- "Sometimes, I forget why I hired you"
- ―House, after Chase figures out House is the one who really sabotaged Foreman's job interview in The Jerk
- "I wouldn't have hired him if he wasn't smart"
- ―House, after Chase outthinks him in No Reason
- "I hired Chase because his dad made a phone call"
- ―House explaining to Cameron why he hired Chase in Pilot
Dr. Robert Chase was the diagnostic team's cardiologist and intensive care specialist during the first three seasons. He has been on the diagnostic team with House longer than either of other two members at the time. He returns in the fourth season as a member of Princeton-Plainsboro's surgical staff. In the sixth season, he returns to the diagnostic team, first working for Eric Foreman, then for House when House returns to head the team after his medical license is reinstated. Near the end of the eighth season, he temporarily resigns, but returns after House fakes his own death and becomes the Head of Diagnostics, replacing House. He is portrayed by Australian actor Jesse Spencer.
Chase was born in Australia around the year 1980. His father was Rowan Chase, who later became a wealthy and world renowned rheumatologist. Rowan had emigrated to Australia from Czechoslovakia a few years before Robert was born. The name of Chase‘s mother has never been revealed. It is presumed Robert has other siblings (most likely half or step-siblings), but their names have never been revealed. However in "Better Half," he reveals that his has a younger sister who he took care of. He also commented that she "ended up drinking half her life away and hating me," but he did call her at the end of the episode.
However, Chase had a rough relationship with both his absent father and alcoholic mother. When Chase's father left the family, 15 year old Chase was forced to care for his mother until her death which is approximately ten years before Season 1. Dealing with his mother helped him empathize with Luke Palmeiro, another teenager who was trying to deal with a parent who couldn't care for herself.
With what appears to be a total lack of parental supervision during his adolescence, Chase admits to having wild teenage years and experimented with drugs and sex. However, his father continued to support the family excessively (probably out of guilt). Despite the enmity between them, Rowan never failed to come through for Robert when he needed something, even if it was only an expensive vacation. Even when Robert started working at Princeton-Plainsboro, it was clear his father was financing his lifestyle because Robert, unlike the other fellows, never cared about money.
Higher Education Edit
Chase was raised a Roman Catholic, and although he is no longer observant, he still considers himself religious. In Damned If You Do, Chase reveals to a patient that he attended a seminary after graduating high school, quoting 1 Peter 1:7. In The Tyrant, he revealed that he took his seminary training in England. This aspect of his life was shown again in the episode Forever, when he said a prayer for the soul of a baby who died under his care.
However, Chase had a crisis of faith (if one can call sleeping with the groundskeeper's wife a "crisis of faith") while in the seminary and realized that it wasn’t for him. Instead, he went to medical school doing his pre-medical studies at the University of Sydney (as revealed in Season 7). He does not appear to have been an outstanding student. However, his later training was outstanding. As well as completing specialties in intensive care and cardiology, he also took a residency in neurosurgery at Melbourne Hospital, although he never became a board certified neurosurgeon.
Before the seriesEdit
Chase was the longest serving fellow at the start of the series, having been on the team since 2002. It appears he was interested in the job and asked his father to see what he could do. House admits that he hired Chase after Rowan called him, but has never made his reasons clear. It turns out that Chase beat out another doctor who had moved to Princeton in an attempt to get the job, Dr. Peter Treiber.
Chase appears to be happy being House’s “yes man”. He does what he has told and, unlike Foreman and Cameron, is very unlikely to challenge House.
In Cursed, Rowan visits the hospital claiming he is in town for a conference, but close observation of his behavior allows House to deduce that he didn’t go to conference and in reality, Rowan is dying from terminal lung cancer. Rowan was at the hospital to visit Dr. James Wilson, head of Oncology at Princeton-Plainsboro. Initially, Robert is intensely frustrated with his father's presence, but offers to buy his father a drink at the end of the episode. Rowan declines because he says he does not have time before he leaves again, and leaves without ever revealing to Robert his condition. Rowan also gets House to promise not to tell Robert either.
In the episode Control, Chase makes a stupid, but luckily harmless mistake. When assigned to do an angiogram on the patient, he lets the radiology resident scan the wrong leg. Fearing for his job when House hits the roof over the mistake, and suspicious when House doesn’t gloat after diagnosing the patient, he finds evidence that House may have known about a condition that would have disqualified his patient from a life saving transplant and brings it to the new chairman of the board, Edward Vogler. Chase agrees to keep an eye on House in return for Vogler protecting his job.
