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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.
~ Francis Underwood
You are entitled to nothing.
~ Underwood's motto for his program American Works, which will destroy the traditional American welfare system in favor of ending unemployment.

Francis "Frank" Underwood is the protagonist villain of the Netflix original series House of Cards. He is a corrupt and nefarious politician who serves as the House Majority Whip, and later serves as the Vice President of the United States before eventually becoming the President of the United States. He is also the husband of Claire Underwood

He is based on Francis Urquhart, the protagonist of the original BBC miniseries House of Cards.

He is portrayed by Kevin Spacey, who also played John Doe, Keyser Söze, Micky Rosa, Buddy Ackerman, Rufus Buckley, Hopper, Lex Luthor, Clyde Northcutt, Dave Harken and Jonathan Irons.


Early Life and Season 1

Francis Joseph “Frank” Underwood (born November 5, 1959) was born in Gaffney, South Carolina, his father was a simple peach farmer who passed away after a heart attack at the age of 43. Frank has stated on a few occasions that he and his late father had nothing in common whatsoever, and after his father's death, Frank felt neither regret nor remorse.

Raised in impoverished circumstances, he found his hometown suffocating at the time. He eventually left and attended the military college called "The Sentinel". He began attending this college just after Jimmy Carter had been elected 39th President of the United States in 1976

In his senior year, his grades suffered when he volunteered for a U.S. Senate campaign in the Autumn of 1980 and was nearly expelled from the military college. Despite his poor grades, Underwood was accepted into Harvard Law School in 1984.

Frank met his wife Claire when they were both attending Harvard, shortly after they both graduated Claire and Frank married, originally Claire wanted them to settle down and have a child, however Frank thought that bringing a child into their world of anguish would be cruel and pointless, so Claire gave up this idea of them settling down. During Frank's early political campaigns Claire became pregnant, but to assist Frank in furthering his political career she had the the baby aborted.

In 1986 Francis Underwood was elected to public office, as a member for the South Carolina State Senate, Frank at that time was one of the youngest state legislators in the state's entire history.

Frank was elected in 1990 as the Representative from South Carolina's 5th congressional district. He was sworn into office in January 1991. Since then Frank has served for 12 consecutive terms, winning re-election for his 12th term in 2012.Frank began his deadly and ruthless rise to power in Congress by becoming the House Majority Whip for the Democratic Party in 2005.

Secretary of State Passover

During Garret Walker's early campaigns, Frank was promised the position of Secretary of State, after Walkers election, Frank began to discuss his new ideas with the White House Chief of Staff Linda Vasquez , however he is promptly told that Garret had decided to promote Senator Michael Kern a stupid and incompetent man to the position, a furious Underwood then begins to explain that he personally drafted the foreign policies, Linda says things have changed, but she and The President appreciate his hard work, she then goes on to say the Michael Kern will be the new Secretary. A calm Frank says he is an excellent choice and the leaves, Frank then becomes furious and begins(at his wife's urging) to plot the downfall of Senator Kern in favor of his ally and friend Catherine Durant, who was much smarter then Kern. To ensure that Kern was completely discredited he had his pawn Peter Russo (a recently recovering alcoholic) manipulate the drug addicted editor of Kern's former college newspaper create a piece of media allegedly created by Kern during the Israeli-Palestinian Crisis. The following backlash directed at Kern forced the President to endorse Catherine Durant to the position of Secretary of State.

Peter Russo for Governor of Pennsylvania

Frank takes the young representative of South Philadelphia, Peter Russo under his wing, Frank seemingly grooms Peter Russo for Governorship of Pennsylvania. However Frank knows that Russo is a recovering alcoholic and asks Russo to give him one month of sobriety, not for Frank, but himself so that he can win the Governorship. While Frank appears to want Russo to succeed, he knows his true plan will not come to fruition if he actually wins. Frank and the campaign team decide to portray him as a phoenix, in some respects; an alcoholic who was once at the very bottom of his life, now risen from the ashes, via his children's and God's love. He pretends to be open with his past addictions and problems, by telling only a small portion of his secrets. However, this does not work and voters slowly start turning away and losing interest.

