|Harlan J. Fontaine|
|Affiliation(s)|| Suburban Redevelopment Fund|
|Death||September 29, 1947 (aged 32)|
- "Psychology is a powerful tool... in the right hands, of course."
- ―Harlan Fontaine
Doctor Harlan J. Fontaine is a central character and one of the main antagonists in L.A. Noire. He is a clinical psychiatrist who is featured several times on the front page story of the Los Angeles Inquisitor. Throughout the game's events his majority of appearances are in the newspaper flashbacks.
- "Meet doctor Harlan Fontaine, doctor to the stars. Mr. fix-it to the mental wreckage of Hollywood."
- ―Roy Earle
Much of Fontaine's past is unknown, though his accent and French surname suggests he is from the southern United States, specifically Louisiana. Fontaine majored in psychology and medicine, establishing himself as a well renowned clinical psychiatrist in Los Angeles. Fontaine furthered his career and reputation as a college professor and providing his professional services to high profile celebrities of LA, as well as war veterans.
Events of L.A. NoireEdit
Early newspaper appearancesEdit
After teaching a psychology lecture, Fontaine met former Marine and medical student Courtney Sheldon who expressed a strong interest in psychology, particularly to help treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Fontaine agreed to provide therapy for Sheldon's friend in exchange for Sheldon taking a part-time job at one of Fontaine's clinics. Over time, Sheldon and Fontaine developed a mentor-student relationship, with Sheldon loyally following and trusting Fontaine. While treating Ira Hogeboom, Fontaine was unable to fully relieve him of his trauma, but was able to keep him susceptible to manipulation through morphine and hypnotherapy, something Fontaine would later exploit.
Sheldon eventually turned to Fontaine in a moment of crisis, confiding in him his involvement in the SS Coolridge robbery and the stolen surplus morphine distribution with the Cohen Crime Syndicate. Fontaine provided a solution for Sheldon's predicament and for both of their benefits. Fontaine offered to take the morphine off Sheldon's hands, promising to distribute it legally to medical facilities, and in return he would be able to reinvest money into the a plan to build houses for returning G.I.s. Sheldon confidently accepted Fontaine's offer, as it not only solved his problem but would provide benefits for his war buddies.
In actuality, Fontaine became a drug dealer, discretely selling the morphine to students and addicts by prescribing them as medication. With the proceeds Fontaine was able to invest in the Suburban Redevelopment Fund, becoming part of Leland Monroe's criminal syndicate to extort millions of dollars from the government.
Two prominent patients of Fontaine's were Elsa Lichtmann and Lou Buchwalter, both German exiles who fled to America. While Fontaine treated Elsa's drug addiction, he offered Lou a job to work at Elysian Fields Development to build houses, appropriate since Lou was a carpenter. However Fontaine was using Lou for SRF and was fully aware that the houses were fraudulent and unsafe hence was partially responsible for death. Fontaine visited Elsa at The Blue Room to inform her of Lou's death but rationalized it as an "industrial accident".
Over six months later, Fontaine later went with Sheldon to Hollywood Police Station, acting in his defense and vouching for his innocence in the LAPD's stolen morphine investigation. Despite Detective Phelps' evidence, Police Commissioner Worrell (also member of the SRF) arrived and interrupted the interview, thus protected them from prison.
While Monroe was facing the predicament of several holdouts, Fontaine offered a solution to ensure acquisition of the estates. Monroe rigged a promotional travel contest to ensure these families won a prize of a weekend getaway to Catalina Island, allowing Fontaine an opportunity to burn down their homes using Ira. Fontaine suggested to Ira to burn down the houses as a form of treatment to help confront his past. Although the houses successfully burned down, allowing Monroe to acquire them, the Sawyer and Morelli families died in the fires because they had cancelled their trips, much to Monroe's shock and displeasure. Ira, guilt-ridden over the deaths, was driven further into insanity and angered that Fontaine had used him, hence broke free of his control.
Fontaine was eventually confronted by Sheldon at his office, informing him of the SRF conspiracy and expressing his complete shock. Fontaine however easily played on Sheldon's trust, tricking him into thinking he was innocent and using the opportunity the inject and overdose Sheldon with morphine. After leaving Sheldon's body in an alleyway, Fontaine met with Monroe at a restaurant to discuss damage control. Monroe warned Fontaine of Jack Kelso's investigation of the SRF and finally told him to dispose of Ira.
Fontaine was later visited by Elsa who explained her recovery from her addiction, as well as mentioning Cole and Jack, causing Fontaine to stutter on his words. Catching him off-guard, Elsa confronted Fontaine by stating she knew of his involvement with Monroe and that he suggested Lou worked at the housing site; insinuating that Fontaine was responsible for Lou's death.
Finding himself cornered and exposed, Fontaine attacked Elsa, striking her on the forehead with a crystal ball, knocking her unconcious. As he prepared kill her to conceal his corruption, Ira Hogeboom arrived and witnessed the whole attack. In a fit of rage, Ira stormed in, grabbed Fontaine by the throat, and strangled him to death, in the process saving Elsa and in retribution for his evil deeds.
- "You certainly a cold character, Harlan."
- ―Leland Monroe
Fontaine is one of the most cold and ruthless characters in the game, obsessed with power and manipulation. He constantly utilizes people to further his ends, for example he kept Elsa Lichtmann addicted to drugs in order to investigate the breakdown of an addict and used Lou Buchwalter for the SRF, which caused his death. He is also not beyond manipulating people, demonstrated by how he convinced Courtney Sheldon to give him the stolen army surplus morphine, taking advantage of his trust. Furthermore, he manipulated Ira Hogeboom to further the SRF's nefarious plans.
Fontaine speaks with a certain eloquence and choice of flowery vocabulary, he uses attractive words to emphasize his intelligence. Fontaine has something of a large ego, taking pride in his work and intelligence. He is extremely confident that things will always play out the way he plans them and undermines the intelligence of others, viewing them as submissive and naive puppets. He has an unnaturally calm demeanor; always speaking with a calm, disarming southern accent, even in the most tense of situations, never revealing his emotions or intentions.
- Courtney Sheldon - Injected in the neck with a lethal dose of morphine after blowing Fontaine's cover.
- "Upon Reflection" (Intro & Newspaper)
- "The Red Lipstick Murder" (Newspaper)
- Fontaine is probably loosely based on Dr. John Havilland's character, appearing in James Ellroy's novel Because The Night, his last name being a reference to sister actresses Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland.