The sinister Francis Underwood is in good company

By Kelli Bender
Updated February 12, 2014 05:00 PM
Credit: Knight Takes King Prod.

SPOILER ALERT: This post divulges key plot details from season 1 of Netflix’s House of Cards

Don’t have Valentine’s Day plans? Now you do! Netflix’s House of Cards returns for its second season on Feb. 14.

Granted, Francis Underwood’s Washington, D.C., isn’t brimming with the best relationship material, but you’re sure to find someone you’ll love … to hate. Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright and the rest of the House of Cards cast make the misdeeds of The West Wing look like a Bingo game.

Before binge-watching season 2, catch up on what’s already happened amongst the show’s finest villains. Check out our choices for the most sinful suits in House of Cards, on a scale of bad to worst:

7. Remy Danton

Francis Underwood’s former press secretary is making a name for himself. Last season, the lobbyist showed he was prepared to pull the political tricks needed to keep his clients happy.

Dirtiest Deed: Protégé no more. Remy betrayed his former employer by convincing Francis’s wife, Claire, to backstab her husband as part of a business transaction.

6. Linda Vasquez

This White House Chief of Staff puts on a tough front, but she is still lacking the finesse it takes to spot the snakes around her. Vasquez spent most of season 1 trying to keep track of all the backhanded deals she shook on.

Dirtiest Deed: Vasquez and the President didn’t honor their promise to make Francis the Vice President, which set off his merciless revenge agenda.

5. Zoe Barnes

Naïve yet conniving, Zoe teamed up with Francis as part of a professional relationship that turned intimate, only to turn all-business again. After a season of breaking stories for Mr. Underwood, this journalist is starting to realize the best headlines may instead be about him.

Dirtiest Deed: Zoe has the bad habit of letting lust take over. Her insatiable thirst to be the next media maven has led her to a married man’s bed and several burned bridges. Journalistic integrity – what’s that?

4. Claire Underwood

The feminine half of the unstoppable Underwood duo, Claire has shown herself to be as ruthless as her power-hungry husband. Claire carries on her own extramartial affairs, crafts her own suspicious bargains and enjoys the occasional smoke.

Dirtiest Deed: In Claire’s previously mentioned deal with Remy, she chose to take the lobbyist’s offer because of the financial benefits to her company. This self-serving and morally questionable choice sunk an important bill for both Francis and Pete Russo, and it alienated Claire’s pregnant coworker Gillian Cole. (And we’ll never forget her hospital bedside manner with Francis’s former security guard.)

3. Pete Russo

Party boy Pete Russo started last season as Francis’s handpicked pony in the race for Pennsylvania governor. Unfortunately, Pete veered from the plan. He was murdered by Francis as a “necessary” step in his rise to Vice Presidency.

Dirtiest Deed: It’s easy to be blinded by sympathy for Pete, but the former congressman was a man of gluttonous appetites. Pete consistently chose sex, drugs and alcohol over his family, relationship and job.

2. Doug Stamper

Chief of Staff is a fancy way of saying professional lackey, and that is exactly what Doug Stamper is to Francis. Underwood calls the shots, but the cold and calculating Stamper is responsible for executing the sinister commands and cleanups.

Dirtiest Deed: Years under the tutelage of Francis Underwood has made Stamper wise to all of D.C’s dirty tricks, Francis’s included. Stamper knows that his boss played a role in Russo’s death, but allows his loyalty to come first.

1. Francis Underwood

The House of Cards trump suit, Francis Underwood, is a man who despises weakness and uses the vulnerable as a ladder to the top. Through a well-plotted series of deceptions in season 1, the once-betrayed majority whip rose to the role of Vice President.

Dirtiest Deed: Every person is a pawn to Francis, but Russo was by far the most abused of the chess set. Francis filled Pete with false hope, lured him back to his vices and eventually murdered the congressman, all for the sake of his own career. Ruthless.

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