Lawrence Kutner (House)
|Dr. Lawrence Kutner|
|First appearance||"The Right Stuff" (4.02)|
|Last appearance||"Everybody Dies" (8.22)|
|Portrayed by||Kal Penn|
Department of Diagnostic Medicine Fellow (seasons 4–5)
|Birth name||Lawrence Choudhary|
Lawrence Kutner (born Lawrence Choudhary), M.D. is a fictional character on the Fox medical drama House. He is played by Kal Penn. He becomes a member of House's new diagnostic team in "Games", the ninth episode of the fourth season. He commits suicide in episode 20 of season 5, ‘Simple Explanation’, he makes a further appearance as a hallucination in season 8.
Kutner is shown to be open-minded about any new experience which is the reason he wants to join House's new team. He was originally #6 during the games, but was fired in his first appearance for reporting Amber Volakis's recording of patient information. He continued to work even after being "fired" by House by flipping his #6 into a #9 and refusing to leave, and then coming up with a clever stress test for a patient's liver, using alcohol to intoxicate the patient, which impresses House to keep him, much to Amber's dismay.
Of all the new fellows, he is the most enthusiastic and the one most likely to go along with House in taking risks, including illegal activities. When House was finally forced to pick his new team, Dr. Cuddy suggested he hire Kutner because Kutner "shares [House's] philosophy of medicine." He first got approval from House after successfully reviving a patient with a defibrillator while in a hyperbaric chamber, despite also setting her clothing on fire due to the high-oxygen atmosphere. Similarly, in "Mirror Mirror", he resuscitated a patient using a defibrillator while the patient's skin was wet, inadvertently shocking himself into unconsciousness at the same time. Defibrillators and Kutner have become a running joke for House now, who, in "Ugly", appoints him the "professional defibrillist", a title of which Kutner seems rather proud.
Kutner is a science fiction fan and seems to be easily distracted by pretty women, having asked out Amber Volakis at the end of the contest. However, at the end of "Wilson's Heart", while other characters were shown to be visibly upset over Amber's death, he spent the night after her death eating corn flakes while watching television. He tends to share a great deal of trivial personal details with others (Taub mentioned in "Let Them Eat Cake" that he had informed the team of his subscription renewal to National Geographic).
In "Here Kitty", he is shown to be superstitious, throwing salt over his shoulder after House deliberately spills some and avoiding walking under a ladder. He also takes great pains to avoid walking past a cat who is rumored to predict the deaths of people to whom it is close.
Little is known about his past. In the season four finale, Kutner commented that "Kutner" is not an Indian surname. He revealed that his parents owned a deli and were shot to death during a robbery when he was six years old, suggesting that he got his surname from his adoptive family. In the episode "Birthmarks", Kutner admits that he liked being different, being Indian, after being adopted by a "Jewish family when he was six." In the season four episode "Ugly", in order to put a patient at ease in admitting drug use, he claims to have used drugs as a teen. In "Adverse Events" it is said that he holds a Guinness World Record for crawling the longest distance, twenty miles. In "Joy to the World", as a response to other events in the episode, the epilogue shows him seeking out and apologizing to a high school classmate to whom he had been cruel. In "Let Them Eat Cake", Kutner runs an online medical advice clinic under House's name; however, his fellow employees and then House himself blackmails him into giving them most of the profits. In "Here Kitty," to get back at House for making fun of him for being superstitious, and for pretending to throw up blood all over him, Kutner apparently gets a cat to urinate on House's chair. It is implied that it is actually Kutner's urine. In "Simple Explanation", it is revealed that Kutner streaked during the Penn-Dartmouth football game and a picture of him at graduation revealed him to be an alumnus of Dartmouth College. The team also meets Kutner's adoptive parents, who tell them that Lawrence called them Mr. and Mrs. Kutner until his ninth birthday, when they became "Mom" and "Dad". They also tell him that Kutner's original name was "Lawrence Choudhary" and that he himself decided to change it.
Kutner is found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his apartment by Thirteen and Foreman in "Simple Explanation". Kutner left no reason for his suicide, causing Dr. House to suspect foul play. The show's producers have confirmed that his death was indeed a suicide. Actor Kal Penn, who portrayed Kutner, had accepted a job at the White House as "a liaison connecting the Obama administration with arts and entertainment groups, as well as with the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities."
Kutner's death was criticized in The Star-Ledger, with columnist Alan Sepinwall arguing that the death was pointless, and seemingly written only to create a "Very Special Episode". However, Entertainment Weekly commended the show's handling of the death, believing that it was presented in a dramatically effective and realistic manner.
- Fox.com House - Recaps- Simple Explanation Archived April 30, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
- "Dr. Lawrence Kutner (Character)". IMDb.com. Retrieved April 8, 2009.
- "Lawrence Kutner: 1975-2009 (OBITUARY)". Fox Broadcasting Company. Archived from the original on April 8, 2009. Retrieved April 8, 2009.
- Hinckley, David, "Actor Kal Penn's death as 'House' character Dr. Lawrence Kutner shocks fans" New York Daily News, April 7, 2009. Retrieved on 2009-04-08.
- CBC News, "Actor Kal Penn to join Obama administration" CBC News, April 7, 2009. Retrieved on 2009-04-08.
- Sepinwall, Alan (April 6, 2009), House, "Simple Explanation": A shocking episode, The Star-Ledger, retrieved April 6, 2009
- Tucker, Ken (April 6, 2009), Simple Explanation, Entertainment Weekly, archived from the original on April 11, 2009, retrieved April 6, 2009