28 February 2013 3:30 PM, PST | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

The characters in Netflix's original series "House of Cards" are fascinatingly manipulative, calculating, ferociously ambitious or destructively idealistic. What they're not is easily likable, especially in the case of Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara), the cub reporter who hitches her star to Representative Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) in a relationship that's mostly mutually beneficial and sometimes sexual. It's very easy to dismiss Zoe. The show doesn't really give her the same kind of personal hook the other characters get, the soft spot. Underwood is the chilliest power-at-all-costs pragmatist of them all, but his asides to the camera invite us into what's on his mind and make us co-conspirators. Robin Wright's Claire may be Underwood's D.C. Lady Macbeth, but she also has very human yearnings for the more traditional life and love she could have had. Peter Russo (Corey Stoll) is a mess, but he cares deeply and genuinely about »


- Alison Willmore

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