House of Cards majorly reshuffled its deck in its opening Season 2 episode, killing off Kate Mara‘s dogged reporter Zoe Barnes in shocking fashion — poor thing got pushed in front of a moving subway by Kevin Spacey’s power-hungry politico Frank Underwood.
Even by TV’s increasingly game-changy standards, it was a bold move for Cards to whack not only one of its biggest stars, but the greatest adversary Underwood has — and perhaps ever will face.
Below, Mara discusses the challenges of sitting on one of pop culture’s best-kept secrets, her new subway security protocol and the possibility of a Zoe resurrection.
TVLINE | Are you relieved the cat’s out of the bag and you can discuss the twist publicly?
I’m talking about it but I’m not really talking about it, because it’s hard to know if you’re spoiling it for other people.
TVLINE | What are your personal rules regarding spoilers? When will it be OK for you to tweet “R.I.P. Zoe”?
I really don’t know. Some people are just watching Season 1 right now, so it’s really hard to know what the right time is. It’s definitely too soon to say that right now. [Laughs]
TVLINE | What has been the most challenging part of keeping the secret for the past nine months?
Just purely forgetting about it. My friends and people I work with, as a polite conversation starter they will say, “How’s it going in Baltimore? How much longer do you have? Are you on a break right now?” I had to just lie about it and say, “Yeah, I’ve got a few days off” or “The season’s going really well… ” I tried not to say too much because I didn’t feel like making up an elaborate story about shooting the show when I hadn’t been on the set in six months.
TVLINE | Did you have to send out a mass email apologizing to everyone for your duplicity?
No. I think most people are in such shock [over Zoe’s death] that they forgot. [Laughs]
TVLINE | Did you do anything to actively throw people off?
I took bunch of random pictures on the set in the two weeks that it took me to shoot my final episode and then throughout the months when I wasn’t shooting we’d tweet a picture as if I was on set and I really wasn’t. [Laughs] Very Zoe Barnes.
TVLINE | How did you feel when you saw Zoe’s death scene?
Even though I knew it was coming, it was still very shocking to watch it.
TVLINE | How far into the season are you?
I’m on Episode 6 now. When I get home tomorrow I’m going to finish the rest of it.
TVLINE | I’m worried Zoe’s death may be forgotten, and that Frank won’t be made to pay. Do you have the same concern?
I’m really not concerned about it. I love the show and the questions of morals and who’s good and bad — none of that bothered me as a viewer. I just think it’s really great entertainment. I find myself rooting for Frank, as evil as he is.
TVLINE | For the record, I’m really unhappy they killed you off. Are you getting a similar reaction from fans?
Yeah. Luckily people haven’t contacted me and said, “I’m so glad that happened!” [Laughs] All of the people that have reached out — personally and on Twitter — they’ve all been so sweet about it, saying how depressed they are. And that’s the most flattering thing I could ever hear.
TVLINE | Any part of you think Zoe got what she deserved?
No. Definitely not. [Laughs] I don’t think her actions were bad enough to deserve that fate.
TVLINE | Do you think twice before crossing the yellow line on a subway platform?
I have always thought twice about that, because that has always freaked me out. I always stand far away from it, and now I will continue to do so. But I will definitely be thinking of House of Cards and Zoe when I’m in the subway.
TVLINE | Any chance we’ll see Zoe in Season 3? Maybe she’ll turn up in one of Frank’s nightmares? Or as a ghost?
[Laughs] They have not called me about it, so I doubt it’s going to happen. But I’d totally be open to it, why not? A little ghost moment? Sure.
TVLINE | Have I mentioned I’m really upset they killed you off? I’ve seen all 13 episodes and I’m still pissed.
Honestly, that really does mean a lot. It’s very nice to hear. [Laughs]