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'House of Cards' returns as season 3 hits Netflix

Netflix users can tune into all 13 episodes of the political series, which may portray a growing rift between President Underwood and his wife.

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"House of Cards" is back in office with Season 3. Netflix/screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

The president and his wife are now back to their usual devious and deceitful ways. President Frank Underwood and his wife Claire, that is.

Netflix users can now watch the political antics of the Underwoods on the third season of "House of Cards," which officially debuted Friday. All 13 episodes are available at once for those of you who like to binge watch them one after the other.

Based on a British series, the American version of "House of Cards" stars Kevin Spacey as underhanded politician and now US president Frank Underwood, along with Robin Wright as his wife, first lady and partner in political chicanery. Season 1 followed Underwood as he manipulated people and events to climb the ladder from congressman to vice president. Season 2 showed him commit even more illegal and immoral deeds as he schemed his way into the White House.

The first two seasons portrayed Frank and Claire as true partners in crime, usually on the same side. But the two trailers released for season 3 point to a possible conflict between the two as Claire starts to question their motives and methods.

"We're murderers, Francis," the president's wife says in the first trailer, released in January. "We're survivors!" he replies.

"I'm starting to question all of it, Francis. What are we doing this for," Claire says in the second trailer, released earlier this week. "For this house," Frank answers. "For the presidency."

"House of Cards" has been a success story for Netflix as the first original online series to garner Emmy nominations and awards. But the series faces a new challenge in season 3. Now that Frank has achieved his ultimate goal of winning the White House, where do he and the show itself go from here? Instead of climbing his way up the ladder, he now faces the daunting and sometimes mundane task of actually running the country.

A review of season 3 by The New York Times says the the first few episodes are more about policy than chicanery. "And policy is not nearly as sexy and exciting," the Times reviewer said. But the series picks up some of its old steam after that.

The potential rift between Frank and Claire should make for an enticing subplot. And loyal "House of Cards" viewers will likely tune into each episode just to watch the twists and turns and see how the season ends. Without having watched season 3 yet, my prediction is that at some point Frank will be taken down, and Claire will be the one to do it. If so, will that happen this season, or will "House of Cards" return for a fourth season?

A spokesperson for Netflix said the company had nothing to confirm at this time on a potential fourth season.