In the Season 5 episode "Simple Explanation," Kutner was found dead in his apartment with a gunshot wound to the head. Police deemed his shooting a suicide, but Gregory House felt that his suicide made no sense and, despite all the evidence to the contrary, believed at first that Kutner had been murdered. However it was clear that Kutner was shot with a gun he owned which had his fingerprints on it. He worked for House for about a year and a half.
Kutner returned as House's hallucination in the Season 8 finale.
During his season and a half on House M.D., Kutner became one of the most popular characters and at the time of his death appeared to be the brightest and most talented of the fellows in the field of diagnostic medicine, coming up with numerous good ideas and correct diagnoses during his tenure.
Lawrence Kutner was born Lawrence Baidwan in Fremont, California in 1981. His parents, Karamchand and Niki Baidwan, were shot dead during an armed robbery of their convenience store. The six-year-old Kutner was a witness to the shooting as he often worked at the store after school. He was placed with a foster family, Julia and Richard Kutner who later adopted Lawrence. He later adopted their last name, reportedly of his own accord. However, his adoptive parents continued to encourage him to explore his Indian heritage. He showed an aptitude for science at an early age and his favorite Christmas present was a chemistry set that he received when he was nine. 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.
However, Kutner did have a dark side, bullying a boy named Johnathan, although it appeared to be more in the naure of social ostracism rather than physical violence. He apologized Johnathan after seeing the results of the bullying of one of his patients in "Joy to the World".
Before becoming a doctor, one of his jobs was selling men's fragrances in a department store. He admitted it was a miserable job, but he wasn't 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 and graduated the University of Tel Aviv Medical School in Israel and completed an internship and residency in Sports and Rehabilitation Medicine through the University of Colorado. Chris Taub recalled that "He wanted to be a doctor since seeing 'M.A.S.H.' as a kid. 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. Despite this, 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 of World Records 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. After being introduced to Star Trek, Lawrence aggressively pursued a position in Klingon culture and reached the rank of Dakhar Master.
Kutner sent his resume to House, who eventually called him in for an "interview" at the end of the episode Alone. However, he found himself in a room with 39 other applicants competing for the three open positions. He was assigned "Number 6" in the fellowship application process and in the episode The Right Stuff he was assigned to accompany the patient to the hyperbaric chamber but when she started to have a heart attack he, against the advice of Jeffrey Cole, decided to use the defibrillator in the oxygen rich environment, starting a small fire and setting off the sprinkers in the process. However, this incident merely earned him the attention of House. He nearly lost out when he snitched on another applicant and House fired him, but he turned his card over to become "Number 9" and when House tried to fire him again, he saved himself by coming up with the idea of using alcohol tolerance as a way of testing the patient's liver without having to chart it. As a result, he survived to the next episode.
Kutner earned House's disapproval for wasting time when his strategy in the team challenge in 97 Seconds was to test the patient for everything they could think of. Luckily, he and the rest of his team survived when the other team's actions cost the patient his life.
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 either aware of Kutner's boyhood tragedy before Kutner revealed it to Thirteen (and thus to the audience) in "Wilson's Heart", or merely came to the conclusion through careful observation and deduction.
Kutner had more fun with the defibrillator in Mirror Mirror, when he nearly electrocuted himself when he defibrillated a soaking wet patient and the shock travelled through the paddles to knock him out.
However, Kutner earned House's respect in the episode You Don't Want To Know. After attending a magic show with his new friend Cole and seeing the magician nearly drown, he was convinced there was something seriously wrong with him. When the patient got worse in the hospital, he suggested that the blood transfusion may be somehow to blame. Kutner turned out to be right on both counts - the patient had lupus and the blood was the wrong type. As such, when Cole was given the opportunity to choose two applicants of whom House would fire one and chose Kutner and Amber Volakis, House became suspicious and realized Cole had made a deal with Cuddy to try to get rid of Kutner. House fired Cole instead.
As such, by the episode Games when House had to make his final choice of two applicants, he asked Cuddy's advice knowing that she would try to manipulate House. Instead, he chose the applicants—Taub and Kutner—that Cuddy suggested. Cuddy finally admitted she only chose those two to get House to pick one of the women. She agreed to let House hire Thirteen too. After hiring him permanently, House began referring to him simply as "Kutner", but in "Emancipation" he made reference to the "Former Foster Kid" nickname by calling him "Oliver Twist".
Kutner turned out to be an outstanding fellow. In Frozen, his idea that the patient's symptoms were the result of an embolysm led House to the right result. In No More Mr. Nice Guy, Kutner beat House to the punch, coming up with the final diagnosis based on something House did to mislead the team. Finally, in Locked In, Kutner beats everyone to the diagnosis.
Despite his success, Kutner committed suicide in the episode "Simple Explanations". His lifeless body was found (with a gun nearby) by Thirteen and Foreman, who had been sent to Kutner's apartment by House when Kutner was late for work. They 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, but this was primarily because House could not fathom the idea that he had not seen his suicide coming. House felt as though he was losing his "touch" about assessing people but later came to the realization that Kutner did commit suicide.
House continued to struggle with Kutner's death and began suffering from sleep-deprivation, even going so far as to hallucinate dead people, one of them being Amber Volakis, James Wilson's dead girlfriend. This ultimately triggered House's breakdown and upon realizing he was suffering from Psychosis after realizing that his supposed night with Lisa Cuddy was merely an illusion, House temporarily left his position as the Head of Diagnostics Medicine and headed to Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital to get help for his Vicodin addiction and psychosis.
Dr. Kutner is survived by his adoptive parents. A private Hindu celebration of his life was held.
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. In addition, Kutner has a tendency to try to please people and make them like him. This was probably the personality trait that led House to believe he used to be in foster care.
Kutner is very much a geek, as a dedicated Trekker 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).
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.
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.
- The reason Dr. Kutner commits suicide in the episode "Simple Explanation" (or rather, why the writers 'killed' the character) is because Kal Penn, the actor who plays Kutner, accepted a job at the White House. Penn was particulary happy about the job offer and eagerly accepted it, leading the writers to 'write in' the unfortunate demise to his character.
- Cracked.com chooses its 5 Worsts Deaths Written for Great Characters (And Why)
- Lawrence Kutner at Wikipedia
- Lawrence Kutner fan page at Facebook
- Character page at IMDB
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