PRIVATE PRACTICE’s Charlotte King (KaDee Strickland) has been put through the ringer from day one. You name it, she’s just about been through it, and there’s still more to come for her as the season goes on. When PRIVATE PRACTICE returns on their all new night (Tuesday, 10/9c following an all new DANCING WITH THE STARS), Cooper and Charlotte continue to struggle with helping Mason deal with Erica’s (AJ Langer) deteriorating condition.
To celebrate the big move to Tuesday from Thursday, KaDee and I spent some time chatting about what’s to come, if the move to Tuesdays will do any ratings damage, and what she’s loved about playing this character, as the season heads full force towards what sounds like an edge of your seat finale that will leave us all begging for Season 6!
It’s really nice to see how Charlotte has grown from minute one until now. Has that been fun to explore as an actress, playing this character that you can see has changed so drastically from when we met her?
Oh my god! Well, it’s certainly that I love to do. I think that’s always, you want to see a journey happen for this character, and that’s all this thing has been for me. [laughs] It’s never been a dull moment, certailny in the last two years. They have, the writers and Shonda, have created what they want this character to do in such a finessed way. It’s really unraveled beautifully and it’s been such fun. I know it seems like such a world, for the grand scale of things I’ve been able to explore as an actor, but really, at the end of the day, you want to do what you love and you want to have a good time doing it, and that is probably the greatest thing I can celebrate over the past 5 years. I have had so much fun being in the shoes of Charlotte King. You can’t get complacent for a second because I’ve been surprised by her so many times. It’s been wonderful. I mean, not every actor gets to do that, especially when they have had an extended, fortunate amount of time, on a series. When you do hit the ground running, and it continues, it’s not always as interesting for people as it’s gotten to be for me, and I don’t take that for granted at all. I’m very much in gratitude about the way they’ve allowed me to involve as a character in this woman. I love her and I love playing her!
I think one of the great things is the Charlotte and Mason bond that we’ve continued to see grow – do you think as Charlotte that it surprised her, the relationship that they were able to form, and will we see that continue this season?
I think it’s definitely surprising. Who in the world, especially after the way last year ended, who would have seen this coming? I sure didn’t, and I don’t think the audience did, either. For me, working through Charlotte, the thing that interested me was exploring the idea that I love Cooper so much and I see him in this boy. It felt very natural that the relationship would involve. Plus, PS, he’s like the most delicious, delightful human being that we’ve brought on the show. In that pint size form, that I’ve gotten to work with. I love him (Griffin Gluck) so much, and we have such a full, awesome cast of characters, for this young man to come in, and really blow everybody’s mind the way he’s done, it’s been wonderful and I’m super honored to get to work with him, because he is really just very free and very fluid, and he’s a real person, do you know what I mean? He’s a real kid, and he has fun, and he’s so well rounded, and he’s got great parents, and he’s a complete pleasure to be around, so I love it. And I know I have to be very prepared when I’m working with him because I know that I will always be surprised.
With the show moving to Tuesday nights, what can you talk about, what can you tease without giving too much away about what we can expect in these all new episodes?
I think the most interesting sort of tease I can give you is straight from the mouth of Shonda Rhimes, which is that something we’ve been building to since the show started, happens, and that for me, would be complete candy, if I was the audience and didn’t know what it was. You’re going to watch that simple truth happen right in front of your very eyes! It’s exciting, it’s exciting to see where that leaves the rest of the characters, sort of in the community of our hospital, and of our little office that we work on. It certainly has some dramatic changes, and true to Shonda’s skill-set, devastation is right around the corner! No matter what kind of joy you think you find, there’s always going to be something around the corner that kind of re-invents your world, so to speak, and I think you’re going to see that sort of unexpected thing popping up for different characters that certainly will change their lives forever; that happens.
I really like what the team – Shonda, the writers, you as actors – has done with what could have been such a contentious relationship with Charlotte and AJ’s character (Erica) – they spin it on the head, and give it a reason to bring the characters together. That’s I love about the show – that it surprises you in so many ways.
Oh I do too! It’s been so surprising and so perfect. By the way, how often do you really see me delve into relationships with women, especially talk about opposite sides of the track, so to speak, and it just makes perfect sense. It was really, it was a really refreshing story that they gave us because it does not at all go along with convention and I was very pleased, that they basically let this relationship between these two women really develop into a friendship, and a mission. They’re on a mission together. I think that’s very important. Any time I could act with AJ made me a happy girl. I loved working with her so much this year. It’s been a great year; she was such a surprise that I never saw coming. I think you’re exactly right, and I’m really glad you celebrate that with us. That surprised the heck of me, when I first heard of it, I thought, oh god, what is Charlotte going to do? And I thought, oh wow, this is what Charlotte did? Awesome! [laughs]
We put the call for questions out to fans, and the number one question that came in in droves – when are Charlotte and Cooper going to talk about or going have their own kids and do you think that the Mason situation has gotten them closer to that point?
Well, I think, the only person that can answer that is Shonda Rhimes, but I can tell you that I, KaDee Strickland, would love to see that happen. I think it would be so much fun. I think it’s a natural progression, and an obvious way that would no doubt be rampant with many obstacles and fascinating moments. I think there’s a world to explore in that. I, like the fans, would like tos ee it happen. When you love someone as much as these two characters love each other, I think it makes perfect sense, but we won’t know until Shonda says yes.
Has there been talk about Season 6 and where we go from here? Is Season 5 written as a cliffhanger and we’ll be clamoring for more?
It’s a total cliffhanger! Total cliffhanger!
That’s another great thing about Shonda and her team – the littlest cliffhanger on her shows – emotional, physical, you name it, they eat away at you all summer, and you can’t wait to get back to the shows!
She knows exactly how to pull people’s chains [laughs]. I mean, when I read it, I thought, “this show has to come back!” I want to know what’s next, and that’s a gift, and when you’re reading a script and you feel that way after 5 years of playing a character, that’s just heaven to me, so we’ll see! You know, we have very loyal fans, and I feel very, very sure that Tuesday is only a different day of the week; it’s not a death sentence for the show. I don’t believe that; I don’t believe we’d be asking that question, if it was happening, I know there’s a lot of sort of, idea, well, she’s already got two successful shows on the air, and SCANDAL did well, well of course! And David Kelley’s done it for years, and so has JJ Abrams, and the people at CSI. That’s what television is – when people have a real gift, and they develop other things, which really creative people always do, there’s no reason that there can’t be an abundant source going on for the audience. There is more than enough room on ABC to keep new shows and the shows that really work. We do work, and I feel very confident, personally, and that’s kind of the way I work. I wouldn’t ever come at it from a “oh I think we’re doomed!” That’s just silly to me. Our fans love us too much! I feel good about it!
PRIVATE PRACTICE takes up residence at 10/9c Tuesdays on ABC, after all new episodes of DANCING WITH THE STARS Results! Check out ABC’s site for more information about the show!