Dr. Eric Foreman is the current Dean of Medicine at Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital and former member of Dr. House's diagnostic team. Overall, Foreman's personality is the closest to House's, although he is often loathe to admit the fact. Though Foreman is far more outgoing than House, he shares House's introverted nature and is the least concerned about how he is perceived by others. His original role on the team was to serve as the team’s “break-in” man for environmental scans, but he soon developed into the only member of the team who was willing to stand up to House. By Season 4, he was the obvious choice to act as House’s stand-in when House was otherwise occupied. He considers himself the senior supervising fellow on the team, but Robert Chase is always ready to challenge his standing, and House does everything he can to undermine any authority Foreman may have. However, the rest of the team realizes that apart from House himself, Foreman probably has the best diagnostic method.
It has been speculated that Foreman's name is derived from the word "Foramen", which is used typically in medicine to refer to the holes in bones which nerves pass through. This is appropriate as Foreman is a neurologist.
Character History Edit
Early Life Edit
Eric Foreman was born into a poor but honest and hard-working family, somewhere in the general vicinity of New York City. His father is Rodney Foreman and his mother, now deceased, was Alicia Foreman. He is two years younger than his only sibling, his brother Marcus Foreman. Foreman‘s parents were very religious (and his father remains so), and raised Eric and Marcus in their faith. It seems Foreman‘s parents, although honest, attentive, loving, moral, and capable of providing for their children’s material needs, often did not have the ability to properly supervise their children as they were growing up. It is clear that the Foremans lived in a neighborhood that had more than its fair share of crime, gang behavior, homelessness, mental illness, poverty and addiction. As a result, both Eric and Marcus fell into criminal behavior in adolescence, which at one point resulted in Eric’s imprisonment as a juvenile. He still carries a gang tattoo from this time and he was so skilled that Marcus commented that Eric could break into a vehicle faster than most people could get into their own vehicle with a key.
Foreman revealed that he was very heavy when he was young, but as he entered adolescence, he grew very quickly and his weight was no longer a problem once he became a teenager.
During the Season 6 Episode, "Moving the Chains", It is revealed that Eric once wet the bed while spending the night over at a friend named Bobby Sampson. House uses this fact to embarrass Eric in front of the rest of the team.
At the age of 14, Eric, with the help of Marcus, stole a car and was quickly pulled over by the police. They were released into their mother’s custody. After driving home in silence, as they arrived Alicia simply said to her sons “I'll pray for you” without even turning around before going inside. Luckily, this experience convinced Eric he was wasting his life and intellect. His criminal behavior ended and, always a good student, he redoubled his efforts and became the best student in his high school and one of the best in the city. Unfortunately, Marcus did not learn the same lesson. He descended into addiction and more criminal behavior, which resulted in several stints in prison.
Higher Learning Edit
Foreman was admitted into Columbia University on a full scholarship. He studied biochemistry and maintained a perfect grade point average. However, many of the people he met after this point in his life often assumed he was there simply because he was black and was given advantages. This merely drove Foreman to work harder, but the down side of this was that Foreman came to the point where he felt that to prove his worth he had to finish at the top all the time. He did not get along well with his peers, who were generally from wealthier families. In addition, the pressure often made him feel he was an impostor who, if he didn’t excel, would be revealed as a fraud and be forced to return to the life he left. In addition, he developed another failing - he often looked down at those who did not excel as he had done, including other African-Americans and even other doctors.
At this point in his life, Foreman started to drift away from the rest of his family. His religious faith started to wane and he soon found himself an atheist, which disappointed his father. His mother started to show the signs of early onset Alzheimer’s disease and as her dementia grew worse, she often didn’t recognize Eric. Marcus was frequently in jail and, when he was out, he often deceived his family in order to get money for drugs. As a result, Eric stopped going home, although he did frequently speak to everyone in his family, even Marcus, on the phone.
