Over halfway through the new season of House of Cards, a character named Jane Davis shows up out of nowhere and becomes a key player. So who exactly is Jane Davis?
Jane Davis is a brand new character to the series, and so if you don’t remember her from previous seasons, you shouldn’t. Her official title is deputy under secretary of commerce for international trade. That’s a real position, with the current office holder being Sarah Kemp. According to the International Trade Commission, this person “coordinates all issues concerning trade promotion, commercial policy, market access, agreements, trade law enforcement, import administration, domestic and international competitiveness.”
In Chapter 59 of House of Cards, Jane Davis meets with Acting President Claire Underwood in order to go over a steel agreement with Beijing. However, they’re interrupted and taken to the Presidential Emergency Operations Center due to a bomb scare.
As the Underwood administration is dealing with issues concerning ICO, Jane Davis says that she knows some private contractors in the Middle East who might be able to help. She describes part of her job as dealing with problematic parts of the world and imagining the unimaginable.
“I know third parties that have negotiated with ICO in the past,” Davis says. “Hostages and whatnot, who may know something. But I need a line.”
Later, Davis does get to make those phone calls, getting some information from her contacts suggesting that the leader of ICO is in Damascus. She offers her help in tracking down the ICO founder, and Claire Underwood seems interested in making use of Davis.
Jane Davis is played by Patricia Clarkson, a character actress who frequently appears in film and television in supporting roles. She is particularly known for playing Ruth’s sister on Six Feet Under, a role for which she has been nominated for awards, as well as Tammy One on Parks and Recreation.