Office Politics
House-guest-stars 556x371
November 8, 2010
Episode Number
7.6 Rating
Guest Star(s)
Jack Coleman, Amber Tamblyn
Final Diagnosis
Zebra Factor

Office Politics is a 7th season episode of House which first aired on November 8th, 2010. It is directed by Sanford Bookstaver. Amber Tamblyn debuts as Martha M. Masters

When a campaign manager falls ill with liver failure and temporary paralysis in the midst of an election race, the team must look to the managers candidate and his surprising announcement to solve the case. Meanwhile, Cuddy forces House to hire a new female fellow, one who has past connection with Taub. Chase enjoys watching Masters get insulted by House. Taub also tires of Foreman's insults about his age and challenges him to a game of basketball. Taub loses to Foreman 7-11 but Foreman admits that Taub is actually not that old. Chase, Foreman and Taub get caught breaking into a patient's home and they get arrested.


A campaign manager is arguing with a Senate candidate when all of a sudden he starts itching and showing numerous small red marks on his arm. The Senator suggests he call an ambulance rather than waiting to go to the doctor.

House is dealing with a clinic patient with a torn Achilles tendon when Cuddy comes in to tell him that she has hired a medical student, Martha M. Masters, to be the new female fellow on his team. When House complains that she’s not a doctor, Cuddy goes over her rather impressive qualifications, including two doctorates. She leave him with no choice.

Taub is going over the patient’s symptoms, which also include liver failure. Masters comes to the door and knocks. House introduces himself as well as “Boring, Bimbo and Bite-size”. Chase is astounded that she’s just a med student. House tells her to say something brilliant, but when she demures, he gives her a triva quiz, which she aces. Foreman gets back to business - liver damage explains all the other symptoms, but there doesn’t seem to be any cause for the liver damage. It looks to be environmental, so House orders an environmental scan and sends the team to his House. He tells Masters to speak up next time.

They all go to the manager’s large house and Masters goes on about the architecture. She admits that she finds House intimidating. Foreman manages to break in. Master’s is astounded, but Foreman tells her that when they tell patients about the visit, they tend to hide things. Masters can’t bring herself to cross the threshhold, so Foreman and Taub go on without her. Taub and Foreman start arguing about her. Foreman finds unpasturized cider.

Foreman thinks it might be E. coli, but House can’t see how cider would get contaminated with it. Taub tells House Masters wouldn’t come in, but House wonders what Taub’s problem is. Foreman guesses Taub is intimidated by Masters’ intelligence. Foreman gets back to the cider and says the apples could have been contaminated by animal feces. House agrees and orders treatment.

Taub and Masters set up the plasmapheresis. She wants to tell the patient they broke into their house, but Taub won’t let her because it will affect the patient’s trust in them. The patient is on the phone with the Senator. Masters tells him to slow down until he’s out of the hospital. She asks if he’s curious how they came up with the diagnosis, and he says he figures they broke into his house to find the cider, and he’s fine with it. Masters asks if honesty and respect matter, but the patient just makes fun of her. She brings up voter turnout rate, but they soon realize he’s unresponsive - the patient is now paralyzed.

The paralysis passes, so Chase thinks it was just a TIA. House admonishes Masters for ratting out to the patient. She says she had an ethical obligation. She suggests a diagnosis, but House shoots it down and asks her why she’s so free about talking about ethics. She says her ethics are what most doctors follow and suggests a new diagnosis, but Taub rules it out. House tells Masters that rules are for people who can’t think for themselves, and she’s obviously not like that, so why is she trying. However, Chase comes back to Masters’ idea about an endocrine tumor - it could explain why the patient made an inflammatory campaign ad. House orders tests to see if they can find the tumor. House then starts quizzing Masters on lying and catches her in an ambiguity - she will lie if it doesn‘t matter, but not when it would. He asks her how she got so screwed up.

House asks Cuddy if she would be mad if he fired Masters, she said she would unless House had “cause that a human being would consider cause. House says Masters’ principles are getting in the way. Cuddy thinks its useful to have someone on the team who sees things in black and white terms. Cuddy tells him to give her a real chance.

Masters is waiting in Cuddy’s office, terrified that House is going to fire her. Cuddy tells her not to worry, but Masters thinks that Cuddy has merely told House not to fire her. Cuddy assures her that House respects her beliefs. However, Masters thinks the problem is with her - she’s never been good working in groups. Cuddy wonders why she chose medicine, because it’s a team activity. She figures that Masters wanted to stretch herself, but Masters said she just wanted to be a doctor. Cuddy tells her the most important thing about dealing with House - if she helps him solve cases, he will like her no matter what.

Foreman and Chase do the CT Scan. Foreman wants to help Masters, but Chase is having too much fun watching House grill her. The patient speaks up and says his judgment is sound and he denies leaking the inflammatory video. They can’t find a tumor, so they go to check Taub, who is doing the blood tests.

Taub is a bit behind and Foreman makes fun of how long it takes him to do things because of his age. Taub responds by challenging him to a game of basketball, and Foreman agrees. The blood test is finally finished and Taub sees that the test for DIC is also negative.

The Senator comes for a visit and the patient realizes he’s the one who leaked the inflammatory ad. Taub and Foreman come in to tell him they think it’s environmental and perhaps it was something he encountered on the campaign. The Senator remembers they were near a farm, but while they’re discussing it, Taub notices the patient has blood in his urine. This points to kidney failure.

Back at differential, Masters comes up with another good idea Henoch-Shonlein purpura. However, House orders chemotherapy, but Masters says that’s too dangerous - steroids would be safer. She wants to let the patient choose, but House says chemotherapy is the obvious choice in the situation - it’s more likely to be effective. House allows Masters to make the pitch to the patient.

