[Note: This article contains spoilers for the final season of House Of Cards.]
It’s something of a “no shit” sentiment to note that the final season of House Of Cards—released four days ago on Neflix—faced a troubled production. Netflix’s first big streaming success had already filmed the first two episodes of its final run when news broke that star Kevin Spacey had been accused of unwanted sexual advances by an escalating number of young men last year, revelations that led the show’s producers to unceremoniously boot him off the series and kill off his character, Frank Underwood, off-screen.
In a way, at least, co-showrunners Melissa James Gibson and Frank Pugliese got lucky with the timing of Spacey’s accusation: The show’s previous season had gone a long way toward suggesting that House Of Cards was already getting pretty tired of Frank Underwood, too, setting up Robin Wright’s Claire as the true focus for its final year. That made it a bit easier to excise its former star from the show when the shoes started to drop, but it still left a tricky open question for HoC’s writers to tackle as they scrambled to rewrite their season: How to kill Frank off?
Per a new piece from Vulture, the answer to those questions varied from boringly plausible to Itchy And Scratchy-esque. Going down the list, executive producer Jason Horwitch floated a number of ways Frank could have made his way to that big hot barbecue ribs place in the ground: “Claire snuffing out Frank with a pillow over the face. An act of God, or karma, hit by a train, or an air conditioner falling out of the sky.” (Horwitch did at least note that the last few were “all just flights.”)
But while there’d be something absurdly funny about FU going out the way of Chidi Anagonye, in the end, the show’s writers concluded that there was only one way Frank could die: At the hands of one of his ostensible loved ones, driven mad by overexposure to his Machiavellian Foghorn Leghorn schtick. And so the image of Kevin Spacey being taken out by a rogue Maytag will have to live on solely in our imaginations; alas.