, tried a new butcher. Slow-bleeds his hogs. It ain't legal, but...
Frank Underwood: Well, I won't tell anyone.
Freddy Hayes: I don't know if I'm gonna go back to him. Went out to his shop. He's got a room in the back where he does it. Soundproof. A whole setup.
Frank Underwood: Why soundproof?
Freddy Hayes: 'Cause of how they scream. They can smell it comin'. You stick that pipe in their throat, next 10 minutes is hell. Bust your fucking eardrums. Now, the humane way to do it is to make it quick. Bring out a bucket of slop like it's feeding time, then bam, shovel right to the base of the head. No screamin'.

Zoe Barnes: I took a chance, showed up at your house and placed myself at your feet. Crossed ethical lines, professionally, physically, and I hold myself accountable for that. Those were my choices and I can live with them. I'd like to move forward, but I need to know exactly what I was a part of, that that I wasn't a part of someone's-
Frank Underwood: Finish your thought.
Zoe Barnes: A part of someone's murder.
Frank Underwood: Jesus.
[Frank stands and walks away. Zoe follows]
Zoe Barnes: I wanna believe you, Francis.
[Frank lunges out suddenly, grabs Zoe, turns her around and pushes her in front of an oncoming train]

Janine Skorsky: My entire career, I have always chosen the tough stories. I have been fearless. But, you know what? I’m really fucking scared this time. He’s got power; he’s got a lot to lose; and, right now, he is winning.

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

Tom Hammerschmidt: Grief demands an answer, but sometimes there isn't one.

Claire Underwood: [discussing her rape] When he was on top of me, I pressed my hand with everything I could, I pressed it into his face. I pressed it so hard, I broke his nose. That didn't stop him. He shoved the sheets in my mouth. I could barely breathe. Every time I think of her, pinned down like that, I strangle her, Francis, so she doesn't strangle me.

Chapter 16 [2.03][edit]

Frank Underwood: If we never did anything we shouldn't do, we'd never feel good about doing the things we should.

Frank Underwood: There can be no false steps now. The higher up the mountain, the more treacherous the path.

Frank Underwood: As for me, I used to be on the edge of the frame. Now, I'm only three feet away.

Chapter 17 [2.04][edit]

Donald Blythe: When you've been in the wasteland as long as I have, you become immune to flattery.

[The Capitol is locked down during an anthrax scare]
Frank Underwood: 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.

Frank Underwood: There are realities, Donald.
Donald Blythe: Don't talk down to me about realities. My wife is dying! That's a reality! Other people will die, too, if your package succeeds! That's a reality!

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]
Xander Feng: Why did you want this meeting? To attack me?
Frank Underwood: To send a message. The President of the United States and I are not his puppets. Now you tell him that.
Xander Feng: Fine. The bridge deal is dead. There will be no saving it.
Frank Underwood: Stick a knife in its heart and put an apple in its mouth, I won't shed a tear.
Xander Feng: Your President will ascribe the failure to you.
Frank Underwood: I'll take the risk.
Xander Feng: Think strategically, Mr. Vice President. You're setting us on a very dangerous course.
Frank Underwood: 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.
Xander Feng: Mr. Tusk and I have great resources at our disposal.
Frank Underwood: 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.
Xander Feng: The strongest army doesn't always win. Mao started out with only a few thousand men. They took over half a continent.
Frank Underwood: Mao is dead, and so is his China.
Xander Feng: But I'm not.
Frank Underwood: Not yet.
Xander 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 Underwood: 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 Underwood: You may have all the money, Raymond, but I have all the men with guns.

Chapter 20 [2.07][edit]

Frank Underwood: Presidents who obsess over history obsess over their place in it, instead of forging it.
Garret Walker: Who said that?
Frank Underwood: 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]

Remy Danton: You're nothing. You're a parasite.
Seth Grayson: So are you Danton. Just in a nicer suit.

Megan Hennessey: I'm not who you want to be your poster girl.

Frank Underwood: [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 Underwood: [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]

Doug Stamper: [to Seth] You think I've survived with the vice president so long by being blind? Upward mobility has a ceiling with the Underwoods. I'm the ceiling.

Frank Underwood: 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 Underwood: Please, let me help.
Freddy Hayes: I ain't takin' your guilt money. When I was bangin', we used to clear 60 Gs a month. I seen guys shot down execution-style. I didn't give a shit. Then I got caught. Darnell was born my first year in. Never saw him once, not even a picture. I can't take back the bad I done. All I can do is to make my own way, like I been doin'. You understand. Ain't pride, Frank.
Frank Underwood: If you change your mind, you let me know.
Freddy Hayes: You was a good customer, that's it. You ain't gotta pretend to be my friend.

