Seal of the President of the United States of America

"Welcome to Washington."
— Frank Underwood addressing the audience.

Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Frank

House of Cards U.S. logo


Production number

Running time

Original airdateFebruary 1, 2013

Nielsen rating

Written byBeau Willimon

Directed byDavid Fincher

"Chapter 2"


Chapter 1 is the first chapter of the first season, as well as the first episode in general. It aired on February 1, 2013 along with the rest of season 1.


When the newly elected President reneges on a promise, Frank Underwood and his wife Claire decide to sever all allegiances and toss the rules out the window.


A car is heard screeching loudly, followed by the short whimper of a dog. Frank Underwood steps out of his house, half-dressed for the New Year's gala. He meets up with his guard Steve, who got a quick look at the car, that quickly drove away. Frank identifies the dog as that belonging to his neighbors, and tells Steve to warn them, while himself takes care of the wailing animal. He kneels down next to it, quietly suffocating the dog while turning to the audience, explaining how the dog is only suffering pain, not through the kind that makes it strong. He is willing to do the unpleasant, but the necessary thing.

Back inside, Frank and his wife Claire finish getting ready for the gala, to which the scene cuts. Frank turns to the audience again, explaining his less-than-stellar views on newly elected President Garrett Walker, Vice President of the United States Jim Matthews, and White House Chief of Staff Linda Vasquez. It was through Frank's help that they won the election, and now it's their turn to reward him for it. He is currently the House Majority Whip, but is looking for a position much more prestigious than that.

At the Washington Herald, Zoe Barnes intentionally walks up against her editor-in-chief Tom Hammerschmidt to make him remember her, though she is only moderately successful. She makes a case with Lucas Goodwin, another editor, to give her a blog, but he refuses, saying that her ideas wouldn't make for good journalism. He brushes off Zoe's comment about printed journalism dying, and tells her to get back to work, though she is definitely not pleased with this.

Congressman Peter Russo has a meeting Henry Chapman, a large benefactor of his campaign. He is interrupted by a call from his assistant Christina Gallagher, who uses the time for dirty talk. Peter lies to his guest, saying that it's Garrett Walker calling. Chapman, more impressed than anything else, just asks what Walker is like.

Somewhere in the White House, Frank has a meeting with Vasquez, where she informs him that Walker has to go back on his promise to make Frank the next Secretary of State. He reminds her of all the things he has done for Walker's campaign, but she says they need him more on his current position, and that the President-elect is going to nominate Michael Kern instead.

At the Clean Water Initiative, headed by Claire, she discusses hiring more staff with one of her managers, but Claire's mind is on other matters, because Frank isn't answering or returning her calls. It is revealed this is because he has been avoiding her all day, but is ultimately forced to confront her when he comes home that night. Even though Claire is disappointed that he didn't want to do this together, she does urge her husband to think about what his next step will be after he informed her that Walker pulled the rug out from under him. Later that night, while smoking a cigarette, Frank devises his plan, sets his goal, and thinks up a way to get his revenge. He informs his wife about this plan, that they'll have a lot of sleepless nights. She just smiles, says it doesn't worry her, and takes his cigarette.

The following morning, Frank starts the plot with Doug Stamper, who remarks they're going to take down Kern first. Frank confirms this, saying "that's how you devour a whale, one bite at a time". In the cafeteria, Kern walks by, and he and Frank share a look. Frank simply turns to the camera, saying that he almost pities him.

Peter Russo and his girlfriend are having sex, after which she confronts him about the status of their relationship. It started out as a little office fling, but now, six months in, she wants to take it more seriously. Peter agrees, and tells her that he loves her.

As it turns out, Frank and Claire are at the symphony at the same time Zoe is there with a date. She and Frank happen to cross paths when he is trying to avoid old acquaintances. Back at her house, Zoe flags down her date he's trying to get an invitation up. She receives an email with a photo of Frank check out her behind, to which she start digging around for information on him.

The following morning, Linda and Frank have a meeting to discuss the new education bill. He correctly guesses that Walker wants Donald Blythe to write it, even though both Frank and Linda think he's too left-field. Frank figures out she wants him to guide Blythe to the middle, making a passable bill, and not only that, but Walker also wants to put it on the floor of the House in the first 100 days.

Later, Doug and Frank are going through options for who they would want on the Secretary of State post, but Frank shoots down every suggestion Doug offers up, until he lands at Catherine Durant. Even though she was anti-Walker, he likes this idea, and tells Doug to set up a meeting.

Meanwhile, at the CWI, Claire informs Evelyn that she can't accept the Sancorp donation, and they're going to have to fire people.