Masters tells the patient chemotherapy is the better choice, but the patient chooses steroids. House comes along and tells the patient he’s being stupid. Even the Senator, there on a visit, thinks chemotherapy is the better choice. However, the patient doesn’t want to deal with the side effects during the short time left in the campaign. House mocks Masters dedication to ethics.

Taub and Foreman meet on the basketball court. Taub makes two quick long baskets and is soon up 2-0, then 3-0. The game soon gets rougher and Foreman wins 11-7. However, Foreman apologizes to Taub for calling him old, and realizes the problem is that Masters is making him feel insecure.

Masters runs in to tell House the pharmacy has made a mistake and sent chemotherapy, but House tells her he already knows - he switched it out. He orders Masters not to tell him because it will risk his life. He fires her to make sure. When she says she’s still going to tell him, he says he will have her expelled from medical school and will lie to do it.

Foreman tells House that firing Masters was a mistake because they need her on the team to keep them in check - the rest of them aren’t intimidated, they’ve just been with him too long to really notice anymore. Chase comes in to tell them it wasn’t Henleich after all. That meant Masters was right about the treatment, but wrong about the disease. However, Taub remembers the patient’s fish tank and suggests Schistosomiasis. House orders another environmental scan.

Cuddy calls House down to his office where he, Cuddy and Masters get into an argument about what she did. House tells Cuddy he’s not going to work with her, but when Masters offers to quit, Cuddy will not let her. She thinks Masters has a bright future ahead of her and wants her at the hospital. House just wants her out of his department.

At the patient’s home, Chase starts talking about why Taub didn’t like Masters. They rule out any source of schistosomiasis and go to leave , but they see a police car outside. House gets a call from Foreman that they have all been arrested. House says he’s too busy to bail them out because the patient is getting worse.

House finds Masters in the lounge and starts a differential, telling her she’s re-hired. However, he doesn’t want to hear her ideas, he wants to bounce some off her. However, she keeps shooting them down. She then turns her attention to the television - the Senator is on the television talking about the patient. He blames him for leaking the inflammatory ad. Masters thinks he’s lying, but House notices something else and thanks Masters for helping, but fires her again.

House goes to see the patient to tell him he thinks he’s been having sex with the candidate. When he saw him on television, he realized he had hepatitis C. The patient admits he and the Senator shared cocaine, which would explain the transmission. House explains the hepatitis test came back negative because his liver was producing chemicals that caused a false negative on the test. The only way of confirming is to treat with interferon.

Taub, Foreman and Chase are still in jail, waiting for Taub’s lawyer to bail them out. They get back to talking about Masters and Foreman realizes that Taub’s instant dislike of her was probably due to him having met her before. He finally admits he interviewed her when she applied to Johns Hopkins Medical School. He was upset that she didn’t remember him even though they spoke for an hour.

House tries to re-hire Masters. He starts talking about how the hepatitis C isn’t responding to interferon, but she’s not interested. She finally gives in and starts talking about recent experiments, but House gets the idea to treat him by giving him hepatitis A. He tries to fire her again, but she won’t agree this time.

House goes to get approval from Cuddy, but given the treatment isn’t approved and the legal risks, she turns him down. However, Masters stands up for House. After a short discussion, Cuddy says she will approve it, but only after House confirms hepatitis C. She sends Masters after House to help, but when House implies he’s going to give the patient hepatitis A anyway, Masters realizes she’s been fired again.

The rest of the team is back and House wants them to fake a positive test for hepatitis C. However, Chase suggests they just test the Senator. Taub suggests they test him lots of times until one of the tests comes up positive. With no other ideas, House agrees to Taub’s plan.

House goes to see Wilson to tell him he plans to lie to Cuddy again, but this time it could affect their relationship. He’s afraid his patient will die if he won’t. Wilson gives him the same ambiguity House earlier gave Masters - tell the truth and face the medical consequences, or lie and face the personal consequences.

House finally decides to fake a positive result by getting blood from the Senator. He takes the result to Cuddy. Cuddy is just happy that she followed his request, but gets back on him to hire a new team member.

House goes back to speak to Masters. He says she can have the job if she convinces the patient to agree to the treatment. She says she won’t lie to him, but House reminds her that if he turns down the treatment, he will definitely die. Masters gives it a shot, and is honest with the patient about his chances. However, she convinces him by telling him the risks House has taken to get approval for the treatment. The patient consents, but House says it would have been easier for everyone if she had just lied. Masters says that House really wanted her to tell the truth - to challenge him. He says that she will learn her principles are just going to get in the way. He says he will see her tomorrow.

The patient responds to the treatment. Masters finds Taub in the locker room and apologizes - she recognized him the first time she saw him, but felt awkward about bringing it up.

House has to do paperwork for Masters’ medical school, but admits to Cuddy that Masters won her over when she called Cuddy a coward. Cuddy grabs House's ass before she walks out of his office.

The Senator wins the election as the patient watches from his hospital bed.

The clinic nurse mentions to Cuddy that she can’t find the Senator’s medical records. When Cuddy asks why she’s looking for them - the Senator was never a patient, the nurse says the Senator was in the clinic with House. Cuddy checks and finds the positive test was done just after the Senator was in the clinic.

Zebra Factor 3/10

Hepatitis C is not terribly rare.

Trivia & Cultural References

  • Escher
  • Azerbaijan
  • Beethoven
  • Euler’s Number
  • Small Wonder
  • Pippi Longstockings
  • Bill Cosby
  • Frog in hot water
  • Moebius strip



thumb|300px|left|He's short, white, Jewish - and not bad

thumb|300px|left|Say something brilliant!

thumb|300px|left|Respect or results?

thumb|300px|left|No more sausages

thumb|300px|left|November promo

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