- Amber: "Hello Greg. And I call you Greg because we're now social equals."
- House: "And I call you Cutthroat Bitch because, well, quod erat demonstrandum."
- ―Don't Ever Change
Amber Volakis was one of the applicants for the fellowship positions that opened up in Season 4. She was first called by her assigned number, 24, and then later by her first name, she was usually referred to by Gregory House as "Cutthroat Bitch" due to her manipulative nature.
She is portrayed by actress Anne Dudek. Despite her failure to obtain a fellowship position, Amber remained a potent force in the series well after her dismissal, and even after her death at the end of Season 4.
Early Life[edit | edit source]
Apart from her surname, which indicates a Greek heritage, little is known about Amber before she showed up in The Right Stuff. She was born on September 10, 1978, according to her hospital admission bracelet in Wilson's Heart. Her medical school diploma, which is still on display in her old apartment, appears to be from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri; one of the top medical schools in the United States. She would have also completed a residency in radiology - the use of radiological imaging in the treatment of disease, then a fellowship in interventional radiology.
As an applicant[edit | edit source]
Amber was one of the forty applicants who were fighting for the available fellowship positions in The Right Stuff. However, she revealed to Jeffrey Cole that she was still doing work at her old job while she competed for the new one. She was quickly identified as the most ambitious candidate when she was assigned along with nine other candidates to wash House's car while twenty others were running tests. She quickly mutinied and took eight others with her with only Cole staying behind to do the work. However, she returned fifteen minutes later to rejoin Cole and took the car to a car wash. She aggressively made suggestions and even broke the rules to keep medical records on the patient on her PDA for easy referral. Lawrence Kutner ratted her out for it, but almost got fired for “squealing”. At the end, her willingness to compete and take risks made sure she made it to the final ten.
When House split up the remaining applicants into men’s and women’s teams in 97 Seconds, Amber asked to be assigned to the men’s team, figuring that if the men won, it would be unlikely that House would wind up hiring nothing but male fellows, although it was clear that if the women won, it was unlikely she would survive the competition against them. She secured her employment, at least for a time, when House paged her just before he electrocuted himself into a cardiac arrest just to prove a point. He realized Amber would be the best choice because she wanted the job the most and wouldn't let him die. In addition, the men won by default when although Thirteen got the diagnosis right, the women’s team failed to ensure the patient was treated properly and House fired all the women except Amber and Thirteen.
She justified House's faith in her in "Guardian Angels" by finding the correct diagnosis for the patient. However, she learned the full truth about working for House -- when she tried to get out of a grave robbing assignment by sucking up to Lisa Cuddy (where she revealed her full name, the first fellow to do so) and offering to do clinic duty, Cuddy made it clear that whatever she was trying to get out of doing for House was only the tip of the iceberg compared to what she would have to do if she were hired.
Amber's ambitious personality was easily seen by the mirror patient in Mirror Mirror when he commented that he (as her) was always right and had to be. Amber tried to laugh it off, but was taken aback when he added "If they don't like you, you gotta be right -- or you're not worth anything." Like the rest of the applicants, she was saved when House decided not to fire anyone so everyone would lose their bets on the pool Chase was running to see who would be fired next. House shared 50% of the proceeds with Chase.
Amber wasn’t much help in Whatever It Takes, and survived because Travis Brennan deliberately poisoned the patient in order to fake a disorder then fake a cure so he could get funding to test a theory.
She had a similarly tough time in Ugly, particularly when it appeared Samira Terzi was going to nab one of what appeared to be two remaining spots. However, she was saved when House decided to fire Samira instead.
When House suggested in "You Don't Want to Know" that the person who stole Cuddy's thong would get to stay another week, the rest of the applicants were reluctant until they realized that Amber was going to try to do it. Amber tried to cheat by giving her thong to Taub, who tried to pass it off as Cuddy’s. However, House saw through the deception because Cuddy’s bra that day didn’t match. Eventually, Cole succeeded in the challenge and picked Amber as one of the two people House would have to choose to fire. However, she was saved for another week when House realized that Cuddy had given her thong to Cole in an attempt to influence his choices. He fired Cole instead.
