House of Cards killed off one of its lead characters during the final moments of the series finale.
Spoilers ahead for House of Cards season 6, episode 8 ("Chapter 73").
The final season of the Netflix drama featured several key deaths, notably the off-screen death of Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey). However, the most surprising death of all came during the final minutes of the series.
Douglas Stamper (Michael Kelly), Frank's right-hand-man, was killed by none other than Frank's widow, President Claire Underwood (Robin Wright).
Doug's death ties back into the main mystery of the season: Who killed Frank? The public is told Frank spent his final night alive in the White House with his wife and died in his sleep in bed beside her.
But Claire tells the viewer that is not the truth. Frank was not there when she went to sleep and instead, she found him dead in the other bedroom in the president's suite. She thinks that he was murdered by an outside party, possibly someone hired by the Shepherds (Greg Kinnear and Diane Lane).
However, it was Doug all along.
Doug has a head-to-head confrontation with Claire at the end of the series finale, and fesses up to poisoning the ex-president when accused.
"He was coming here to kill you," Doug says. "I couldn't let you destroy him. ... I couldn't let him destroy everything we built. I had to protect the legacy from the man."
Doug breaks down, leading to him holding a letter opener — the final gift he received from Frank — against Claire's throat. He punctures her skin slightly, with blood starting to drip down. Once the blood begins, Doug is immediately emotional and apologetic. He backs down, giving Claire an opportunity to grab his hand and stab the letter opener into his chest.
He falls to the floor, and as he bleeds out, Claire covers his mouth and nose, suffocating him.
"There. No more pain," Claire says, echoing a line Frank said in the show's first scene.
The credits then roll, ending the series with no indication of how Claire will deal with murdering Doug in the Oval Office.
"Whatever the audience imagines after is all part of the end of the show," co-showrunner Frank Pugliese told THR. "And there are questions. No doubt about it. What story is she going to tell? How is she going to get away with this? Now that she’s done with this last piece, will she really move on? But that’s left up to the audience and their imagination."
Photo Credit: Netflix / David Giesbrecht