Private Practice's KaDee Strickland Previews a 'Raw' Moment, Eyes Charlotte's Own 'Alt Reality'

Back during Season 2 of ABC’s Private Practice (Thursdays at 10/9c), I was using words such as “shrill” and “steely” to describe Dr. Charlotte King, who at the time was but the chief of staff at St. Ambrose and a sometime thorn in Oceanside’s side.

My, how she’s grown.

“Who would have thought this would have been where Charlotte would go?” KaDee Strickland muses as she surveys her current storyline, in which Charlotte is helping husband Cooper (played by Paul Adelstein) deal with the life-threatening illness of his newly discovered son’s baby mama, Erica (A.J. Langer). “There were a few times [in early seasons] where Charlotte would get these glimmers [of softness] and Shonda would be like, ‘Nope, make her tough.’ And I was like, ‘Why is she doing that? There’s got to be some reason.'”

In retrospect, the actress deduces that show boss Shonda Rhimes “didn’t want to start in that direction until there was a real impetus – and we’ve had that impetus in the last two years,” starting with Charlotte’s rape. “So it really makes sense now. Yet again, Shonda Rhimes is very masterful!”

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Not that Charlotte still doesn’t have her own opinions – including her initial instinct that Mason should know how grave his mother’s condition is. “It puts me in a really interesting position, because while I have great compassion for [Erica], by the same token I am equally protective of this little boy,” Strickland says in character. “But I love that we’re exploring how you break that news to a child, because it’s something that so many people go through, and there’s no right way to do it. And yet when there’s a wrong way, it’s very evident.”

Of course when Langer first was cast on Private Practice, word got out that she’d be a woman from Cooper’s past, so the early speculation was that we were due for a traditionally soapy triangle. “And it would have been very easy to do that with Charlotte, making her territorial and all that stuff,” Strickland acknowledges. “But instead we’re doing a great exploration of what it is to really love someone and to support them, and not at the sacrifice of yourself.”

But even after several seasons of playing the “CharCoop” romance, Strickland marvels at how they not only came together but emerged as “the stable relationship” on the ABC drama, “which is kind of hilarious.”

“I’m a big believer in relationships and love and sticking it out with another person,” she continues. “And if I get to explore that on the show, it’s great, because it’s unexpected.”

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Speaking of relationships, Strickland has quickly formed one with her new “leading man,” 11-year-old Griffin Gluck. And that made a scene in this week’s episode especially difficult to work through, as a confused Mason acts out while under Charlotte’s care. “When we shot that, there were a lot of mothers on set, as there are, and those women all had a moment. Any mother that watches what happens between Charlotte and Mason will relate to that scene.”

Strickland admits that she herself was “panick-stricken” going into it, and afterward even “had to shake it off a bit. I haven’t seen the final edit so I don’t know how it all comes off, but that was not fun at all – because I am, as you can tell, a little attached to [Griffin]. He’s a pretty exceptional young man.”

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Next Thursday, the Erica storyline will take Langer, Strickland and Adelstein to Grey’s Anatomy‘s Seattle Grace, as part of a two-hour crossover event. The change of venue “was very helpful, because if Charlotte has ever felt out of place in a hospital, it was there,” her portrayer notes. “It was also fun to just surrender; she would never be this emotional if she had her own staff around.”

As directed by Allison Liddi-Brown, who helmed the rougher patches of Charlotte’s rape story, “It’s quite an episode,” Strickland promises. “You get to the raw point, which is that someone you love may not survive this. What do you do? And what does that look like?”

Speaking of Grey’s– and wrapping up our conversation on a lighter note – I brought up that show’s recent “alt reality” storyline, and invited Strickland to ponder what the ramifications might be for Charlotte had Addison stuck with Derek all these years and never made it to Oceanside Wellness. And she quickly ran with it.

“I wouldn’t have joined the practice, for one,” she started, “and we never would have had that fun ‘sexology’ moment, so we never would have known just how rotten Charlotte’s proclivities are.” Going further, she suggested that “Sam and Naomi would still be going to Catholic church, and their daughter might never have gotten pregnant.”

