Not again, I thought, as I finished watching the second season of House of Cards and saw my favorite character, Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly), chief of staff and general fixer for the ruthless politico Frank Underwood, eliminated for good — if death is for good, which I realize that on television it may not be (i.e., Dallas). Still, for all that Frank Underwood is a masterful manipulator, raising the dead isn’t among his skills — and the series isn’t into meta-storytelling — so I assume that Stamper won’t rise from the dead. And so I am upset; I had looked forward to seeing him combine poker-faced efficiency with angst-ridden depth.

I’ve had this happen to me before in the past few years — characters of some complexity that I’d become attached to annihilated without warning. There was the death of Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt) and, then, Richard Harrow (Jack Huston)… More…