Audiences were left with a major cliffhanger when Season 2 of “House of Cards” concluded: Was Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly), Frank’s (Kevin Space) right-hand man, really dead?
That’s what some viewers speculated after watching the finale episode. Stamper appeared to be dead in the woods after what looked like him getting bludgeoned to death by Rachel (Rachel Brosnahan), the prostitute-turned-runaway. She had struck him several times over the head, thinking he was hunting her down to kill her. And can you blame Rachel? He was chasing her maniacally through the trees like a textbook killer. So, she grabbed a rock and attacked him before she was the one who was slaughtered.
But was Doug really dead? Although he laid motionless in the woods fans wondered if there was a slight chance he could still be breathing. And it seems like we weren’t the only ones questioning Stamper’s fate!
“I don’t think we know that he’s dead yet,” Brosnahan revealed during an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “It cuts so quickly. I don’t think we can say for sure that Stamper is dead.” The actress went on to say that she was crossing her fingers for Stamper to pull through -- although that might mean trouble for her character in the long run.
However, since Season 3 of the political drama was released on Netflix, our burning questions regarding whether or not Stamper is dead was finally unveiled.
Spoiler Alert: Don’t continue reading if you have not seen Season 3 of “House of Cards.”
During an interview with Variety, Kelly discussed the surprising outcome for his character after nearly a year of concealing the shocking storyline.
“When we shot it, it was written as, ‘Stamper is lying there, but he is breathing.’ It was written as that, we filmed it as that,” the actor explained. But despite the script, Kelly started to question whether or not his character had been killed off -- especially after he started getting worrisome texts following Season 2’s release.
“My dad’s email was the first one to come through, and it said, ‘Wow, great job this season, but you looked pretty dead to me.’ The next one was from my business manager, ‘It was a hell of a run while it lasted.’ And everyone had already run with the story that I was dead. With such shoddy communication, I started to worry, did they change their mind? It was the typical insecure actor thing,” he admitted.
But ultimately Beau Willimon, the creator behind the Netflix thriller, decided to keep Stamper alive -- with a twist. Kelly’s character received a major tweak due to his head injury, which resulted in the shift of Stamper’s personality.
“When I got the first script, I was honored they’d put that much trust in me,” Kelly gushed to Variety. “It was taking Stamper and turning him on his head, almost changing the character. And then fear kicks in. They put this trust in you. This show has been incredibly successful for two years. You screw this up and you screw everybody.”
Unwilling to let the cast, crew and fans down, Kelly revealed he spent countless hours discussing head injuries with the leading brain surgeon in the country. “I worked on it so hard,” he added. “I did so much research on head injuries and brain damage. I worked my tail off to live up to the excellence that’s been out there for two years.”
Do you think Kelly’s hard work paid off? Sound off in the comments section below of how you thought he portrayed Stamper in Season 3 of “House of Cards,” which is now currently available to stream on Netflix.