House of Cards TV Poster Image

House of Cards



Compelling take on politics plays up sex, drugs, scheming.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

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

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.

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Premiere date:February 1, 2013
Cast:Kate Mara, Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright Penn
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming
Award:Golden Globe

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What parents and kids say

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Educator Written byZippora March 2, 2013

Frank has sex with his daughter

So it's ok that Frank has sex with a young woman while he makes her talk to her father on the phone? Frank says he's a father because he has her. It's ok that Frank's wife gives a hand job to a dying man in the hospital?
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent 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 of dirty politics and manipulation. It is awesome! It is a great story, and it is very realistic. But it is not for kids AT ALL. First of all, the message is not good at all, its all about corruption and greed. The scenes are very intense and and dark. Also, one character struggles with serious drug issues, and it is very explicit. But it is the sex that is VERY intense. There are breasts, buttcoks, graphic sex, and very mature themes including strippers and anal sex.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
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. And another character poses in pornography photographs for the main character. She is not shown, but enough is said to imply what is happening.
What other families should know
Too much sex


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