Frank Underwood: 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.

Freddy Hayes: I ain't one for lookin' back. Eyes ahead.

Chapter 23 [2.10][edit]

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

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

Megan Hennessy: Mrs. Underwood was brave enough to go on national television and admit that--
Jackie Sharp: And where has she been since? Deflecting scandal and hiding from the press. You called me disgraceful in The New York Times, Megan, and you have every right. But I also have the right to say that Mrs. Underwood is disgraceful, because nothing is more disgraceful than running from a battle.

Claire Underwood: There were political realities we couldn't ignore.
Megan Hennessy: Do you ever wonder why so many people hate Washington? It's because of people like you using phrases like that.

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

Chapter 25 [2.12][edit]

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

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

Chapter 26 [2.13][edit]

Raymond 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 Underwood: 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 Underwood: [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 13, 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 7 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.

Remy Danton: When I left, Frank begged me to stay. Power vs. money, he said. Don't reduce myself to a tax bracket.
Jackie Sharp: He was right. And I doubt he begged.
Remy Danton: He was half right. Power is better than money, for as long as it lasts. But it never lasts.

Rachel Posner: [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?!

Season 3[edit]

Chapter 27 [3.01][edit]

Frank Underwood: [at his father's grave] Hey, pop. Been awhile. Did you see that motorcade pull up? It's the first time that the President of the United States has visited Gaffney. Can you believe it? [to audience] Oh, I wouldn't be here if I had a choice, but I have to do these sorts of things now. Makes me seem more human, and you have to be a little human when you're the president. He couldn't even afford his own gravestone. I paid for it, out of my own scholarship money from the Sentinel. Nobody showed up at his funeral, except me. Not even my mother. I'll tell you this, though, pop: When they bury me, it won't be in my backyard, and when they come to pay their respects, they'll have to wait in line.
[He unzips and urinates on the grave]

Frank Underwood: There's nothing like a death in the family to separate the wheat from the bullshit.

Chapter 28 [3.02][edit]

Frank Underwood: [about Dunbar] She sees me as the bank robber who made it to the county line, but she's smart enough to leave her badge at the door.

Frank Underwood: I've always said that power is more important than money. But when it comes to elections, money gives power... well, a run for its money.

Frank Underwood: The American Dream has failed you. Work hard, play by the rules? You aren't guaranteed success. Your children will not have a better life than you did. 10 million of you can't even get a job, even though you desperately want one. We've been crippled by Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, by welfare, by entitlements... and that is the root of the problem: entitlements. Let me be clear: You are entitled to nothing. You are entitled to nothing. American was built on the spirit of industry. You build your future, it isn't handed to you. And the problem with Washington is that we haven't given you he tools to build it. the only way for us to serve you is to give you the means to serve yourselves. That's exactly what I intend to do. Not handouts, jobs. Real paying jobs. In the next few weeks, the Democratic leadership will introduce a bill called America Works. Its goal is simple: to put the 10 million Americans who are unemployed to work. All of them. If you want a job, you get one. The cost is $500 billion. Now, that's a lot of money. To pay for it, we'll have to rethink Social Security, health care, and benefits from the ground up. We can't maintain the welfare state as we know it. Now, that's not a popular thing to say. Anyone running for office wouldn't dare utter those words. Every adviser and consultant and staff member would beg a presidential candidate not to say them. But I can say them... because I will not be seeking the Democratic nomination in 2016.

Chapter 29 [3.03][edit]

Frank Underwood: What is the face of a coward? The back of his head as he runs from the battle.

Frank Underwood: You can't turn a no to a yes without a maybe in between.

Viktor Petrov: So, this is what he does. He leaves the seduction to you. Isn't there a word for that in English...?
Claire Underwood: For what?
Viktor Petrov: Pimping. He's pimping you out.
Claire Underwood: How charming you are.
Viktor Petrov: Thank you. And you make a much better First Lady than ambassador, from what my people tell me. [uncomfortable pause] Only teasing. More wine for the ambassador, please.

Frank Underwood: Tell me, do you kiss the wife of every president?
Viktor Petrov: Not every president's wife looks like yours.
[Frank laughs, and then turns to the audience]
Frank Underwood: I'd push him down the stairs and light his broken body on fire just to watch it burn, if it wouldn't start a world war.

