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|Dr. Leonard Samson|
Portrayed by Vladimir Kulich
|Affiliations:||Xavier Institute - Staff|
|Birthdate:||May 11, 1960|
Dr. Leonard Samson works as a child psychiatrist/social worker. He went to India in August 2009 in order to help with mutant outreach in the region. He has remained with his work there ever since.
Character Journal: x_samson
Real Name: Dr. Leonard Ethan Samson
First Appearance: February 4, 2004
Date of Birth: May 11, 1960
Place of Birth: District of Columbia, United States
Citizenship: United States
Relatives: foster sister (5/1/1958) Samantha Gregory, (1934) Saul & (1935) Tamar Rosenberg, foster parents, (1967) Yael & (1966) Miriam Rosenberg, foster sisters, additional foster nieces and nephews. (birth mother Leah Samson, status unknown, birth father Ari Samson, deceased)
Education: University of Virginia: Bachelor's of Science in Biology and Bachelor's of Arts in Sociology (1978-1982); Johns Hopkins University: M.D. (1982-1986); Columbia University: General Psychiatry Residency (1986-1989); New York University: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency (1989-1991); Columbia University: Master's of Social Work (1998-1999); Board Certified in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (1991-present), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (2002-present)
Relationship Status: In a relationship with (1965) Dr. Teresa Jennifer Barton (TJ), sociologist at Columbia University
Occupation: Board certified child & adolescent psychiatrist, licensed clinical social worker, runs private practice in Salem Center and sees students at Xavier's. Dr. Samson is at Xavier's school on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for regular counseling sessions with students, and is at Salem Center Counseling Services on Tuesdays and Thursdays for non-Xavier's clients.
Team Affiliation: None
Leo Samson grew up in Washington, DC. His mother was an English middle school teacher and his father a high school math teacher. Leo had a fairly normal childhood until his father was killed in a car accident when he was five. His mother handled his father's death very badly, and the next few years were tumultuous as she lost her job, their home, cut ties with family and friends, and began drinking. Leo's older self would be able to recognize his mother's rapid changes of mood and activity as Bipolar Disorder, but his younger self only understood that his mother was a sometimes caring, loving mother, and sometimes viciously angry. While never physically abusive, the emotional strain of caring for, and being berated by his mother took a toll on Leo, which was finally noted by a math teacher at one of the schools they had migrated through. Leo was eventually placed in foster care at age 10. His new foster family provided safety and stability for him, in addition to an older foster sister, Samantha Gregory. The two became extremely close, the older Sam being very protective of Leo, a new experience for the boy who'd spent the past few years being a parent for his mother. The Samsons are a middle class family in Virginia. Saul was an electrician for the city of Fairfax for 30 years before retiring in 1994, and Tamar teaches piano at home.
When Leo was 12, his mother gave up on her extremely intermittent and limited efforts to regain custody of him, and disappeared into the streets. Due to his age, Leo requested not to be adopted, but remained in foster care with the Samsons until he was 18. The last Leo saw of his mother was when he was 17, celebrating the 4th of the July on the National Mall with his foster family. On the way home after the fireworks, Leo and his foster family walked past a homeless woman, whom Leo belatedly recognized as his mother. He was unable to make any contact with her however, as she recognized him as well, and ran away.
Though Leo was never adopted by the Samsons, they considered both he and Sam a part of the family, and that continues to this day. Leo is fond of his younger sisters, Yael and Miriam, but is much closer to his older sister Sam. Sam left the Samsons at 18 and moved to NYC to attend Julliard. In order to finance her education there, Sam worked part-time as a topless dancer, a fact of which the Samsons continue to be oblivious. Sam successfully completed her education and now teaches dance at NYU, and sees Leo at least once a week for dinner. She lives in Greenwich Village with her partner Nina, a nurse practitioner.
From psychiatry to mutant psychiatry
For years, Leo was a fervent support of his discipline of psychiatry, but in 1998, the American Psychiatric Association issued an addendum to its Ethics Primer relating directly to mutants. The Ethics Primer stated that a mutant could, in some situations, be viewed as an individual presenting a danger to themselves or others simply by virtue of their mutant ability. And therefore, the mutant could be involuntarily committed for treatment or hospitalization for their own protection and the protection of others. In addition to creating a fervor in the mental health community and legal brouhaha, the Ethics Primer made it possible for some psychiatrists to more openly advocate their anti-mutant views. In anger, Leo resigned his membership from the APA and went back to school for a Master’s in Social Work. During this time period, he, along with other psychiatrists, argued against the position, and eventually convinced the APA to reverse their position. But by that time, Leo had completed his M.S.W., and had found virtue in the more holistic (and slightly more mutant-positive) social work community. He returned to psychiatry, but continued his licensure in social work, utilizing that discipline’s focus on the ‘person in the environment’ in his therapy, as it was a particularly relevant approach for working with mutants.
Working in academia and in the mental health community for most of his life, he is well-used to structured settings and bureaucracy, and has no problem with the chain of command at the school. However, as a doctor and man raised during the 60's and Vietnam War Era, he continues to have discomfort with the methods of the X-Men, and he and Charles often have extended philosophical discussions on the subject. Despite his misgivings, he is also a pragmatist, and realizes that, at least for now, mutants are unable to work entirely within the system, so he continues to believe that supporting the X-Men and the students is ethically appropriate.
He has a strong belief in maintaining appropriate boundaries with clients as well, which he is learning to adjust as the intense and close-knit atmosphere of Xavier’s make normal therapist-client rules difficult to enforce.