However, the plan doesn’t go well. In order to assert his authority, Vogler demands that House fire one of his team. Vogler also looks to see if Cameron or Foreman will be his snitch instead. When Cameron and Foreman stay loyal and House chooses Chase for the axe, Vogler tells him to chose someone else and House refuses.
House buys time by agreeing to shill for Vogler’s new drug. House soon figures out that Chase was the one feeding information to Vogler, and Chase rubs his face in it. However, when Vogler is gone, House decides to make Chase’s life as miserable as possible instead.
In Love Hurts, we learn that he has been into BDSM in the past, although he says that his familiarity with the fetish scene was only because he was dating a banker who liked to be burned.
Chase continues to have an active social life, but in Hunting, he visits Cameron when she was high on Crystal Meth and she soon overwhelms him and has sex with him. Chase enjoys the encounter immensely, but Cameron immediately regrets it. However, the seed of his attraction to Cameron is planted.
In The Mistake, Chase learns that his father died of lung cancer. While dealing with the shock, he makes a mistake that costs a patient her life. Although he doesn’t reveal it to House, he figures it out and tells him to come clean about the reason. House is right and Chase is only suspended for a week (ironically, House has to work under Foreman’s supervision for a month over the same incident). Later, viewers find out that Rowan cut Robert out of his will, leaving him no money at all and requiring him to work during his vacation time to make ends meet.
Chase’s relationship with House is permanently compromised in Finding Judas, even though he refuses to help Michael Tritter. House is dealing with pain and withdrawal symptoms when his dose of Vicodin is reduced and he misdiagnoses a patient with necrotizing fasciitis. However, at the last minute, Chase finds the right diagnosis, a form of porphyria. When he confronts House to cancel the planned amputation, House knocks him to the floor, although Chase is finally able to convince House. However, the incident shows Chase he can never please his demanding boss.
Cameron begins a "friends with benefits" relationship with Chase in season 3 after the episode Insensitive. Chase begins to fall for Cameron, but she does not return his feelings. A moment in Fetal Position clarifies Chase's feelings for Cameron when a patient remarks that she had "never seen him glow" like he does in a picture taken while gazing at a picture of her (Cameron). However, when he informed her that he wanted to take their relationship forward, she ended it. Despite Cameron's refusal to reconcile, Chase asks her out every Tuesday, saying "It's Tuesday...I like you."
At the end of Season 3, Chase is promptly fired by House following an outburst over his treatment of Foreman but the official reason is that he has been around the longest and has learned all he can from House. Later, Cameron realizes her feelings for Chase and the two begin a relationship.
Chase plans on moving on, but Cameron gets a job in Princeton-Plainsboro’s emergency room as the senior attending physician. Despite a wealth of options, he asks Cuddy for help staying in Princeton so he can be close to Cameron. Cuddy manages to convince Dr. Dave Thomas, the chief surgeon, to give Chase a position on the surgical staff so Chase can work towards being board certified.
House doesn’t notice that Chase is back at the hospital (although he catches a glimpse of him at one point), but during The Right Stuff, Chase shows up in the observation room of the operating theater while House demands a diagnoses from the applicants. The applicants don't provide an answer but Chase gives House the right diagnoses -- Von Hippel-Lindau Syndrome. House asks the applicants if he's hallucinating Chase but they confirm that Chase is there. Chase tells House he's now on the surgical staff. One applicant asks if this means one of the applicants will lose their spot, assuming House is going to re-hire Chase. House gives Chase a look that seems to ask if he would come back if House would re-hire him to which Chase slowly shakes his head no. House seems to regret firing Chase throughout the next season and Chase often becomes House’s “go to” surgeon when he wants to try something tricky or dangerous. House slowly begins to realize that Chase is the most talented surgeon on the staff and he actually prefers Chase to most of the other surgeons.
During the season, Chase stops being the "Shiny Haired Wombat", that he was for the first three seasons. He starts losing his 'shiny' and 'overly cute' complexion, trading his pristine blond hair for dishwater blond, and carries a constant 'five o'clock shadow'. It is almost as if leaving House's team has matured him.
