House of Cards (2013–2018)
2 user 21 critic

Chapter 17 

A Terror threat traps Francis in the Congress building with a bitter Donald Blythe. Claire gives a live interview that shakes the media.


James Foley


Michael Dobbs (based on the novels by), Andrew Davies (based on the mini-series by) | 3 more credits »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin Spacey ... Francis Underwood
Robin Wright ... Claire Underwood
Mahershala Ali ... Remy Danton
Molly Parker ... Jackie Sharp
Sebastian Arcelus ... Lucas Goodwin
Nathan Darrow ... Edward Meechum
Jimmi Simpson ... Gavin Orsay
Reed Birney ... Rep. Donald Blythe
Sam Page ... Connor Ellis
Elizabeth Norment Elizabeth Norment ... Nancy Kaufberger
Ashleigh Banfield ... Ashleigh Banfield
Peter Bradbury Peter Bradbury ... Dalton McGinnis
Jeremy Holm ... Nathan Green
Emily Dorsch ... Emma Lane
Libby Woodbridge ... Megan Hennessey (voice)


The Capitol is under quarantine when white powder is found in a letter. This occurs during Francis' meeting with Donald Blythe and leads to them being stuck in the office for over four hours. Claire gets interviewed on live television where she is questioned for her decision of not having children. Jackie wins more votes for the bill. Written by Andreea D

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




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Did You Know?


At the end of this episode, Frank sings a Southern ballad to Claire ("Pretty Polly"). Although the beginning of the song is romantic, the lyrics go on to describe a sexual assault and murder--ironic given the content of this episode. See more »


Claire Underwood's television interview is shot with Red Epic cameras, the same camera system used for the principal photography of the show. While not impossible, it is highly unlikely that a broadcast crew would use Red cameras as they are intended for narrative film and television use where the camera is only rolling for a few minutes at a time rather than a live broadcast. See more »


Francis Underwood: If we never did anything we shouldn't do, we'd never feel good about doing the things we should.
See more »

User Reviews

"If we never did anything we shouldn't do, we'd never feel good about doing the things we should"
10 May 2019 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Like to love all the episodes of Season 1, back when 'House of Cards' was good and in its prime (a far cry from how the show is now, how drastically the show has declined still shocks and angers me), and had high hopes for Season 2. It thankfully turned out to be a season that started off brilliantly with its first episode but was a little disappointed by but still very much liked "Chapter 15" and "Chapter 16".

"Chapter 17" is an improvement on the previous two episodes with the newer characters shining more and Frank not dominating quite as much, while not quite as great as "Chapter 14". Do not get me wrong, absolutely love Frank as a character, but the newer characters did need to become more interesting so it was natural and necessary to see more of them. "Chapter 17" is a return to form and is one of the better episodes of Season 2.

Not an awful lot wrong here in "Chapter 17", but Lucas' stupidity with the fingerprints in the previous episode still looms high here and whereas the other newer characters are beginning to hit their stride when it comes to the different subplots his is the least gripping for me and doesn't advance as much as them either.

Do like though that things continue to progress and things introduced, set upon and built upon in the previous Season 2 episodes build on further with nothing going round in circles. Loved the tension and suspenseful character interaction throughout, the mystery aspects are intriguing and is developing all the time, the political intrigue is not laid on too thick or hard to understand, the cynical edge of it intelligently done, and the darker tone of the season works.

It does help having one of the show's most frequent directors James Foley as director in his second episode of the second season, and again he does a fine job for the same reasons as with his other previous directorial efforts for the show. he allows the drama to breathe while still giving it kick, it's very stylish too if not quite cinematic level (not that that was expected). "Chapter 17" looks slick and stylish, with lots of atmosphere with a darker look and no trouble with cohesion. Nothing to complain about there. The music knew when to have presence and when to tone things down to let the dialogue and characters properly speak. The writing is sharp and has bite and the story does engage for the reasons described in the above paragraph.

Of the newer characters, my favourite is Jackie. Love her steel, spirit and ferocity. Donald is also intriguingly bitter. Frank always fascinate and did appreciate that he doesn't dominate as much here, while Claire's subplot is done with tension and pathos. The acting is never less than excellent, especially from expectedly Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright and also Molly Parker and Reed Birney.

Summarising, great. 9/10

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Release Date:

14 February 2014 (USA) See more »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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