House (a.k.a. House, M.D.) is an American television medical drama that debuted on the Fox network on November 16, 2004. The program was conceived by David Shore and Paul Attanasio; Shore is credited as creator. The show's central character is Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie), an unconventional and grumpy medical genius who heads a team of diagnosticians at the fictional Princeton‑Plainsboro Teaching Hospital (PPTH) in New Jersey. The show's premise originated with Attanasio, while Shore was primarily responsible for the conception of the title character. The show's executive producers include Shore, Attanasio, Attanasio's business partner Katie Jacobs, and film director Bryan Singer. It is largely filmed in Century City.
Dr. House often clashes with his boss, hospital administrator and Dean of Medicine Dr. Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein), and his diagnostic team, because many of his hypotheses about patients' illnesses are based on subtle or controversial insights. House's only true friend is Dr. James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard), head of the Department of Oncology. During the first three seasons, House's diagnostic team consists of Dr. Robert Chase (Jesse Spencer), Dr. Allison Cameron (Jennifer Morrison), and Dr. Eric Foreman (Omar Epps). At the end of the third season, this team disbands. Rejoined by Foreman, House gradually selects three new team members: Dr. Remy "Thirteen" Hadley (Olivia Wilde), Dr. Chris Taub (Peter Jacobson), and Dr. Lawrence Kutner (Kal Penn). Kutner was written out of the series toward the end of season five. Chase and Cameron continue to appear in different roles at the hospital until early in season six. Cameron then leaves the show, and Chase returns to the diagnostic team.
Characters and story arcs
Throughout House's run, six of the main actors have received star billing. All of them play doctors who work at the fictional Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital (PPTH) in New Jersey. Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie), the title character, heads the Department of Diagnostic Medicine. House describes himself as "a board-certified diagnostician with a double specialty of infectious disease and nephrology". Dr. James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard), House's one true friend, is the head of the Department of Oncology. Dr. Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein), an endocrinologist, is House's boss, as she is the hospital's dean of medicine and chief administrator. House has a complex relationship with Cuddy, and their interactions often involve a high degree of innuendo and sexual tension. In the sixth episode of season five, "Joy", they kiss for the first time. Their physical relationship does not progress any further during the fifth season; in the finale, House believes he and Cuddy had sex, but this is a hallucination brought on by House's Vicodin addiction. In the finale of season six, Cuddy tells House she loves him. They kiss and agree to try being a couple.
House's original team of diagnosticians consists of Dr. Eric Foreman (Omar Epps), a neurologist; Dr. Robert Chase (Jesse Spencer), an intensivist; and Dr. Allison Cameron (Jennifer Morrison), an immunologist. In the season three episode "Family", Foreman announces his resignation, telling House, "I don't want to turn into you".[c] During the season finale, House tells Chase that he has either learned everything he can, or nothing at all, and dismisses him from the team. Cameron, who has developed an affection for Chase, soon resigns. This leaves House without a team for the season four premiere.
Under orders from Cuddy to recruit a new team, House considers forty doctors. Season four's early episodes focus on his selection process, structured as a reality TV–style elimination contest (Jacobs referred to it as a "version of Survivor"). House assigns each applicant a number between 1 and 40, and pares them down to seven finalists. He assesses their performance in diagnostic cases, assisted by Foreman, who returns to the department after his dismissal from another hospital for House-like behavior. While Foreman's return means there are only two open slots, House tricks Cuddy into allowing him to hire three new assistants. He ultimately selects Dr. Chris Taub (Peter Jacobson), a former plastic surgeon; Dr. Lawrence Kutner (Kal Penn), a sports medicine specialist; and Dr. Remy "Thirteen" Hadley (Olivia Wilde), an internist (nicknamed for her number in the elimination contest). In the season finale, Thirteen discovers she has, as she had long dreaded, Huntington's disease, which is incurable.
