EXT. UNDERWOOD RESIDENCE - NIGHT
SLOWLY PULL IN on the front door of a fashionable DC
Off-screen, we hear the SOUND OF SCREECHING TIRES followed by
a LOUD COLLISION. A CAR ALARM blares.
After a moment, the door to the townhouse opens and A MAN
emerges, curious to see what the commotion is outside.
As the Man comes into the light we see he’s dressed in a
crisp TUXEDO with the collar unfastened, no tie. This is
FRANCIS UNDERWOOD - Richard III, Iago and Hannibal Lecter all
rolled into one. He has intelligent eyes, mischievous lips
and a deep baritone dripping with Southern charm.
Francis glances down the street. He see a CAR backing up
then PEELING AWAY from the parked car that it just hit. It
disappears around the block.
As Francis heads purposefully toward the scene of the
accident, we begin to hear a DOG WHIMPERING IN PAIN. Francis
looks down at the ground. Francis’ security detail guy STEVE
(40s) appears beside him.
Did you get a good look?
Blue Toyota Camry. First two
letters of the plate.
Francis and Steve gaze down at the suffering animal.
The Warton’s dog.
Looks like a broken back.
It’s not gonna make it.
Go next door and see if they’re
Steve heads towards the neighbors’ townhouse.
Francis kneels down beside the dog. It’s in awful shape. He
tenderly strokes the dog’s head.
Shhhh. It’s okay...
Francis looks up at us. The sound of CAR ALARM FADES.
(to the camera)
There are two kinds of pain. Good
pain - the sort of pain that
motivates, that makes you strong.
Then there’s bad pain - useless
pain, the sort of pain that’s only
suffering. I welcome the former.
I have no patience for the latter.
With cool-headed deliberateness, Francis calmly places a hand
around the dog’s neck and begins to put it out of its misery.
(to the camera)
Moments like this require someone
like me. Someone who will act.
Who will do what no one else has
the courage to do. The unpleasant
thing. The necessary thing.
The Dog’s muffled whimpers cease. Francis looks down.
(to the dog)
There. No more pain.
He lets go. The sound of the CAR ALARM RISES again.
Francis stands as Steve approaches. The shook-up neighbors,
JACK and BARBARA WARTON, follow several yards behind.
(aside, to Steve)
We need to leave in ten minutes.
Francis turns his attention to the couple. He gently
approaches them with endless sympathy in his eyes.
It was a hit and run.
(to his wife)
He must’ve jumped over the gate
Barbara wells up. Francis lays a hand on her shoulder.
I’m so sorry. I’ll have Steve file
a report. We’ll track them down.
INT. UNDERWOOD RESIDENCE - BATHROOM - A FEW MINUTES LATER
Francis stands at his sink, methodically washing his hands.
INT. UNDERWOOD RESIDENCE - BEDROOM - MOMENTS LATER
CLOSE ON FRANCIS’ HANDS zipping up the back of a woman’s
elegant evening gown.
We PULL BACK to see that the gown belongs to Francis’ wife -
CLAIRE UNDERWOOD. She’s the epitome of elegance and poise.
(taking her in)
(straightening his tie)
Francis looks composed, dignified. If we hadn’t known, we
never would have guessed what he was up to just moments
before. He offers his arm to Claire.
INT. GRAND BALLROOM - SECONDS UNTIL MIDNIGHT
A loud, raucous count-down. DC's Democratic Party elite are
watching the Times Square ball drop on massive monitors.