Frank Underwood, as anyone would call him in House of Cards, is a ruthless villain working his way up to dominance. House of Cards is a politically focused show where, "A Congressman works with his equally conniving wife to exact revenge on the people who betrayed him." (IMBD) A villain described in my own words is one with unique characteristics such as Power, Persuasiveness, Decisiveness, and Intimidation. All of these characteristics describe Mr. Underwood in one way or another, but not all right away. This show has a slow start depicting Frank Underwood as a villain to the audience. It starts out showing Mr, Underwood as Majority Whip, where he collected votes and made sure his party was in line. This skill that he obtained gave him Power, the key to all of the best villains. Every villain that seizes power must require a loyal servant, this trusted ally was Doug Stamper.
Doug started out as director of strategy, and was close friends with frank for most of his life. Frank would Persuade Doug with Power by promising him chief of staff once Mr. Underwood worked his way to President. In return Doug did all the dirty illegal field work that Mr. Underwood would request. He went to unmeasurable lengths to keep a women quiet who knew about Peter Russo's, past, which I will get into in a bit. This woman would later break away and temporarily paralyze Doug for a year by beating his head with a brick. In the early stages Mr. Underwood's Power as well as his Persuasiveness show, the first two reoccurring characteristics hinted of his evil.
On his first agenda, he chose Peter Russo, a drunken druggie in the white house, to be his pawn. He sobered him up, cleaned up his past, and convinced him to run for governor. The plan for why he convinced him to run would become more clear as Mr. Underwood worked his way up. However, Peter Russo could not control himself and got back into drinking and drugs. With all the secret information that Underwood and Stamper did for this to work, Russo was dangerous for the interests of Mr. Underwood. He would have to be Decisive with his decision making, ensuring all tracks leading to anything illegal he did was covered. He managed to suffocate Peter Russo in his own car while he was drunk without leaving any trace while doing so. This was the first murder shown in the series with many unexpected more to come.
Frank Underwood also used an up and coming reporter in order to leak information about his competitors and to enhance his agenda as well. This reporter was Zoe Barnes, who got information through an affair with Frank. There was clear Intimidation being enforced onto Zoe as Mr. Underwood made it clear who was in charge and who made the decisions. "A great man once said, everything is about sex. Except sex. Sex is about power." -Frank Underwood (IMBD) They ended the affair to focus on their professional career no questions asked and no history. However, once Zoe started to step out of line Mr. Underwood stepped in and set her straight saying he will destroy her if she steps out of line again. Her and two colleagues end up conspiring about Russo's death and try to find how it can connect to Mr. Underwood since they know it was him. Frank goes out of his way in a street clothes type disguise (since he is always in a suit) and proceeds to push Zoe Barnes in front of a train for her eventual brutal death.
A true Villain destroys anyone or anything in their way. Frank Underwood has clearly shown this ruthlessness in a very short manner. I said the show started off by depicting him as a normal politician but everything above happened in the first two seasons alone. The defining characteristics I see repeatedly in Frank Underwood are Power, Persuasiveness, Decisiveness, and Intimidation.
"House of Cards." IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 01 Feb. 2017.
"Peter Russo." House of Cards Wiki. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Feb. 2017.