Spoilers.

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STUDIO: ABCStudios
MSRP: $33.99
RATED: Not rated
RUNNING TIME: 989 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES:

- Bloopers
- Deleted scenes
- Kate’s Top Eight: Kate Walsh shares her favorite moments from Season 3



The Pitch

Well, it’s less controversial than Obamacare…

The Humans

Kate Walsh, Tim Daly, Amy Brenneman, Audra McDonald, KaDee Strickland, Paul Adelstein, Chris Lowell, Taye Diggs.

The Nutshell

Dr. Addison Montgomery (Walsh) has long since settled into her new life in LA, running a private health care practice started by her friends Naomi and Sam Bennett.  Of course, that’s not to say that she’s managed to settle into her own skin.  She’s still unable to find any kind of lasting happiness with a man, although it’s not for lack of trying (hell, she’s bedded half the male cast and most of the guys on Grey’s Anatomy).  Meanwhile, the rest of the practice also have their own issues, including individual cases, relationship ups and downs, and problems with the practice itself.  Unfortunately for all those involved, tragedy bookends the season with a shocking premiere and an even more shocking finale.



“Okay, so let’s recap: I’ve banged Pete and Sam, and from Grey’s: McDreamy, McSteamy, and Karev.  You’ve had Sam, William, and Gabriel, the guy in the wheelchair.  So the way I see it, we need to divvy up Cooper, Sheldon…and maybe even Charlotte…” 



The Lowdown

Private Practice has a pretty good ensemble cast
and manages to make the weekly maladies and situations that affect them relatively interesting viewing.  The medical cases aren’t as crazy on something like House, but are also usually pretty engaging.  To me, the show has eclipsed its progenitor in terms of watchability (which ain’t hard these days).  Kate Walsh anchors the show well and has old favorites like Tim Daly and Brian Benben.  Along with Taye Diggs (who finally found a good TV vehicle after misfires like Daybreak and Kevin Hill), Amy Brenneman and the wonderfully Southern KaDee Strickland, the show is an acceptable sudser.

The premise of the show is that Walsh’s Dr. Montgomery, after a fairly disastrous personal stint on Grey’s Anatomy, relocates to Southern California to start a new life.  She joins the practice of friends Naomi and Sam Bennett, Oceanside Wellness.  During the course of the show, circumstances arose that found Addison reluctantly taking over the practice, which initially alienated Naomi.  With a competing practice opening up in the same building, that added to financial pressures the clinic endured at one point.  Naomi eventually left to head up the competing practice, which Charlotte
(Strickland) initially ran but from which she was fired.  Relationship issues with and among the staff, along with the various medical cases presented, round out the doings on the show. 



That Private Practice / Cake Boss crossover was a bit unexpected…



The practice is made up Addison, Sam (Diggs), Cooper (Adelstein), a crusading pediatrician who can’t ever seem to get a handle on his tumultuous relationship with Charlotte.  She’s a fiery Southern belle, the practice’s newest addition and Chief of surgery at nearby St. Ambrose Hospital.  Dr. Pete Wilder (Daly) is an alternative medicine specialist, who had an off-again, on-again relationship, as well as a son with psychologist, Dr. Violet Turner (Brenneman).  Violet simultaneously shacked up with both Pete and Benben’s Dr. Sheldon Wallace, a fellow psychologist.  Dell (Lowell) is a midwife and aide at the facility who deals with a recovering addict wife and their young daughter.



Amy Brenneman thought that whole Once and Again vs. Judging Amy thing was settled, until the night where Sela Ward slipped onto the set with a baseball bat and…



Season 3 started off with the shocking aftermath of Violet’s attack at the hands of a deranged former patient who incapacitated her and cut her unborn son, Lucas, out of her womb to claim as her own.  The attack had long-lasting implications for Violet, who had to give up all responsibility for Lucas to Pete and emotionally detach herself from everyone.  Naomi had left the practice to go to work for William White (24’s James Morrison).  Her daughter with Sam, Maya (Shavon Kirksey), got herself pregnant at 15.  Deciding to keep the baby, she disappointed Naomi to the point where they didn’t speak for most of the season.  Of course, this also made things difficult for Naomi and Sam, especially when Maya decided to marry the teenage father. 



“In the end, Pete’s wife didn’t really need a super man…”



Meanwhile, Cooper and Charlotte were on-again and off-again, as their rocky relationship ended when Cooper couldn’t forgive her for lying about having previously been married.  This sent Charlotte into Sheldon’s bed for awhile.  Sheldon was getting to be the sloppy seconds guy as he had previously gone through a similar situation with Violet, to the point where the paternity of her son was unknown.  After his relationship with Violet ended, Pete hooked up with Addison for much of the season; and she took a mother-in-law role to Lucas.  But this presented the most complicated relationship issue of the season because Addison was really in love with Sam, and Pete was still in love with Violet.  But Addison couldn’t act on her feelings for Sam because of her friendship with Naomi, which led to a rift between Sam and Addison.  And Naomi was split between a relationship with her boss, William, and an egotistical, paralyzed doctor in her own practice.  Finally, Dell married his daughter’s mother, only to see her blow herself up while cooking meth. 

The season finale was a triple whammy that saw Dell and a delivering Maya get into a serious car accident and William White dying of ALS.  Sam had to work on a patient’s heart without realizing that he was the drunk driver who hit Maya and Dell.  As the entire practice descended upon the hospital, it was unsure whether Maya, the baby, and Dell would survive.  One of them didn’t.  Private Practice is revolving door of relationships and medical cases, but it’s generally better done than other shows of the type, especially Grey’s Anatomy, which has just become a mess over the last few years.  The cast has good chemistry and Shomda Rhimes has managed to keep a tighter narrative leash on this show than on Grey’s.



“Bailey, what the hell are you doing here?”
“Have you seen the shit going on at Grey’s?  I needed a break…”



The Package

Pretty good season that looks good iand sounds good in 1.78:1 and 5.1 Dolby.  However, like the Grey’s Season 6 set, the special features are sparse and boring.  There are some deleted scenes, bloopers and a feature, Kate’s Top Eight, where she discusses her favorite moments from the season.  The packaging is better than Grey’s which is still going for the thicker, fold-out cardboard style, rather than Private’s slimmer, plastic offering.


7.1 out of 10