On the other hand, Daniel Fienberg from The Hollywood Reporter was critical of Spacey's performance, writing: " Spacey's performance, which at least had an appealingly theatrical extravagance when the series began, has grown less enjoyable. Having reached a pinnacle, there's no way to root for Frank's striving anymore, if you ever were, but House of Cards has yet to commit to urging us to root for Frank's downfall."[76]

The Underwood No. 5 launched in 1900 has been described as "the first truly modern typewriter". Two million had been sold by the early 1920s, and its sales “were equal in quantity to all of the other firms in the typewriter industry combined”.[4] When the company was in its heyday as the world's largest typewriter manufacturer, its factory at Hartford, Connecticut was turning out typewriters at the rate of one each minute.

Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter notes that, in Season 2, with Underwood's new position as Vice President, "He's got more power now and that means he instills more fear in his enemies".[25] At one point during the season, he states "The road to power is paved with hypocrisy and casualties. I need to prove what the vice president is capable of."[26] Underwood and Claire "continue their ruthless rise to power as threats mount on all fronts."[27]

Frank is described as manipulative, conniving, Machiavellian, sociopathic, and even evil. Throughout the series, he manipulates and destroys several people for his own ends, and commits murder twice.

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Underwood started adding addition and subtraction devices to their typewriters in about 1910.

In 1945 Wagoner was elected chairman of the board of Underwood, and Leon C. Stowell was elected president. Wagoner remained chief executive.[9] Olivetti bought a controlling interest in Underwood in 1959, and completed the merger in October 1963, becoming known in the US as Olivetti-Underwood with headquarters in New York City, and entering the electromechanical calculator business. The Underwood name last appeared on Olivetti portable typewriters produced in Spain in the 80s.[citation needed]

Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times says "By positing a Johnsonesque power broker and master schemer who wields cabalistic influence behind the scenes, House of Cards assigns order and purpose to what, in real life, is too often just an endless, baffling tick-tack-toe stalemate."[67] NPR's Eric Deggans says that Underwood "blends velvety charm and mesmerizing menace like no other character on television".[68]

Underwood was elected at the age of 25 to the South Carolina State Senate as one of the youngest members in the state's legislative history after graduating from Harvard in 1984. He was re-elected to the state senate at 29 in 1988 for his second, and last, term as a State Senator.

Andrew Davies, the producer of the original UK TV series, feels that Underwood lacks the "charm" of the original character, Francis Urquhart.[28]

"Power is a lot like real estate. It’s all about location, location, location. The closer you are to the source, the higher your property value."

During World War II Underwood produced M1 Carbines for the War Department

Underwood is fond of the head of his Secret Service detail, Edward Meechum (Nathan Darrow), and it is hinted several times that they harbor unacknowledged sexual feelings for each other. When Meechum stumbles upon Underwood watching pornography, Underwood and Claire joke about there being sexual chemistry between the two men. Shortly after Underwood becomes vice president, he, Claire and Meechum have a threesome.

The Underwoods have murdered a politician and a journalist, and some innocents have also been collateral damage to their activities. Now, though, they've set out to maintain their power at the cost of mass casualties. Netflix hasn't said how many seasons are to come, but it's hard to imagine the show being watchable for all that much longer now that this rubicon of despicability has been crossed.[77]

Meanwhile, the Underwoods' marriage is faltering. Underwood gives Claire the ambassador job in a recess appointment, but she is forced to resign in order to solve a diplomatic crisis. Claire begins to question whether she still loves her husband, and they get into an ugly fight in which he tells her that she is nothing without him. Season 3 ends with Claire leaving Underwood as he prepares for the New Hampshire primary.[54][55]

In season 2, Spacey won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Series Drama at the 72nd Golden Globe Awards and Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series at the 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards, as well as nominations for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards and a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Outstanding by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.[84][85][86][87][88]

The Underwood Touch-Master 5 was among the last desktop models produced at the Underwood factory in the early 60s

However, Hitfix reviewer, Alan Sepinwall was highly critical of Spacey's performance and accused him of "hamming it up" and "phoning it in on a not very good show to begin with".[70]

At the 3rd Critics' Choice Television Awards, Spacey was nominated for Best Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of Underwood.[80]

In season 4, Jacob Solworthy wrote in his review of the first six episodes of season four: "Until now, 'House of Cards' has centred on the character's outward expression of power -- not to mention his hunger for it -- but the writers have shrewdly stripped that back, instead focusing on the character's internal fears in a way not dissimilar from Tony's dream sequences in 'The Sopranos'," he later added, "You'll never root for Frank more than you do by the end of these six episodes."[75]