Chapter 30 [3.04][edit]

Mahmoud: You know what I dreamed of when I came here? Choking you with my bare hands.
Frank Underwood: Mr. Mahmoud, you may hate me. You may hate the office I hold. But here's the reality: I must make decisions every day that I hope are just. I don't know right from wrong all the time. I wish I did. But what I can't be is indecisive.
Mahmoud: It says in the Koran that the taking of one life is like the taking of all mankind.
Frank Underwood: It also says that the saving of one life is like the saving of all mankind.
Mahmoud: You didn't ask me here to apologize. You asked me here to forgive you.
Frank Underwood: I didn't order the strike to-
Mahmoud: I won't forgive you, Mr. President. I don't want to make it any easier for you to sleep at night. Knowing a few lines of the Koran does not absolve you.
Frank Underwood: I have a duty to this nation, Mr. Mahmoud. I swore an oath.
Mahmoud: There's a fine line between duty and murder. Only you have to power to stop what happened to me. The next time you wield it, I hope you'll think twice.

[Grayson has just kicked Sayyad out of the press corps]
Ayla Sayyad: The president just made a statement about free speech. Now you're going to start kicking reporters out of the White House?
Seth Grayson: No. Just you.
Ayla Sayyad: No, not just me! You're fucking with the second largest daily in Washington. You can get rid of me, but not the institution I work for.
Seth Grayson: You done?
Ayla Sayyad: Don't let your 15 minutes of power go to your head, Seth,
Seth Grayson: You can keep the plastic if you want, as a souvenir. That's all it's good for now.

Frank Underwood: I understand the Old Testament God, whose power was absolute, who ruled through fear. [points to the crucifix] But Him?
Priest: There's no such thing as absolute power for us, except on the receiving end. Using fear will get you nowhere. It's not your job to determine what's just. It's not your place to choose which version of God you like best. It's not your duty to serve this country alone, and it better not be your goal to simply serve yourself. You serve the Lord, and through Him you serve others. Two rules: Love God, and love each other. Period. You weren't chosen, Mr. President. [points to the crucifix] Only He was.
Frank Underwood: May I have a few moments for myself, to pray?
Priest: It's all yours. [leaves]
Frank Underwood: [to the crucifix] Love. That's what you're selling. Well, I don't buy it.
[He spits on the crucifix. When he tries to clean off the spit, the crucifix falls and shatters. Meechum comes running in.]
Edward Meechum: Is everything all right, sir?
Frank Underwood: I was praying, and it just fell. Have someone come in and clean this up.
Edward Meechum: Yes, sir.
Frank Underwood: [to the audience] Well, I've got God's ear now.

Chapter 31 [3.05][edit]

Hector Mendoza: We're drafting a law that says that this use of funds is illegal.
Frank Underwood: And who's going to enforce that law?
Bob Birch: We were ready to impeach one president; we'll do the same with you, if necessary.
Frank Underwood: And put Donald Blythe in this office? You know he's not up for the job. Congress would get killed for malpractice. As crooked as you may think I am, you know I can handle the pressure, and you know that Donald can't. So pass your law, I'll veto it, and when you overrule me in the Senate, we'll let the third branch decide.
Bob Birch: Don't declare war on Congress, Mr. President.
Frank Underwood: Not on Congress. I'm declaring war on atrophy. [to the audience] But, these days, who could tell the difference?

Frank Underwood: No writer worth his salt can resist a good story, just as no politician can resist making promises he can't keep.

Chapter 32 [3.06][edit]

Michael Corrigan: Do you know what I've been asking myself ever since the hunger strike? Am I truly willing to die for this? I don't know the answer to that question, but at least I have something I care enough about to even ask the question. Have you asked that of yourself? What are you willing to die for?

Frank Underwood: There won't be a revolution because you freed one man.
Viktor Petrov: Revolutions sneak up on you, one small step at a time. I can't ignore the smallest step.

Frank Underwood: [about Corrigan] He was a coward, and I'm glad he's dead.
Claire Underwood: He had more courage than you'll ever have.
Frank Underwood: Do you really wanna discuss courage, Claire? Because anyone can commit suicide, or spout their mouths off in front of a camera. You wanna know what takes courage? Keeping your mouth shut, no matter what you may be feeling. Holding it all together when the stakes are this high.
Claire underwood: We're murderers, Francis.
Frank Underwood: No, we're not. We're survivors.
Claire Underwood: If we can't show respect for one brave man and still accomplish what we set out to do, then I'm disappointed in both of us.
Frank Underwood: I never should have made you ambassador.
Claire Underwood: I never should have made you president. [leaves]
Frank Underwood: [to the audience] What're you lookin' at?!