Due to his excellent grades and high MCAT score, Foreman was admitted to one of the best medical schools in the country, Johns Hopkins Medical School. Once again, he maintained a perfect grade point average despite the one black mark on his academic record. In an attempt to “show up” the “rich kid” students, Foreman was rushing to finish an assignment and falsified a lab result. He was caught and was put on academic probation for a short time. However, he soon recovered and finished near the top of his class.
Foreman stayed at Hopkins to do his internship. While there, he was trained by Dr. Walter Cofield, the residency director. House refers to Cofield as Foreman's "old mentor" with House being his "new mentor." After this, he obtained a residency in neurology working under Dr. Marty Hamilton in Los Angeles. Foreman and Hamilton had a very good working relationship, but as he completed his residency, he started to look for more challenges. He finally became aware that the great diagnostician Dr. House was looking for a new fellow. He sent in his resume and was scheduled for an interview. House soon offered him the job. Eric was pleased because he beat out one of his rivals, another neurologist, Dr. Taylor for the position.
Eric is the new hire, joining veterans Robert Chase and Allison Cameron, who soon train the newbie to trust House’s judgment and to not suggest that House meet the patient. On his first case, House asks him to break into the home of a kindergarten teacher to look for environmental causes for her illness, and lets it slip that he has learned from one of Foreman’s former teachers about his juvenile record and that’s one of the reasons he was hired. Foreman refuses and is angry he was chosen for his criminal record and not his first-rate credentials. House initially tells Foreman he can’t sue for “wrongful hiring” but at first Foreman challenges House and refuses to do the scan, saying he can sue if House fires him for not breaking into a person’s house. Foreman also can’t understand why they can’t just ask for permission, and House insists that the patient could be hiding something and may not give permission. Eventually, when all other clues are used up, Foreman takes Cameron along to do the break in. They don’t seem to find anything relevant, but when a piece of ham gives House an idea, Foreman learns that everything is relevant and that if they had not broken in they would not have solved the case.
Foreman soon becomes the team’s most likely candidate to challenge House’s conclusions. He finds that Chase is too much of a “yes man” and that Cameron is enamoured with House. As a result, he finds himself standing up to House on many occasions and reporting House to Lisa Cuddy when he thinks House has gone too far. However, House doesn’t appear to mind that Foreman fills this role, and Cuddy is happy to have someone on the team who serves her role of keeping House in line.
However, House soon finds that most people seem to trust Foreman’s judgment over his. When a famous musician is admitted, the patient’s physician puts Foreman in charge, although House manages to manipulate Foreman into doing what he wants to do anyway.
One of Foreman’s weaknesses also comes to light. When the patient is poor or homeless, Foreman is more than willing to blame their illness on their poor living habits when House keeps looking for underlying illnesses.
Foreman does manage to have one relationship outside the hospital, with one of the pharmaceutical representatives, Sharon. However, it is short lived when House implies that Sharon is only interested in Foreman because House isn’t interested in her.
When Edward Vogler arrives at the hospital, he tries to turn Foreman against House by noting that Foreman has always played by the rules and excelled. However, Foreman stays loyal to House, telling Vogler that despite House’s faults, he’s still the best doctor he’s ever worked with. As a result when House is forced to fire someone to satisfy Vogler, Foreman isn’t even seriously considered for the chop.
After treating a 9-year-old patient with an experimental procedure, Foreman starts working on an article about the case for publication, despite the fact he knows that Cameron is working on an article for the same case.
Foreman starts getting a taste of more responsibility after Chase is disciplined after a patient’s death, and the discipline board also requires House to be supervised for a month. Cuddy appoints Foreman to oversee House, although House does whatever he can to undermine Foreman’s authority over him. In addition, Chase and Cameron share House’s view that the supervision is only for appearances and still answer to House. Even Cuddy, who is initially pleased with the fact that the administrative work is being done on time, starts to back down when Foreman suggests that he be put in charge. His authority eventually evaporates with nothing having changed.
When Foreman’s article is published, Cameron is furious at both Foreman and House. Cameron tries to be reconciliatory, but Foreman is defiant that he did nothing wrong and tells Cameron they are only colleagues, not friends.
