Fall TV Preview

Private Practice Season 5 Delivers Much Baby Drama, 'New' Faces and... Ghost Pete?

The doctors are back in when ABC’s Private Practice premieres its fifth season this Thursday at 10/9c. When last we checked in with Addison, Sam et al, Oceanside Wellness had dissolved itself in the wake of the medical board’s investigation into how privately (or not) they practice their medicine. That left Violet to embark on a book tour, relapsed Amelia deprived of her surgical privileges, and Ad set to flit off to Fiji with a mystery man.

Yet Addison didn’t flee. Instead, she returned to the office to announce her resolve to rebuild the practice anew, then she landed back in bed with Sam, where they tried to strike a balance over the differing wants. Pete meanwhile was blindsided by a heart attack, with only little Lucas to watch him flail on the living room floor. What’s next for the team? Here’s what we know.

BROKEN HEART(S) | Will someone (perhaps Cooper, above) arrive at Pete’s side in time to save his life? “We know that Shonda likes to use ghosts,” Taye Diggs allows, “so the ghost of Pete could come back.” While y’all have flashbacks to Denny Duquette, we’ll check in with Amy Brenneman on how the aftermath hits Violet. “It’s a big come-to-Jesus moment,” she says. “Violet is more fully committed than she’s ever been, but the shadow of mortality is making Pete be really honest and let out feelings that he hasn’t let out before, and there is a lot of anger.” Does he blame Violet? (Does she blame herself?) “Cooper and Sam say, ‘You didn’t cause it,’ but I do [feel guilt],'” says Brenneman. Adding salt to the wound: Vi doesn’t get wind of Pete’s scare “until he’s deep in the operating room and it looks like hes going to die.” All told, the Pete story “throws you right back into Private Practice in a really jam-packed way,” says KaDee Strickland, whose Charlotte makes it a point to be there for he who was there for her last winter. “And I mean that in a good way.”

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SO MUCH BABY DRAMA | As reiterated in the May finale, “Addison wants to have a baby and Sam doesn’t, but they’re going to try to have a relationship despite that fact,” says Kate Walsh. Being at such odds, with neither party yielding ground, “definitely creates conflict and strife,” says Walsh, “but we’re going to go for it.” (Asked how the duo rekindled their flame so suddenly, Diggs offers: “They have a love and passion that is undeniable. When something feels so good in the moment and in the near future… they fell into that pattern.”) Meanwhile, AddiSam is not the only couple tested by a family planning dilemma. “Cooper has been thinking about babies since he was a baby,” Strickland notes, “and Charlotte is very reticent, so I don’t think you’ve heard the last on that subject. I might have to practice a waddle, who knows? Only [series boss] Shonda [Rhimes] knows — and that’s the truth.”

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DOCTORS, HEAL THYSELF | Speaking of Violet, she’s been forced out of her profession, so “she’s figuring out who she is if she’s not working,” says Brenneman. “Shonda and I are both working mothers, and while we kind of go nuts without our work, we also go nuts if we get disconnected from our kids,. This is a big deal.” Not helping with the transition is Sheldon, who takes over Vi’s case load. “We don’t have the same opinions, but there’s nothing Violet can do,” Brenneman shrugs, “and that’s sad.” Worst case scenario: “Violet should become a crack whore for a while,” her portrayer quips. “I’m looking for my Emmy!” Similarly, Amelia is fated for “a downward spiral” in the wake of falling off the wagon and in turn losing her privileges at St. Ambrose. But Charlotte hasn’t abandoned her peer completely. “Amelia was such a fundamental part of Charlotte’s recovery, so naturally Charlotte has great concern and affection for her,” says Strickland. “So we’ll see what Amelia does — and that is all I’m tellin’ you!”

NEW GIRL (AND GUY) | As previously reported (and well teased), A.J. Langer (My So-Called Life, Eyes) is on board for a multi-episode arc as a woman from someone’s past. All eyes point to Cooper, but all Paul Adelstein will say is, “I do have scenes with her.” Benjamin Bratt meanwhile officially joins the cast when it’s revealed that Ad’s mystery man is Dr. Jake Riley, an IVF specialist who used to work out of St. Ambrose “but now is looking for a position somewhere else,” says the actor. Jake reentering Addison’s orbit creates “an obvious conflict,” Bratt says, “not just emotionally for her, but logistically… because her boyfriend knows nothing about this guy she had a coffee date with.” Is Jake sour that Ad flaked out on their getaway? Nah. “If I were a single man over 40 and I asked a woman to go to Fiji with me, and she bails at the last minute, I’m not going to be brokenhearted,” says Bratt. “I’m still going to go to Fiji and have my fun!”

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NEW FRIENDSHIPS | Walsh says that Addison will not only further bond with Amelia, but “you’ll see a friendship explored between her and Violet too.” Diggs meanwhile reveals that Sam and Jake are “basketball buddies” — well, at least for now.

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SHRINK FITS | If it sounds like Addison has a lot going on, what with the boyfriend/baby bartering, resurrecting the practice, juggling Jake and all, know that the therapist seen at the end of last season will become a recurring presence. “It’s a really cool device,” raves Walsh. “There’s this whole other piece of Addison that gets revealed in a way that has never been revealed before.” (With reporting by Vlada Gelman)