It’s high time that I profiled one of the best miniseries on television of all time: the House of Cards trilogy. The three titles — The House of Cards, To Play the King, and Final Cut — total twelve hours, and together constitute one of the most beautiful and up-close views of how power and politics can be deliciously used and abused for personal gain. Get it on Amazon or Bit Torrent.
The series is focused on Francis Urquhart, who starts the series as the Chief Whip of the Conservative Party in the days after Margaret Thatcher. The character is played by the late Ian Richardson, a veteran Shakespearean stage actor. The character known by his initials of “FU” is both evil and lovable, the true anti-hero who lies, cheats, seduces, terrorizes, defrauds, and murders his way to gain and maintain power. (Ian Richardson’s portrayal of the archetypal Machiavellian politician was so popular with the British public that one of his last performances was reading Machiavelli’s The Prince, which you can buy on Amazon here.) What’s more, he speaks to the audience throughout the series, almost making the audience complicit to his acts, part of a delightful grand conspiracy. What do I mean by that? Check out the opening few minutes of the series below.
It would be criminal to reveal to readers the conclusion of any of the episodes of the trilogy, but needless to say the “bad guy” protagonist survives both in his political career and physical body long enough to provide for a three-part series. In these episodes he faces off against his own party members in a power struggle; the new King and the institution of the monarchy itself; and the men and women of the cabinet who are supposed to be his loyal ministers and honorable friends.
And the series is so delightful that it’s probably the series I’ve seen repeatedly so many times over any other series or movie ever. For those who enjoy raw politics, I can’t recommend the House of Cards trilogy enough.