House of Cards Poster Photography Question
I'm not sure who did the photography for this show, but I work with a photographer who does this stuff all the time (key art photography for television). Without knowing the photographer, it's hard to say what modifiers were used, as different photographers prefer different ones and the same effect can be achieved in many different ways.
It really doesn't matter exactly what modifiers were used though - here's basically what was done:
Season 1 has a single semi-soft light above and in front of subject. My guess would be something like a large Photek softlighter. It's hard to tell if there is fill or not, but likely there is something down very low. There is also likely a seperate light providing the vignette on the background. It can be tough to say because these thing are likely composited from several different shots - one for the subject, one for the chair, one for the background. It's also possible that there is something like a gridded beauty dish to bring up the values in the face, aimed from the same angle as the overhead light. But there is nothing fancy going on here, just an overhead and slightly frontal light plus a little fill.
The second shot uses cross lighting... basically two soft rims and a fill. Likely a large box or large strip on either side, and a big soft fill (maybe an octa).