However, when the endgame came up in Games, House decided that Amber had to be the last to be fired. Although he admired Amber's ambition and her ability to play the game, her "win at all costs" attitude wasn't compatible with the job; House said that when one works for him, one had to be able to lose. She drifted into the room where their patient (a drug addict she had expressed contempt for) was recovering, saying she was trying not to care.
Relationship with Wilson[edit | edit source]
In Frozen, House was sure that Wilson was not only dating someone, but was dating someone he knew. He was hurt Wilson didn't want him to know. He cornered Wilson in a fancy restaurant and was shocked when Amber showed up.
- House: "Cutthroat Bitch?!"
- Wilson: "I call her Amber. Was she on your list?"
Despite her dominating personality easily overshadowing Wilson's, she seemed to genuinely care for him, telling House that for the first time in her life she had both love and respect and didn't have to choose. House and Amber quickly developed an adversarial relationship, bickering over 'shared custody' of Wilson. However, Wilson settles into Amber’s apartment and it appears the relationship is going to be permanent.
Illness and death[edit | edit source]
Main article Amber (case history)
In House's Head, House is tormented by broken memories after a bus crash where he saw symptoms of an unknown disease. At the very end of the episode, following a period of cardiac arrest induced by Alzheimer's medication, it is revealed that Amber was the patient he had seen dying. House had been drunk at a bar and called Wilson to pick him up, but Amber was the one who answered the call and followed him onto the bus.
Amber becomes the patient in Wilson's Heart (where, according to her admission bracelet, she was admitted on March 12, 2007), where she experiences multiple organ failures as the disease progresses. The cause is revealed to be amantadine poisoning, as her kidneys were destroyed by the crash and she was unable to process the medication she was taking for the flu - amantadine was left to circulate in her system for more than a day, damaging all major organs (eventually leading to the cardiac episode in the ambulance), and making her ineligible for transplantation in the process. In the end of the episode, she died in Wilson's arms as the machines were shut down and her death left him devastated.
She appeared one last time in a dream House experienced while in a coma, a result of deep brain stimulation which led to a seizure and a brain bleed. On a bus surrounded by white light, she acknowledged she was dead and told House to get off the bus.
- House: "You’re dead."
- Amber: "Everybody dies."
- ―Wilson’s Heart
House, in a rare crack in the armor, admitted he didn't think he was able to face Wilson or want to go back to the pain and misery of his life. Amber smiled sadly and said "Well, You can't always get what you want." House, after a moment, nodded and walked away.
The impact of her death on the other characters, as well as on Wilson and House's friendship, formed a major plot point well into the 5th season.
TV Tropes has noted that Amber's death is an example of the Alas, Poor Scrappy trope - the death of a character who is widely disliked, but still has an unexpected emotional effect on the audience or characters. House's team were emotionally crushed by her death, even though they generally disliked Amber. Wilson himself points this out in Dying Changes Everything.
Amber returns[edit | edit source]
Main article Amber hallucination
Although House initially enjoyed having a direct line into his subconscious, he soon realized that “Amber” is malevolent, setting him up to nearly kill Chase before his marriage to Allison Cameron by setting him up with a stripper who wears a product Chase was allergic to.
Amber continued to haunt him in A House Divided throughout the episode. House assumed it was because he had not slept properly since Kutner died and had insomnia but at the end of the episode after he finally got some sleep, he felt refreshed. However, Amber returned once House woke up.
Throughout the episode Under My Skin, the hallucinations of Amber went from being helpful to more sinister, cruel, and violent.
At one point, Amber sliced her arm open with a scalpel. When House began trying to figure out what was wrong with him, Amber mocked him, reminding House that every possible explanation for his hallucinations would be terrible: Schizophrenia meant he could never work again while Multiple Sclerosis or giving up Vicodin would cause him severe pain.
House finally realized the problem was the Vicodin, and during his withdrawal, Amber constantly tortured him, laughing and telling him he was worthless. However, once the withdrawal period was over, the hallucination appears to have vanished for good.
