Michael Kelly has certainly seen his share of scares as Doug Stamper in House of Cards. Beau Willimon is not afraid to kill off characters -- like he did with Kate Mara's Zoe Barnes in Season 2 -- and Kelly has walked the fine line between being killed and surviving on a show that is constantly trying to surprise fans.
Stamper's closest call to being killed off occurred at the end of Season 2, when he suffered what appeared to be a fatal head injury and was left in a forest to die. The scene left most fans, including Kelly's own family, believing his character was gone for good.
"My dad was like, 'Mom and I just finished and, I've got to say, you look pretty dead to me,'" Kelly explained in an interview with Deadline.
Even though Willimon promised Kelly that his character would live following the Season 2 finale, Kelly still had his doubts.
"It's House of Cards, right? They do not hesitate to kill great characters," Kelly stated.
Despite all the worry that his time on the show was over, Stamper benefited from a fairly long story arc in the third season. After spending an ample amount of town recovering from his brain injury, Stamper made his way back into the political world by aligning himself with presidential candidate Heather Dunbar. By the end of the season, he used his position in Dunbar's camp to get back in the White House and on Frank's side.
The ups and down his character went through during the first three seasons of the show were all part of a larger plan by Willimon.
"'It'll be written in such a way that I want everyone to go, What the f**k is up with that guy?'" Kelly recalled Willimon telling him.
Kelly went on to admit that playing Stamper is a role that changes drastically from season to season.
"I basically was playing a different character at times," he explained. "I've never been so scared to take something on. I've never been so filled with doubt."
In regards to what's next for Stamper in Season 4, Kelly admitted that he has no idea.
"I was alive at the end of three, that's all I can say. I wouldn't be surprised if Beau was behind my bedroom door right now. I put nothing past him."
While House of Cards gets ready for the production of Season 4, fans can watch Kelly as he appears in the upcoming thriller Everest.
[Photo Courtesy: House of Cards Netflix]