Chase and Cameron’s relationship becomes more serious, although Chase is often worried that Cameron is afraid to commit to him. They work through a phase where Cameron is not letting him keep anything at her apartment. When he tries to propose, he finds Cameron dodging the question. Once he does pop the question (and she accepts), they work through other major hurdles, including a debate over her late husband’s semen, and a near-death episode at his bachelor party. However, at the end of Season 5, they marry.
Chase and Cameron’s marriage starts very well. However, in the episode The Tyrant, Cuddy asked Chase to work for Foreman on the diagnostic team until he replaced Taub and Thirteen, who had left earlier. However, while working on the case of the brutal African dictator Dibala, Chase met someone in the clinic who told Chase not to treat Dibala due to the fact that when they treated him, he was going to go back to Africa and kill all of the "cockroaches". Chase later learned the man had been part of one of Dibala’s rape squads and had been forced into it by Dibala’s henchmen. Chase wound up faking test results using another person’s blood and the treatment that Foreman gave Dibala killed him. Foreman found out about it but Chase told him that if the cops were coming for him to let him know so that he could tell his wife. However, they managed to keep it from becoming public, thanks to a little help from House.
However, Chase couldn’t deal with his conscience. Although he felt he had done the right thing, it still wore on him. He tried to get absolution from a priest, but was refused until he took the legal consequences of his act. The strain hurt his relationship with Cameron, who felt Chase was having an affair.
Finally, Chase came clean to Cameron, who forgave him. However, House started questioning why Cameron went so easy on him. Chase tried to dismiss it, but during a case where House was trying to get all his team back together again, Chase realized he still wanted to work for House and asked to return to the team. House got everyone back except Cameron, who realized House had the right diagnosis all along but was merely manipulating everyone to get them back. She also realized House was right about her and Chase, and that Chase’s decision about Dibala was a direct result of working for House - a man who refuses to live by the moral judgments of others. She leaves Chase, House and Princeton-Plainsboro.
Everyone expects Chase to be upset about Cameron’s departure, but he’s remarkably sanguine about it. When all his friends press him to talk about it, he deliberately strikes House to get them to start thinking about that instead. Whatever his motives, the tactic works and people start leaving him alone.
Chase gets insight about himself when he goes speed dating with House and Wilson. House bets him a hundred dollars that he can act like an uncaring, unemployed American and still get plenty of women interested in him just because of his looks. To Chase’s surprise and dismay, he gets plenty of matches even when he treats women poorly. He realizes that his previous relationships may just have been due to his looks rather than actually connecting to the women he's dated. He turns to Thirteen, who has the same problem. She tells him that there's no way to tell whether people are interested in good-looking people for their looks or if they're really connecting but that it's better to take people at face value rather than always be questioning the intentions of others.
When Chase delays signing the final divorce papers, Cameron comes back to insist. When they are isolated when the hospital goes on Lockdown, they work through the issues in their relationship and Cameron admits that the failure of their relationship was not his fault and that she was the problem in the relationship, thus assuaging Chase's guilt he's been harboring since it ended. They dance, make love, and leave on good terms.
Chase is still happy being on House’s team although the events of the past year appear to have changed his view on House dropping his 'Yes Man' attitude and for the most part has developed a complete disinterest in House and his whims as seen where the announcement that House is seeing Cuddy is of total indifference to him possibly due to his feelings on House's effect on his divorce. This does enable him to stand up to House and tell him when Chase thinks he is wrong.
He also makes it clear to Thirteen that he is interested in her; he asks her if she would have sex with him before she leaves, supposedly as a joke. She gives him a very strange look, before being interrupted.Later on he asks about the look she gave him and repeats the question. She shakes her head and says no, but then gives him a hug, which leads to him getting mixed signals. He also becomes rather promiscuous, openly dating several attractive women at once, including the short-lived fellow he hired to replace Thirteen.
However, after an experience with a woman who pranks him after he loses interest in her when she tells him she doesn't sleep with men on the first date, Chase re-examines his behavior. He is further confronted about his treatment of women by Martha M. Masters and despite his initial delight in watching her twitch under House's thumb, he later provides guidance and assistance to help Masters through some difficult situations. He tries celibacy for about a month before returning to sleeping with nurses.
