By Michael Ausiello
March 02, 2009 at 08:34 PM EST
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It’s Dr. House’s worst nightmare: a patient who doesn’t respond to his blood-pressure-raising button pushing. Like, at all.

In the Fox hit’s March 23 episode, rapper-turned-actor (ractor?) Mos Def will play a victim of locked-in syndrome, a paralytic condition that cuts off one’s ability to move and communicate. Isn’t that the same medical malady featured in the 2007 Oscar nominee The Diving Bell and the Butterfly?, you ask. Pretty much, says exec producer David Shore. “[But] we were very conscious of wanting to tell our story our way and not simply tread territory that they already covered so well.”

As in Butterfly, much of the change-of-pace story will be told from the patient’s point of view (see photo, above) — a storytelling device that proved “challenging,” Shore concedes. Also, Mos Def will communicate solely by blinking. But unlike Butterfly, the House episode — which was directed by Dan Attias, the acclaimed helmer behind last week’s road-trip-themed Big Love ep — is less about the patient and more about what’s going on around him. “Our doctors are told to keep his mind active,” explains Shore, “and they wind up saying things — personal things –- that they might not normally say.”

Hmm…might this ep lay the groundwork for House and Cuddy’s much-talked-about-by-me sex date? “I really don’t want to go into the particulars of [them hooking up] because we have found a really cool way to do it, and I don’t want to spoil it,” Shore hedges. “But I will confirm that we are taking things forward [with them].”

More House scoop:
Wilson’s MIA brother checks in
Cutthroat Bitch returning?
Cameron-Chase move to forefront in final four

Hugh Laurie and Lisa Edelstein star in the hit medical mystery series
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