Chapter 33 [3.07][edit]

Tom Yates: [to Frank about his marriage] Everything okay between you two?
Frank Underwood: You bet. [pause] Well, they've been better. [pause] No, it's not okay.

Frank Underwood: Are the AARP here?
Remy Danton: In the lobby. The chairman told me they wanna support Dunbar.
Frank Underwood: They're just trying to rattle us.
Remy Danton: Dunbar's promising to save Social Security, go after Wall Street and government waste instead of entitlements.
Frank Underwood: Well, get 'em in here.
Remy Danton: Here's a list. The meeting's not for another 10 minutes.
Frank Underwood: Well, start bringing them in here. It'll take them that long to hobble over on their walkers.

Claire Underwood: I can't believe we've become this.
Frank Underwood: Become what?
Claire Underwood: Like everyone else.

Chapter 34 [3.08][edit]

Frank Underwood: Henry Mitchell, the new Senate Majority Leader. What happened to Hector Mendoza? Well, you don't declare a couple of paid speeches as income, and boom, you're no longer in Congress, and certainly not running for president. [pointing to Mitchell's portrait of Eisenhower] You got rid of Ronnie. Hector loved that painting.
Henry Mitchell: Oh, he's not gone, just in storage.
Frank Underwood: [to the audience] Just like Hector.

Tom Yates: [about the America Works book] I think it may be the best thing I've written in years. It could also be utter and complete shit. But when I can't tell the difference, that's a good sign.

Edward Meechum: You'd better not fuck him over.
Tom Yates: Excuse me?
Edward Meechum: With what you're writing.
Tom Yates: I don't intend to.
Edward Meechum: The part about being foolish.
Tom Yates: Were you eavesdropping?
Edward Meechum: He's not foolish.
Tom Yates: That wasn't my point.
Edward Meechum: I wouldn't take a bullet for a man who was.

Frank Underwood: I never tried to swim to Fort Sumter. Thomas probably knows that I made it up, but he wrote about it anyway because he understands the greater truth: Imagination is its own form of courage.

Chapter 35 [3.09][edit]

[Baldwin and Yates have sex with a picture of Frank in the background]
Kate Baldwin: Well, the president just saw me come.

Harlan Traub: Mr. President, I know you have a thousand things on your mind, but I would just love to talk to you about how to revolutionize the food processing industry.
Frank Underwood: [to the audience] Please, slit my wrists with his butter knife.

Harlan Traub: I'm used to talking to candidates, not chauffeurs.
Remy Danton: I'm not a chauffeur.
Harlan Traub: Well, it's your hands on the wheel.

Chapter 36 [3.10][edit]

[Petrov demands that Claire step down from her ambassador post in return for a resolution to the Jordan Valley crisis]
Viktor Petrov: You want to kill me now. I can see it. I read an amusing article where a Civil War re-enactor said your great-great grandfather killed a Yankee soldier with his bare hands. When I was in Afghanistan, we were ambushed by the mujahideen. [lifts his short to reveal scars] And the man who shot me here and here stabbed me when his rifle jammed. I pulled the knife away and slit his throat.
Frank Underwood: Yes, I know. You've told that story dozens of times to the press.
Viktor Petrov: The part I don't tell is that after I slit his throat, I kept going. I strapped his head to a donkey so it would carry it back to his village. I killed a man with my bare hands. It wasn't make believe. Do you think you're capable? I think you are. You're ruthless, like me. Sometimes we must be ruthless with those who hate us, and sometimes we must be ruthless with those we love.

Frank Underwood: Sometimes I think the presidency is the illusion of choice.

Chapter 37 [3.11][edit]

[Frank is practicing for the debates]
Seth Grayson: We should focus on Sharp next.
Donald Blythe: Want me to play her?
Frank Underwood: Donald, thank you for taking your role so seriously. You should consider a career on the stage. [to the audience] Because he sure as hell isn't gonna be on my ticket.

Frank Underwood: [about Sharp] Such a shame how ruthless pragmatism gets weighed down by family values. Without that doctor and his pimply-faced brood, she could soar as high as this plane. Oh, I know - the marriage was my idea. Don't remind me.

