- "I confess as a man, as Betty's lover, that I've always hoped you were dead. Not because I don't like you but because I love Betty, and I've known unless you were really gone or she believed you were, that, uh... there'd always be three of us in this relationship."
- ―Leonard Samson to Bruce Banner[src]
Doctor Leonard Samson is a psychiatrist working at Culver University who became romantically involved with Betty Ross for a time. When Bruce Banner returned from hiding and came back into Ross' life, Samson became jealous and decided to call Betty's father Thaddeus Ross and have Banner arrested, thus inadvertently instigating the Battle at Culver University.
Dating Betty Ross
Samson met and began dating Betty Ross, although he was kind and cared for he, Samson was always aware that Ross was still in love with her former partner Doctor Bruce Banner, who had gone on the run five years prior and had not been seen or heard from in this time.
When Samson and Ross went to get dinner together, they decided to visit Ross' old friend Stanley Lieber and eat at his restaurant, although Lieber was closing up he agreed to feed the pair. While they waited for their food Samson and Ross enjoyed a long conversation, however Ross suddenly became distracted having seen something in the kitchen. Ross went to investigate but found nothing, she questioned Lieber who admitted that she had indeed seen Bruce Banner who had returned to America.
Helping Bruce Banner
Betty Ross found Bruce Banner attempting to go back on the run and convince him to come back with her, Samson agreed to have him as a guest in his home. While having dinner Samson spoke about one of his cases when Banner began to cry, claiming it was a long time he had been in such a comfortable and friendly situation.
Later that night Banner found Samson drinking wine and tending to the fire. Samson spoke to Banner about his own fears of having Betty Ross' former lover in his home and his regrets for not being able to have as strong a connection with her as she had with Banner. They went onto discuss Banner's return to America and Banner confessed he had issues that he needed to cure and he could be very dangerous when he lost control, when Samson compared the issues to anger management Banner assured him it was more complicated.
Informing General Ross
Feeling uneasy of Banner's presence, Samson contacted Betty's father General Thaddeus Ross, tipping him off as to Banner's whereabouts, causing the Battle at Culver University. Samson ran to the University where he found General Ross in battle with Hulk, Samson arrived in time to witness a helicopter crash landing and nearly killing Betty and Hulk before the beast ran away with Betty in his arms.
Samson spoke to General Thaddeus Ross at his home in the aftermath of the battle, although Ross assured him that he would put all his resources into finding Betty Ross, Samson told him that he knew he was lying as Ross' primary concern was not for his daughter but for capturing Hulk. When Samson expressed his belief that Betty would do whatever she could to protect Bruce Banner/Hulk, General Ross told him that that would make her a fugitive of the law and he won't be able to protect her from that. As Ross left, Samson called out that he now understands why Betty refused to talk about her father during their time together, which causes Ross to comment on his daughter's poor choice in men, referring to Banner and Samson.
Speaking to Betty Ross
Betty Ross did not return for several weeks, during which time Hulk was involved in a major battle with another monster, resulting in Bruce Banner disappearing once again. Eventually Ross phoned Samson to say she was alive. When Samson begged her to come home she forced him to confess that he had called Thaddeus Ross and caused the disaster. Despite his tearful apology, Ross told him she would not return although she did forgive him.
Leonard is a very intelligent and capable psychiatrist, and a good person. He's very correct and sensitive, and he's ready to do anything to please the woman he loves, even to accept his rival in his house and leaving Betty's side for not hurting his feelings.
However, he starts to be worried about Betty and calls her father, who brings the army at the campus and starts a massive attacks to Bruce, who becomes Hulk and flees with Betty in his arms. Leonard soon realizes his mistake as he sees the creature trying to protect Betty and the soldiers only interested in taking Bruce in custody with no worry for the civilians involved. He has a quarrel with Ross and starts sympathizing for Bruce especially after he realizes that Ross is such a jerk. In the end, he realizes he has lost Betty, who was still in love with Bruce, and remains alone and he accepts that like the good man that he is.
- Master Psychiatrist: Samson worked as a psychiatrist, regarded as one of the best in the field.
- In the comics, Leonard Samson got the abilities of superhuman strength, stamina, durability, and consciousness from gamma radiation, becoming the hero Doc Samson.
Behind the Scenes
- Louis Leterrier chose Ty Burrell to portray Samson in The Incredible Hulk because, in an early script, the character was very much like the one Burrell interpreted in Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead.
- Almost all of Samson's scenes were cut from the final release of The Incredible Hulk.
- In 2008, Ty Burrell had expressed interest in portraying a super powered Leonard Samson faithfully to the comic books in a possible sequel to The Incredible Hulk.