Lawrence Kutner is one of the three new fellows hired by House at the beginning of Season 4. He is portrayed by actor Kal Penn. He is a specialist in sports medicine and rehabilitation. He has been shot, it is unknown why.
When Kutner was six years old, his parents were shot dead in their store by a robber. Afterwards, he was adopted and was given the surname of his new family, who were not Indian.
He appears to have been a bit of a bully in high school, although it also appears this was limited to socially ostracizing others rather than using violence. He apologized to his victim in Joy to the World.
Before becoming a doctor, one of his jobs was selling men's fragrances in a department store, and he also admitted he wasn't miserable doing it.
Specialists like Kutner often look for fellowship opportunities to expand their medical education, and he appears to be older than Number 13, but younger than Chris Taub. As the fellowship application process drew to a close, the numbers were removed from the contenders. Needing new nicknames for his team members, House referred to Kutner as "Former Foster Kid". This indicated that House was aware of his boyhood tragedy before Kutner revealed it to "Thirteen" (and thusly to the audience) in Wilson's Heart. House has lately been referring to him simply as "Kutner", although House has been seen in "Emancipation" to make references to the "Former Foster Kid" nickname, by calling him Oliver Twist.
Kutner commited suicide in the episode "Simple Explanations". His lifeless body was found by 13 and Foreman who both tried to resuscitate him to no avail.
Kutner is a risk taker, something Cuddy considered when she tried to get rid of him in Whatever It Takes. He has twice used defibrillating paddles to disastrous effect, although he saved the patient both times. On the first occasion, he used them in a high oxygen environment, starting a fire and setting off the sprinklers in the process. On the second, he applied them to a wet patient and inadvertently electrocuted himself. Cuddy pointed out this willingness to take risks would actually make him a good fit for House.
Moreover, despite his seeming flakiness, he appears to be developing into the team's new star. He has now run up the most good ideas and correct diagnoses. In You Don't Want To Know, even House had to admit that Kutner was right from the beginning that the patient's heart attack was due to an underlying illness. In Frozen it was his insight that the patient's symptoms might be caused by a fat embolism that finally led House to the correct answer. In No More Mr. Nice Guy, based on the knowledge that House had faked his blood test for Syphillis, Kutner came up with the idea that another illness was making the patient test positive for the disease. Even House had to say that this diagnosis was the type of epiphany he usually had. By Locked In, Kutner was well outperforming the other fellows and again came up with the correct diagnosis before House did.
If the mirror patient is any indication, Kutner is a bit of a masochist and an iconoclast. Early on, it was discovered that he enjoys magic and that he makes friends easily, with Jeffrey Cole being a good friend before Cole was fired.
As the character has developed we have found out that Kutner is very much a geek, being a dedicated Trekkie (reaching a high level in the Klingon hierarchy in college) and that his favorite movie appears to be Star Wars (he was astounded when he realized a person who converted to Hasidism would never be able to watch it again). Prior to getting involved with Star Trek, he admitted a fondness for sci-fi literature. He also holds the current world record for crawling.
Kutner is also the only fellow who seems to not only not mind but to enjoy the crazy tasks that House sends him on. In Guardian Angels, he not only enthusiastically dug up a grave, but broke into the casket and expressed dismay when he realized the deceased had been buried the wrong way around.
As shown in his interactions with patients, Kutner proves himself to be understanding and kind towards others. In "The Itch, Kutner's advice on being honest with patient caused the patient to allow the team into his house. In "Emancipation", Kutner was able to identify with the patient when he believed that she had lost her parents.
Relationship with House
It is difficult to count how many times House fired and re-hired Kutner during the application process. He fired him in The Right Stuff for tattling, but Kutner came up with a gambit - he changed his assigned number 6 to a number 9 and claimed House only fired number 6. House then fired him again, but re-hired him immediately after when he came up with the idea of stressing a patient's liver by giving her alcohol. In Games, House fired Kutner and Thirteen only to motivate them into coming up with more ideas, then re-hired them again. House certainly appreciates Kutner's ability to focus on the patient's illness and come up with ideas rather than to focus on the patient's lifestyle or shortcomings.
House is beginning to realize that Kutner really wants to please him because of his friendly nature, but House appears to only be using this information in order to get Kutner to do things for him (such as buying him expensive Christmas gifts and paying for his cable bill at the hospital). He frequently challenges Kutner to come up with the right diagnosis, and on at least two occasions (Frozen and No More Mr. Nice Guy) Kutner's ideas led to the final diagnosis.
Recently, House has become exasperated by one personality trait he cannot stand in Kutner - Kutner is superstitious and has a belief in paranormal phenomena. House has exploited this by deliberately invoking superstions, such as having a ladder in position in the office that was difficult to walk around but easy to walk under.