Life at the Mansion
In February 2004, Leo received a phonecall from his former mentor, Professor Charles Xavier, requesting that he come to the school for a few weeks to help counsel students in the wake of Illyana's attempted kidnapping. However, Leo quickly realized that he had barely scratched the surface of the difficulties students were experiencing at the end of the month. Xavier was quick to offer him a permanent position, which Leo was just as quick to accept. He added to the student population when he found and arranged for the amnesiac Jane Doe to be brought to the school.
Leo lived for a time in Salem Center and shared a private practice called Salem Center Counseling Services with a social worker, an art therapist, another psychiatrist, a psychologist, and a marriage therapist. He sees primarily mutant children and adolescents, but also has counseled families who have mutant relatives. He divides his time between SCCS, and Xavier's. He relies on SCCS's office manager, Tamika Collins, to maintain his hectic schedule, and was constantly on-call for emergencies at Xavier's.
Leo occasionally consults at mental hospitals across the country. He is considered an expert in working with mutant children and teenagers and will often travel across the country for specific cases.
Life Outside the Mansion
Leo is a genial, fairly serene individual. Despite the tumult he experienced growing up, his formative years were stable, and he benefitted from a foster family that provided a strong and stable home for him. His strong relationship with this family, and particularly with his foster sister Sam has been a lifelong asset, and his main source of strength and support is his family and sister. Leo is a highly intelligent man who enjoys intellectual challenges, and loves teaching and sharing with others. He often appears to be an extrovert due to the nature of his work, presenting a confident facade in crowds and teaching situations, but he is an introvert at heart. While he is open and engaging with his colleagues at his clinic and Xavier’s, he is a fairly private individual who is more likely to save his more personal emotions for his sister and girlfriend. Leo has a very strong relationship with his significant other, TJ Barton, but neither have any plans to marry in the future, if at all. Leo is very reserved about his relationship with TJ, and though he has a picture of her in his office, does not discuss her very much with the students. He has a standing reservation for Sunday night dinner with her at various restaurants. He dislikes parties, and becomes very nervous before speaking in front of crowds–but greatly enjoys giving presentations and teaching, because it gives him an opportunity to share things he has learned with others.
Leo was raised as a Reform Jew, but over the years has become, in belief, an atheist, while continuing to identify as a cultural Jew. Leo does not keep kosher, but does not eat pork or shellfish.
Leo speaks functional Hebrew, though he is not fluent. He lived with Sam and Nina while completing his residencies, and has decent grasp of Portuguese from Nina, who is from Brazil. He has learned Vietnamese from one of his colleagues at the clinic, My Phan, and learned Spanish in college.
For the most part, Leo is a calm, peaceful man who enjoys working and talking with the students of Xavier’s–particularly learning new slang and music from them. However, he has a few leftover issues from his childhood that sometimes emerge. He does not drink alcohol, and has strong aversion to drunkenness–particularly driving while intoxicated. He has a persistent fear of rats, due to periods of homelessness when a child, and is meticulous about having a clean kitchen. His home and office may be cluttered and disorganized at times, but it is never dirty. Leo is also not fond of winter, again due to periods of time spent on the streets, and will sometimes become brisker and quieter during the winter months.
In 2009 a bombing at the SCCS resulted in the death of a young client and a crisis of faith for Leo. Concerned about the danger his openly mutant presence posed at the Center, he contemplated relocating to the mansion, to continue his counselling work from there. Before he could make a decision, he became involved in a much larger stage - world politics. An expert on mutant child and adolscent psychology, he gave several talks in Germany, as well as being involved in a closed doors conference with several leading figures in mutant rights. This stirred him to consider the wider plight of mutants, and having been in Pakistan following the terrorist action that left half a million dead, he decided to relocate to the Indian subcontinent in August 2009 in order to provide assistance to the traumatised survivors and to educate them about mutants.
Weight: 380 pounds
Other Features: If not dyed, Leo's hair has a slight green tint.
When Leo was 13, his first growth spurt proved to have rather remarkable results. In addition to gaining almost a foot of height in one year, Leo gained strength and durability. He had often had problems with teasing at school, due to being a foster child, but that changed remarkably quickly. His older sister Sam was the only one he told about the extent of his changes, and together, they quickly realized Leo’s growth and strength were not of normal human proportions. Sam counseled Leo to keep this a secret, and they worked very hard to hide Leo’s abilities. When mutancy became more of a public topic, Leo & Sam knew this is what Leo was, but Leo continued to "pass" as human for most of his life. Even now, Leo is not openly known as a mutant, though friends and colleagues know that he is, and he no longer actively tries to hide it. Part of keeping his strength a secret meant that Leo was forced to learn great control, and, as a consequence, has become very comfortable with his ability. Leo is able to lift up to 25 tons, and has slightly increased durability–while he is certainly vulnerable to bullets and knives, he does not bruise easily and is capable of taking a moderate fall or punch fairly easily. One of the only outward manifestations of Leo’s mutancy was that his hair took on a green tint. Leo & Sam initially passed this off as an experiment with hair dye gone wrong–and then began dying his hair in earnest. Leo ceased dying his hair in 1998 and his hair resumed its slightly green shade. Those who ask directly will be told honestly the hair is a side affect of his mutancy, others simply assume the hair to be an eccentricity.
Leo's foster mother was a piano teacher, and his birth mother, when sober, was a gifted singer, so Leo is a fan of all kinds of music. He enjoys learning of new songs and musicians from the students, and his music collection is both extensive and extremely eclectic.
Player Icon Base: Vladimir Kulich