There’s a new President in charge in House of Cards season 6, which sees former lead Kevin Spacey excised from the picture and a new cast of characters enter to cause problems for Claire Underwood. The Netflix series faced a difficult situation when Spacey faced multiple accusations of sexual assault, and the decision was made to write Frank Underwood out of the show entirely. When House of Cardsseason 6 begins, Frank is already dead and buried – but Claire still has to deal with the fallout of his many crimes.
Because of the extra-long stretch of time between seasons, and the complex network of grudges and agendas bubbling under the surface of House of Cardsseason 6, you may have lost track of which characters we’ve met before, and which characters are new this season. To that end, here’s a handy guide to the new and returning cast.
The transition from a show with Spacey as the lead to a show that doesn’t have Spacey in it at all was made easier by the fact that, at the end of House of Cardsseason 5, Claire had already become President and had turned her back on her husband – defeating him, if only temporarily. That temporary defeat becomes more permanent with the death of Frank Underwood, though from the very start of House of Cards season 6 Claire finds herself haunted by the memories of her husband, and forced to deal with secrets that could bring the house of cards tumbling down.
Michael Kelly as Doug Stamper – Frank Underwood’s White House Chief of Staff took the fall for Frank’s crimes at the end of season 5, and at the start of season 6 is locked up in a psychiatric facility, having taken an insanity plea.
Campbell Scott as Mark Usher – Formerly the campaign manager for Frank’s Republican opponent, Will Conway, Mark is now Claire Underwood’s Vice President… though that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s her ally.
Derek Cecil as Seth Grayson – Frank’s one-time Director of Communications is now working for the Shepherd family, who are plotting to undermine Claire’s presidency.
Jeremy Holm as Nathan Green – The Deputy Director of the FBI, who isn’t afraid to get his hands a little dirty (or threaten to step on a guinea pig) in order to achieve his goals.
Jayne Atkinson as Cathy Durant – The Secretary of State, whom Frank Underwood pushed down some stairs in an effort to keep her from testifying against him.
Patricia Clarkson as Jane Davis – The (deep breath) Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade of the United States, who was a useful asset for the Underwoods in season 5.
Constance Zimmer as Janine Skorsky – A journalist and one-time White House Correspondent for The Washington Herald, who now works for online media company Slugline. Janine was last seen in season 4.
Boris McGiver as Tom Hammerschmidt – The former Editor-in-Chief of The Washington Herald, and now a freelance investigative journalist. Tom believes that Frank Underwood killed Zoe Barnes and Peter Russo, but has thus far been unable to prove it.
Sakina Jaffrey as Linda Vasquez – President Garrett Walker’s sharp-minded Chief of Staff, who was maneuvered into being forced to resign by Frank Underwood in season 2.
Lars Mikkelsen as Viktor Petrov – The President of Russia. Petrov is a cold and calculating man and a rather transparent analog for real-life Russian President Vladimir Putin.