Russo eventually manages to gain trust and respect in his state, first by partnering with his old friend who represents the unions, then by putting the Vice President in his place when he, the beloved former governor of Pennsylvania, starts meddling. However, he eventually relapses due to Doug Stamper 's influence(at Frank's behest) also the reappearance of the former call girl that Russo was previously caught intoxicated and driving with. Russo also had a short affair with an unnamed male prostitute that was hinted to be under aged. The morning after Peter relapses, he ruins his morning radio interview where it is clear to everyone that he is drunk. Frank quickly takes control of the situation and plants the seed that the Vice President take back the governorship of the state as he and the President are unhappy with each other . Underwood then murders Peter Russo when he realizes that Russo can no longer be controlled through intimidation or fear as Peter doesn't fear Frank anymore. Frank then subsequently kills Peter by poisoning him using carbon monoxide from Peters car exhaust.

Vice Presidential Attempt

After Frank kills Russo a spot in the Pennsylvania Governorship race opens, Frank then begins to influence the Vice President to run. Frank had previously gotten the Vice President to campaign with Peter Russo, where he (the Vice President) was reintroduced to the love of a constituency that had once loved him. This reminded the Vice President of his glory days as a politician, the glory days that had not continued in his Vice Presidency as he effectively no real power. Knowing that he was unhappy, and very eager to feel important once more, Frank suggests to the Vice President that he should run for Governor again. The President and V.P. heartily agree to this, a decision further amounted to, because of an evident dislike for one another. Frank ensures they are both aware of this mutual dislike, by mentioning their comments told in confidence to him, to the other.

As the V.P. campaigns for the certain victory, Frank and Chief of Staff Linda Vasquez create a fake list of Vice Presidential nominees. The nominees are incompetent and definitely inappropriate for helping the President. This leads the President to become desperate and be ready to say yes to anything. Linda, Frank and to a lesser extent the President cross off every name on the list, as they attempt to build up to Frank becoming the Vice President.

Vice Presidency

After being appraised by billionaire business magnate Raymond Tusk, who happens to be a confidant and old friend of the President, Garrett officially offered Frank the Vice Presidency, which Frank quickly and heartily accepted. Unfortunately while Frank was accepting the job Frank left his phone at his house, it rang as Doug Stamper(Frank's assistant and loyal lackey) attempted to inform him of Zoe's betrayal.

Frank eventually found out about Zoe's betrayal and subsequently had a few discussions with her, before meeting with her in a subway station. After having her erase their digital history together, Zoe began to question Frank about his involvement in the death of Peter Russo. With her becoming too close to discovering his scheme and the murder, Frank threw her in front of an oncoming train, killing her instantly .

As Vice President, Frank first set out to sever and destroy the close ties between President Walker and Raymond Tusk. He did this by back channeling with China regarding the building of a Port Jefferson Bridge and successfully made the President go against Tusk's interests in the project.

Tusk started guiding his money to the Republicans and Frank ordered Seth Grayson to assist a reporter in revealing Xander Feng's connections to the money. The subsequent investigation led to Tusk's implication of President Walker, this caused the President to become a target for the media. Frank ensured that his replacement Whip Jackie Sharp gained enough votes for articles of impeachment in Congress, Frank helped Jackie get enough votes by asking Claire to rework the Military Sexual Assault bill and he convinced Michael Kern to help him whip votes in the Senate by hinting at an eventual nomination as Secretary of the Treasury.

With connection to China exposed, President Walker was trapped and resigned his presidency. Frank was promptly sworn in as President. His first act is to renounce the asylum of Xander Feng, resulting in his deportation back to China and almost certain execution.


  • Amid sexual harassment allegations towards Kevin Spacey, the sixth and final season will commence without his involvement.