The fourth season DVD of ABC’s Private Practice goes on sale next Tuesday, September 13th. For those of you familiar with the series, you know that it can be a bit uneven, and at times, painful to watch. Yet, season four contains the award-winning “Did You Hear What Happened to Charlotte King?” and its aftermath, definitely one of the finest plots in the run of the show. Nay, on television last year. As such, this season, more than any other of Private Practice, is worth buying.
“Did You Hear What Happened to Charlotte King?” features a criminally insane man (Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s Nicholas Brendon) raping Charlotte (KaDee Strickland) in her office at the hospital. Charlotte struggles for many episodes after to come to terms with what happens, and to start to move past it. Her friends are also quite stricken by the entire situation, and it takes awhile for everyone to learn exactly what the man does to her. Later, he returns, causing trouble all over again as he reopens old wounds, barely begun to scab over. It’s a long arc, driven by some fantastic dramatic acting, and wonderfully realistic depictions of a heinous act. Strickland’s lack of Emmy nomination for the ordeal is unacceptable.
In fact, the best bonus feature of Private Practice: The Complete Fourth Season is a 13-minute special on the monumental episode. Called “An Inside Look: The Violation of Charlotte King,” it contains interviews with producers and actors, explaining how they struggle to make it seem real, and the reactions they have gotten about it. Paul Adelstein, in particular, describes his experience of filming the episode. Of course, KaDee Strickland has plenty to say, too. Others praise KaDee for the way she has gotten involved with RAINN since filming the emotional entry, and she gets teary speaking about it. It’s very clear the impact of this hour of television extends far beyond the episode itself.
The other bonus features are few, but rich. There are 12 deleted scenes from eight episodes. Practically every single one of them are actually character development material, often with emotional impact. These are not the standard castoffs that can be taken or leaven. It’s almost fifteen minutes of footage you will wish you had seen, and now can.
There is also a two minute and fifteen second blooper real, featuring screwed up lines and funny faces. This is less important, yet still entertaining.
Back to the plot itself, season four marks a lot of big change, ending in the ultimate closing of Oceanside Wellness, which is struggling financially. Naomi (Audra McDonald) spends much time out of town this year, and decides to quit the practice (and the series). Addison (Kate Walsh) deals with her mother, Bizzy’s (JoBeth Williams), marriage to a woman, and untimely death. Violet (Amy Brenneman) publishes her book, which causes a stir among her co-workers. Pete (Tim Daly) tries to accept Violet, now his wife. Orphaned Betsey (Hailey Sole) returns to tug a few more heart strings. Sam (Taye Diggs) tries to make a relationship work with Addison. Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) struggles with her alcoholism. And Sheldon (Brian Benben) searches for love.
While I would not recommend buying each season of Private Practice on DVD, season four is overall pretty worthy, so check it out. Private Practice: The Complete Fourth Season hits shelves on Tuesday, September 13th.