Want personalized picks that fit your family?

Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.

Get age-based picks

House of Cards

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
House of Cards TV Poster Image
Compelling take on politics plays up sex, drugs, scheming.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 22 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show's overall mood is dark, and the series suggests that politics is a dirty, dirty business. Revenge and retribution are recurring themes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main character is a master manipulator with few scruples when it comes to political ambition. He surrounds himself with people who help him take others down.


A character is murdered, but his death isn't bloody.


Characters have sex, although sex acts aren't gratuitous. Partial nudity includes exposed breasts.


Audible language includes "f--k," "prick," "whore," etc.


Occasional product name-dropping of brands like "Starbucks," etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lots of social drinking; a secondary character regularly uses illegal drugs like cocaine and pot.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that House of Cards (which stars Oscar winner Kevin Spacey) plays up the dark side of national politics with recurring themes of revenge and retribution. Audible language includes strong words like "f--k," along with "prick," "whore," etc., and there's also some simulated sex and partial nudity, including exposed breasts. Many characters drink socially, many times as a stress reliever, and some secondary characters have drug (cocaine, pot) and alcohol problems. Most of the "violence" is tension that bubbles just below the surface, although death (and even murder) isn't unheard of.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byRog66 October 31, 2013


I expected House of Cards to be a political saga that got into the nitty gritty of legislation. I found that instead, it was about corruption and the intensity... Continue reading
Parent of a 13, 15, 18+, and 18+ year old Written byMichelle New June 19, 2013

Very Sexually Graphic

I agree with the other parent reviewer. Not only does a main character give a hand job to a man in the hospital, it is done cruelly and without his consent. A... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old May 31, 2013

House of Cards

Let's get ONE THING out of the way first. This show is amazing. It's directed by David Fincher and shows the dark, gritty world that is Washington. It... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byDexterMorgan March 1, 2015

Iffy on the age matter

I love the show. Every episode or couple, there is nudity in it at least for the first season. Not even talking about sex scenes. There is way to much of it. B... Continue reading

What's the story?

When he's passed up for the top cabinet post he was promised, powerful Minority Whip Rep. Francis "Frank" Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and his wife (Robin Wright) launch a revenge scheme of Machiavellian proportions against the president (Michael Gill) and his unsuspecting underlings. But carrying out his plan to topple them all like a HOUSE OF CARDS requires help from an eager young reporter (Kate Mara), who's just hungry enough to take the bait.

Is it any good?

Hardcore Netflix users might already know that House of Cards is based on the BBC miniseries of the same name (which, in turn, was based on a novel by British politician Michael Dobbs). But while the British series centered on Conservative Party politics in the post-Margaret Thatcher era, the U.S. version transplants the action to modern-day Washington, D.C., during the term of a Democratic president.

So what's the verdict? With its second original series (the first being Lilyhammer), streaming content provider Netflix delivers an effectively addictive political drama with movie-quality storytelling and A-list casting. (Not to mention A-list director/producer chops, thanks to the presence of The Social Network's David Fincher.) The series' exclusivity to Netflix subscribers means it's not easily available to a broader audience. But in our opinion, it's compelling enough to deserve one.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about House of Cards' take on national politics. Is it positive, negative, or somewhere in between? How close do you think it comes to portraying the way things really get done in Washington?

  • What role does the media play in American politics? Do you think it plays too big of a role? How has the rise of various technologies -- from television to Twitter -- affected the way we pick and choose our politicians?

  • How does House of Cards compare to the tone of other shows set in Washington, including Veep, 1600 Penn, and The West Wing?

TV details

For kids who love drama

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate