Who is Jim Matthews, and why is he important in House of Cards season 5?

The former Vice President has history with Frank Underwood. Season five sees them reunited...

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“Oh you remember Matthews, don’t you?” Frank Underwood asks us in a charged address direct to camera in House of Cards season 5 episode two. Well, don’t you?

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Fans with long memories will know Jim Matthews, one-time Vice President and one of the earliest victims of Frank’s political machinations. “Nothing but a provincial and petty pen-stealer,” Underwood says coldly.

Well, he’s back in play.

The politician is now Governor of Pennsylvania, a key state in President Underwood’s election campaign bid. He is also called in to give evidence to the investigative committee looking into Frank’s dangerous past.

What do you need to know?

Who is Jim Matthews?

In season one of House of Cards, Jim Matthews was Vice President to President Garrett Walker. Underwood had eyes on his role, and eventually managed to drive a wedge between the Walker and Matthews, by convincing each of them that the other man was undermining them.

Eventually Jim Matthews resigned. Underwood was named Vice President in his place, setting him on the path to the Oval Office.

What happened to Jim Matthews after he resigned?

He ran for – and won – his old position as Governor of Pennsylvania. Which is why he is angling for funds for a clean-up of a local slag heap, in return for lending his support to Underwood in the committee. 

But Jim has become a more suspicious man since we saw him last, and that he won’t roll over and play ball for his fellow former VP.

And as episode two shows later on, he gets a hard time in front of the committee before proceedings are rudely interrupted by the ‘cyber attack’. If this is how a bumbling former VP is treated, what does the rest of the investigation hold? 

Who plays Jim Matthews in House of Cards?

Matthews is played by actor Dan Ziskie – you might also recognise him from HBO’s post-Hurricane Katrina drama Treme.

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As well as acting, Ziskie’s also a photographer based in New York City. Check out some of his work here.