"House of Cards" Chapter 15 (TV Episode 2014) - Plot Summary Poster

(TV Series)



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  • Frank is announced as Vice President. The US meets with China. Jackie faces obstacles as she plans to run for new whip. Lucas looks into Zoe's death.

  • Lucas continues to look into Zoe's death. He calls out for Tom Hammerschmidt and tells him the truth about Francis. However, he is told to go and see a psychiatrist. Francis officially becomes the VP of the US. His first appointment is to give a medal to a man that Claire knew in college. Jackie comes one step closer to taking Francis' old position. Lucas enters the deep web and hires a hacker to get him phone records.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • A rainy day in Washington. Frank Underwood's home is being turned into a secure home for the new Vice President of the United States, who is about to be sworn in. With carpenters and electricians all around, the ceremony goes on. There is obvious tension between the two candidates for Frank's old post, House Majority Whip: Howard Webb (Spencer Garrett) and Wes Buchwalter (John Scurti)

    After the ceremony, House Speaker Bob Birch (Larry Pine) reads the riot act to Webb and Buchwalter, telling them that their public bickering must stop. "Let's keep it clean and bring some civility back into the House," says Frank (Kevin Spacey). The men shake hands on that.

    Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) tells Frank that "Tusk is in town" and is going to meet with President Garrett Walker (Michael Gill) on the subject of U.S.-China trade negotiations, the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade talks.

    At the White House, Frank and Secretary of State Cathy Durant (Jayne Atkinson) have an awkward encounter with Raymond Tusk (Gerald McRaney), who is on his way to meet with Walker to discuss the U.S.-China talks.

    At police headquarters, Lucas Goodwin (Sebastian Arcelus) is trying to convince a friendly detective (played by Steve Sanpietro) that Zoe Barnes' death is suspicious and that Underwood is involved in her death and Congressman Peter Russo's. The unnamed detective scoffs. Lucas wants the Barnes case reopened. The detective shows him the security video footage of her fall into the train's path. "You can watch it a million times, but this case is closed," the detective says.

    In the Oval Office, Tusk proposes limiting the agenda of the upcoming U.S.-China talks "to a couple of key issues: import tariffs on industrial manufactured goods and export quotas on rare-earth elements." Durant wants to bring up China's cyber attacks on U.S. computer banks, but Tusk downplays that idea. At the President's urging, she promises to approach the Chinese negotiators "with a light touch."

    In the House cafeteria, Jackie Sharp (Molly Parker) is having lunch with a longtime family friend, Congressman Ted Havemeyer (David Clennon), chairman of Ways and Means. She tells him that she went to visit his illegitimate daughter Emily, 19, and shows him a picture of her. She has cerebral palsy. The existence of that daughter is apparently a big family secret. Havemeyer tells Jackie that he will support her financially in her quest for the Whip's post.

    At Frank's home, Claire is checking on the names of possible aides for herself; she zeroes on Connor Ellis as Press Secretary. Her chief of staff Willa (Carolyn M. Smith), tells her about an upcoming event, the promotion of two new Marine generals, Alicia Hampton (uncredited) and Dalton McGinnis (Peter Bradbury). Claire is startled at the mention of McGinnis.

    As he furnishes his new office in the White House, Frank talks to Durant about how Tusk seems to be taking over as informal Secretary of State. Durant feels threatened. Frank suggests that Durant's negotiators force their Chinese counterparts to abandon cyber warfare. Durant says that she "promised the President a soft touch." Frank's answer: "If you don't like how the table is set, turn over the table."

    At home, Claire tries to get out of the star-pinning ceremony but Frank reminds her that "it is my first public appearance as Vice President." She accepts reluctantly and seemingly worried.

    The following morning, the Chinese trade negotiators stomp out of the meeting room, visibly angry. A reporter for the Congressional Record (played by Oriana Oppice) is told by a U.S. negotiator (played by John Thomas Cramer) that the trade talks won't start "until government-sponsored cyber attacks are on the table. Apparently, that's not what [the Chinese] wanted to hear."

