It's a monochromatic world for the denizens of David Fincher's House of Cards. The Netflix program, which kicked off its sophomore season on Friday, depicts a world rife with expensive suits for its male politicians, form-fitting sheaths for the female ones and drab, loose sweaters for the reporters covering them.
They all, though, abide by the same palette - blue, white, black and grey. And lots of it.
Because in House of Cards there's no room for a vibrant hint of color.
This is a show about the scheming, conniving and manipulation that goes on behind closed doors in Capitol Hill. Standing out and straying from the norm would be political suicide.
And that motto begins with the wardrobe.
In its first season, Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, was the House Majority Whip. It is a powerful position, to be sure, but the Whip's influence lurks in the shadows away from the spotlight. In season two, however, Underwood - thanks to tireless plotting and deceiving on his part - is now the Vice President of the United States.
Without revealing too many details, there is a moment in the season premiere that is utterly shocking and makes something abundantly clear: Underwood is no longer a mere Whip, he is the Vice President.
As such, the stakes are higher and he has much more to lose. And, House of Cards, just became exponentially more riveting and suspenseful as a result.
As a technique to engage the audience, the show frequently has Underwood talking to the camera, or us, as he explains the method behind his madness. In the first episode of season two, Underwood doesn't acknowledge the audience at all until the very end, when he smoothly fixates straight ahead and says, "Did you think I'd forgotten you? Perhaps you wish I had." In some ways, this is true. This Underwood is more dangerous, more sinister than the one we've grown accustomed. But, like a moth to a flame, we're drawn to his story and his ruthless ambition to ascend to the very top of the political food chain.
"In some ways in the direct addresses I think of the camera as my best friend. You're saying things that you wouldn't say to anybody," Spacey said in an address to Georgetown University students where he explained the value added in breaking the fourth wall.
If this is true, though, Frank Underwood - with his Machiavellian-like manipulations and deception - may be the most dangerous "best friend" we've ever had.
House of Cards is available on HOT and YES cable networks.