'House of Cards': Kate Mara on Continuing to Haunt Frank Underwood From the Grave

Kate Mara - Build Series - Getty - H 2017
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Kate Mara left House of Cards after her journalist character Zoe Barnes was pushed in front of a subway train at the beginning of the Netflix series' second season.

But in the show's fifth season, currently streaming, Zoe is once again a significant part of the show's storyline, as her former Washington Herald editor Tom Hammerschmidt (Boris McGiver) tries to find justice for her when her death comes back to haunt Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly).

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter at the premiere of her latest movie, Megan Leavey, in which Mara plays a Marine who bonds with a military combat dog in Iraq, the actress admitted she still hasn't watched the fourth or fifth seasons of House of Cards.

But she'd heard that her character plays a part in the fifth-season plot.

"I literally know nothing about it, but I think it's crazy and very flattering," Mara told THR. "Little did I know — I don't know how many years ago I finished filming — that she would still be a part of the storyline. That's really awesome. That was a very special show to be a part of. I miss it."

Showrunners Frank Pugliese and Melissa James Gibson, who took over from creator Beau Willimon after the fourth season, explained why Zoe is so integral to the series.

"The show has a memory and Zoe’s death is such a pivotal and huge moment in the show," Pugliese told THR. "It would be irresponsible to not deal with that. Someone would still be pursuing it and would still be trying to find some answers, so it felt essential that we do. At some point, we thought there was a price to pay for these women that disappear on this show. Somehow, we have to come to terms with that."

James Gibson added that while Hammerschmidt isn't letting go because he's a good journalist, it was also a meaty task to see if he would be corrupted by the Underwoods' world. 

For his part, McGiver said he hopes Mara still watches the show. "Zoe was sort of under his wing and care. There was a parental-child thing and he felt that he f—ed up, he didn't treat her properly and he didn't take care of that relationship," the actor told THR of the guilt his character carries. "It doesn't bother him that he's the only one fighting."