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Recap / Batman: The Animated Series E53 "Paging the Crime Doctor"

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Matthew Thorne, a former doctor, must perform a delicate surgery on his brother, crime boss Rupert Thorne, but cannot do it alone—so he kidnaps his former colleague, Dr. Leslie Thompkins. Batman rushes to save Dr. Thompkins before Rupert's men kill her.

Tropes in this episode include:

  • Adaptational Nice Guy: In the comics, the Crime Doctor is an unrepentant criminal, with a dash of Mad Scientist to boot (something ironically hinted at in this episode's title card).
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  • Back-Alley Doctor: Matthew Thorne. He lost his license when he pulled a bullet out of his brother, notorious crime boss Rupert Thorne, and never told anybody. He was relegated to a licenseless, back alley existence afterwards.
  • Cain and Abel: Of the Thorne brothers, Matthew is the Abel, still trying to do his best to help people even after losing his license and detesting violence (even though it's a ruse to help her escape, he suggests giving Dr. Thompkins a drug overdose that will kill her quickly and painlessly rather than the bullet to the head that the goons [eagerly] want to deliver). Rupert is an utterly ruthless crime boss that has no problem ordering the death of anything that gets in his way, even the people who saved his life (one of which is his own brother). He also resents Matthew for looking down on his criminal career even though his dirty money helped put Matthew through medical school.
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  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Leslie Thompkins's yearbook which identifies Matt Thorne's graduating class as 1908, in contrast to "Beware the Grey Ghost," which gave the modern setting as 1992.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: An experimental laser scalpel is one of the items stolen by Thorne's men when they are retrieving supplies for his operation, and it gets used by the goons as an impromptu laser rifle twice when they fight Batman. The scalpel fires off a constant beam that can cut through anything, but unfortunately for the goons, the batteries run out very fast.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Matthew Thorne saves Leslie from his brother after he realizes he plans to kill her because she knows too much.
  • He Knows Too Much: Leslie Thompkins after she helps Matthew perform surgery on Rupert Thorne.
  • Hidden Depths: Dialogue from a personal argument hints that Rupert Thorne sacrificed all his ambitions in life to give Matthew a chance to fulfill his own.
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  • Open Heart Dentistry: We don't know what Matthew Thorne's specialty was before he lost his license and became a Back-Alley Doctor; it could be he's perfectly qualified to remove a tumor from around his brother's aorta. But to assist him, he kidnaps Leslie Thompkins, who isn't a surgeon at all, but a GP who runs a charity clinic; she is seen diagnosing kids with the flu and giving Batman painkillers for a concussion. Nevertheless, short of an actual hospital, she's Matthew's first and only choice as an assistant.
  • Reality Ensues: Rupert Thorne steals an incredibly expensive surgical laser for his brother. His brother points out that he's not going to be doing cutting-edge brain surgery patching up mobsters.
  • Tell Me About My Father: At the end of the episode, Bruce bails Matthew out, and the doctor is instantly suspicious about his motives—until Bruce says this trope's name (the doctor had been good friends with Dr. Thomas Wayne in medical school). The episode ends with Matthew reminiscing and an enthralled Bruce looking on.
  • Power Trio: Matthew Thorne, Leslie Thompkins and Thomas Wayne had been this in medical college decades ago, where they had been nicknamed "The Three Musketeers".
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Rupert Thorne's decision to murder Leslie Thompkins after she's saved his life.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Leslie was still upset with Matthew for saving a criminal (even if it's his own brother) and didn't tell anyone, thus losing his license and credentials as a result.
  • Villains Never Lie: Leslie doubts Rupert Thorne would ever keep his promise to help Matt regain his license; it doesn't become clear to Matt until later.


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