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House episode
"Fools for Love"
House s03e05.png
Episode no. HOU-305
Airdate October 31, 2006
Writer(s) Peter Blake
Director(s) David Platt
Guest star(s) David Morse as Detective Tritter
Scott Rinker as Bobby
Jurnee Smollett as Tracy
Raviv Ullman as Jeremy
Final diagnosis Hereditary angioedema
Episode chronology
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"Lines in the Sand" "Que Será Será"

"Fools for Love" is the fifth episode of the third season of House and the fifty-first episode overall.


A young man and his wife, an interracial couple, are among the victims of a diner robbery. Jeremy, the husband, attacks both robbers when they threaten his wife, Tracy. Almost immediately after, Tracy's airways begin to close and she is unable to breathe and she collapses. Upon their arrival at the hospital, Cameron informs House that although Tracy experienced anaphylaxis, she did not have an allergic reaction. House, however, is distracted by the sight of Dr. Wilson chatting to an attractive new nurse in the hallway. He immediately intervenes, and breaks up their conversation. Wilson denies that he is involved with the nurse, but House is unconvinced. Following her tox screen, it is revealed that Tracy and her husband have been using marijuana. Dr. Chase suggests that the drugs could have been tainted with salmonella. With no better theory to go on, House orders treatment with fluoroquinolone.

House sees a clinic patient named Michael Tritter. Tritter requests that House take a swab of a rash he is experiencing on his genitals, which House initially dismisses as merely dehydration, resulting from Tritter's consumption of nicotine gum. Tritter confronts House, upbraiding him for his arrogant manner. When House attempts to leave without doing the test, Tritter kicks his cane out from under him, causing him to trip. House performs the test, but before he leaves he tells Tritter he needs to take his temperature with a rectal thermometer. Tritter bends over, and House inserts the thermometer and then leaves the hospital for the day.

Tracy has a reaction to the antibiotics the team is administering for salmonella. House decides to change the diagnosis to exercise-based anaphylaxis. He believes that the anxiety of being the victim of a robbery caused Tracy to secrete too much adrenaline, which caused her heart to race. He has Tracy run on a treadmill in order to replicate the adrenaline level she experienced during the robbery. As Jeremy watches Foreman initiate the procedure, he becomes angry and then begins experiencing symptoms himself in the form of chest and stomach pain.

As they discuss this new development, House leads his team into the locker room where he breaks into the locker of the new nurse he saw Wilson chatting with. He discovers several novels, one blue shoe, and a flier for a jazz festival taking place that weekend. However there is no music in the locker, leading House to believe that she is feigning interest because Wilson likes jazz. He bets Foreman $200 that the nurse and Wilson are involved. Cameron, more interested in the case than in House's obsession with Wilson's speculative love life, points out that Jeremy and Tracy could have caught the disease they are suffering from an environmental source. House orders the team to check out their apartment.

During the search, Chase discovers a box of condoms in Jeremy's jacket. Foreman tells him to ignore them, knowing that House will immediately deduce that Jeremy has been cheating and subject the couple to an STD test. However Chase brings the condoms back to the hospital, and House orders genital testing. Tracy informs them that she already knew about the condoms - she and Jeremy recently experienced a pregnancy scare, and were simply being cautious. The STD test is clean, but Tracy's abdominal pain continues to worsen. House stops the steroids she is on, knowing that if she develops a fever the problem is an infection, and if not it must have an environmental cause. However Tracy experiences a hallucination of Jeremy's father, who was violently opposed to their relationship, attempting to break her husband's arm. She screams, summoning Foreman. Looking at her eyes, he realizes that fluid is leaking from the blood vessels in her brain, causing swelling. Tracy lapses into a dissociative coma.

After comparing Tracy's MRI to Jeremy's earlier chest x-ray, House suspects that sarcoidosis is a possibility. He consults with Wilson, a specialist on the disease, who disagrees. House tells his team otherwise, and tells them to treat the sarcoidosis and perform a brain-stem biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. The team is concerned about the risks of this procedure, and Cameron goes to Cuddy to inform her of House's plan. Cuddy refuses to allow House to speak to Jeremy, knowing that he will simply browbeat the patient into allowing the test on his wife. House asks Wilson to present Jeremy with his options. Jeremy requests that they perform the biopsy on him instead, since both he and his wife share the same disease. When Wilson tells him this is not an option because Jeremy's condition has not worsened as far as Tracy's, he requests that his treatment be stopped so that his symptoms can present. Frustrated, House injects Jeremy with naloxone, a drug that will stop his pain medication. He hopes that Jeremy will consent to the biopsy being done on Tracy so that he can resume his treatment. However the pain only seems to strengthen his resolve.

Cuddy calls House to her office. Michael Tritter, his former clinic patient, is waiting there for him. Tritter demands an apology from House, threatening to sue, although he admits that what he really wants is for House to be humiliated so that he thinks twice about his actions in the future. House flatly refuses to apologize, and leaves the office.

Meanwhile, Jeremy's condition has worsened. But instead of brain swelling from sarcoidosis, his intestines have begun to rot. House speculates that perhaps he and Tracy do not share the same disease after all. He orders that Tracy be treated for porphyria, and that Jeremy's dead bowel be biopsied. Foreman performs the procedure, and discovers that Jeremy's bowels are not rotting at all. Thinking back to the beginning of the diagnosis, House finds out about Jeremy mentioning that he and Tracy grew up as neighbors and ran off at sixteen to get married in an attempt to escape Jeremy's racist father. House muses that perhaps Jeremy's father was not racist - perhaps he simply didn't want his son to be seeing Tracy in particular. He notes that the couple both have the same green eyes.

Jeremy and Tracy share hereditary angioedema, which prevents their bodies from producing a vital protein. Jeremy's father had an affair with Tracy's mother. She and Jeremy are half-siblings. House orders Foreman to tell them. Reluctantly, Foreman does so. Tracy reacts badly, and requests her own hospital room. Jeremy is devastated, and Foreman stays with him for a while.

Later on that evening, Chase asks if Foreman can cover his clinic hours over the weekend, however Foreman reveals that he is going out of town. House finds out he is going to a jazz festival - with the new nurse. House reluctantly pays Foreman the $200 he bet him (although he insists it's unfair to bet when one already knows the outcome). House speeds home on his motorcycle. As he is driving, House is pulled over by a police officer. The officer turns out to be Michael Tritter. Instead of giving him a ticket, Tritter reminds House of the Vicodin he took while he was examining him. He searches House's pockets and discovers a handful of Vicodin. When House fails to produce a prescription for the pills, Tritter arrests him for possession of narcotics.

In between House's arrest and his paying Foreman, Cuddy is observed with a pregnancy test, which, to her dismay, reads negative.


The episode's plot is based on Sam Shepard's play, Fool for Love. In the play, there is a pair of lovers who are half-brother and sister through a common father. They both see their father and speak with him even though he is not present, much like Tracy's hallucination. Also, the woman in the play tries to escape the love she feels for her half-brother while he has little problem with it, much like Tracy and Jeremy's reactions.

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