House of Cards Season 4 returns to Netflix on Mar. 4 and with it comes more backstabbing, betrayals, and general life ruining. Through the seasons, we’ve seen some hardcore backstabs (both figurative and literal), but we asked: which were the show’s biggest and baddest? Here are our top five.
The Literal Backstab
Frank used Peter Russo as a stepping stone on the way to the vice presidency by building Peter up, only to tear him back down. After turning the former troubled Congressman and recovering alcoholic into an unlikely candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania, Frank then sabotages Peter’s run for office by tempting him into an all-night drinking binge the night before an important radio interview. Distraught, Peter continues his downward spiral and drinks himself into a stupor. Frank lends a hand by driving him home. But he leaves Peter passed out in the running car to eventually die from carbon monoxide poisoning in a staged suicide attempt.
A One-Way Train Ticket
Naive young journalist Zoe Barnes‘ ambition was both her greatest asset and enemy. She is seduced by Frank’s power, and over time, he evolves from her inside source to clandestine lover to dangerous threat. When she starts asking all the right questions about Peter Russo’s death, Frank decides that the fun and games are over. He ask her to meet him at a train station and convinces her to delete all of their past text correspondence, his contact information, and essentially any trace of their relationship. Their fresh start turns into a quick end for Zoe, as Frank tosses her in front of an oncoming train with the ease of someone swatting a gnat off their arm.
POTUS Has Fallen
In a tag team effort, the Underwoods played the long game and it paid off. After his rise to VP, Frank discovers a Chinese money laundering scheme run by billionaire Raymond Tusk and leverages this information to drive a wedge between the former allies and also put President Walker under investigation. On the homefront, Claire plants seeds of doubt in First Lady Tricia‘s head about her husband and convinces the couple to go to marriage counseling. The private therapy sessions are publicly leaked, and, among other things, it is revealed that President Walker popped more than a few of his wife’s prescription pills. With his public trust at an all-time low, President Walker is forced to resign to avoid impeachment, and Frank ascends to the Oval Office. Frank hand-types a “heartfelt” letter to soon-to-be-former President Walker, which leads to his absolution of any wrongdoing. Checkmate.
To Serve and Protect
Season 3 saw Doug Stamper claw his way back into the White House both physically and emotionally. On the outs with the Underwood administration, Doug approaches opposing presidential candidate Heather Dunbar for a job, proving his worth by showing her a journal with damning evidence that Claire lied about an abortion on national television. Later, Doug uses the same journal to get back into Frank’s good graces, setting fire to its incriminating pages — and the $2 million Dunbar offered him for it — and re-claiming his Chief of Staff title.
For Better, and Definitely For Worse
Claire and Frank’s marriage has always been built on the foundation of love…of power. After years of constantly scheming and bolstering him up, she realizes it has all come at the expense of her own political career. The final straw is when Frank condescendingly tells here there is only one chair in the Oval Office and it belongs to him. Fed up with their one-sided partnership, she turned the tables on the king of the backstab by abandoning him during the Iowa caucuses and walks out of the White House with a simple, “I’m leaving you.”
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