Characters: House Of Cards US Capitol

Season 2 spoilers follow. You have been warned.

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Capitol Hill

Democrats

    Russo 

Peter Russo

"I'll keep your secret if you keep mine."
Played By: Corey Stoll

Works hard... plays even harder.

A Democratic Congressman from Pennsylvania's 1st Congressional Districtnote  who gets drawn into Underwood's plans.
  • The Alcoholic: Frank talks him into going to AA meetings at one point, then makes sure it doesn't take.
  • Butt Monkey: The guy never catches a break, and while some of his misfortune is his own fault, it gets worse thanks to being under Frank's thumb.
  • Composite Character: An amalgamation of Mr. Stoat, an MP with a minor role, fond of prostitues and "saved" by Francis Urquhart in the original series after being pulled over by the police, and of Roger O'Neill, a conservative embezzler and cocaine addict, who is eventually murdered by Urquhart in way that looks an accident.
  • The Corruptible: Because of his desire to do good and gain respect
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Has a long history of drug abuse and questionable sexual liaisons which dog his political career. It's also stated that he didn't have a happy childhood; from what we see of his interactions with his mother, this is entirely believable.
  • Despair Event Horizon: After getting drunk and ruining his interview and thus his campaign for governor and his relationship with Christina
  • Fatal Flaw: His weaknesses for booze and women. They've dogged him as long as he's been in politics, and are responsible for the mistake that ends his career and ultimately his life.
  • Forced Into Evil: By Frank, who uses blackmail and manipulation to push him into rolling over in front of the Brack commission, thus betraying the people who got him into office.
  • The Hedonist: Loves alcohol, beautiful younger women, and drugs.
  • Heel Face Door Slam: After reaching his Despair Event Horizon, Russo plans to come clean about everything and accept responsibility. Frank kills him before he can do any such thing.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Several people mention that he is handsome.
  • Tragic Hero/Tragic Villain: Sleazy as he is, the man is well meaning, attempts to put his life in order and have some decency, but Frank's extortion and schemes destroy his good intentions and trap him in villainy.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Frank seemingly set Peter up to fail so he could convince the Vice President to take Peter's place in the governor's race and allow Frank to take over the now vacant Vice Presidency.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Just when things are finally looking up for him, Frank sees to it that he gets drunk for his phone interview and subsequently falls hard.

    Birch 

Robert 'Bob' Birch

Played By: Larry Pine

A Democratic Congressman from Michigan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
  • Dirty Coward: "What is the face of a coward? The back of his head as he runs from the battle."

    Womack 

Terry Womack

Played By: Curtiss Cook

A congressman from Missouri's 5th congressional district and the leader of the Black Caucus. Rises to the position of House Majority Leader thanks to Frank.
  • Token Minority: The only afroamerican congressman shown so far.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In Season 3 he convinces the rest of the Democratic leadership to ask Frank not to run for president after he finishes Walker's term.

    Blythe 

Donald Blythe

Played By: Reed Birney

Democrat of New Hampshire, a respected and long-serving Representative who constantly gets in Frank's way due to his staunch liberal beliefs. He has a wife suffering from Alzheimers.
  • Kicked Upstairs: He was appointed Vice President in between seasons 2 and 3. The only reason Frank did so was because he didn't want to deal with Blythe interfering with his plans in Congress.
  • Vice President Who: An invoked trope by Frank. No one believes Blythe would be up to the job of being president himself so it makes Congress less likely to impeach Underwood.

