'House of Cards' Season 4: Premiere time, new characters and everything else you should know

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"House of Cards" returns Friday for another season of drama and seedy Washington politics with Frank Underwood and Co. Here are some things you should know about Season 4.

Update (3:30 p.m., March 4): The episodes are here! Read TV critic David Zurawik's take on three unforgetable moments from the first six hours here


When will the episodes drop?

All 13 episodes will be available to stream (aka binge) on Netflix beginning at 3 a.m. Friday.


Who can we expect to see?

In addition to the usual cast of characters — Frank (Kevin Spacey), Claire (Robin Wright), Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly), etc. — there are a few newcomers in Season 4.

Academy Award-winner Ellen Burstyn plays Claire's mother, Elizabeth Hale, a woman who lives in the old-money enclave of Highland Park in Dallas. Cicely Tyson plays Texas Rep. Doris Jones. And Neve Campbell, of "Party of Five," joins the show as a political consultant.

Joel Kinnaman, who starred in AMC's "The Killing," is part of the cast this season.

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What will the big storylines be?

If you're a longtime "House of Cards" fan, you know to expect a rollercoaster ride with plenty of plot twists and turns. Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik has seen the first six episodes, and while he won't spoil the plot, he can tell us that the female characters' storylines will play a huge role this season. Read his preview here.

Will there be a Season 5?

Yes. Netflix has renewed the show for a fifth season, and it will return to Maryland to film, as well.


Speaking of Maryland, what local landmarks should we look for?

Spotting the Baltimore-area locales under disguise is one of the most fun parts of watching "House of Cards." While we're not sure what will make the final cut, we do know that the cast and crew filmed at Mick O'Shea's Irish Pub downtown in November. There was also a shoot at Harford Community College in September. "House of Cards" has also frequently filmed at The Baltimore Sun in the past, and I'm pretty sure I've seen trailers lurking in the back parking lot more than once this year. And as Zurawik mentions, a pretty monumental scene was filmed at Goucher College.

There will be a lot more to talk about once everyone has had time to watch their way through Season 4, so be sure to check back for continuing coverage. Happy binge-watching!