"Paging the Crime Doctor" is the fourth episode of the second season of Batman: The Animated Series. It first aired on September 17, 1993.
A lone armored truck drives the night streets of Gotham. An ambulance drives up behind it and the drivers pull over. However, the ambulance drivers pull out a gun and blow out the truck's tires. They then hurl a gas bomb into the truck causing the drivers to pass out and crash. A trio of criminals crawls out of the ambulance and steal its cargo. They muse over how easy the job was but Batman comes to disabuse them of that notion. The crooks put up a fight but Batman manages to force them to crash and proceeds to apprehend them. However, one of the criminals takes hold of the stolen cargo: a surgical laser, and fires it at Batman. His cowl is grazed and though the laser malfunctions, Batman is thrown off balance just long enough for the crooks to throw him from the bridge. They believe Batman is dead, but he has luckily managed to land on a cable car and escapes, albeit dazed.
The thugs run off to Rupert Thorne who is going to see a doctor, his own brother Matthew Thorne, who specializes in helping criminals. Rupert is skeptical that his thugs managed to kill Batman but he's got other things to think about. He gives Matthew the medical laser, but Matthew is not happy. Rupert mentions how he thinks that there is no reason for the contempt. However, Matthew relates how he failed to report a bullet, as is required by law, that he removed from Rupert on his insistence, which cost him his license, and now has an illicit practice. Rupert is unsympathetic and starts yelling at Matthew. Suddenly, he starts having heart problems and falls to the ground.
Meanwhile, Leslie Thompkins treats a few patients and is visited by Batman. He falls to the ground in front of her and she diagnoses him with a concussion. She prescribes him some medicine and tells him to stay in bed the whole day but she knows that he won't and reminisces on how Thomas knew Bruce was stubborn too.
After taking some x-rays of Rupert, Matthew diagnoses him with a tumor that's pressing against the aorta and restricting the flow of blood into the heart. He tells Rupert that it could be removed easily, but it must be done in the hospital. Rupert refuses, knowing that his enemies will bribe the doctors to kill him "by accident". Matthew reminds him that without the operation he's a goner anyway and states that he can't do it in his illegal clinic as he's in over his head with just the equipment he has. Rupert tells him there must be someone who can help him do it in the clinic. Matthew states there's only one doctor who can help him do it at the clinic. Not wanting to see his brother die and eager to recover his license (which Rupert promises him if he helps), Matthew talks about Leslie Thompkins whom can help him. Rupert sends his thugs over but Matthew insists on going with them.
Rupert's thugs go to retrieve Leslie, who knows about Matthew's criminal activities. She refuses to help save Rupert and Matthew regretfully allows the thugs to take her by force.
Back at Rupert's hideout, Leslie and Matthew prepare for the surgery. Leslie is skeptical that Matthew will really get his license back, but Matthew is sure his brother won't turn on him.
Meanwhile, Batman checks a fabric sample and learns that the thugs were working for Rupert Thorne and wonders why he would want a surgical laser. Deciding to pay Leslie a visit, he and Alfred find the entire place in shambles. Searching the room, they find a picture of Leslie and Thomas when they were still in medical school. Reading the message on the back, "Thanks for all the good times with my two Best Friends. Love, Matt". Alfred remembers that Matthew was a colleague of Thomas Wyane in medical school. Bruce looks up the school's yearbook and finds Matthew Thorne's picture. Realizing the connection to Rupert, he deduces where Leslie is.
The operation successful, Matthew and Leslie leave the operating room. Unfortunately, Rupert had left his thugs with orders to kill Leslie once it was over. Batman arrives, but one of the orderlies ambushes him. Batman is still suffering from his concussion and finds it difficult to maintain focus, especially when the orderly hits him directly in the concussed spot. It only gets worse when the orderly manages to get hold of the surgical laser and starts firing on him. Fortunately, Batman manages to outsmart and defeat him.
As Batman deals with the orderly, Matthew wants to leave Leslie alive and take her home, but the thugs say that if he interferes with them killing Leslie, the deal is off. Matthew agrees, but says he wants it done his way: he'll give her an injection which will be quick, painless, and can be made to look like she died of a heart attack. Leslie is unsurprised at the fact that she'll be killed and disgustedly calls Matthew no better than his brother. However, Matthew suddenly sticks Rupert's thug with the injection (which was actually filled with a simple sedative), causing him to pass out. Matthew then tells Leslie that they have to leave. She's surprised that Matthew sided with her but he says that his license isn't worth a person's life. Leslie's relieved knowing that Matthew is back to his old self. Unfortunately, the thug is discovered by another thug and he calls for help.
Matthew and Leslie make their way up the elevator to the roof of the building while Batman arrives and handles the thugs. Unfortunately, one of them manages to get into an elevator and onto the roof.
On the roof, Matthew manages to jump to the next rooftop, but Leslie isn't sure she can make it, and only leaps after the thug starts firing at her. She jumps and barely manages to grab onto the edge. Matthew struggles to pull her up, giving the thug the perfect opportunity to kill them, until Batman stops him. Matthew is unable to hold onto Leslie and she drops. Batman saves her before she hits the ground.
Later, Matthew's being held in custody and receives a visit from Bruce Wayne, who's willing to help with legal costs and even offers to put in some good words to the judge in the hopes of getting him a lighter sentence (or better). But Matthew's skeptical of Bruce's intentions and, upon learning that Bruce wants something in return, he promptly refuses, saying he's no longer for sale. However, Bruce assures Matthew that he doesn't want anything illegal: he simply wants to know more about his father, Thomas Wayne. Taken aback, Matthew happily accepts and the two begin to talk.
Home video releases
- Batman: The Animated Series, Volume Two (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (Blu-ray)
- Thomas Wayne's note to Leslie in the yearbook misspells "Leslie" as "Lesley".
- During the episode's final scene, the door behind Bruce Wayne and Matthew Throne that leads into the visitor room disappears from one shot to the next.
- While at Leslie Thompkins's home, Bruce Wayne picked up The Caduceus, a book that contained the photographs and names of all the medical graduates from Thomas Wayne's, Leslie's and Matthew Thorne's year. The book had a caduceus sign on it with only one serpent instead of the traditional two. The Caduceus is often confused with the real symbol of medicine, the Rod of Asclepius.
- The orderly who Batman struggles to fight slightly resembles Lucas from "Prophecy of Doom".
|Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.|| Alfred|
|Joseph Campanella||Matthew Thorne|
|George Dzundza|| Chubb|
Armored truck driver (uncredited)
|Diana Muldaur||Leslie Thompkins|
|John Vernon||Rupert Thorne|
Alfred: Very close friends they all were. Called themselves the "Three Musketeers" in fact.
Alfred: "Rose", "Thorne", of course. How clever in a prosaic sort of way.
Leslie: (saved from fall) I thought I told you to take the day off.