When Thirteen returns, Chase is the third person (after House and Masters) to find out that Thirteen went to prison for giving her brother with Huntington's disease a lethal injection. He offers to help her with her guilt over the incident and although Thirteen first resists him, they finally start talking about it. Unknown to Thirteen, Chase's experience over the case with President Dibala gives him a good background on trying to deal with the consequences of a very difficult decision.
Chase comes out of the gate strong upon his return to House's team when House can finally afford to re-hire him and Taub, correctly diagnosing the patient on the basis of nothing stronger than the patient confessing to an extremely unlikely string of murders. This is even more noteworthy because, once the wrong (terminal) diagnosis had been reached and agreed upon by House and the team, the rest of the team went home. Chase was the only one who stayed by the patient's side after he had alienated virtually everyone else in his life. Had he not done so, the patient would likely have died.
After a tumultuous ride, including a stabbing, a painful rehabilitation, a falling out with House, an affair with a prospective nun, and a crisis of conscience caused by an encounter with the doctor he beat out for his original fellowship, Chase decides to resign from Princeton-Plainsboro and "step out of House's shadow". However, after House is believed dead, he returns. Chase is last seen with his name on the big door as House's successor as head of Diagnostics, exactly as he had earlier predicted, cautiously beginning a new relationship with the B.O.U.O.
It is unclear why House hired Chase. House claims that he did it after receiving a call from Chase's father, but it is unlikely that this was the only reason. In any case, House has never been clear, paralleling a similar mystery about why Cuddy hired House. Chase is often considered the weak link of the team, but in fact he came up with more diagnoses/good ideas than Cameron or Foreman for each of the first three seasons and also showed some important breakthroughs once he made it back to the team in Season 6.
- In Sports Medicine, the team determined the underlying illness was cadmium poisoning, but only Chase figured out the source; marijuana is often grown in cadmium-contaminated soil and the patient had been smoking it despite his denials.
- In Airborne, it was Chase who eventually tracked down the fact the woman's house was filled with toxic gas that had traveled through a connecting pipe from a house being treated for insect infestation.
- In Finding Judas, Chase figures out the patient is suffering from a rare genetic disease just before surgery is performed based on House's recommendation that the patient has flesh-eating bacteria.
- In The Right Stuff, Chase hits upon the right diagnosis when he drops in on The Applicants doing surgery.
- In Private Lives, Chase correctly diagnoses the patient with a faulty heart valve merely because she said she was uncomfortable lying flat on her back.
- In Resignation, Chase notices the patient has goosebumps despite being neither cold nor frightened, giving House an important clue in the eventual diagnosis. His attention to minutiae is underscored by Foreman's immediate dismissal of the symptom as unimportant.
- In The Confession, when the rest of the team has given up on the patient, Chase stays with him and becomes suspicous when the patient starts confessing to major crimes. He does an MRI and finds brain involvement that leads them to the right diagnosis of a treatable condition.
- In Chase, Chase once again is spending time with a terminal patient when he realizes that she is suffering from jaw claudication that pointed to a treatable diagnosis.
Chase also seems to have House's ability to think outside the box, and comes up with good treatment and testing ideas, starting with the idea of confirming tapeworm by doing a simple x-ray in Pilot to coming up with the idea of doing exploratory surgery on a fetus in Fetal Position. He also comes up with a procedure to save the patients eye in Detox, and it was his idea to do a transcranial ultrasound to look for bleeding in the episode Kids. It should also be pointed out that before joining House's team, Chase already had completed a double specialty in intensive care and cardiology and had started a third in neurosurgery.
It is also unclear what House thinks of Chase. House goes from belittling his opinion, to letting Chase hug him, to calling him an idiot, to going far out of his way to let Chase keep his job in the episode The Mistake. Later, he even puts up with letting Chase hit him in the face. He also begins to tell Chase his father is dying in Cursed before Chase, referring to House's earlier statement about Chase hating his father, cuts him off and says that he loves his father but finds it easier not to expect anything from someone who clearly doesn't care for him.