In the eleventh episode of season five, "Joy to the World", Foreman and Thirteen engage in a passionate kiss. Thirteen is at first reluctant to start a relationship with Foreman, but the two eventually begin dating and are still together at the end of the season. They break up early in season six. In the twentieth episode of season 5, "Simple Explanation", Kutner is found dead in his apartment with a gunshot wound to the head. Because Kutner left no note, House suspects foul play, though the death is accepted by the other characters as a suicide. In season seven, Thirteen will take a leave of absence while a medical student, played by Amber Tamblyn, takes her position for several episodes. While Jacobson and Wilde play central characters (as did Penn), they do not receive star billing until season 7. They are credited under an "Also Starring" rubric, with their names appearing after the opening sequence.
In the seventh episode of season two, "Hunting", Cameron and Chase have a one-night stand. In the middle of season three, they initiate a sexual relationship that Cameron insists be casual; when Chase declares that he "wants more", Cameron ends the affair. By the end of the season, however, Cameron recognizes that she has romantic feelings for Chase and they begin a serious relationship. After leaving the diagnostic team, they assume different roles at the PPTH, Cameron as a senior attending physician in the emergency room[d] and Chase as a surgeon. They become engaged in the season five episode "Saviors" (the episode immediately following Kutner's suicide) and are married in the season finale. When Chase rejoins House's team in season six, Cameron leaves her husband and the hospital in "Teamwork", the season's eighth episode. She returned as a guest character in "Lockdown", nine episodes later.
Every season of House has included a recurring featured character, who appears in a multi-episode story arc. In season one, Edward Vogler (Chi McBride), the billionaire owner of a pharmaceutical company, appears in five episodes. He donates US$100 million to the PPTH in return for chairing its board. Vogler represented an attempt to introduce a villain, a move urged by Fox. By the time the Vogler episodes began to air, the show had become a hit and the character was soon dropped. Shore said the concept of a villainous boss was not really viable for the series: "It's called House. The audience knows he'll never get fired." Stacy Warner (Sela Ward), House's ex-girlfriend, appears in the final two episodes of the first season, and seven episodes of season two. She wants House to treat her husband, Mark Warner (Currie Graham), whom House diagnoses with acute intermittent porphyria in the season one finale. Stacy and House grow close again, but House eventually tells Stacy to go back to Mark, which devastates her.
Michael Tritter (David Morse), a police detective, appears in several season three episodes. He tries to extract an apology from House, who left Tritter in an examination room with a thermometer in his rectum. After House refuses to apologize, Tritter brings him up on charges of unprescribed narcotics possession and forces him to attend rehab. When the case reaches court, Cuddy lies for House and the case is dismissed. House, however, is sentenced to spend one night in jail for contempt of court and finishes his rehabilitation under the influence of Vicodin.
The candidates for House's new diagnostics team are season four's primary recurring characters. In addition to the three who are chosen, the other four finalists are Jeffrey Cole (Edi Gathegi); Travis Brennan (Andy Comeau), an epidemiologist; Henry Dobson (Carmen Argenziano), a former medical school admissions officer; and Amber "Cut-throat Bitch" Volakis (Anne Dudek), an interventional radiologist. Each of the four departs the show after elimination, except for Volakis, who appears throughout the season, having started a relationship with Wilson. In the two-part season finale, Volakis attempts to shepherd a drunken House home when Wilson is unavailable. They are involved in a bus crash, which leads to her death. She reappears late in season five among the hallucinations House suffers.
Private investigator Lucas Douglas (Michael Weston), a character inspired in part by Shore's love of The Rockford Files, appears in three episodes of season five. House initially hires Douglas to spy on Wilson, who has ended their friendship after Volakis's death (the friendship is subsequently rekindled). House later pays Douglas to look into the private lives of his team members and Cuddy. If the character was accepted by the audience, there were plans to feature him as the lead in a spin-off show. In September 2008, Shore spoke to Entertainment Weekly about his vision for the character: "I don't want to do just another medical show. What does excite me in terms of writing is the choices people make and the nature of right and wrong… and a private investigator can approach that question much more readily than a doctor can." There was no show featuring Douglas on the fall 2009 network television schedule. He returns to House in season six as Cuddy's boyfriend. They are briefly engaged until Cuddy breaks it off, realizing that she is in love with House.