However, in the next episode, Both Sides Now, it is revealed that House didn't get off Vicodin, and that it was all a hallucination just like Amber herself. Amber and surprisingly, Kutner show up at the end of the episode, telling House:
- Amber hallucination: "So, this is the story you made up about who you are. It’s a nice one."
- Kutner hallucination: "Too bad it isn’t true"
- ―Both Sides Now
House became a voluntary patient at Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital and, after detoxing from Vicodin, the hallucinations finally vanish for good.
In Everybody Dies she reappeared again as a hallucination. When House doesn't know if he must live or die, unlike the previous versions of her, she encouraged him to live.
Gone, but not forgotten[edit | edit source]
In the episode Brave Heart, Wilson wants House (who has been living with him for a while) to move into the study which is covered in pictures of Amber. While sleeping there, House starts to hear whispering, he soon hears it in an air vent and follows it to Wilson's room where he overhears him talking to Amber. When House confronts Wilson about this, he told House that it made him feel better. House tries talking to his dad, he yells at Wilson that he thinks it is stupid. Wilson tells Amber that House is starting to get better.
Personality[edit | edit source]
Amber was described, not without some truth, as the female version of House. While perhaps not as smart as House, it is clear she is highly intelligent, as well as being ambitious, driven and goal oriented. The mirror patient revealed that much of this is to build her own self-esteem. Also like House, she doesn’t much care about what other people think about her and her sense of self is highly dependent on her own intelligence and abilities. Unlike House, she is highly competitive and has a “win at all costs” attitude.
This drives her to be manipulative and she has a mixed view of authority figures. Although she is just as likely as House to break the rules, unlike House she has no trouble “sucking up” to people who she thinks can help her. This had led to a valid observation that Amber usually cannot be trusted.
Also unlike House, she doesn’t appear to have any sympathy for the down and out, believing that people who are “losers” are just unwilling to do what it takes to get ahead.
And, finally, her relationship with Wilson suggests that Amber is not a misanthrope as she clearly loves Wilson, trusts him, and desires that Wilson's needs are met within the relationship.
Appearances[edit | edit source]
|#01||"Alone"||#07||"Ugly"||#13||"No More Mr. Nice Guy"|
|#02||"The Right Stuff"||#08||"You Don't Want To Know"||#14||"Living The Dream"|
|#03||"97 Seconds"||#09||"Games"||#15||"House's Head"|
|#04||"Guardian Angels"||#10||"It's a Wonderful Lie"||#16||"Wilson's Heart"|
|#06||"Whatever It Takes"||#12||"Don't Ever Change"|
|#01||"Dying Changes Everything"||#09||"Last Resort"||#17||"The Social Contract"|
|#02||"Not Cancer"||#10||"Let Them Eat Cake"||#18||"Here Kitty"|
|#03||"Adverse Events"||#11||"Joy to the World"||#19||"Locked In"|
|#05||"Lucky Thirteen"||#13||"Big Baby"||#21||"Saviors"|
|#06||"Joy"||#14||"The Greater Good"||#22||"House Divided"|
|#07||"The Itch"||#15||"Unfaithful"||#23||"Under My Skin"|
|#08||"Emancipation"||#16||"The Softer Side"||#24||"Both Sides Now"|
|#01||"Twenty Vicodin"||#09||"Better Half"||#17||"We Need the Eggs"|
|#02||"Transplant"||#10||"Runaways"||#18||"Body and Soul"|
|#03||"Charity Case"||#11||"Nobody's Fault"||#19||"The C Word"|
|#04||"Risky Business"||#12||"Chase"||#20||"Post Mortem"|
|#05||"The Confession"||#13||"Man of the House"||#21||"Holding On"|
|#06||"Parents"||#14||"Love is Blind"||#22||"Everybody Dies"|
|#07||"Dead & Buried"||#15||"Blowing the Whistle"|
|#08||"Perils of Paranoia"||#16||"Gut Check"|
|May 2010||June 2010||July 2010|
|Season 5||Amber Volakis||Allison Cameron|
This article was the featured article for June 2010.