Due to the strike-shortened first season, it was difficult to tell if Private Practice would be able to get out of the shadow of the show it was spun from, Grey’s Anatomy. The same creative team was behind both shows, so the first season of PP looked and felt too much like GA. But thanks to the strike, the writers also had plenty of time to think about what they wanted season two to be. Would all the extra time lead to a sophomore season success or slump?
Private Practice follows the life of Dr. Addison Montgomery-Shepherd (Kate Walsh). After Addison was turned down for the Chief of Surgery position at Seattle Grace and her ex-husband, Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey), continued to chase after fellow doctor, Meredith Grey, Addison decided to make a change in her life. This change involved giving up her high-pressure surgical position and moving to sunny Los Angeles, California to work at a communal medical clinic where she would be lucky to see one patient a day. When she initially arrives at her new job she finds that her recently-divorced friend Naomi Bennett (Audra McDonald) has not told any of her colleagues that she has hired a new doctor to work at the practice. Thrown by this, they blame it on the tumultuous relationship between Naomi and her husband Sam Bennett (Taye Diggs), who also works at the practice. Other wacky characters that work at or around this clinic include Addison’s old boyfriend, Pete Wilder (Tim Daly), the alternative medicine doctor; Violet Turner (Amy Brenneman), an entirely neurotic and sensitive psychiatrist, who not only catches the eye of Pete but also is dealing with personal baggage herself; Cooper Freedman (Paul Adelstein), the hunky pediatrician/internet dating pervert who may or may not have romantic feelings for Violet; control freak Charlotte King (KaDee Strickland), the Chief of Staff at the closest real hospital, St. Ambrose and who Cooper meets on the internet for discreet sexual encounters; and (Chris Lowell), the part-time surfer, part-time receptionist for the clinic that all the female employees drool over.
The central storyline in season two revolves around the fact that Oceanside Wellness Center is not exactly in the best financial circumstances, and a new rival practice is trying to steal all of their clients. Addison does what she can to prevent the company from bankruptcy as the leader of the company, but she and the other doctors have their own issues to deal with this season. She has moved on from her attraction to Pete, and is looking for a new unavailable man, while her brother returns and her friendship with Naomi starts to grow apart. The main reason for that is because Naomi now finally moves on with her life away from Sam and starts to date Addison’s brother, Archer. Meanwhile, Sam starts to show more concern over Naomi as she is seen sneaking off quite often from the practice and hiding secrets from everyone. Sam also faces a malpractice suit. Violet becomes pregnant and doesn’t know if the father of the baby is Pete or Sheldon (Brian Benben). But both men want to be with her, which sets up our love triangle this season. Cooper becomes Violet’s best friend through all of this, and his “girlfriend” Charlotte is not happy about that since she is the one that developed this rival practice in the first place. Finally, Dell has to deal with his ex-girlfriend’s drug problems and finds out that he has a daughter.
The biggest change this season is definitely the shifting focus of the series. The writers were smart to not make Private Practice a Grey’s Anatomy copy-cat. So almost every episode in season two centers on ethical and moral issues within the medical world. They bring up issues like Autism and whether or not vaccinations cause it; sexual relationships between an adult woman and a young teenage boy; accidental switching of embryos; physician-assisted suicide and siblings who have sex with each other, among others. There were definitely some engaging medical stories during this season. The biggest negative, though, is that not everyone gets their time to shine. Sam’s character seemed almost like an afterthought and at times so does Dell. Also, the writers don’t seem to want any of the characters to be happy for a second. That’s a shame, since all of the main cast of characters are interesting and likable or unlikable. The acting is still its strongest trait.
The second season of Private Practice definitely created its own identity, even though certain storylines did seem similar to Grey’s, especially the personal ones. And with the great cliffhanger finale as well, things look good for season three. Now if the writers could only balance the drama and have the characters find happiness. This could be the next great dramatic television series and might even overtake Grey’s Anatomy one day.
