'Private Practice' Cast Previews Season 6, Plays 'Death, Wedding or Baby'
While showrunner Shonda Rhimes mulls the show's future beyond its 13-episode order, the cast has some strong opinions on how they want their character's story to end.
There's a lot going on at Seaside Wellness as Private Practice prepares to return for its sixth season.
Onscreen, Addison (Kate Walsh) finally has the baby she's always wanted in Henry and was last seen tasked with the tough decision of deciding between two men who both envision a future with her. Sam (Taye Diggs) came to his senses, realized he was letting not wanting children stand in the way of a relationship with her and proposed in the fifth-season finale, while Jake (Benjamin Bratt) is wooing Addison by doing everything right from the start.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with the cast during a visit to the show's Hollywood set to mark the Shonda Rhimes drama's landmark 100th episode to get the scoop on what's in store for the no-holds-barred season. With the show facing an uncertain future beyond its 13-epiosde order with star Walsh departing after the initial run, THR quizzed the cast and creators and challenged them to play a version of the game "Shag, Marry, Kill" for how they'd like their characters' journeys to end. The results? They're fun -- and surprising.
Addison Montgomery (Walsh)
Where we left off: Sam proposes, while Jake woos the new mom. Decisions, decisions!
What's ahead: Who she'll pick will be revealed in the premiere. As for the second episode of the season -- the series' 100th -- "all of the cast is there and it takes place outside of the practice and it's very colorful and I predict that you will laugh and cry," Walsh says, dismissing a wedding theory with an "I don't know" and a laugh.
Death, wedding or baby? "Well, she's got Henry, so that leaves a death and a wedding. She could maybe choke on a chicken bone at the altar. That would also imply that she has chicken wings at the altar, which is maybe my fantasy of my next wedding!" she chuckles.
Sam Bennett (Diggs)
Where we left off: While the father -- and grandfather! -- balked at extending his family and having a baby with Addison, seeing her with Jake brought out his jealous side, and he proposed to her in the finale.
What's ahead: "Both characters are in love with Addison, and we both have a mutual respect for one another," Diggs says, noting that he relates to the love triangle. "Obviously one of us is going to be a little more upset than the other. And then there's the issue of coming to the workplace every day and having to deal with the choices she's made."
Death, wedding or baby? "I already have a grandchild and a baby, so I don't need no more babies!" he says. "But maybe a death -- like a funky, dramatic crazy death scene if I had to choose."
Jake Reilly (Bratt)
Where we left off: Driving to Addison's place with dinner -- and flowers -- while Sam moves in. (Awww.)
What's ahead: Ever the optimist, Bratt says the "good news" is that "which ever of us finds ourselves on the short end of the stick, it's not terribly difficult to move on and rebound and find love somewhere else," noting that finding romance in the world of Private Practice "shortly after having your heart broken is not a difficult task." Foreshadowing, anyone?
Death, wedding or baby? "I deliver babies all day long, so I vote wedding!" Bratt says. So much for that foreshadowing theory.
Cooper Freedman (Paul Adelstein)
Where we left off: Adjusting to being a father to Mason (Griffin Gluck) following the death of his mother and juggling the demands of parenthood with the practice -- and a wife who never expected she'd have children in the house who's suddenly very well adjusted to motherhood.
What's ahead: With Pete out of the picture, the Seaside staff will have a full plate come the 100th episode. "Everybody at Addison's, we're dealing with something, together. It's a party, but it's a theme party, so everybody is kind of out of their comfort zones and all sorts of crazy stuff happens," he cryptically teases.
Death, wedding or baby? "Well, not death -- and we're already married!" Color us intrigued.
Charlotte King (KaDee Strickland)
Where we left off: The scene that made everyone cry: Mason calling her "mama" as the never-wanted-kids doc becomes the parent she never envisioned for herself.
What's ahead: Could there be a new addition to the family? Does baby make four? That's the big question, and one THR posed to the actress, who dismissed them with a quip: "New Edition? Bobby Brown's acting?!" she says with a knowing wink.
Death, wedding or baby? "Don't ask Charlotte King that question!" she laughed.
Amelia Shepherd (Caterina Scorsone)
Where we left off: The recovering addict delivered a "unicorn baby" and donated all of the child's organs capping a season of heartbreaking material that put Sam and Jake at odds.
What's ahead: "Amelia has been through unspeakable pain; losing her baby seems to have been a breaking point in her journey," Scorsone says. "Amelia is emerging from the loss of her baby as a far more mature, generous and thoughtful person. She still has her humor and her wry way of seeing the world, but there is a kindness to her, a sympathy that she didn't have before." As for a potential to see Sheldon differently, the actress says Amelia's new maturity will see her taking care of others more than dwelling on her personal tragedies, with her friendship with Sheldon "stronger than ever" when season six picks up. "Sheldon was a great friend to her through many of the ups and downs regarding her drug use and the loss of Ryan (Wes Brown) and the baby. Their friendship has been through a lot, and Amelia sees that he's actually someone who's willing to be there for her even when times are tough."
Death, wedding or baby? "She's already had a baby and a death -- both in the same story line! -- so maybe a wedding," she says.
Violet Turner (Amy Brenneman)
Where we left off: Pete (Tim Daly) realized his relationship with Violet was worth fighting for and came home to her after being released on bail after pulling a Kevorkian.
What's ahead: Lots of surprises! Considering Daly's dismissal from the series, Brenneman teases that Violet will be exploring single motherhood -- with the newly talking Luke (Jack Bobo). "He has lines and we practice them and they end up being a fair amount of improvisation, but I've done a number of scenes now of just me and Jack, which I love," she says. Rhimes, meanwhile, reveals that how Pete exits the series will be answered "by the end of the first episode." "What I love about it is the repercussions that is has for our characters, especially for Violet," she says. "That's going to be amazing because Violet has Lucas, and the repercussions for her child -- all of that stuff is going to be really interesting."
Death, wedding or baby? "For Violet? Kill her! Oh yeah, dying episodes are the best! Are you kidding? Emmy nominations!" Brenneman says with a laugh.
Sheldon Wallace (Brian Benben)
Where we left off: Always loyal to Amelia, he was there to support her after she gave birth to her "unicorn baby."
What's ahead: While he's always been there to support her, Benben says the therapist might have his sights set on someone else. "There's this whole conflict between him as a professional therapist and [Amelia] as a friend and crossing lines and all of that, but there is sort of somebody from Sheldon's past who sort of comes tangentially into the picture," he teases.
Death, wedding or baby? "I'd like to see a death right after the wedding, right on the altar! A heart attack or a horrible accident," he says with a smile.
Bonus: Rhimes (showrunner)
How do you see Addison's story line ending: Death, wedding or baby?
"That character, whom I feel I took such a journey with from Grey's Anatomy on to Private Practice and all the way through, deserves some semblance of a happy ending. We're not going to end the show and the 13 episodes with Addison dead; that's not going to happen. That character has been on such a journey and started out so hated by audiences and became so beloved by audiences that I feel like she's been on an emotional journey to change who she is from being this woman who cheated on her husband to a different person. You're just going to see what happens. I don't think it's going to be a dark ending."
What are you looking forward to seeing in season six? Are you looking forward to deaths, weddings or babies this season? Hit the comments with your thoughts. Private Practice returns at 10 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25, on ABC.