Claire Underwood: I was thinking...
Tom Yates: About what? Mrs. Underwood?
Claire Underwood: Jumping.
Tom Yates: Jumping?
Claire Underwood: You ever have that feeling? In conversation?
Tom Yates: Which feeling?
Claire Underwood: On a bridge, you look over and... step back...
Tom Yates: Do you need me to get someone?
[Claire drops her orange juice, and seems in a trance]
Claire Underwood: He proposed, and I said, 7 years. If it's still good, another 7. If not... every 7 years. I don't hate campaigning. What I hate is... how much I need... of...
Tom Yates: How much you need each other.
Claire Underwood: I didn't jump. I didn't step back. I... [faints]

Chapter 38 [3.12][edit]

Remy Danton: I'm out, Jackie. No more politics.
Jackie Sharp: You don't mean that. It's who you are.
Remy Danton: That's what I thought, too, for a long time. I don't even know if I'll stay in D.C.
Jackie Sharp: What will you do?
Remy Danton: That's the best part: I have no idea.

Suzy: [about her husband] He goes after anything in a skirt. Which I don't mind so much, to be honest. I mean, I've had a fling or two myself. What I don't like is how he lies about it. And then, when he asks if I've been with someone and I say yes, he flips out, like there's some kind of double standard. I mean, he wants to dog Christie Mulligan in the back of her brand new Escalade, fine. Why shouldn't I be able to give Kyle Beckenbauer some head for building Kayla's crib?

Frank Underwood: [to Dunbar] I have only one thing to say: Go fuck yourself. [to the audience] Christ, that felt good.

Chapter 39 [3.13][edit]

Claire Underwood: There's a lot more to Francis and me than what you wrote.
Tom Yates: Maybe so, but I never got a chance to ask.
Claire Underwood: Then ask. Whatever you want.
Tom Yates: Why aren't you with him in Iowa?
Claire Underwood: [pause] I'm headed there tomorrow.
Tom Yates: You see? I ask a question, and neither of you answer. It's tiresome constantly swinging a sledgehammer at the facade, just to get a glimpse beneath the cracks.
Claire Underwood: Tell me what you see.
Tom Yates: Somebody who's lost. But I don't know, maybe it's all for the best. I'd rather imagine who you might be than who you actually are. Good luck, Claire.

Rachel Posner: [to Doug] You don't have to kill Rachel. She's already dead. She died in those woods, and it's better that way. She didn't have a very good life. But if you do this, you're not killing Rachel, you're killing Cassie, and all Cassie Lockhart wants to be is someplace far away. Someplace where nobody will ever find her. She likes to go to the movie theater. Doesn't matter what's showing, she likes the smell of the popcorn. She wants a dog, a Black Lab. She wants a queen-sized bed, lots of blankets to curl up under. She doesn't want much. She just wants to be invisible. Hey. Hey, look at me. My name is Cassie Lockhart.

Frank Underwood: You can't have it both ways. You want an equal partner when it suits you. You want a man to take charge when it suits you. And I'm just supposed to just, what, divine when you want which? Stop being so selfish. You're better than that.
Claire Underwood: I'm not being selfish.
Frank Underwood: You are. We're in the middle of an election, and look at us.
Claire Underwood: That's exactly it. Look at us, Francis. We used to make each other stronger, or at least I thought so. But that was a lie. We were making you stronger. And now I'm just weak and small, and I can't stand that feeling any longer.
Frank Underwood: All right. What do you want? What is the goddamn alternative? Please, Claire, tell me, because I don't understand. All I'm hearing is, it's not enough. That the White house is not enough. That being First Lady is not enough. Not enough!
Claire Underwood: No. It's you that's not enough.
[long pause]
Frank Underwood: When we lose because of you, there will be nothing. No plan, no future. We will only be has-beens. You want to amount to something? Well, here is the brutal fucking truth, and you can hate me, you can be disgusted, you can feel whatever it is that you wanna feel, because frankly, I am beyond caring: without me, you are nothing. You're right, this office has one chair, and you have always known that, from the very beginning. And if you suddenly can't stomach that, well then I'm a fool for having married you in the first place. But I don't have time to be a fool. I have to run this country, and win a nomination. I am doing my job. Doug is out there doing his job. And it is now time for you to do yours. You want me to take charge? Fine, I'm taking charge. [forces her to look at him] You will get on that plane tomorrow, you will come to New Hampshire, you will smile and shake hands and kiss babies, and you will stand with me on a stage and you will be the First Lady! And you do all that, I don't give a damn if you vomit on your own time!

Claire Underwood: Francis, I'm not going with you to New Hampshire.
Frank Underwood: Yes you are. I'll see you in the car.
Claire Underwood: I'm leaving you.

Cast[edit]

External links[edit]