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DVD Review: Private Practice – The Complete Fourth Season

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Private Practice Season 4 comes to DVD on September 13th, and this is one of the biggest seasons yet. I’ve enjoyed the show over its previous three seasons, as the drama and conflict keeps getting better and better. But Season 4 brings about one of the biggest, well written, acted and executed dramatic moments I’ve seen in a long time. No matter whom you are, this event should hit you to the core, as it did to me.

Addison is faced with one of her biggest battles yet, as she works to save her Mother’s partner Susan. Failure to save Susan could mean the end of Addison and Bizzy’s relationship, for what little they had. But when a blood clot forms in her lung after a surgery, Susan dies. It was at this point I knew there was no mend for Addison and Bizzy, and she would be forced to deal with the consequences of a medical event in which she had no control. It is a sad moment for me as you can almost feel the pain, especially when you know Addison deep down truly wanted to have a relationship with her mother.

The situation is further made worse when Bizzy later commits suicide. This was a very sad moment in the series. For me it was heart wrenching moment. Addison is forced to leave the practice and return to Connecticut for her mother’s funeral.

Amelia Shepherd also has her own major moment of drama this season that I wasn’t expecting. After being fresh and clean for so long, she does one of the worst things any doctor can do. She scrubs in and performs a surgery on a person, all while drunk. Charlotte tries to help Amelia, getting her to go to AA meetings in which she skips, and all but fails to stop drinking. When Charlotte later discovers the surgery had been performed, she revokes all of Amelia’s medical privileges. I was completely shocked to see Amelia relapse and I hope she can end up getting the help she needs.

Another shocker this season is the lawsuit against Violet. This is totally unprecedented. A patient claims Violet’s book has violated doctor-patient confidentiality, but all becomes calm when the lawsuit is dropped. At least I thought we might be in the clear as the next big shocker hits. Now an investigation begins as to whether or not Violet’s license should be suspended. This was a completely surprise as it catapulted further down the line. Before the season wraps, Violet’s license is suspended for six months, and all of Oceanside Wellness is being investigated. This was, without a doubt, one of the biggest twists this season.

With all of this drama though, I feel one moment stands out above all, and defines this season. It was one of the most emotionally felt, upsetting moments I’ve encountered in a TV show for quite a while. It is the pivotal moment that shows the true skill of everyone involved in the production of this show and the actor’s true abilities. The award winning episode, “Did You Hear What Happened to Charlotte King?” is one of the best episodes, not of the season, but of the entire series. And the story arc that comes out of it is one of the best I’ve seen in TV history.

The story focuses on the very important subject of rape, the aftermath, dealing with it both physically and emotionally, and what you should and should not do in the aftermath All of it is well explored and presented by the writers, the cast, but most importantly, by actress KaDee Strickland’s moving and inspiring performance. It is a performance and story line, well deserving of praise and the awards the episode received. This single story arc was the best Private Practice has ever offered to us, and has raised the bar on drama.

Every episode after explores Charlotte’s struggle with the rape and eventually culminates in a climactic face off; when she comes face to face with not only her fears, but with the man who raped her. If you were like me and not much of Charlotte King fan, this will make you a fan. I went from not being too fond of the character to loving her.

The three bonus features presented in this DVD set are all very short, and there isn’t much.  I’ll begin with what I feel is the lesser of the three bonus features.  The deleted scenes are just that, deleted.  Generally when scenes are deleted from movies and TV shows, they are removed because they don’t add anything to the story line, and removing them will have no affect on the final product.  This is definitely the case here.  These scenes add absolutely nothing to the story nor did they detract from it by being removed.  If anything, their removal was a good choice and helped to progress the stories of various episodes along.  Though a couple of them did have some funny moments, particularly one where Charlotte tells Violet to make coffee and tells Sheldon he’s hovering around like a fly at a barbeque.

The second set of bonus features is the bloopers reel.  This is a very short and sweet blooper reel that I felt could have been longer and had more laughs.  I did enjoy watching it, but being a few short minutes made it go by too quickly.  An opportunity for some good laughs was passed up here.

Lastly there is a short piece called “An Inside Look: The Violation Of Charlotte King.”; An extremely well done bonus feature that stands out amongst the rest.  It explores what the writers and actress KaDee Strickland had to do to prepare for the episode, “Did You Hear What Happened to Charlotte King?”  It is an excellent piece that I enjoyed immensely and will simply make you respect the writers and acting talents of the entire cast even more.   

Private Practice season 4 pleases in every way possible, but leaves us in a cliffhanger ending that is so unexpected I was dumbfounded. One of the best seasons yet for Private Practice, I only hope the series continues to grow as it has and get better and better. If you haven’t seen season 4 yet, now is your chance to own it on DVD. This is a great DVD set for fans and newcomers to help them catch up for season 5. All the drama of Oceanside Wellness is yours to watch September 13th.

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  • I agree, this was a stunning season and actress KaDee Strickland was superb in her role. I was surprised by the cliffhanger, obviously, but I was glad that the resolution of the company woes meant that the team would be kept together. I didn’t see how the series would work with them being dispersed all over the place.