Zoe Barnes shows up at Frank's house, and even though Steve tries to stop her, Frank answers the door. He almost tells her to go away, but then she shows him the photo taken at the symphony. He invites her in, whereupon Zoe reveals a deep cleavage, saying there's no harm in looking. Frank brushes this off, and inquires as to why she's there. She offers him an outlet, a gateway to the media. He has his doubts, but Zoe manages to convince him otherwise. She correctly guesses that the legislative agenda is about an education bill, but Frank remains vague. As she's leaving, Claire pipes up, and shares a cold exchange with Zoe.

Somewhere else in town, Peter Russo is being pulled over for drunk driving, while he has a callgirl in his car. Doug makes a deal with police commissioner Barney Hull to let Peter go in exchange for help to become the next mayor of Washington DC. When he's picked up by Christina, she asks him if he was alone. Even though he replies positively, she doesn't quite believe him.

Frank has a meeting with Donald Blythe, and quickly glances over Blythe's draft, but immediately put it half through the shredder for being too left wing. Even though Frank assures Blythe they're going to work together, as soon as he steps out of the office, he turns to the camera and blatantly says that both Blythe and his new draft are now irrelevant. He next meets with Cathy Durant, and floats the idea of her taking the Secretary of State position, her taking a liking to it, but having her doubts about bringing down Kern.

Meanwhile, in the belly of the Capitol, Doug manages to fish Blythe's half-shredded draft out of the garbage, and Frank gives it to Zoe. He speaks in metaphors, but she understands it. She immediately sets to work writing an article about it without her editor knowing.

Frank has a meeting with Peter Russo, in which he threatens him, making him aware of the fact that it was him who got the charges for driving under the influence dropped. Frank also reveals he knows about charges like solicitation and possession of controlled substances. What he wants to keep that quiet is Peter's absolute loyalty.

Back at the Herald, Zoe goes to Lucas Goodwin with her article on the education, which he runs by Tom Hammerschmidt. He asks Zoe about the angle, and she simply replies "far left of center." Hammerschmidt puts her to work with the chief political correspondent Janine Skorsky, much to her dismay. Zoe remains unfazed though, and they start working on a definitive article.

Garrett Allan Walker is sworn in as the new President, and Frank can't help but turn to the camera, making a snide comment about power being like real estate: the closer to the source, the higher the property value. In his address to the nation, Walker announces his plan to put the education bill on the House floor in the first 100 days of the administration, something which is met with loud applause.

At the Jefferson Ball, Frank exchanges a knowing look with Michael Kern, who remains oblivious to Frank's plan. Frank quickly moves over to disingenuously compliment Donald Blythe on the new draft of his bill, before asking Catherine Durant for a dance. The following morning, Frank goes to Freddy's barbeque joint, and admits to the camera that his one guilty pleasure is a rack of ribs, even early in the morning. He discovers that the leaked education bill made it onto the front page of the Herald, right next to the article about Walker's inauguration. All across DC, people are reading the article Zoe wrote, while the police locates the car that ran down the dog at the start of the episode.

Freddy asks Frank if he wants another portion, and while at first he declines, he changes his mind, upon which turning to the camera; "I'm feeling hungry today."


Main Characters

Recurring Characters

Minor Characters

  • Patricia Walker
  • Gary Ray Moore (Credited as Gary Moore) - Jack Warton
  • Frances Mitchell - Sue Warton


By type 
Characters Creatures Events Locations
Organizations and titles Sentient species Vehicles and vessels Weapons and technology Miscellanea




Organizations and titles

Sentient species

  • Human (First appearance)


  • Dates (First appearance)
    • 20th century (First mentioned)
    • December 31, 2012 (First appearance)
    • January 1, 2013 (First appearance)
    • January 20, 2013 (First appearance)
  • Video games (First appearance)
    • Killzone 3 (First appearance)

Behind the Scenes


  • The very first scene features a dog being hit by a car, at night, in Washington on the New Year's Eve. The characters are outside, at night, only in shirts, and no "breath is visible". The trees are in full leaf. While Washington does get warms spells throughout the winter, the trees would not be in full leaf. In addition, throughout the rest of the first year, people are in wool overcoats in Washington in May/June, which once again would be extremely unlikely at that time of year.
  • Towards the middle of the episode we see Frank sitting at home on his couch playing a video game. The game he plays is Killzone 3, in multiplayer mode.
Season 1 Episodes

101. "Chapter 1"
102. "Chapter 2"
103. "Chapter 3"
104. "Chapter 4"
105. "Chapter 5"

106. "Chapter 6"
107. "Chapter 7"
108. "Chapter 8"
109. "Chapter 9"
110. "Chapter 10"

111. "Chapter 11"
112. "Chapter 12"
113. "Chapter 13"

See also: S1S2S3S4S5S6