"David's mantra was trying out ideas, executing them, and then evaluating if they worked," Bryld adds. In playing tag team with such varied directors as Joel Schumacher, James Foley, Charles McDougall, Carl Franklin, and Allen Coulter, the crew found themselves doing variations on a theme.
Then again, dressing up the D.C. gang was especially fun for Broecker. "Kevin loves politics and President Clinton is a very good friend and took off one of his ties -- a bright blue one -- and gave it to him. Kevin wears only five suits in the series, primarily a navy blue and gray, but he wanted a nod toward a higher end British look in honor of the original British series, and so we made a deal with Gieves & Hawkes, which Kevin works with when he's in London. His were the only European suits."
By contrast, Underwood's wife, Claire (Robin Wright), a powerful environmentalist and political animal in her own right, portrays a quiet and steely Lady Macbeth figure. "Claire's backstory, which is not explored in the first season, is that she comes from a wealthy family and they probably bankrolled Frank's first few campaigns," Broecker continues. "Robin is such an exquisite woman and to have the layer of cold, calculating woman on top of that is interesting. She is perfectly tailored and nothing is out of place. There's the public and private persona and we wanted to create the idea that there's never anything casual about this couple."
Musically, Fincher recommended that Beal drift back to the '70s and reacquaint himself with the title track from Supertramp's "Crime of the Century" (an apt thematic metaphor). The composer was inspired to riff on the tantalizing trail of piano, strings, and sax for his main title theme. "We talked a lot about Frank and his wife in Shakespearean terms, and David mentioned that a movie producer reminded him of Frank," Beal recalls. "It's not intentional malevolence -- power is their drug of existence; that's just who they are."