“House” fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Despite the fact that the eighth season of the hit Fox doctor show opens with Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) in prison, executive producer David Chase reassures viewers, “House is always going to be House. It doesn’t matter what environment he is in.”
It is many months after House crashed his car into Lisa Cuddy’s (Lisa Edelstein) dining room when we catch up with the irascible doctor. He is doing time behind bars at the East New Jersey Correctional Facility. He has a meeting with the parole board, who inform him, if he can behave for five days, he will get out. But, of course, this is House, so anything can happen.
“We didn’t want it to be trivial,” executive producer David Chase explains. “We wanted him to be appropriately punished, but we also didn’t want to do a prison show, so we had a bit of a dilemma. He will be out in episode two. But what we did is we had it take place over time, which has been helpful because a lot has changed in the hospital. The first episode takes place months after the end of last season. The second episode takes place a decent amount of time after the first episode.”
But first, House has a medical mystery to solve in prison. No, he isn’t being allowed to practice medicine, but when the pretty, young clinic doctor — Dr. Jessica Adams (Odette Annable) — is faced with making a difficult diagnosis, he can’t help but butt in. Of course, in order to prove House’s diagnosis correct, Adams is confronted with the choice of trusting him and putting her career on the line or playing by the book.
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Will prison permanently change House in any way?
“One of the several mantras [House has] on this show is nobody changes. I think that is largely true. I think the show has been about a guy who is striving to change and failing for the most part. That is human nature. It is really about the striving to be different. You are not going to see a different House this year. On a fundamental level, I don’t want to do that. I like him and I think the audience likes him,” says Chase.
Now that Cuddy is gone, will House fall into a romantic relationship with someone else?
“Last year he tried to change [for Cuddy] and I think this year, he is going to say that was stupid. I am not saying last year was stupid. I am not even saying the relationship was stupid. The relationship was great. It didn’t work out, so House’s reaction to that is to not go down that path again so fast,” says Chase. Then he adds, “But he is a human being. In my mind, he is a human being and we will treat him accordingly.”
Who is Dr. Jessica Adams?
“I think she is used to being the smartest person in the room. Now she will be the second smartest person in the room. She knows that when she meets House. She doesn’t have his experience or knowledge yet, but she is truly fascinated by him as a doctor. The interesting thing about her is she is fortunate enough to be in a financial situation where she doesn’t have to work. But she wants to. She is there to learn. She is very passionate about medicine. He sort of changes that in her. He revives something that she was maybe losing for a second. She is sort of an overachiever with a cause and her cause is helping people. Her relationship with House is along that line. You will see at the end of the episode they help each other,” explains Odette Annable [formerly Odette Yustman, but since marrying Dave Annable ("Brothers and Sisters") in 2010, she has taken his name], who is a series regular this season.
What about House’s bromance with Wilson?
“House is going to have to earn Wilson back, but he will. I am going to give that away: spoiler alert,” adds Chase.
The eighth season of “House” premieres Monday, Oct. 3 at 9 p.m. on FOX.