Did anybody notice the extended shots of the backs of characters' heads in House of Cards? I am wondering if those have any symbolism or intended value.
Opinion-based, but one of the major themes in House of Cards is control of information. The Underwoods thrive because they are able to conceal their own intentions, find out as much as possible about their targets and feed the proper information to proxies like Zoe, Stamper or Russo. Although I can't think of specific examples off the top of my head, back-of-the-head shots involve the viewer in this information play. They're almost the equivalent of Underwood's camera asides. They make the viewer feel like most of the characters, under informed and manipulated.
I thought of a specific example. There's a moment around the end of Season 1 beginning of Season 2 where there's a ten second or so shot from behind of the Underwoods sitting on a couch. It's an invitation for the viewer to try to be smarter than they are, to figure out the plans and emotions of that monolithic partnership. It makes the series more entertaining to put the burden of decoding their characters on the viewer.