(Possible spoilers)

Doug Stamper appears to be possibly the only loyal character in the world of House of Cards. Without saying too much, even when Stamper appears to be siding with other presidential candidates, and even when Underwood has kicked him to the curb, he turned out to be loyal.

What is the backstory and psychology behind Stamper/Underwood?

  • 3
    I'm not sure how, but I got the feeling that Frank helped out Doug during his first bout of alcoholism, which made him loyal ever since. I'll see if I can find a quote or something to substantiate it either way. Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 18:42
  • @SystemDown: OK, fine, but if there's any recurring theme in House of Cards, it's that absolutely no one in the world is trustworthy, loyal, or faithful. Especially, not a political staffer. Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 19:46
  • Good question, but I don't think they revealed that (yet).
    – magnattic
    Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 21:23

3 Answers 3


I am sorry but I don't have enough rep points to comment but am attempting an answer based on my interpretations and having watched all the seasons. Hopefully, it helps.

In regards to Doug Stamper he is one of my favourite characters. Initially, as the first and second season unfold, he is worked extensively and he does out of his own goodwill. He goes above and beyond to help Frank really showing he is comfortable doing the "dirty work". In season 2 when they start to introduce Seth, they are pitted against each other and he tries to out-do him and show his loyalty. There was an episode mid-season 2 where Frank cuts to the camera and talks about "healthy competition" between them.

I personally feel, Doug does it for the power. Yes he is not president but he is the right-hand man. He contributes to Frank and is needed by him as much as Frank thinks he can do it by himself. That is true power. In season 3, Doug over time has collected "dirt" on everyone and has connections, which make him a valuable asset. He refuses Heather Dunbar's insane amount for the key piece of information that would destroy Frank and his campaign (Claire's abortion). The following scenes involve Remy quitting his job and when all else fails...Doug shows up, showing Frank what he was offered and could have done. He wants Frank to know what he is capable of and how much of an asset he is.

Additionally, He does it for his own personal stability as well. Being a recovering alcohol abuser he buried himself in work to distract him from the temptations and going back. He had a slip-up mid-season 2 till beginning of 3. when Rachel got away and Seth seemed like the faithful man. However, when he returned and linking to my first point, he made sure Rachel was dead, he sobered up, and controlled an entire political campaign to an extent behind the scenes. To show Frank 1. He is needed and can do more than what Seth and Remy can 2. He made up for his mistake from letting his emotions getting the best of him and having Rachel escape

Overall, that is my analysis on Doug. I've added some links, which shares similar thoughts. Hope this was enjoyed :)

Doug Stamper

Doug Stamper


Very simply - Doug has a tendency towards obsessive behaviour, firstly towards alcohol, then Rachel, and always Frank.

They are all bad for him but all give him some sense of power or reason for living.

  • This is correct. He has an addictive/obsessive pattern to his behaviour, and for most of the series his addiction is his loyalty to Frank. Spoiler In the latest season, we see him becoming obsessive about a new character, perhaps leading him astray from Frank.
    – user33312
    Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 7:14
  • 1
    @Winterflags This is correct. There is an extremely important difference between fact and opinion...
    – arkon
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 20:28
  • @b1nary.atr0phy Thanks for your input, sir! So you mean Bananana's answer is speculative?
    – user33312
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 20:29

Doug - while being an alcoholic is also a codependent. Here's a definition:What Is a Codependent Relationship?

The first step in getting things back on track is to understand the meaning of a codependent relationship. Experts say it's a pattern of behavior in which you find yourself dependent on approval from someone else for your self-worth and identity.

One key sign is when your sense of purpose in life wraps around making extreme sacrifices to satisfy your partner's needs.

I think this applies to other relationships and not only to romantic ones. Doug seems incapable of building a life of his own. He seems lost without being anchored to Frank.

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