When investigating the illness of a police officer, Foreman is sent to do the environmental scan of the officer’s apartment and soon finds out why House insists on never telling the patient in advance - the officer has a marijuana grow-op in a spare room. We also learn that Foreman doesn’t much care for the police either. However, things take a turn for the worse when Foreman starts exhibiting the same symptoms as the patient.
Main Article Foreman (case study)
The officer soon dies and it appears Foreman will soon follow suit. Foreman reconnects with his father, who he hasn’t seen in person for almost eight years. As his condition worsens he turns to Cameron to act as his medical proxy, realizing that she will probably be more objective and less subject to House’s manipulations. Thanks to the efforts of both Cameron and House, he survives.
Foreman seems changed by his experience, becoming more agreeable and easy going. However, when House calls him out on his new behavior, he’s soon back to being the same old Foreman who constantly disagrees and battles with House.
Foreman once again starts a romance, this time with Wendy, one of the pediatric nurses at the hospital. However, when he later finds her a job in Boston to help advance her career, she realizes that he keeps shutting people out of his life and breaks up with him.
When House gets into trouble with Michael Tritter, Tritter tries to get Foreman to turn on House, even offering to ensure that Marcus is paroled right away. However, once again, Foreman stays loyal to House.
Towards the end of the season, a pair of concurrent events start to change everything. Fearing that Alicia is near death, Rodney brings her to Princeton for a visit so she can see Eric again. At the same time, Foreman treats an unemployed black woman and makes a treatment suggestion that ensures the patient will die. House tries to remind him that given the risks they take, this sort of mistake will be inevitable, but when Foreman seeks comfort from his mother, he finds once again that she can’t recognize him.
The next case only makes things worse. Foreman manages to save two patients, but in the process has to torture one of them to harvest bone marrow for a transplant destined for Nick, the tortured patient's brother. This convinces Foreman he is starting to become overly objective in the face of human suffering and too much like his boss. He tenders his two week’s notice.
House seems unconcerned about Foreman’s departure, but tries to sabotage Foreman’s exit by calling his interviewer to cancel a job interview. Meanwhile, Cuddy has received permission to offer Foreman a big raise and his own team. However, because of the interview stunt and the fact he will still most likely have to answer to House in his new position, he turns Cuddy down.
After House fires Chase and they finish the case they are working on, House finally asks Foreman to stay. However, they get into an argument about whether it is appropriate to merely focus on the diagnosis or whether it’s also important to worry about the patient. This convinces Foreman he was right all along and he walks away. However, Cameron quits too leaving House without a team.
Things work out well for Foreman at first. He gets his own diagnostic team at New York Mercy Hospital and is soon working on his own cases. His first presents him with a woman who shows symptoms similar to the woman he killed in season 3. However, this time he is convinced radiation therapy is the right move, but his boss won’t give him permission until he rules out infection as a cause. Instead, Foreman sneaks into the radiology department with the patient to irradiate her. The patient immediately improves, but Dr. Schaeffer fires Foreman for going against protocol.
Hearing about the dismissal, Cuddy once again comes back to Foreman with an offer to come back to work for her. Once again, he turns her down flat because it would mean having to work with House. However, it turns out every hospital administrator from New York to Pennsylvania has heard about Foreman. Half of them think he’s crazy, and the other half think he’s brilliant but are too afraid to hire him. Foreman crawls back to Cuddy, who realizes no one else will hire him, and Cuddy hires him back at his old salary.
- "You're "House Lite" now. The only administrator who will touch you is the same one who hired "House Classic". The good news is, she'll pretend she's not doing you a favor."
- ―Dr. Cuddy, agreeing to re-hire Foreman at his old salary.
Foreman is miserable having to work for House again, but House is just as miserable that he can’t get rid of Foreman, even by making his life more miserable than normal. However, when treating a patient with mirror syndrome, Foreman finally realizes that although some of the work he does seems crazy, he really enjoys doing it. He throws himself back into his work. However, even though House gives him a little more authority, he usually finds that the other team members won’t respect it.
