In the fifth season of House of Cards, Campbell Scott’s character, Mark Usher, stays on as Claire Underwood’s campaign manager for her Vice President run. However, he later joins the Underwoods’ inner circle as a special advisor and becomes the Vice President of the United States under Claire Underwood in Season 6. Throughout both seasons, it’s easy to see how Usher’s character changes from someone who questions Frank Underwood’s decisions to someone that supports the Underwoods completely and even helps them in their most unscrupulous ventures. How Campbell Scott’s Character Changes From Season 5 to 6

Introducing us to Will Conway


Will Conway was introduced as a candidate for Vice President at season five’s end. In a moment that shocked no one, he is announced as running mate for Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) in season six’s opening scene. Though Conway has his own reasons for joining up with Underwood, he seems none too pleased with being referred to simply as not Bosworth—the man on whose ticket Frank was defeated just last year.

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The book Will reads


A House in Space by H.R. Haldeman, an American political aide and businessman who served as White House Chief of Staff for President Richard Nixon from 1970–1973. Haldeman narrates his experience in a house he was forced to live in on Solaris, one of Saturn’s moons. He is there on behalf of a NASA operation investigating reports that it has experienced radio contact with extraterrestrial life forms; however, all attempts at communicating with them are met with silence or threats.

His name means ambition


In season five, Mark Usher is described as an ambitious man—even more so than Underwood. In fact, his initials spell out MAU or M-A-U, which can stand for Mark Usher: Underwood, or even a variation of his predecessor Frank Underwood (FU). The letter H may be hiding in plain sight: That dot on his forehead isn’t a mole—it’s actually a letter H.

Introducing us to his wife


In season five, Usher’s wife, Elizabeth Liz (Mara) is a character we only see for about 10 minutes. She tells him she doesn’t want anything from him and asks him not to worry about her as he goes off to work on his campaign.

How Campbell Scott's Character Changes From Season 5 to 6
How Campbell Scott’s Character Changes From Season 5 to 6

Introducing us to his son


I always enjoy seeing a new side of someone we’ve already come to know. But Campbell Scott’s introduction as Mark Usher, who is brilliantly cast as Frank’s (Kevin Spacey) campaign manager in season 1, comes with an extra layer. As we quickly learn, Mark is also Francis Underwood’s (Spacey) former roommate from his college days at Williams College. He and Frank live together again while he is running for Congress after a false start.

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We learn why he’s running for president


The first season starts with Congressman Francis J. Underwood (Kevin Spacey) kicking off his campaign for president, which was in part spurred by opposition from lobbyist Frank Underwood (Gerald McRaney). Usher says he’s running because he wants to make a difference, but it becomes clear that he’s looking at it as a means of self-advancement.

His role in season 5 – who is he?


As a character, Mark Usher is important because of his position as press secretary and advisor. He acts as both of these things for Tom Hammerschmidt and in later episodes, uses his influence over Claire Underwood to force Hammerschmidt out of his role as Washington Herald reporter. But it’s not until season 6 that he truly gets involved with any other political affairs.

Why does he join the Underwoods?


The Underwoods bring Usher on when they need a campaign manager. Initially hesitant, he quickly becomes an advisor to Francis, who needs someone both he and Claire can trust. When Claire gets sick (Season 4, Episode 3), she asks him to take over her role as Vice President. After winning a second term, Francis tells Claire that he’s bringing Usher into his inner circle as Secretary of State (Season 5, Episode 7).

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Where does his character go from here?


In short, he is no longer an antagonist. If anything, his outlook is more in-line with Frank’s and Claire’s than it ever was during season five.

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