When Private Practice opens for business again this fall, the show will focus more on the ethical dilemmas of every day medicine, but stars Kate Walsh, Amy Brenneman, Tim Daly and Taye Diggs promise the new season won't lack sudsy, romantic fun, too.
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"There's a lot of conflict and that mad, sick balance of comedy and drama that Shonda (Rhimes, creator) is such an expert at delivering," Private Practice star Kate Walsh (Addison) previews when SheKnows catches up with the cast. "You'll see Addison dating. You see everyone struggling. It's great sharing between the personal and professional lives and the two different faces of every character."
For Addison, that balance means keeping guest star David Sutcliffe, aka the hot SWAT guy from last season, in the mix; even as many fans are rooting for Addison and her holistic colleague Pete to make a go of it.
"I don't think Shonda is trying to create a love triangle or anything like that," Walsh maintains.
"It's more about the reality of what it would be like for someone to not want to date the person she's working with and try to date in LA. It's very real and what comes out in Addison around Officer Nelson, the SWAT guy, is so different than what comes out around Pete, Derrick, Mark Sloan or anyone else that you've seen. It's this great, fun quality for me to play. "
Those still intent on seeing Addison hook up with Pete may have to wait a bit.
"Romances are like really good sex: You do everything you can possibly think of until you actually finally consummate it," Tim Daly (Pete) teases. "So hopefully, Shonda will put Addison and Pete through a lot: we'll be together, apart and together, apart. Wondering what is going to finally happen is part of the fun."
For a more active triangle, the locals to watch this season are Oceanside's top docs, divorcees Sam and Naomi, and the hunky midwife in training who's coming between them, Dell.
"It's great drama," Taye Diggs (Sam) raves. "The first season was the honeymoon, where you got to know everybody and there was a lot of flash. Now we're going to get more specific and you're going to see accurate portrayals of real relationships. There's so much there to play, with Dell being so young and us being mature. Lots of layers. I had no idea that was coming, so it was a surprise."
Indeed a surprise, since Sam was the one who told Naomi their marriage was over, only to start chasing her again and telling Dell to back off his "wife".
"They've been married so long and that's what it's like. You're a bouncing ball, going back and forth, and sometimes, you think it's over when it's not over at all," Diggs contends. "You're trying to make heads or tails of what is your brain, your heart, your soul. It's an accurate portrayal of a relationship of that nature."
The new season of Private Practice
will also delve into a less romantic but all too familiar sort of triangle.
"It's that girl triangle thing," Amy Brenneman (Violet) previews. "Naomi and Addison have this pretty profound split and I think Naomi and Violet were best buds before Addison came back, so when Naomi's trying to buddy up to her now, she's like, 'Don't. Just because you guys are having a fight, doesn't mean you can come here.'"
Perhaps Brenneman is projecting: Violet's best pal Cooper is in a relationship with St. Ambrose's sexy chief of staff, Charlotte, which means the actress and her character are going through growing pains.
"There's always been that intimacy between Violet and Cooper and Violet's used to feeling totally comfortable with him, but it's Shonda Rhimes, so she has to wrench them apart!" Brenneman laughs. "I was so bummed, but then I was like, 'Go with it!'"
That attitude paid off with good story. "What I love is that Violet's giving Cooper dignity," Brenneman previews. "She's not saying, 'Charlotte's a jerk.' Instead, she's like, 'Oh, you have a girlfriend...I don't know how to do this. What are the rules?' She's proud and a little shy sometimes, so she goes off into the corner and does her thing."
For the time being, that won't mean romance. "Violet is not a hop in and out of bed gal," Brenneman insists. "She's not prude and I don't think she's damaged in that area, but when she falls, she goes deep."
Brenneman isn't sorry her character is out of the love scene for a bit, though she does begrudge not getting to work with costar Paul Adelstein (Cooper). KaDee Strickland, on the other hand, is reaping the rewards as his new love interest Chief Charlotte.
"I'm having a blast with this one," Strickland raves. "It's remarkable to explore character relationships and it's fun whenever I get in a scene with anyone personally, but if you're going to have a dancing partner, Paul's the way to go! He picks up the ball and surprises you, makes you safe and makes you want to explore every level of the scene in a way that, for me, is the joy of doing this. So I can't thank these guys enough for putting us together, because I'm having the time of my life on the set these days."
With all the office romance on screen, word is none of the hot castmates have hooked up off screen (or rather, no one has admitted to it!), but Brenneman won't judge the Oceanside medical staff for their dalliances.
"The whole thing is, 'Don't (expletive) where you sleep,'" Brenneman says. "Well, I always got together with people I worked with. I married the guy who directed me, man! You're at work 18 hours a day. How else are you going to meet people?"
If you're aching for some office drama, book your next appointment with ABC Private Practice
on Wednesday, October 1 at 9 p.m.!
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