    Sharp 

Jacqueline 'Jackie' Sharp

Played By: Molly Parker

A congresswoman from California and military veteran tapped by Underwood to succeed him as Majority Whip when he is made Vice President. While she claims to work for herself and not be beholden to others, she sees her position constantly tested through her ties to Frank, Claire, and Remy Danton.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Subverted, kind of. She believes Remy Danton is this because of his pursuit of money, thinking he's a playboy. Turns out he's really a one woman type of man and doesn't like one night stands, which he makes clear after having one with her.]
  • Ambition Is Evil: Frank noticed this quickly about her and chose her because of it. He later makes her an offer to join him in his plans for becoming POTUS with his wife Claire.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Turns against Underwood at the beginning of season 3 by siding with the Democrat leadership to make sure he doesn't run for the Presidency at the end of his term.
  • Enemy Eats Your Lunch: Done in a very subtle way to someone who isn't an enemy, but becomes one by the end of the episode.
  • It Doesn't Mean Anything: Tries to take this stance after having sex with Remy Danton for the first time. However, ultimately subverted as she develops a serious relationship with him by the end of season 2. When they break up, she tries to put this front up.
  • Just Following Orders: Sharp's excuse for her actions which resulted in the deaths of many innocent women and children in the Middle East when she was in the military before becoming a congresswoman.
  • Meaningful Name: 'Sharp' certainly fits her. She has a sharp mind, and she's lethal.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: In Season 3, after being taken for a fool by Frank. She strikes back by endorsing Frank's primary rival.
  • Lonely at the Top: After becoming Majority Whip, she loses one of her few friendships in the world and puts her career ahead of a budding romance with Remy, who even points out the job has made her cold.
  • Worthy Opponent: Proves to be an equal to Claire Underwood in every way, after the two match wits over a bill about male military officers and rape. Impressed by this, Claire decides to work with Sharp and make her an offer to join Frank in their plans for the White House.

    Dunbar 

Heather Dunbar

Played By: Elizabeth Marvel

An uncompromising lawyer who is appointed Special Prosecutor in the investigation into money laundering of foreign money via PA Cs.

  • A Lighter Shade of Black: She is as stone-cold and ruthless as Frank, but it's obvious which one of them is less evil. At the very least, unlike Frank, she has actually never murdered anyone.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Her campaign for the presidency in season 3 slowly turns her from the cold impartial prosecutor in season 2 into a regular sleazy politician who's willing to fight dirty.
  • Crusading Lawyer: Worked to expose the corruption of the Walker administration in season 2.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Oh yes. Right after Frank proposes to nominate her for Supreme Court, she announces her candidacy for the primary election, knowing too well that Frank only wants to sideline her. And that's just the beginning.
  • Females Are More Innocent: She plays the moral woman against the corrupt man Frank (she actually really is more moral than Frank - not that this means much). When she finally gets her hands dirty, Franks alludes to this trope, calling Dunbar "one of the men".
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: She puts on that face to the public.
  • Iron Lady: As special prosecutor, she's an unemotional hardass.
  • Kicked Upstairs: Frank offers her a position as a supreme court justice in order to keep her from becoming a presidential candidate. Subverted when she accepts in private and then goes behind Frank's back and announces her candidacy.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: On the outer edges of this, with the pol in question being Elizabeth Warren—another sharp legal thinker (albeit as professor at Harvard Law rather than Solicitor General) with a populist economic message who runs for high office as an outsider (although Dunbar goes straight for the Presidency, while Warren simply ran for Senate and refuses to oppose Hillary Clinton in '16). Both also have a reputation for being incorruptible (although as noted Dunbar isn't what she seems. We won't speak to Warren.)
  • Not So Above It All: For the most of Season 3 she more or less lives up to the image she puts up for the presidential campaign, refusing to play dirty like using the information about Claire's abortions or sell political favors for support to Jackie, but when she starts getting desperate, she rethinks the first one.
  • She Who Fights Monsters: She started out in Season 2 a moral prosecutor looking to expose Frank. By the end of Season 3, she becomes almost as ruthless as him. Almost meaning she didn't kill anyone yet.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Like Frank Underwood in Seasons 1 and 2, Dunbar got most of the people fooled into believing that she is a stand up politician for justice and the complete opposite to Frank. By the end of Season 3, Dunbar is willing to get just as corrupt and dirty as Frank to win. Lampshaded by Frank. "Oh, you're one of us now."
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: By the end of season 3, she's willing to do some very nasty things to prevent Frank from winning the Democratic nomination and return some semblance of honor to the Office of the President. Considering the things the audience has seen him do over the course of the show, it's hard to disagree with her motives, if not her methods.
  • Worthy Opponent: In Season 3, where she becomes Frank's primary election rival. In a nice twist, Frank is actually unwilling to admit this.

Republicans

    Mendoza 

Hector Mendoza

Played By: Benito Martinez

A Republican Senator from Arizona and the Senate Majority Leader.
  • Friendly Enemy: He's on the opposing side to Frank, but they're quite civil and get along relatively well.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: An older Marco Rubio
  • Put on a Bus: Halfway through season 3 with a single line explaining that he lost leadership of the opposition to some new guy.

    Haas 

Curtis Haas

Played By: Michael Park

A Republican Senator and member of the Tea Party movement.