Episode 1 – A Family Thing
The practice finds itself debating major ethical questions this week as the doctors of Oceanside Wellness take on patients with serious issues Addison finds herself facing a crisis of conscience when a pregnant mother, whose 8-year-old son is dying of leukemia, wants to induce premature labor to harvest the cord blood. Then there is Cooper, whose 14-year-old patient confidentially tells him he’s ready to have sex… unfortunately, his parents chose to keep his HIV status a secret, even from him. Meanwhile, Naomi reveals a disturbing development to Addison.
Episode 2 – Equal and Opposite
Addison and Sam work to bring the practice out of bankruptcy, as all of the doctors look for additional clients and new income streams. Violet’s friendship with Cooper is on the brink. A young couple is having difficult conceiving a child. In the process of getting help with this, a discovery is made that the couple are half-sibs.
Episode 3 – Nothing to Talk About
As Addison’s relationship with Kevin (David Sutcliffe) heats up, Charlotte tries to lure her to St. Ambrose Hospital with promises of surgeries. Meanwhile, Sam questions his ability to keep Oceanside Wellness afloat.
Episode 4 – Past Tense
Sam and Naomi are against each other to lead the practice with unexpected results. Addison treats a girl trying to hide her past while Cooper has a dilemma of his own affecting his professional career.
Episode 5 – Let It Go
Violet must choose whether or not to break the law for a friend, while Addison’s choices as leader of the practice may place Oceanside in peril.
Episode 6 – Serving Two Masters
Addison treats two pregnant women who unwittingly share the same husband; Violet confronts Charlotte about her liaison with Cooper; Dell reveals a special woman in his life.
Episode 7 – Tempting Faith
Addison’s brother makes a surprise visit, causing trouble for her, Sam and Naomi; Meg comes back to try and make it work with Pete; a patient accused of a crime angers Violet and Dell.
Episode 8 – Crime and Punishment
Addison and Charlotte work together to save the life of a pregnant woman in a coma and her unborn child. Meg, clashes with members of the Oceanside staff when she begins seeing patients there. Violet seeks Kevin’s advice when a patient is suspected of murdering his wife.
Episode 9 – Know When to Fold
Charlotte’s rival practice, Pacific Wellcare, opens its doors and the competition with Oceanside Wellness begins. Sam and Pete steal one of their clients. Addison’s favorite patient goes to a the new practice for a second opinion. Dell proposes the creation of an in-house adoption program.
Episode 10 – Worlds Apart
Pete’s girlfriend, Meg, returns to Los Angeles and notices that Pete and Violet are considerably closer. Kevin questions the direction he and Addison are headed in as a couple Cooper treats a young diabetic boy with a mysterious past. Charlotte and her team of Pacific Wellcare doctors continue to siphon business away from Oceanside Wellness.
Episode 11 – Contamination
A measles outbreak forces Oceanside into quarantine lockdown, while Naomi pressures Addison into helping her Pacific Wellcare rival, Wyatt, on a case.
Episode 12 – Homeward Bound
Addison is attracted to Wyatt, the rival practice’s brash doctor, while Violet secretly dates Pete and Sheldon at the same time, and Cooper gets closer to Charlotte in a family emergency.
Episode 13 – Nothing to Fear
Violet discovers she’s pregnant but doesn’t know who’s the father. Addison feels guilty after her kiss with Wyatt. Sam and Pete are ask by a friend to help him die, while Charlotte proposes to Cooper.
Episode 14 – Second Chances
Archer causes problems between Addison and Naomi, after he moves to LA to work at Pacific Wellcare. Meanwhile, Cooper tries to help Violet talk to both Pete and Sheldon about her pregnancy.
Episode 15 – Acceptance
When Archer suffers a seizure, Addison and Naomi, search for a cause and a cure. They have to even call Derek for help. Meanwhile, Violet tells about the pregnancy to Sheldon and Pete, while Cooper is left to take care of a seven year-old abandoned patient.
