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[Editor's Note: This piece references plot points from the first season of House of Cards. If you've been waiting a year to binge-watch it, consider this your spoiler alert.]

When Netflix's groundbreaking online series House of Cards releases its second season to the world Friday — unleashing 13 new episodes about a wily congressman willing to kill to reach the vice presidency — fans will get more than another jolt of TV's most addictive political drama.

They'll also see a series that's redefining just how bad a television antihero can be.

The action centers on Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey's silky smooth Francis Underwood, a Democrat from South Carolina who blends velvety charm and mesmerizing menace like no other character on television.

In the show's second season, his measured, honey-coated drawl even makes a conversation about elevating a junior congresswoman into his old job somehow sound like a veiled threat and comforting promise all at once.

"What if I suggested that you could serve in leadership this term...to replace me as [House Majority] Whip?" Underwood coos to Jacqueline Sharp, a third-term Congresswoman from California played by Molly Parker (Deadwood; The Firm).

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