Official word on its conclusion, which has been in the works since the summer, comes at a problematic time for Spacey. The star and executive producer is embroiled in sexual assault scandal, with an actor alleging that Spacey made aggressive advances towards him when he was just 14. Spacey responded, in turn, by apologizing for “inappropriate drunken behavior” and coming out as gay. (Neither the apology nor the admission have been met with a positive response.)
House of Cards has been especially important to Netflix. An adaptation of a British series and Michael Dobbs novel of the same name, news that Spacey and director David Fincher were updating the project as a beltway drama for the U.S. sparked multiple bids from stateside programmers (including HBO) before finally going to Netflix with a straight-to-series order for two seasons at a price tag then estimated to be around $100 million. This was in 2011, before streaming had become a dominant player in original programming and when filmmakers such as Spacey and Fincher shifting from movies to television was still somewhat surprising. It premiered in 2013.
The show has seen critical affection wax and wane over the years, but it has remained the de facto flagship at an increasingly diversified Netflix. House of Cards is also a regular favorite at the Emmys, nabbing 46 nominations and 6 wins to date. (It also boasts a Peabody and two Golden Globes.)