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Lawrence Kutner was one of the five new fellows hired by House at the beginning of Season 4. He was portrayed by actor Kal Penn. He is a specialist in sports medicine and rehabilitation.

He was originally "Number 6" in the fellowship application process, but turned his card over to become "Number 9" when House tried to fire him. When the numbers were removed from the contenders near the end of the process, House began referring to Kutner as "Former Foster Kid". This indicated that House was aware of his boyhood tragedy before Kutner revealed it to Thirteen (and thus to the audience) in "Wilson's Heart". After hiring him permanently, House began referring to him simply as "Kutner", in "Emancipation" he made reference to the "Former Foster Kid" nickname by calling him "Oliver Twist".

In a shocking scene in the fifth-season episode "Simple Explanation," Kutner was found dead in his home with a gunshot wound to the head. Police deemed his shooting a suicide, but House feels that his suicide made no sense and thinks it may have been a murder. However, House could find no evidence to support such a conclusion and it was clear that Kutner was shot with a gun he owned and his fingerprints were on it.

History

Lawrence Kutner was born in Fremont, California in 1981. His parents, Karamchand and Niki Baidwan, were shot during an armed robbery. After a couple of years in foster care, Julia and Richard Kutner adopted Lawrence. He showed great promise in high school, winning a Westinghouse Science award for an experiment involving dark matter. His adoptive parents mused that he showed a freethinking, inventive streak from a young age.

Kutner was a bully in high school, although it appears this was limited to socially ostracizing others rather than violence. He apologized to a former victim of his bullying in "Joy to the World".

Before becoming a doctor, one of his jobs was selling men's fragrances in a department store, which he admitted to have been miserable doing it.

Kutner received a full scholarship to the University of California at Berkeley and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Physics. He then attended the University of Tel Aviv Medical School and completed an internship and residency in Sports and Rehabilitation Medicine through the University of Colorado. "He wanted to be a doctor since seeing 'M.A.S.H.' as a kid", said his close friend and colleague Dr. Chris Taub. "I think he modeled himself a little bit after Hawkeye Pierce."

Kutner's girlfriend Nicole Brewster remembered that Lawrence, being adopted and of Indian ancestry, always felt like an outsider. But she said he didn't resent it - instead, he felt the experience gained him added insight and perspective. This drew him to take atypical paths in his career and personal life. One such example is when he decided to break the world record for distance crawling. After a grueling 43 hours, he managed to crawl 20 miles, and earn himself a place in Guinness Book in 2002.

During his free time, Lawrence played water polo and swam competitively. He enjoyed science fiction and was a frequent participant in the Clarion Science Fiction Workshops.

Dr. Kutner is survived by his adoptive parents. A private Hindu celebration of his life was held.

It is implied that he committed suicide in the episode "Simple Explanations". His lifeless body was found (with a gun nearby) by Thirteen and Foreman, who both tried to resuscitate him, but to no avail as he had been dead for several hours and his body was cold. Later in the episode House went to Kutner's apartment and declared he had been murdered. House could not fathom the idea that he could not see his suicide coming. House felt as though he was losing his "touch" but later came to the realization that Kutner did commit suicide. House continues to struggle with Kutner's death.

Medical style

Kutner was a risk taker, something Cuddy considered when she tried to get rid of him in Whatever It Takes. He has twice used defibrillator 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 appeared to be developing into the team's new star. He ran 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 syphilis, 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 often outperforming the other fellows and again came up with the correct diagnosis before House did.

Personality

If the mirror patient is any indication, Kutner was 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.

Kutner is very much a geek, as a dedicated Trekkie (reaching a high level in the Klingon hierarchy in college) and fan of Star Wars (he was astounded when he realized a person who converted to Hasidism would never be able to watch it again). He has shown a great fondness for sci-fi and fantasy literature.

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.

In his interactions with patients, Kutner is 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 began to realize that Kutner really wanted 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).

In "Here Kitty", House was exasperated by one personality trait he cannot stand - Kutner is superstitious and has a belief in paranormal phenomena. House exploited this by deliberately invoking superstitions, such as having a ladder in position in the office that was difficult to walk around but easy to walk under.

Age

Kutner's age is given as 28 by Foreman when he was calling an ambulance in Simple Explanation, but as 33 (Kal Penn's age) in other sources.

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