The sixth and final season of House of Cards—the hit Netflix series thrown into crisis by sexual assault allegations against Kevin Spacey—is to resume production early next year without its star, an industry source told AFP on Monday.
The show’s finale is now set to focus on the character of Claire Underwood—played by Robin Wright—who, having succeeded her husband as president at the end of season five, looked directly at the camera, declaring: “My turn.”
Netflix put the award-winning political thriller series on hold in response to the slew of allegations against Spacey, a two-time Oscar winner accused of attempting to rape a teenage boy and of a pattern of harassment towards younger, male colleagues—including on the set of House of Cards.
Season six, which was scheduled to air in 2018, will count just eight episodes instead of the regular 13 made for previous installments of the hit show, in which Spacey plays a corrupt U.S. congressman who eventually becomes president. Considered one of the most gifted actors of his generation, the career of the 58-year-old Spacey—whose collaboration with Netflix put the streaming giant on the map—was sent into freefall by the sex allegations that emerged at the end of October.
Netflix immediately dropped the actor, who has been publicly accused of attempting to rape a 15-year-old boy, and of making advances on actor Anthony Rapp three decades ago, when he was 14 years old.
According to British media, London police are also investigating him for an alleged assault in 2008.
Former House of Cards employees have claimed Spacey turned the set into a “toxic” environment through a pattern of harassment, and similar claims have been made regarding The Old Vic, the London theater where he was artistic director from 2003-2015.
Spacey is one of the most high-profile scalps in the torrent of allegations that have brought down male power players from the worlds of politics, finance, entertainment and journalism, in the wake of accusations targeting movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. The actor was also executive producer of the flagship Netflix series, which is adapted from a BBC drama of the same name and has earned seven Emmy awards on more than 50 nominations.
Netflix doesn’t release viewing figures. But the show marked out its place in television history as the company’s debut in original programming, which has grown to include other highly regarded shows such as Stranger Things and Orange is the New Black.