In season 3, Spacey was nominated for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series at the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards, his third nomination for the role.[89] He also was nominated for both Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series and Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series at the 22nd Screen Actors Guild Awards.[90]

Philip Dakin Wagoner was appointed president of the Elliott-Fisher Company after World War I (1914-1918). Elliott-Fisher became the parent of the Underwood Typewriter Company and the Sundstrand Corporation. In 1927 Wagoner reorganized the company into Underwood-Elliott-Fisher, which later became the Underwood Corporation.[5] The reorganization was completed in December 1927.[6] John Thomas Underwood was elected chairman and Wagoner president of Underwood Elliott-Fisher.[7]

From 1874 the Underwood family made typewriter ribbon and carbon paper, and were among a number of firms who produced these goods for Remington. When Remington decided to start producing ribbons themselves, the Underwoods decided to get into the business of manufacturing typewriters.[2]

Underwood was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1990 as a Democratic representative for the 5th Congressional District of South Carolina, being sworn in during January 1991. He won another 11 consecutive elections, winning his final term in 2012. He was elected Whip for the Democratic Party in 2005, serving as House Majority Whip between 2005 and 2013.

"That's right, we don't submit to terror. We make the terror."

Poniewozik praises Underwood's accent, saying "Spacey gives Underwood a silky Southern accent you could pour over crushed ice and sip with a sprig of mint on Derby Day."[24] Nancy deWolf Smith of The Wall Street Journal describes the accent as a "mild but sometimes missing Carolina accent".[32] Time listed Frank Underwood among the 11 most influential fictional characters in 2013.[62]


He finds new rivals in Tusk, who seeks to maintain his position as Walker's right-hand adviser against Underwood's intrusion, and his former communications director, Remy Danton (Mahershala Ali), who is now a lobbyist working with Tusk.[36]

House of Cards has never felt like the real presidency: Frank Underwood is evil incarnate, bumping off junior Congressmen and pushing journalists in front of trains. But now that, in real life, we're in the throes of such a bizarre presidential race, his machinations are starting to look almost viable. There are several parallels between Underwood's re-election campaign and the 2016 campaigns of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.[79]

Critics continued to praise Spacey's performance, however. Don Kaplan of The New York Daily News wrote, "Underwood’s bottomless appetite for dark dealing keeps Spacey so deliciously detestable you can’t help but keep rooting for the bad guy to win." [74]

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Meechum remains Underwood's bodyguard once he becomes the president, and there does not appear to be any continuing sexual relationship. Meechum remains fiercely loyal, however; he warns Underwood's biographer Tom Yates (Paul Sparks) not to write anything that would damage Underwood's reputation. In season 4, Underwood traces Meechum's hand with a marker on one of the walls of the White House when he wants to replace a confederate painting; Meechum suggests he put up something he likes instead.

Some compared Underwood's storyline in season 4 to the 2016 U.S. presidential election.[78] Brian Moyland of The Guardian wrote:

There was also considerable mention of the evolution of Underwood's relationship with Claire. "[T]heir partnership has morphed into an entirely professional exercise, with a shared lust for power having supplanted more conventional matrimonial bonds," wrote Brian Lowry of Variety.[57] The Atlantic's Spencer Kornhaber remarked, however, that the utter ruthlessness displayed by Underwoods in the season finale may have represented a "jump the shark" moment for the series:

"There are two types of vice presidents: doormats and matadors. Which do you think I intend to be?"

Media related to Underwood Typewriter Company at Wikimedia Commons

Underwood No. 5, in the collection of The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

William Faulkner's Underwood Universal Portable in his office at Rowan Oak, which is now maintained by the University of Mississippi in Oxford as a museum.

Spacey viewed portraying Underwood for a second season as a continuing learning process. "There is so much I don’t know about Francis, so much that I'm learning... I've always thought that the profession closest to that of an actor is being a detective... We are given clues by writers... Then you lay them all out and try to make them come alive as a character who’s complex and surprising, maybe even to yourself."[19]

At the start of the show, Underwood is a Democratic Majority Whip in the House of Representatives, where he has represented South Carolina's 5th congressional district since 1990.[5][43][44]

New York Observer critic Drew Grant notes that although the series aired during the golden age of dramatic antiheroes, Underwood's villainy has become trite: "House of Cards is a good reminder, however, that there is a reason Iago wasn’t the center of Othello. Unrelenting, unexplained cruelty can be as pedantic as constant kindness."[69]