Whatever House's opinion of Chase, it has always been clear that Chase worships and fears House. Chase usually follows House's instructions, and takes any insults House dishes out without retaliating. Chase rarely disagrees with anything House has to say, pointing out to Foreman that no matter how many times Foreman disagrees with House, not only is House right, but he manages to convince Cameron and Foreman of his point of view. However, by the third season, it was clear that Chase was tired of waiting for House's praise or appreciation. Chase does seem to genuinely like him though, and hugs him when he thinks House is dying of a brain tumor in Half-Wit
- "You know, Beckett was going to call his play "Waiting for House's Approval", but he thought the title was too grim"
- ―Wilson to Chase from Finding Judas after House hits Chase for coming up with the right diagnosis
In Human Error, House fires Chase after Chase has an outburst over House's feeble attempts to try to keep Foreman from leaving, House giving the excuse that Chase has been there the longest and either can't learn any more from him or he hasn't learned anything at all. This was possibly due to Wilson telling House he was afraid of change, possibly due to Chase's outburst, or possibly due to Chase's growing diagnostic skills throughout season three.
In The Right Stuff, while House and his many applicants are trying to come up with a diagnosis, Chase hits upon the right one.
As Chase develops as a surgeon, House not only uses him as his “go to” guy, but is more than willing to give opportunities to Chase to show up more senior surgeons just to tick off the chief of surgery.
Whenever House needs something non-medical "taken care of," Chase is his usual choice to call, such as when House wants a problem handled regarding the hospital's trauma center certification due to the lack of a neurosurgeon, essentially throwing the problem of keeping a major state-certified medical center in operation single-handed onto his shoulders. House uncharacteristically offers no advice or other aid to Chase in solving the problem (aside from pretending to be a neurosurgeon, which fails instantly), flatly assuming that the issue will be resolved satisfactorily and carrying on with his day with Cuddy, showing (in his own heartwarmingly oblique way) complete confidence in Chase's competence to fix it. Thirteen also takes advantage of Chase's resourcefulness and willingness to help in occasionally ethically questionable ways. He is the first and only person she turns to for help when a situation already on shaky legal ground spirals out of her control. Additionally, when Wilson is publicly humiliated by House for his unwitting participation in a porn film years before, Chase is the one he turns to when seeking the means of revenge, which Chase is able to provide thanks to his acute observational skills and his knowledge of how long the novel "The Golden Bowl" actually is. (Now What?, After Hours, Private Lives)
Chase is the only member of the team and, indeed, the only known non-Wilsonian person whom House has called up to go out and socialize with without House having an ulterior motive (he invited Cameron to a monster truck rally, but that was because a), he knew she would accept, b), because he wanted to pique Wilson's curiosity about who else could possibly wish to spend time with him, and c), he really, really wanted to see the monster trucks). (No More Mr. Nice Guy, Sports Medicine)
Nevertheless, after being fired and re-hired by House in previous seasons, and finally returning at House's request in the eight season, Chase's relationship with House becomes clearer. For the first time in the history of this show, House shows emotion after Chase is stabbed from inducing a psychotic break in a patient, albeit an accident, his own fault. House even takes the blame for Chase's stabbing and again for the first time in the history of the show, apologizes sincerely to Chase (Nobody's Fault).
In Episode Twelve, Chase, House goes to Chase's apartment in the hopes of having him return. At first, this seems selfish, but as House is under the impression that Chase has quit, he is just trying to speed up Chase's process. Although, many agree that House respects Foreman the most of any person he has every known, the episode "Chase" presents the view that Chase is the one that House respects the most. When House tells Chase not to get involved with the nun who the young doctor has fallen in love with, it again seeming selfish. However, letting himself show true emotion, House yells at Chase, that he doesn't want him to be stubborn and make a stupid mistake that will end up in him being left alone and miserable like House is. Thus, Chase, who shows less emotion than Foreman and in general is the best doctor in the hospital besides House, (without a doubt, Chase has the best overall record besides House) is shown to be the most like House-- a person who rarely connects with people. But, when he comes across someone he is able to connect to, he ends up falling in love with the person. Which hints that House does not want Chase to get hurt like he did with Cuddy, as the old doctor understands Chase is just like him. At the end of the episode, House nods at Chase indicating his approval of Chase to let go of the nun and move on, and Chase surprised nods back. Although seemingly small, this is the first time House has shown a one on one personal connection with anyone. House is trying to save Chase from getting hurt like he did with Cuddy and having to serve a year in jail because he had to crash a car in Cuddy's house to move on. In the fact that House genuninely cares for Chase and wants him to not make the same mistakes he did and live the best life he can with his personality identical to House's. Thus, House is shown to almost love Chase as a son, and by Chase accepting House's advice and moving on, he probably views House as a father.