Foreman also starts to outperform his boss when trying to figure out one of the new team members, Thirteen. House’s guess about the mysterious internist are consistently wrong, but Foreman hit’s the nail on the head when he realizes Thirteen is bisexual and her wall of privacy is an attempt to keep this part of her life private.
Season 5 Edit
When Thirteen becomes aware of her Huntington’s diagnosis, her behavior starts spiralling out of control. Although House lets Thirteen know that she can’t keep it up, it’s Foreman who actually steps up to constantly challenge her about her behavior. Although his interest is not initially romantic (he’s merely very worried about her), after an incident where an armed patient takes Thirteen hostage and forces her to act as a guinea pig, it’s Foreman who is by her side as she recovers under dialysis.
Foreman is also given his first solo case - a four-year-old boy. He can’t crack it even with Chase and Cameron helping out, and when he’s stumped, House refuses to help because Foreman went behind his back. However, Foreman finally has his epiphany and finds the right diagnosis.
Foreman works on a clinical trial for Huntington’s and convinces Thirteen to go into the trial. Their relationship soon turns romantic and intimate. However, he’s dismayed when the drug starts showing benefits, but he finds out Thirteen is on the placebo.
However, when Foreman switches out the medicine, Thirteen develops a brain tumor, which luckily is treatable. Foreman has to stop working on the trial and nearly gets disciplined for his breach of protocol. House starts to feel their relationship is affecting their work and orders them to “split or quit”, but instead they fake a break up and continue the relationship. Even after Lawrence Kutner figures out they’re still together, House seems to stop caring and allows them to continue the relationship. By the end of the season, they are starting to talk to each other about long term plans.
When House goes to rehab, Cuddy keeps paying the team’s salaries and assigns them other duties. However, when House announces he’s not coming back, Cuddy asks Foreman to take over the diagnostics department. Cuddy agrees to give him a shot, but he’s handicapped when Taub announces he’s going to quit. He and Thirteen continue to work on the case and manage to solve it (with a little help from House), but Foreman concludes that Thirteen can’t continue to work for him and reliably stand up to him while they are in a relationship. He feels he has to fire her to save their relationship. Instead, the move results in Thirteen leaving him and going to Thailand.
Foreman tries to rebuild the department and asks Chase and Cameron to come and work for him until he can hire new fellows. However, House shows up again and, even though Foreman is technically in charge because House’s license hasn’t been reinstated, its clear that House will soon be in charge again. When House’s license is reinstated, Foreman quietly moves back into his supporting role.
However, House is soon trying to put the team back together, resulting in the re-hiring of Thirteen. The relationship between Foreman and Thirteen is strained, but Foreman finally defuses the situation by admitting he was wrong to have fired her.
House once again tries to get under Foreman’s skin by hiring Marcus when he’s released on parole. However, House soon finds out that Marcus’s stories about Foreman’s ill begotten youth are actually very tame and Marcus is soon out of embarrassing facts. When House pushes it, Marcus quits because he’s tired of House picking on Eric and Marcus admits that he’s always thought Eric was a good guy. The incident results in the brothers reconciling and Marcus moving in with Eric for a short while.
Meanwhile, Foreman and Taub start to build a relationship when they are trapped in the file storage room during a lockdown. After experimenting with Vicodin in order to get into each other’s heads, Foreman reveals to Taub his academic probation, and Taub admits to Foreman that he admires him because Foreman’s career is on the way up while Taub’s is on the way down. Taub realizes Foreman was trying to destroy the evidence of the academic probation in the file room before it was digitized. Foreman leaves without doing it, but Taub goes back to destroy it himself.
Once again, House starts playing with Foreman by allowing him to hire a replacement fellow during Thirteen’s leave of absence, then firing her as soon as she’s hired.
Foreman’s social life continues to suffer as Chase prefers to run off with a couple of eligible young women at a wedding rather than share.
