The House of Cards

I am eager to continue seeing this latest serial on Netflix. The House of Cards is about the political dramas enacted everyday in that world capital of democracy, Washington D.C.

I believe that Kevin Spacey (Frank Underwood in the serial), as the main character in this drama serial, more or less accurately represents what happens in the Congress of the United States of America. He manipulates things on the political stage to his utmost advantage, and is completely ruthless. He buys peoples’ loyalties, he damages peoples’ reputations, and even manipulates the President of the U.S. It appears to be a good portrayal of the political machinations in a democracy, which does not exactly translate to an application of Abraham Lincoln’s principles of democratic governance.

As is to be expected in such a political drama, there is plenty of leakage of sensitive information to the media, and a gross indecency in which the American media thirsts for political information on anything and everything – how they wish to undermine people in high positions. Kate Mara (Zoe Barnes), the reporter, sells herself to the Senator, in the hope of getting extremely sensitive information on the happenings in the highest circles of government. Another Senator who is a drug addict and alcoholic, pledges his loyalty to our main Senator character in the hope of winning a nomination for Governor of a State. And so on and so forth. In an endless manner, Kevin Spacey orchestrates and demonstrates his political influence repeatedly, even against the sitting Vice President of the U.S. ! He does not like to lose political battles, and leverages his wife’s non-profit to his advantage. His wife, so well acted by Robin Wright (Claire Underwood), is elegant and somewhat mysterious in her actions and utterances. But everything she does or says has a significant meaning behind it. Amazing performance from a rather gifted actress.

All told, I am fascinated by the serial and continue watching it. Its complexity grows by the episodes, and shows how ruthless a politician can get in order to achieve his aims in a power-hungry Washington. No wonder the other democracies continue to learn from the intricacies of Washington politics, which is apparently totally corrupted. And Washington government machinery calls most other democracies as corrupt !

The other thing (apart from many things) to learn from this serial is the power of lobbying which the Americans have refined to an art form. There are many instances of lobbying in this serial, that one can extract and write a thesis on the power of lobbying in American politics where the so called “special interests” reign supreme. Anything can be bought or sold – if a politician is involved at high levels of the government. Things can be twisted, manipulated, tweaked and communicated in a totally unexpected way.

See the series and you will know what I am talking about. In any case the House of Cards is worth watching even if you are not a student of political science.

Enjoy it ! One episode at a time !!


Vijay Srinivasan

20th March 2016


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