Chase has had an on-again, off-again sexual relationship with Dr. Cameron. The first incident occurred in Hunting when Cameron experimented with Methamphetamine and called Chase over to her house. However, later on in the season, during the episode Insensitive, Cameron implied she would be interested in a "friends with benefits" arrangement which, against Chase's weakening protests, quickly evolved into having sex in dangerous places. These places included a patient's bedroom and the sleep center. Chase began to develop real feelings for Cameron, but Cameron did not feel the same and she called the relationship off. In Human Error, she seeks out Chase and they are last seen together at Chase's apartment.
In the fourth season, however, they have a much more open relationship, often staying the night with each other. Nevertheless, there are recurring hints that Chase is more invested in the relationship than Cameron.
In the fifth season, specifically The Itch, Cameron's actions reveal she has commitment issues. She specifically refuses to give Chase a drawer in her dresser for just a few of his things. She also reveals she used to be married to a man who's now dead. Chase and Cameron come away closer at the end of the episode, with her letting Chase a lot more into her life. In Saviors, Chase breaks off his relationship with Cameron because she had been distant. The reason for her distancing was because she found an engagement ring in his sock drawer and she did not want him to propose solely off the stress of Kutner's recent suicide. In the end, however, she tells Chase that "[She doesn't] care how it happens, only that it does." He proposes to her, and she accepts. In Under My Skin, Chase is apparently calling off the engagement--or at least indefinitely postponing their marriage--after Chase decides he is unwilling to marry Cameron until she has no doubts about their relationship. At the end of Both Sides Now, Chase and Cameron marry.
In episode Teamwork, Cameron presses Chase to quit PPTH in an effort to run from being eventually discovered about Chase's killing of Dibala in The Tyrant. After thinking it through, Chase decides to stay at PPTH and to face the consequences. Cameron then decides to leave him because Chase 'chooses House instead of her' and he 'cannot distinguish between good and evil anymore.' The episode Lockdown shows Cameron trying to get Chase to sign the divorce papers. PPTH is sealed due to a missing baby and this forces them alone in a room to talk about their relationship. Cameron tells Chase that she did love him and will miss being with him. This allows them to also have one last fling.
Nothing else is shown between Cameron and Chase during the run of the series, but it is assumed they likely never were in another relationship.
Other Characteristics Edit
TV Tropes has noted that both of Chase's parents are examples of the Abusive Parents Trope.
None of the major characters in the series have children except for Cuddy and Taub, but Chase is clearly the character who is the most comfortable with them. He goes out of his way to put young patients at ease and to talk to them at their level. This may be because he had to care for his younger sister.
Chase is known to be easily flattered, a product of him never being recognized by his father, this resulting in him feeling well after being remarked as smart or handsome. In Private Lives Chase realizes women get close to him because of his looks and becomes tired of it.
Chase is easily the best deductive reasoner on the team, exceeded only by House himself. Besides his numerous correct medical diagnoses, he has correctly inferred many facts about his fellow team members and patients, usually based on extremely limited or sometimes nearly non-existent information, as when he correctly deduces that both Foreman and House are ashamed of the reason for Foreman's intended departure in Resignation. He also correctly infers that Jessica Adams owns guns based solely on his analysis of her character and background.
Chase may have a house in Australia, in case of taking vacation or deciding to move back. This is possible because while he was "screwing with" Dr. Adams in Perils of Paranoia, he said that "back home", he keeps a few guns for hunting.
An exceptional degree of graciousness in defeat is shown by Chase when Park asks him out for a drink and, despite his best efforts at wriggling out of it, he agrees with surprisingly good humor when she has shot down his last objection.
Chase is the character who has changed to most from his introduction to date, going from House's yes-man and sycophant to standing almost as an equal, to the point that Chase fully expected (probably correctly now that Foreman is otherwise occupied) to replace House upon his departure or incapacity. Chase has once more been proven right, succeeding to the post upon House's "death."
|October 2010||November 2010||December 2010|
|Lisa Cuddy||Robert Chase||Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital|
This article was the featured article for November 2010.