However, when Taub’s marriage breaks up, it strengthens their friendship. Taub has no use for his big screen TV in his hotel, and makes a gift of it to Foreman. Since Marcus has moved out and Foreman has the room, he invites Taub to stay until he gets back on his feet. Although the new arrangement starts out rocky, Foreman realizes that the problem is only that he is used to living alone and he tells Taub he can stay.
He is assigned as the new Dean of Medicine at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital after Cuddy's departure. One day, he decided to visit House, who was in jail at the time, to offer him a job at the hospital only if he worked for him. Despite having been elected, he soon shows signs of being tired, so Taub suggests to him date with someone, which at first he refuses. After that, he meets Anita at the gym and begins a relationship with her.
Relationship with House Edit
Although Foreman knows that he is well qualified for his job, he must put up with House's constant jibes that he is House's affirmative action hire, either because of his race (he is the only African-American of note at the hospital) or his previous criminal record. Even when House is in a good mood, he insists he only keeps Foreman on because Foreman is the only member of the team who is constantly challenging House's conclusions. In the first season, Foreman is shown to be distrustful of House and his methods. However over time, he comes to respect House as a doctor, even though he always disagrees with his methods.
Conversely, although Foreman has often described House as the best doctor he has ever worked with, he is probably the least tolerant of all the staff of House's faults, such as his Vicodin addiction. It is heavily implied that Foreman was exposed to addictive drugs during the time he was growing up.
Of everyone on his staff, House appears to think Foreman is the most likely to become as good a doctor as he is. This is backed up by the opinion of most of the senior doctors in the hospital, including Cuddy who offered Foreman a position similar to House's. This is despite the fact that, according to multiple tallies done online, Chase turns out to be the best diagnostician of the three. However, House still believes Foreman is swayed by attempting to play it safe and still doesn't trust his own opinions enough. For his own part, Foreman admires House's talents, but not his personality, and does not want to become as good a doctor as House if it means having House's personality. However, House has always tried to convince Foreman that he does and always has had a similar personality.
However, in the episode Resignation, Foreman resigned from the team, giving his two weeks notice. He had just finished a procedure where he put a patient in a great deal of pain in order to save the patient's brother, and the fact that he could do it made him feel he was turning into the same unfeeling type of doctor he sees in House. On his last day, in the episode Human Error, House first asks Foreman to stay, but they start arguing who has the better attitude - House has saved the patient's life by anticipating a never before seen congenital heart defect, but Foreman noted that House only cared about the problem at hand and not the patient. When the patient's heart stopped but she kept talking, House concentrated on the talking and not the threat to the patient's life. House argued that saving her life mattered more than any of her feelings, while Foreman countered that House didn't even care about that and was simply a junkie for solving puzzles. House countered that Foreman didn't care any more than he did and only cared about his ego, using patient feelings to validate himself. Foreman left without another word.
After House's supposed death Foreman is having a hard time with the loss of his mentor until he finds House's badge below a table Foreman used to have paper to support it in that exact place. Foreman then realizes that House is still alive and in effect is the only person besides House and Wilson that knows House isn't dead.
- Foreman: "Am I boring?"
- Chase: "Yes."
- ―Foreman, discussing House's conclusion about him, in Lucky Thirteen
He takes a little time to warm to people....in my case I'm hoping year seven does the trick - Chase sums up his relationship with Foreman
House's observations are not without merit. Foreman has no close friends or relationships; comparable to House, although it can be argued that House does have a single close friend: Wilson. He too loves his parents, but is alienated from them. Like House, he has rejected his father's belief system (his father is a devout Christian while Foreman is an avowed atheist). He has stated explicitly that he doesn't like Chase, and he has also alienated Cameron. Although he told her she was his friend in Euphoria (Part 2) the sincerity of the statement was doubtful, since he was dying at the time and had just asked her to be his medical proxy. It appears that Chase and Cameron are the closest things Foreman has to friends, despite his House-like manner of pushing people away, since Season 4, however when both of them temporarily left the team his relationship with them has become more friendly, he and Chase frequently confide in each other and he often looks to Cameron for emotional support.
