Fans of good television the world over are jumping with joy following the news that Season Three of Netflix’s House of Cards will be available to watch/download/pirate in February 2015.

The announcement was made via twitter: a single post with the words “A special message from the White House”, accompanied by a brief video of President Frank Underwood looking menacingly at the camera – in slow motion – while boarding Air Force One with his wife Claire. The video finishes with the House of Cards logo and the release date “02 27 15” appearing on screen.

The short message doesn’t give away any more than it has to. It whets the appetite for more House of Cards, without hinting what will go down in the upcoming season.

Avid fans of the drama want more. We can’t wait until three months until to find out what will be the fate of Doug Stamper, Rachael Posner, et al.

While our core business is, of course, the production of esoteric/elitist/obscure sports opinion articles, The Public Apology has managed to get its hands on a leaked copy of the Season Three HOC script.

We believe that it is in the public interest for us to share some excerpts with our readers.

Please see below for a sneak peek at some of the key scenes in Episode 1.

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Have we seen the last of Stamper, or will he make a surprise return in S3?

Have we seen the last of Stamper, or will he make a surprise return in S3?

House of Cards Season 3 Episode 1 – New beginnings, old friends

Scene One: the Oval Office

Frank Underwood sits at his desk. He is wearing a suit and appears switched on, alert, yet slightly agitated. Around him stands several of his closest advisers.

Seth Grayson, the President’s press secretary, begins to run down this President’s diary for the day. A murmur of phone calls and office noise can be heard in the background.

“At 7:30am we have a phone hook up with the Joint Chiefs of staff on the emerging situation in the Golan Heights, then at 7:50am the National Security Advisers will be in for a briefing. At 8:30am we will be taking official portraits,” he says.

Frank interrupts: “Forget the portraits, we have a country to run. And more importantly, we need to fill our executive positions. How are our choices for Vice President shaping up?”

Christine Gallagher, another adviser to the President, looks down at a clipboard and begins to run through a list of names.

Christine: “We have a shortlist of ten, all of whom are being vetted as we speak. First, there’s Madigan from Delaware…

“Too old and boring,” Frank interjects.

Christine: “Then we have Zieberman from Ohio”

“He has too many skeletons. We don’t need more scandal. We need stability.”

Seth: “What about a woman. Someone who is young and fresh. How about Jacqueline Sharp?

Frank: “We will need her help with Congress. There is no point shifting her out.

A fine Congresswoman, but no VP

A fine Congresswoman, but no VP

Frank, now frustrated: “None of these candidates will do.

Frank turns to the camera:

“This should be an easy decision for me. Get someone into the Vice Presidency who I can manipulate. Someone who will do my bidding. I may be the most powerful man in the free world, but everyone general needs foot soldiers.

Returning to his advisers,

Frank: “We need someone fresh. A real person.”

Seth: What about Walterson from Florida? Successful businesswoman, will help you gain credibility in the south…

Frank: “No good, she tried to double-cross me over education reforms. She can’t be trusted.”

Now exasperated, “If only Doug were here.”

Voice raising, he shouts to his assistant in the next room. “WILL SOMEONE GET A HOLD OF STAMPER. WHERE IN ALL OF CAROLINA’S PALMETTOS IS HE HIDING?”

Frank turns to the camera again.

“I need Doug. I can’t focus without him and don’t have a devil of a clue as to where he is. It just boggles the mind. Why would he go missing at such a critical time?

“At first I thought he had hit the bottle again, but now I am beginning to worry something sinister has happened. There is foul play here, I can smell it.”

Edward Meechum, the President’s security detail, steps forward from his position at the door.

“Sir, we have the FBI tracing his calls, vehicle, bank records for anything suspicious. But still no sign.”

Frank: “I find that hard to believe. Meechum, we need to find him as a matter of urgency, lest the press get a hold of this.

Theme music plays.

Intro credits roll.

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Scene Four: At an airport somewhere in China

Xander Feng’s private plane touches down on a foggy runway.

The camera cuts to Feng walking across the tarmac, in a crisp suit and slicked back hair.

Feng, compromised

Feng, compromised

As he approaches a black luxury vehicle, another suited Chinese man approaches him. Behind the suited man is a dozen Chinese police.

Feng: (in Mandarin)  Mr Liang, what a pleasure to see you and the welcoming party. I trust you have made arrangement for my safe passage?

Liang: (in Mandarin) Mr Feng, there is a strong desire within the upper echelons of the Government and a public expectation that will you be tried and executed for treason.

Feng (leaning in close, whispering): Yes, and that is why I have deposited $17 million USD into Governer Chen’s Swiss bank account.

Liang: I know Mr Feng, and you will be duly exonerated, but first we must go through the motions.

Mr Liang motions to the police to arrest Xander Feng.

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Scene Eleven (closing scene): A forest somewhere in Virginia

Scene opens with panning shot of the forest at dawn. Through the trees the outline of what appears to be a human corpse can be seen.

The shot changes to a close-up of a prone Doug Stamper, lying on his back. His eyes are closed and dried blood is caked on his forehead and cheek.

The camera slowly zooms in on his face, towards his closed eyes.

Suddenly, Stamper’s eyes dart open. His eyeballs are alert and lively.

He looks straight at the camera.

Theme Music plays.

End credits roll.