My Favorite Scene: House of Cards (BBC Version)

Hopefully, by now you’ve heard of House of Cards:  BBC or the American Netflix version.  Both are about a prominent national politician Chief Whip (BBC)  Francis Urquhart/House Majority Whip Francis Underwood (American) that helps the Prime Minister (BBC) /President (American) get elected and then finds himself passed over for a promised position.

Both are great, but for very different reasons.   I’ve seen both and and I adore Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood (American),  but I have to give it the late Sir Ian Richardson as Francis Urquhart (BBC).   He plays Francis as a bubbling cauldron of calculated menace and rage masked by an elegant veneer.

Now on to the scene:  Mr. Urquhart is quietly waiting to see the new Prime Minister and discuss his plans/suggestions for the new administration.   Watch until about 22 minutes in.  Or do yourself a favor and watch the whole episode.  There are 4 total in the first series.

That split second hand grip that Richardson does…chilling.

If hand-grips could talk

When I first started watching House of Cards, I was about to give up on the series until this scene.  That scene made want to watch the rest because I knew some serious shit was about to go down.

Richardson’s Francis doesn’t roar.  He doesn’t bellow.  Besides that hand gesture visible only to the audience, he gives no indication that he’s not going to be a team player. He goes home, has a drink and decides to destroy this man’s political career probably in much the same way he would decide to remodel his study.   It’s logical (to him) and, well, fuck it, he has the time.

He’s cool, sinister, and menacing in the most gentlemanly possible and I can’t help but admire the bastard for it. It must be my inner supervillain.

Watch out for the quiet ones.


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