Although he has a better relationship with patients than House does, he does not have the same rapport or attachment that Wilson, Chase and Cameron have with their patients. Foreman shares House's distrust of authority figures, particularly the police.
When Foreman was dealing with the mirror patient in Mirror Mirror, the patient acted like Foreman by first being sorry about having to perform a necessary but life threatening procedure, but then being excited about getting to do it. Foreman realized that although there were things about his job he hated having to do, the job itself was something he loved. Later in the episode, Foreman comes out with his first real Houseism. When an applicant expresses doubts about doing a heart biopsy, Foreman says:
- Yeah! It's dangerous! Why don't we biopsy his big toe instead?
House identified Foreman as the only doctor when, given an insight about his own personality, actually did anything about it - the other doctors were running from their own personalities.
Foreman becomes House Edit
Foreman tried to leave Princeton-Plainsboro because he didn't want to become more like House. However, this turned out to be a pointless exercise at it appears Foreman is becoming more and more like his mentor with every passing week.
House, for his part, believed that Foreman had always been like him, but was in denial about it. House had always admired Foreman's intelligence and objectivity, but had upbraided him for not trusting his own judgment. Their fundamental disagreement was whether you had to care about the patient to get results. House was of the opinion that as long as you cure the patient, they aren't going to complain. Foreman felt that you couldn't empathize with people unless you understood that they were suffering.
However, since leaving House, Foreman has not only become a better doctor, he has become more like House. Three weeks into his new job, he was fired for going against his superiors and treating a patient (successfully) without definitive proof that they had the disease they were being treated for. Had Foreman been wrong, he would have killed the patient. After being fired, he found himself in a similar situation to House - being seen as a rogue doctor who cared more for results than procedures, even if he did produce results.
Since coming back to Princeton-Plainsboro, Foreman has continued to morph into House. Like House, he has eschewed wearing a white lab coat regularly, although he tends toward well-tailored suits and ties rather than House's t-shirt and jeans combo. His position as senior fellow has also given him more of House's mannerisms, as he treats the new fellows with contempt whenever they try to play it safe and tends to provide them with cynical if well-meaning advice. However, House does not hesitate to remind Foreman he is still below him, such as in No More Mr. Nice Guy when he makes Foreman do team reviews that the fellows ignore. House admits he expected the team to disregard them, rationalizing "If the team fears you, they don't question you; if they don't question you, they don't find answers; if they don't find answers, they're useless." However, he doesn't have House's ability to read people. He tends to be biased and generally won't revise his first impression of people. He also, unlike House, doesn't seem to be able to think outside the box.
In the Season 5 episode Emancipation, Foreman decides to treat a patient without House's help, just to prove that he can, and when he figures out what's wrong with the patient, he gets up and leaves the room in mid-conversation, just like House does.
After House was taken to Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital, Cuddy allowed the diagnostics department to continue during his absence. When House announced that he was quitting, Foreman begged Cuddy to take over the department. However, this affected his relationship with Thirteen, so Foreman decided that it would be best if he fired her. At the same time as this dismissal, Taub announces his resignation, as he has found work elsewhere. Cuddy brought Chase and Cameron back to the department, where they would work for Foreman. While House returned, Foreman was still in charge. In the episode Instant Karma, when a billionaire comes to the hospital when his son has fallen ill and demands that House treat him, Cuddy says that Foreman is still in charge, but it will be House's case.
Ultimately in Season 8 when given complete authority over the hospital in spite of maintaining some of the traits Foreman develops out of his 'House-Lite' attitude. Over the course of the series he stops micromanaging, becomes more sociable and develops a greater appreciation for what the hospital does and how he can help that. In a final attempt to persuade Foreman, House tells him he's always been like him but Foreman tells him that he isn't like House finally rejecting the notion without a second thought.
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