Characters: House Of Cards US White House
Season 2 spoilers follow. You have been warned.
The White House
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President Garrett Walker
Played By: Michael Gill
The most powerful man in the free world... or so the saying goes.45th President of the United States, former Governor of Colorado. He trusts Frank as a close advisor and lieutenant while constantly allowing his administration to falter due to Frank's machinations.
- Benevolent Boss: Walker is considerate and pleasant toward his subordinates. It's a shame he's so easily manipulated by those subordinates.
- Butt Monkey: His presidency consists of one crisis after another and his marriage is also severely damaged.
- The Chains of Commanding: Frank makes sure the chains are as heavy as possible and that the President gradually tumbles under the weight.
- The Ditherer: Which is why it's so easy for Frank to manipulate him, well at least when Raymond Tusk is far away.
- Fatal Flaw: He's very gullible. An example of this is the end of season 2. He realizes that Frank has been the source of most of his troubles, so he cuts Frank off and he brings back his old chief of staff. Walker then offers Raymond Tusk a pardon in exchange for revealing Frank's illegal activities to the Department of Justice's investigation. Everything would have worked for Walker if he had just kept to his plan. Frank would have been imprisoned and Walker could have at least salvaged one term in the presidency. However, Walker changes his mind when Frank sends him an emotional letter pleading for the president's friendship, and refuses to give Tusk the pardon. Tusk then perjures himself by implicating Walker in illegal activities, readying the congress to impeach Walker and causing Walker to resign.
- Good Is Dumb: The least morally dubious politician on the show, and is being constantly manipulated by Tusk and later Underwood.
- Hope Spot: Gets one near the end of Season 2, when he finally sees Frank for the duplicitous, power-hungry liar that he is and cuts him out of his circle. However, he underestimates just how good a liar the man is, and pretty soon Frank schemes his way back into Walker's good graces and orchestrates his downfall.
- The Pardon: It's mentioned in Season 3 that Underwood pardoned Walker after becoming president.
- Toxic Friend Influence: Becomes a victim of this from both Frank Underwood and Raymond Tusk in Season 2, resulting in him being manipulated out of the White House. Even more so with Frank, who uses a series of brilliant Batman Gambits against Walker.
Patricia 'Tricia' Walker
Played By: Joanna GoingThe wife of President Garrett Walker and First Lady of the United States. She befriends Claire during Season 2, supporting her legislative moves, while also dealing with marital stress.
James 'Jim' Matthews
Played By: Dan ZiskieThe Vice President of the United States, a former Governor of Pennsylvania.
"I don't have a fucking shred of real influence."
- Grumpy Old Man: Matthews is rather bitter and short-tempered in office, although he's polite and friendly to his constituents.
- Kicked Upstairs: How he views his vice-presidency. Matthews hates being away from his home state, which he feels a strong connection to.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Probably the most direct and blatant example in the series, of current US Vice President Joe Biden. Both are from Pennsylvania (though Biden grew to political prominence in Delaware), have the same speech and mannerisms, adopt a folksy demeanor, seem to shoot for centrist, blue-collar voters, and are viewed by many as burdensome to the administration they serve.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: By winning race for governorship of Pennsylvania. He was rather happy with that, since he had come to loathe his vice presidency, as he had grown to consider it equal to being Kicked Upstairs.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: In a show where most characters get screwed over some way or another, Matthews ends up exactly where he wants to be in the end.
- Vice President Who: Matthews feels he's ineffectual and Walker locks him out of the loop, and he dislikes Walker immensely. Likewise, Walker considers Matthews to be a pain in the ass and only used him to get voters.
Catherine "Cathy" Durant
Played By: Jayne AtkinsonA Senator from Missouri who becomes Secretary of State after Frank brings about the downfall of Michael Kern.
- Iron Lady: She might be as easily manipulated by Frank as anyone, but there's no shame in that and there's no denying Durant is one tough lady who isn't easily intimidated.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: She seems to be based on Hillary Clinton; she actively opposed the sitting President during the primaries, and later she would be promoted to Secretary of State. She even somewhat resembles Clinton in appearance.
- Real-Life Relative: Her actress Jayne Atkinson is married in real life to Walker's actor Michel Gill.
Played By: Kevin KilnerA Senator from Colorado and the President's original choice for the position of Secretary of State. Made Secretary of Treasury by the newly-sworn in Frank at the end of Season 2
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Respected, craggy-faced, patrician Senator with a sort of hippieish past. Just like John Kerry.
- Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Kern's nomination to Secretary of State is railroaded as much by his own politically careless statements as it is by Frank Underwood's sabotage.
- Composite Character: He appears to be somewhat based on Michael Samuels of the original series
Played By: Sakina JaffreyPresident Walker's White House Chief of Staff. She works with Frank as much as she can but also sees into his duplicity more than others.
Tougher than rawhide and mean as a snake.
- The Consigliere: To President Walker.
- Graceful Loser: After she resigns in Season 2, Linda gives Frank a precious gift. Frank mentions how he respects her even more for losing with dignity.
- Informed Ability: All of the traits Frank ascribes to her in the first episode. She is easily duped for most of the season, doesn't question why Frank is taking such an active role in the Walker presidency, and even when she confronts Frank on his long-term goal to be president, she accepts his admission without conflict.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: Resigns in Season 2, after she realized she can no longer compete with Frank in the White House.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Attempts unsuccessfully to use her influence to get her son into Stanford despite the fact that the admissions committee has turned him down. She has to turn to Frank to get some help.
- 10-Minute Retirement: Averted. Despite resigning during Season 2, Linda is given a chance to get her job back, if she helps President Walker bring Frank Underwood down. Unfortunately for her, Frank's Batman Gambit with the letter, prevents this from happening.
- Worthy Opponent: Frank views her as one, as she is one of the few people he acknowledges are just as smart, tough-minded, and ruthless as he is.
Played By: Kristen ConnollyA headstrong congressional staffer involved in a secret relationship with Peter Russo, before becoming personal assistant to Walker.
Can loving the right man be all wrong?
- Demoted to Extra: Despite her large role in Season 1, Christina is demoted to a fairly minor role albeit one with an arc. She exists mostly as an Unwitting Pawn for Claire to use in Season 2.
- Honest Advisor: As a campaign adviser, this is her job and she does her best at it. She doesn't hesitate to tell the truth and give her honest opinions, although in keeping with being a Nice Girl she tends to be tactful.
- The Mistress: For Russo, but only due to secrecy and not true infidelity. The First Lady suspects her of being this to Garrett, although her suspicions are aided by Claire.
- Nice Girl: She's one of the most morally upright characters and this is reflected in her general demeanor.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Christina has a big shining pair of 'em, which is quite helpful when dealing with Russo.
- Put on a Bus: Claire sets the seeds into First Lady's mind that Christina is a sycophant willing to sleep her way to the top (given her past relationship with Russo) and she ends up getting transferred off-screen from the White House to another location.
- Unwitting Pawn: Claire Underwood uses her as one to help crumble the President's marriage.
Played By: Jeremy HolmThe White House/FBI liaison.
- The Bully: To Gavin Orsay, his informant. Green is excessively cruel to him, frequently taunting and insulting him.
- Jerkass: Green is a smug, sadistic bully.
- Kick the Dog: His barbaric treatment of Gavin Orshay, and especially Gavin's guinea pig Cashew, whom he slowly crushes under his foot.
- Your Cheating Heart: As Gavin discovers, Green's wife is having an affair.