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Don't let a little dirt stop you.
~ Doug Stamper's philosophy

Doug Stamper is a supporting antagonist in the Netflix series House of Cards. He is Frank Underwood's Chief of Staff and right-hand man, and is instrumental in his ruthless rise to power. Stamper eventually murders Underwood (offscreen) and initiates a fierce power struggle with Underwood's widow and successor as President, Claire Underwood.

He was portrayed by Michael Kelly, who also played Richard Detmer in Chronicle and Arquette in Black Mirror.

Biography

Stamper was born in Naperville, Illinois. His family later moved to Columbus, Ohio. Unlike his brother, he never saw the appeal of settling down with a wife and children, and moved to Washington, D.C. to further his career. Stamper's sense of identity is dependent on his role as Underwood's right-hand man. To preserve this, he will go to any lengths - even murder - to serve and protect Underwood.

Season 1

In Season 1, Stamper uses Rachel Posner to seduce Congressman Peter Russo, compromising his pledge of sobriety, which destroys Russo's life and allows Underwood to kill him and make it look like suicide - all a part of Underwood's plan to climb his way to the Presidency. Stamper is himself a recovering alcoholic with 14 years sobriety, and regularly attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. He uses that fact to keep Russo clean for the necessary time, sponsoring and taking Russo to meetings.

Season 2

When Posner meets reporter Zoe Barnes for an impromptu conversation about Russo's death, and Underwood's ascension to the Vice Presidency, Posner chooses to have her own personal life played out in the press rather than rat out Stamper and Underwood's plan. Stamper moves Rachel out of the public eye and forces her to live in a new apartment in Joppa, Maryland away from Washington.

Underwood also tasks Stamper with investigating the dealings between Raymond Tusk and Xander Feng, monitoring the Native American casino they used to launder campaign money. He later flew to Beijing to meet with Feng on Underwood's behalf.

He becomes obsessed with her Posner tries to control her entire life, going so far as to sabotage her relationship with her girlfriend and follow her everywhere. Eventually, Posner rebels against his control and hits him in the head repeatedly with a brick, severely injuring him.

Season 3

Hospitalization

In Season 3 it is revealed that Stamper survived the attack, but suffered brain damage that causes problems with his leg. This requires six months of hospitalization, use of a cane and extensive physiotherapy.

Relapse

After the attack, Stamper suffers from severe anxiety and depression. After breaking his arm after slipping in the shower, Stamper is prescribed painkillers, which begins his descent back into alcoholism. Although he initially regulates the amount of liquor he drinks with a syringe, Stamper later starts drinking uncontrollably. This is exacerbated when he is informed by Gavin Orsay that Rachel Posner has been killed in a car accident. He eventually turns up to a meeting with President Frank Underwood intoxicated, begging for help, and blames the relapse on the stress working for Heather Dunbar. After this meeting, Frank calls Heather to threaten her and helps his old friend.

Recovery

With the help of his brother Gary, Stamper returns to sobriety, and convinces Underwood to give him the position of White House Chief of Staff after Remy Danton resigns. He proves his loyalty to Underwood by burning a page from the doctors journal he promised Dunbar, as it contained details of the secret abortion Claire Underwood had. Doug reveals Dunbar had been willing to pay him $2,000,000 for the journal.

After being betrayed by Gavin Orsay, Stamper enlists in the help of friend Nathan Green, who has tracked Orsay to Caracas, Venezuela. Unable to officially extradite him to the U.S., Doug personally travels to Caracas to find Gavin. Upon finding him living in a moored boat, Doug severely beats Gavin with his cane, causing him to eventually disclose the location of Rachel.

Upon returning to the U.S., Doug travels to Santa Fe, New Mexico and begins to stalk Rachel. After purchasing a van, shovel and various chemicals (acetone and bleach to make chloroform), he kidnaps her and drives her to the middle of the desert. Doug initially shows compassion to Rachel, allowing her to leave when she claims she is starting a new life as Cassie Lockhart and has no desire to get involved uncovering Underwood's crimes. However, Stamper quickly changes his mind, turns the van around and kills Rachel. He then proceeds to bury her body in the pre-dug grave in the New Mexico desert. He then returns to White House to officially serve as Underwood's Chief of Staff.

Season 4

Stamper continues to serve Underwood as his Chief of Staff. Season 4 saw Doug struggling to keep things in control during both Frank and Claire's separation and finding out of Seth's betrayal that nearly results in Doug killing Seth. When Frank is shot, Doug offers his liver to the President but cannot donate due to his alcoholic history. After forcing a dying patient to die in order for a wounded Frank to be bumped in the donation list to get the liver, he begins to have spells of guilt. His guilt leads him to donating a large sum of money to his family and he begins dating the deceased man's wife.

Season 5

Stamper continues as Underwood's Chief of Staff, and functions as an integral part of a part of Underwood's plan that leads to his resignation from the Presidency. Stamper releases classified information to the Washington Herald, posing as Catherine Durant, and later takes the blame for the murder of Zoe Barnes, which Underwood had in fact committed. After having a conflict with Claire, he officially hands in his resignation to Frank.

Season 6

After Underwood's sudden, mysterious death, Claire (his vice president) ascends to the presidency and refuses to pardon Stamper as part of an effort to distance herself from her husband. Stamper recants his admission of guilt in Zoe Barnes' murder. Lacking evidence to use against him, the DOJ allows for his release from a psychiatric facility. The deal is struck when he threatened to use testimony from him and Catherine Durant to derail Claire's presidency.

Stamper gets a new job as political operative for a young Congressman from Illinois who hopes to become Speaker of the House. But his real goal is to secure Underwood's legacy from Claire, who is determined to erase it.

During a tense confrontation in the Oval Office, Stamper confesses to Claire that he murdered Frank in order to stop him from killing Claire, knowing that this would forever tarnish Frank's legacy. Stamper then begs Claire to admit that she owes her success to Frank. Claire refuses, and Stamper threatens her with a letter opener. Once free of his grip, Claire takes the letter opener and stabs Stamper in the torso. She then comforts him as he slowly bleeds to death on the Oval Office floor.

Personality

Quiet, cold, and calculating, Stamper is a vital cog in Underwood's political machine, serving as his chief of staff. His talents for discretion and subterfuge allow him to be ruthlessly efficient.

Stamper has demonstrated a willingness to control his targets mainly through coercion. Due to his proven skills and decades-long loyalty, Underwood fully trusts Stamper, giving him a high degree of autonomy in his work. However, Underwood is initially reluctant to bring him back on board during Season 3 due to Stamper's physical and mental instability.

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