At the very end of season 5, disgraced former President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) calls his successor and wife, President Claire Underwood (Robin Wright), from his Washington D.C. hotel room. Instead of answering she ignores the call, turns to the camera and says, “My turn.” According to showrunners Melissa James Gibson and Frank Pugliese, it was this pivotal turn – and not Spacey’s firing from the show after sexual misconduct allegations against him were made public – that informed everything that will happen in House of Cards season 6.
Melissa James Gibson and Frank Pugliese talk House of Cards season 6
“This whole story was set in motion when a man was passed over for power,” says Gibson. “It’s about what got unleashed as a result, and all the things that occurred as a result of that. It all spiraled out of control and ended up involving a lot of people.”
“Is this world or this country, both the real ones and those in the world of the show, ready for a female president?” Gibson asks. Pugliese agrees and ponders whether “the powers that be in this country and elsewhere ever let a woman have power?”
“The show began with a man being passed over, but the question now is, will they let a woman have it?” he continues, while adding that in the duplicitous and dangerous world of House of Cards, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Claire is without sin. “There’s no one woman. I mean, a woman in power is not just one thing. We have a number of characters on the show that exhibit this.”
“Besides,” adds Pugliese, “it would have been weird for Claire to succeed without using the rules of the show. She’s using the rules first established by Beau Willimon, the original British adaptation and the Michael Dobbs novel it’s all based on. That’s what makes her a success, in our eyes.”
And that, the showrunners contend, is where the real meat of House of Cards season 6 resides. President Claire Underwood must overcome not only the long shadow cast by her publicly disgraced husband, but the equally shadowy endeavors of her few remaining allies and that many enemies who lay in waiting. So there’s obviously going to be a lot of nostalgia for longtime viewers, because some of the series’ most deeply buried skeletons are about to resurface with a vengeance.
“We just wanted to end the story properly and with integrity,” Gibson concludes. “We wanted to bring it to a brave, surprising and inevitable close. We wanted to pay off all the promises that were made before, of course, but also give the fans a satisfying ride along the way.”
House of Cards season 6 premieres Friday, Nov. 2, on Netflix.