|“||Every physician has patients that he cannot hope to cure, for whom he can only smooth the path to death.||„|
|~ Dr. Fontaine to Courtney Sheldon|
Harlan J. Fontaine is the main antagonist in L.A. Noire. He is a clinical psychologist. Dr. Fontaine is featured several times on the front page story of the Los Angeles Inquisitor. He is the mastermind behind the Suburban Redevelopment Scandal, the L.A. Morphine Racket, and has convinced several high ranking City officials (including the Chief of Police, and Mayor) to partake in illegal activities.
He is voiced by Peter Blomquist.
|“||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 specialised in cognitive and abnormal psychotherapy. He furthered his career and reputation as a college professor and by providing his professional services to high profile celebrities of LA, as well as war veterans.
Events of L.A. Noire
Early newspaper appearances
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 Ira Hogeboom 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 Coolridgerobbery and information regarding 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 that 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. Sheldon's name was also added to the Fund's list of managerial stakeholders, as Sheldon had originally donated the morphine to Fontaine.
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 Developmentto build houses - appropriate, as Lou was a carpenter. However, Fontaine was using Lou for the benefit of the Suburban Redevelopment Fund and was fully aware that the houses were fraudulent and unsafe; hence, he was partially responsible for Buchwalter's death. Fontaine visited Elsa at The Blue Room to inform her of Lou's death, but rationalized it as an "industrial accident".
|“||You may well be fascinating to speak to, Detective. But I charge by the half hour, and I guarantee you couldn't afford me.||„|
|~ Harlan Fontaine|
Over six months later, Fontaine 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 Suburban Redevelopment Fund) arrived and interrupted the interview, thus protecting 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 have Ira burn the homes to the ground. Fontaine suggested Ira 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 was angered that Fontaine had used him, causing him to no longer fall under Fontaine's control.
Fontaine was eventually confronted by Sheldon at his office, the latter naively informing him of the Suburban Redevelopment Fund conspiracy and expressing his complete shock. Fontaine, however, easily played on Sheldon's trust. Tricking him into thinking he was innocent, Fontaine used the opportunity to inject and overdose Sheldon with morphine, killing him. After leaving Sheldon's body in an alleyway for Cole Phelps and Herschel Biggs to discover, Fontaine met with Monroe at a restaurant to discuss damage control. Monroe warned Fontaine of Jack Kelso's investigation of the Suburban Redevelopment Fund and finally told him to dispose of Ira.
Fontaine was later visited by Elsa who explained her recovery from her addiction and mentioned 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 had suggested Lou worked at the housing site; insinuating that Fontaine was responsible for Lou's death.
Finding himself cornered and exposed, Fontaine played up his innocence and attacked Elsa, striking her on the forehead with a crystal ball, knocking her unconcious. As he prepared to 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, saving Elsa and retributing his evil deeds.
Fontaine comes off as kind, charming and charismatic, which masks his true manipulative and violent sociopathic nature, willing to kill anyone who finds out his secrets. Fontaine also has no qualms over murdering the ones whom he has tricked into working with him in his schemes, such as Courtney Sheldon and Elsa Lichtmann, who he attempts to murder before she is rescued by Ira Hogeboom. Fontaine uses his charm and position as a psychiatrist to manipulate others into trusting him and even do his bidding by coming across as a kind and caring doctor, when in reality he is a dangerous criminal mastermind and a major drug trafficker in the Los Angeles area, he uses the drugs he gets through his clinic and Courtney Sheldon, as well as his ties to organized crime, to sell the illegal merchandise for his own gain.