February 25, 2016 6:56 AM EST

What does Doug get out of his relationship with Frank Underwood?

He’s an addict. Frank and that job are an addiction, just like Rachel, like alcohol.

In the original script for last season’s finale, Doug didn’t kill Rachel. But you and showrunner Beau Willimon decided to change her fate. Why?

We knew Doug was 99% sure he would never see Rachel again, but there was that 1% of doubt. He couldn’t go to Frank and say they were all good when they weren’t. He had to kill her.

Your kids guest-starred as Doug’s niece and nephew last season.

It was hell. I was so stressed. My son was 2 and cried the whole time. But my daughter loved it. She’s so funny, a typical actor. When she saw it, she goes, “That’s it?” Their scene was only one minute long.

Any parallels between the show and real-life politics?

D.C. staffers always come up to me and go, “I know a guy just like Doug.” So, unfortunately, yes.

Could Frank beat Donald Trump in an election?

Definitely. It’s going to be difficult for Trump to keep answering questions, “I’ll make a deal.” He’ll get called out on that. At least I hope so, because the thought of that man being President is scary.

Scarier than a killer President?

Frank knows how to run a country, even if he did push someone in front of a train.

This appears in the March 07, 2016 issue of TIME.

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Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com.

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