House of Cards' Love Affair with Maryland


After just one season, House of Cards was already nominated for nine Emmys. Even though the show is based and set in Washington, DC, only a few setting shots were filmed in DC. The rest of the production was filmed on a soundstage in Harford County as well as at locations in and around Baltimore City and surrounding counties.

Earlier in the summer, the Netflix series began filming its second season at the 230-year-old Maryland State House in Annapolis. About 100 crew members, 60 extras, and six principal cast members were at the filming. The State House was closed to the public to accommodate the shooting schedule.

State officials love the economic impact of hosting the production in Maryland, as well as the attention it has brought to the state. “It’s put a real spotlight on Maryland,” said Jack Gerbes, director of the Maryland Film Office.

To get the State House ready for filming, fake marble, dark curtains, and ten-foot panels of blue and gold were brought in to transform the Maryland House of Delegates chamber into the U.S. Senate Chamber. Since the Maryland State House cannot be rented, the production has instead given donations to various Maryland groups. The State House is no stranger to Hollywood. In 2003, Head of State was filmed in one of its legislative lounges.

The State House building is one of many Maryland landmarks used as film location since House of Cards and HBO's VEEP began filming in the state. Other locations include The Belvedere in Baltimore, The War Memorial across from City Hall, unused offices in The Baltimore Sun building (standing in for the offices of the series' fictitious newspapers The Washington Herald), and The Peabody Institute.

Last week, the Netflix original series continued its Seasons Two shooting schedule filming at the Towson Court House. The Netflix political drama used the second floor of the courthouse as its film set, which includes the council’s chambers, library, and offices.

The Economic Impact of Being a Film Location

For the 13 episodes of Season One, the production involved approximately 150 days of filming, with 2,000 extras and a 275-crew team also included 125 building workers.

The Maryland Film Office estimates an economic impact in Maryland of $140 million last year - all from House of Cards alone. Mr. Gerbes said that due to the state's expanded and competitive film tax credits program, more productions have expressed interest in filming in Maryland.

Last year, the movie Better Living Through Chemistry (with Sam Rockwell and Ray Liotta) was filmed at a shop on the corner of Maryland Avenue and State Circle. The filming lasted several weeks and the cast and crew from that production supported over 170 businesses in the city and 45 others throughout the county.

Filming in Maryland

For more information on filming in Maryland or Baltimore City, visit the Maryland Film Office and/or the Baltimore Film Office.

Browse Maryland's film locations.
Browse Baltimore's film locations.