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TV Guide is shining a spotlight on select 2019 Emmy nominees to showcase the best performances and TV work of the year. To read more profiles and check out our complete Emmys coverage, please go here.
The final season of House of Cards almost didn't happen after Netflix fired series star and executive producer Kevin Spacey after a bevy of sexual misconduct allegations. However, Robin Wright stepped in and convinced Netflix to give the show a final bow. The final season of the political thriller centered on Claire Underwood's (Wright) term as president and a tango between her and the Underwood's right-hand man Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) over Frank's (Spacey) legacy.
Episodes - Emmy - Nominations - Wright - Kelly
The final episodes lead to Emmy nominations for both Wright and Kelly in the Lead Actress in a Drama and Supporting Actor in a Drama categories respectively. For Kelly, the final season was about the slow breakdown of a man he played for the better part of a decade. Stamper was a man with lost purpose as the season started with Frank's death. After years of serving Frank Underwood faithfully, and Kelly scene sparring with Spacey, the final season was a new frontier for the character and the actor playing him.
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Series - Stand-off - Claire - Stamper - Frank
The series ended with a final stand-off between Claire and Stamper over whether Frank's legacy should be protected or railroaded for the sake of an Underwood staying in the Oval Office. The scene ended with Stamper bleeding out in the highest office in the land, ensuring that it would be the last scene Kelly ever did for the show he says changed his life.
TV Guide spoke with Kelly about his tenure as Doug Stamper, the challenges of a Spacey-less season, and what it meant to make it to the very end of the show.
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