Characters / House Of Cards US Capitol

Season 4 spoilers follow. You have been warned.

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Capitol Hill

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Democrats

    Jackie Sharp 

Jacqueline "Jackie" Sharp

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sharp_jacqueline_9.jpg
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 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. She later makes a deal with Heather Dunbar (kind of) to leave each other alone during a TV debate and focus on attacking Frank. She also makes a deal with Frank to drop out of the electoral race early on and lend Frank her support. Eventually she breaks both deals, siding with Frank in the debate against Dunbar, and urging her supporters to back Dunbar instead of Frank afterwards.
  • 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: Jackie's excuse for 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.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: She decides to leave politics at the end of Season 4, after she realized winning her bid for office wouldn't achieve anything for her. She tells her husband about the affair with Remy, and she agrees to speak to Tom Hammerschmidt about Frank's corrupt practices.
  • Worthy Opponent: Proves to be an equal to Claire Underwood in every way, after the two match wits over a sexual assault bill. Impressed by this, Claire decides to work with Jackie and make her an offer to join Frank in their plans for the White House.

    Heather Dunbar 

Heather Dunbar

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dunbar_heather.jpg
"Frank Underwood is a dangerous man, because power in the hands of those who lack honesty, lacks a moral compass. And without a moral compass, power runs amok."
Played By: Elizabeth Marvel

An uncompromising lawyer who is appointed Special Prosecutor in the investigation into money laundering of foreign money via PACs.
  • 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.
  • The Atoner: She admits to Tom Hammerschmidt that she allowed herself to be corrupted in her race for the nomination and does her best to put him on the right track in his search for the truth surrounding Frank's rise to the presidency.
  • Crusading Lawyer: Worked to expose the corruption of the Walker administration in season 2.
  • 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".
  • Heel Realization: After Lucas Goodwin dies trying to assassinate Frank she realizes that he was telling the truth and that her ambition to get elected president has overridden her sense of ethics. Unfortunately by that point it's too late and her campaign falls apart shortly thereafter.
  • Idiot Ball: Grabs one in Season 4 when she gets investigated by the special prosecutors about Lucas Goodwin's assassination attempt on Frank. After her attempts to lie about meeting him fail, she not only admits to meeting with him, but proceeds to completely trash Frank and his administration. And she knows everything she said is going to be made public. The result is she not only comes off looking like she had something to do with it, but she looks bad for badmouthing Frank while he's on the cusp of death. Frank's advisers immediately lampshade she just ruined her own campaign.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: She puts on that face to the public.
  • Iron Lady: As special prosecutor, she's an unemotional hardass.
  • It's Personal: She was already angry that Frank managed to avoid prosecution for his crimes while serving as Vice President, but his attempts at forcing her mentor out of the Supreme Court is what really sets her off. Once that happened, her campaign for the Democratic nomination became more focused on crushing Frank than anything else.
  • 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.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Dunbar finds herself on the opposite side of the table when special prosecutors question her on meeting Lucas Goodwin, who later shoots Frank after Dunbar refuses to listen to him about Frank's murder of Zoe and Russo. Dunbar tries to flip-flop and lie about meeting Lucas until her conscience compels her to admit the truth.
  • 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.)
    • Dunbar's stand against corrupt government, and desire to fight off corruption, and position as one who cannot be bought, makes her akin to Bernie Sanders.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Bob Birch 

Congressman Robert "Bob" Birch

Played By: Larry Pine

A Democratic Congressman from Michigan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Becomes the House Minority Leader after the Republicans take control of the House in 2014.
  • Dirty Coward: "What is the face of a coward? The back of his head as he runs from the battle."
  • Enemy Mine: Teams up with Republican Senators Hector Mendoza and later Henry Mitchell to oppose the America Works program.

    Terry Womack 

Congressman Terrance "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.
  • Extreme Doormat: How Frank regards him.
  • Token Minority: The only African-American 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.

    Peter Russo 

Congressman Peter Russo

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/russo_peter_6448.jpg
"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 prostitutes 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.
  • Hidden Depths: His speech to the Shipyard workers in Episode 8 shows his political skills and charisma.
  • 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.

Republicans

    Hector 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. Of course, their relationship gets strained from time to time.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: He's an older Marco Rubio.
  • Put on a Bus: Mendoza disappears halfway Season 3 despite his increasing appearances; it's rather abrupt and Frank explains in a single line that he's lost leadership of the opposition due to a scandal, but he also emphasizes that Mendoza will likely be back. It's pretty likely due to Benito Martinez getting a more solid regular role on a show elsewhere.

    Curtis Haas 

Curtis Haas

Played By: Michael Park

A Republican Senator and member of the Tea Party movement.
  • Jerkass: Even if he is a true believer in Tea Party conservatism, he's more than willing to let the government shut down just to spit in the face of Underwood and the Democrats after they offer him everything he could ask for.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: His leadership position and Tea Party membership are reminiscent of Ted Cruz.

    Henry Mitchell 

Henry Mitchell

Played By: Marc Kudisch

A Republican Senator from Tennessee who becomes Senate Majority Leader after Mendoza was Put on a Bus.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: He's basically a younger version of Mitch McConnell.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He opposes Frank, but it's shown to be in the interests of the country rather than any personal animosity. He's also a fiscal conservative, but supports appropriating more funds for FEMA in the face of an imminent hurricane.
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