What Will House of Cards Do With Kevin Spacey's Frank Underwood?

Robin Wright's Claire Underwood is ready to take center stage—but how?

By Chris Harnick Nov 06, 2017 8:01 PMTags

Kevin Spacey is out of the House. The House of Cards star and executive producer will not return for season six, which had just begun filming when allegations of sexual assault and misconduct made headlines. Netflix and producer Media Rights Capital suspended production and launched their own investigation, eventually severing ties with Spacey.

"Netflix will not be involved with any further production of House of Cards that includes Kevin Spacey. We will continue to work with MRC during this hiatus time to evaluate out path forward as it relates to the show," Netflix said in a statement. "We have also decided we will not be moving forward with the release of the film Gore, which was in post-production, starring and produced by Kevin Spacey."

Famous Feuds: TV Shows vs. Stars

"While we continue the ongoing investigation into the serious allegations concerning Kevin Spacey's behavior on the set of House of Cards, he has been suspended, effective immediately. MRC, in partnership with Netflix, will continue to evaluate a creative path forward for the program during the hiatus," MRC said in a statement.

But what will happen to his character, Frank Underwood? That remains to be seen. The Hollywood Reporter indicates he will be written out, but how?

Season five ended with Robin Wright's Claire Underwood as president. She turned to the camera and spoke directly to the audience, like Frank did in seasons past, and said, "My turn." Frank could…

TV Reboots, Remakes and Revivals Guide: Which Shows Are Returning From the Dead?

Die. He's had a lot of enemies, and this seems like the obvious route. Or it could be of natural causes. Either way, it could be done off camera, easily explained with a scene in the premiere and a time jump to avoid having to rewrite and restructure the whole season. It would present interesting notes for Wright to play—Frank and Claire's relationship was anything but normal. The character dies in the Michael Dobbs novel that inspired the UK version of House of Cards, which in turn was the basis of Netflix's version.

Disappear and go on the run. Claire hesitated on pardoning her husband. Maybe she doesn't and he hightails it out of the country. This would leave his presence looming large and for a show that seems to want to cut all ties to Spacey and his tarnished image, that doesn't seem likely.

Go to prison. Claire's in charge of the country at season five's end. Maybe she doesn't pardon him and he gets locked up. Frank's mentioned in passing and Claire gets on with running the free world.

Spacey's shadow will be felt, regardless of what happens to his character, but the size of it depends on how Netflix and writers handle the exit.