    In Frank's office, Wes Buchwalter asks Frank to support him for Whip over Jackie Sharp. Frank refuses. Buchwalter says she's being financed by a longtime enemy of his, Ted Havemeyer.

    At the military appointments dinner, presidential chief-of-staff Linda Vasquez (Sakina Jaffrey) complains to Frank that Durant should have controlled her negotiators better. As they sit at a table, General McGinniss comes to greet them. Claire looks uncomfortable. McGinniss tells Frank that, at Harvard, he and Claire "dated for about five minutes."

    Claire excuses herself and goes to the ladies' room. Frank follows and finds her weeping. She tells him that the man who raped her in her freshman year at Harvard was McGinniss. Frank becomes furious, but, at her insistence, agrees to go on with the ceremony. He pins the stars on McGinniss, hatred pouring from his eyes.

    At The Herald, former executive editor Tom Hammershmidt (Boris McGiver) arrives, at the invitation of city editor Lucas Goodwin. Lucas tells him his suspicions about Underwood, but Hammerschmidt seems unimpressed. "Your notes are unconvincing, the police reports don't prove a link and you're making speculative leaps." He tells Lucas to see a therapist and leaves.

    Returning home, Claire goes to bed right away. When Frank enters the bedroom, she talks to him in detail about her rape experience.

    In the Oval Office the following morning, the President is berating Cathy Durant for the breakdown in the U.S.-China trade talks. She blames one of her underlings. After she leaves, Walker brings Tusk into a three-way phone conversation with Frank.

    Tusk asks Walker to turn his back on Durant. Frank agrees. Walker says he'll ask Durant to write an apology to the Chinese, but Frank says that the apology should come from Walker. Tusk agrees and the phone conversation ends.

    Alone again with the President, Frank reverses his field and suggests that Walker should not apologize. "Sometimes standing your ground is better than giving in. They respect you more when you show strength," he says. "The American people voted you as President, not me, not Raymond Tusk."

    Howard Webb meets in his office with Buchwalter, telling him that "we need to work together" on Frank's backing of Jackie Sharp for Whip "before we both get screwed." He suggests that Buchwalter drop out of the race and throw his support to Webb. As an inducement (bribe), Webb offers Buchwalter the chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee.

    In the cafeteria, Havemeyer and Sharp discuss options. To get Buchwalter to drop out, Havemeyer proposes offering him his own chairmanship of Ways and Means -- anything to give Jacky the Whip's post. Buchwalter "is a brute but he's not an idiot," Havemeyer says, suggesting that Buchwalter can be bought.

    Jackie meets with Buchwalter, who is adamant about Havemeyer retiring and leaving Washington after surrendering the Ways and Means chairmanship to him. He hates Havemeyer and wants him "politically dead."

    Jackie consults with Frank. He intimates that, to get the Whip's chair, she must first sacrifice Havemeyer by publicizing the existence of his illegitimate daughter. Then, she should give Havemeyer's Ways and Means chairmanship to Buchwalter, who would cease to challenge her for Whip. She would have to backstab her good friend and mentor.

    At The Herald, Lucas is editing an article on cyber attacks that infiltrate phone carriers. The reporter who wrote the article, named only Greer (Jonathan Marballi), tells him that it is possible to enter The Deep Web and get all kinds of cell phone records -- exactly what Lucas is looking for in his quest to nail Frank. You can also find "hackers for hire," the reporter says.

    At the White House, Walker holds a press conference on cyber warfare and warns China not to engage in it. He backs Durant's behavior. On television, the Chinese Foreign Minister (played by Clem Cheung) reacts angrily.

    Tusk is also angry and he confronts Frank over the phone, charging him with manipulating the President. Tusk wants Frank to convince the President to continue the trade talks and drop the cyber-war issue. Frank is noncommittal.

    In Havemeyer's office, Jackie confesses to the Congressman that she leaked the news of Ted's illegitimate daughter, which will result in Ted's resignation from Congress. Ted is crushed and orders her out of the room.

    In his apartment, Lucas locates a hacker -- "The Dawnloads" -- and asks him/her to hack the phone records of the Vice President of the United States. (EPISODE ENDS).

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