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House of Cards showrunners on final season without Kevin Spacey: ‘It was a significant pivot’

House of Cards has always managed to surprise viewers with twists. But the drama had its own offscreen shock last fall: Production was halted after sexual misconduct allegations surfaced against star Kevin Spacey, who played power-hungry politician Frank Underwood.

Ultimately, showrunners Frank Pugliese and Melissa James Gibson decided to do the final season without Spacey. EW spoke with them about the actor and how season 6, debuting Nov. 2 on Netflix, shifts the focus to Frank’s wife, Claire (Robin Wright).

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What were your reactions to the Kevin Spacey allegations?
MELISSA JAMES GIBSON: Highly distressing.

FRANK PUGLIESE: It was disappointing, and yet at the same time there was work to be done, and there was an attitude of trying to finish the story that we began. So that was a priority.

Did you have any indication of this alleged behavior?
GIBSON: No. Even though we started writing for this show in season 3, we weren’t on set until season 5 when we took over as co-showrunners [from creator Beau Willimon]. If we had ever had anything reported to us or been aware of anything, of course we would have reported it because we took that seriously as our jobs and our position of authority.

Frank appears to be dead based on a new trailer, but did you ever think the series should just end?
PUGLIESE: That probably was a thought.

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