Episode 16 – Ex-Life
Bailey and Naomi try to discover why Sam has a sudden asthma attack while Addison helps Derek save the life of his pregnant patient. Pete, Violet and Coop tend to a mother with post partum psychosis who tried to kill her baby.
Episode 17 – Wait and See
Archer and Naomi grow romantically closer, while Addison suspects her brother is up to his old tricks again.
Episode 18 – Finishing
Addison starts flirting with a colleague at St. Ambrose Hospital. Meanwhile Sheldon and Pete try to convince Violet to take a paternity test to see who the father is.
Episode 19 – What Women Want
Dell is dealing with the absence of his daughter since his ex moved for a new job. Cooper has to give devasting news to a cancer patient. Meanwhile Addison and Violet have to help a psych patient who lost her baby to go under surgery, and Sam and Addison find themselves restraining their feelings towards their impossible loved ones.
Episode 20 – Do the Right Thing
Addison is having a difficult time dealing with her feeling for Dr. Noah and Violet starts getting jealous when she finds out that Pete is going out with a single mother.
Episode 21 – What You Do for Love
Sam starts to reconsider his friendship with Naomi and Addison with Noah’s help try to save a pregnant woman with heart problems. Meanwhile, Pete’s relationship with Lisa gets complicated with Violet’s pregnancy.
Episode 22 – Yours, Mine and Ours
Violet comes to the point of having to choose between Pete and Sheldon. Dell gets concerned for his daughter when Heather comes back into town all drugged up. Meanwhile, Naomi must decide if it´s in her best interest to stay in the practice at Oceanside Wellness. Katie, Violet’s patient, comes to the doctor’s home and says that Violet’s baby is hers. Then Cooper is right at the door when Charlotte calls and tells him that she got fired.
With an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which is enhanced for 16×9 TVs, the transfer maintains generally bright colors throughout. The audio is presented in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound with optional subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.
“Patient Confidentiality: Examining Season 2” Featurette –
This runs 12 minutes and Creator/Executive Producer Shonda Rhimes and Executive Betsy Beers talk about wanting to focus on the moral and ethical dilemma of doctors for Season 2. Various cast members also tell us their thoughts on the season two storylines.
“Life Through the Lens: The Pictures of Chris Lowell” Featurette – This runs 8 minutes and Chris Lowell, who plays William “Dell” Parker, showcases his photography. He talks about his inspirations and the other cast members talk about how he is a talented photographer. Fairly entertaining and interesting.
Extended Episodes –
There are two extended episodes with some of these scenes thrown back in. The first episode is Episode 2-8 called “Crime and Punishment”. There is about 10 more minutes added to this episode. The second episode is Episode 2-13 called “Nothing to Fear”. There is 20 minutes more of this episode. It’s difficult to pick out what has been added back in for these episodes, but nothing really feels like “filler” either. So that’s always good.
Deleted Scenes –
There are 14 scenes that didn’t make the final cut of the season with optional audio commentary by Creator/Executive Producer Shondra Rhimes and Executive Producer Betsy Beers. Nothing must-watch here.
This is four minutes worth of bloopers and gags from filming the second season. Not that amusing, despite being bloopers.
This is one of the rare times where the second season of a television show is better than the first season. Private Practice is well on its way to breaking free of Grey’s Anatomy shadow.
ABC Studios Home Entertainment presents Private Practice: Season 2. Created by Shonda Rhimes. Starring Kate Walsh, Tim Daly, Taye Diggs, KaDee Strickland, Paul Adelstein, Amy Brennerman, Audra McDonald, Chris Lowell, David Sutcliffe, Brian Benben, and Grant Show. Running time: 902 minutes. Rated: NOT RATED. Released on DVD: September 15, 2009. Available at Amazon.com
Tags: Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Reviews