And what about Cooper? Would he still be cruising the dating scene? Mmm, not so fast. “I like to believe that we would have ended up together anyway,” Strickland offers, using words such as “destiny” and “fate” to describe the duo’s draw. “I just never would have cheated on him with Archer!”

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. fernando says:

    I dont know if I will watch the cross over, I just don’t like Grey’s any more I stopped about 2 or 3 seasons ago, it kept on repeating it’s stories and it just got old for me, I guess will have to record the first hour and skip past all the grey’s stuff and only see when the private practice crew is on.
    I love Kadee amazing actress, and was so snub an emmy for her rape story. I liked her since the show started.

    • Michelle says:

      Get rid of Erica and Mason. They are killing Private Practice.
      We don’t care about them. This will be the lowest rated crossover.
      It it too unreal a plot. Nobody believes this kind of story of a long lost kid with not one friend or relative in the world to care for him! Too phony balony.
      Erica and Mason are making a mockery of Private Practice. It is turning into a joke.

      • Jessica says:

        It is too late. Most of the season has been made and filmed by now. It is too late to save the show.
        I blame the producers. Fans have expressed their displeasure with Erica and Mason from the get go. The higher ups refused to listen to the fans. Now the ratings are dropping.
        They continued to shove Erica and Mason in our faces each week even as we begged them not too. I don’t blame fans for turning the channel.
        It’s a darn shame. I would have loved to see CharCoop with a baby of their own. Now we will never get that.

      • JT York says:

        To say this storyline is killing the show is quite a reach, and to say they are killing Private Practice is also quite a reach. Take a look around, there are other storylines going on and they do factor into the ratings TOO.

    • Kelly says:

      I don’t care for Erica and Mason taking over our show. I don ‘t want to see them on my tv anymore. Bring back CharCoop only scenes.
      The fans are dropping like flies.

      • Jennifer says:

        I can’t blame the fans for dropping like flies. I fast forward Ericka and Mason because I don’t like them. The problem is I love Charlotte and Cooper and now they are all about Ericka and Mason so I will not tune in for this crossover since it all about Eriicka and Mason. Why do these new recurring characters have more time and attention than KaDee?

    • Nicole says:

      I love Kadee
      I love Madonna’s new song American Pie
      I love the show Revenge
      I love CharCoop

    • Natalie says:

      Charlotte is AMAZING!
      Erika and Mason storyline is bad TV.
      It is too unreal of a story to be good TV.
      1. It doesn’t make sense for her to want to look up the loser who got her pregnant now if she didn’t want to do it back then.
      2. Why is Ericka so isolated from society that she has not one friend who cares about her or her son?
      3, Charlotte is to nice to this slut.
      4. Cooper is supposed to be A doctor. Why is he having unprotected sex with strangers? He should know better as a doctor.
      5 the kid is much older than eight.
      It’s not believable.
      I think the writers are smoking crack to pass this story.

    • Stacy says:

      It feels as if they’ve given up on this show and left it to the junior writers to have fun with. Shonda has more shows in the works. PPP is obviously not on her priority list.

      • Brittany says:

        It seems that shonda hates Charlotte and her fans. She seems to like Charlotte to be miserable along with her fans. Hopefully Charlotte and her fans will have a slice of happieness before the series finale. Good grief we deserve it after everything Charlotte has endured.

  2. Tracy says:

    Great piece! This was a good read before starting on my work this morning. I’ve been completely amazed with the Charlotte’s evolvement as a character and this storyline has been my favorite out of all the characters’ storylines this season. It’s wonderful to see how Charlotte and Cooper have become such a stable couple and really the two you want to root for. If there’s one thing Shonda’s done well, it’s writing the relationship of Charlotte and Cooper.

  3. Amy says:

    Thank you for the great interview/story Matt! I think a cool AU/PP episode would be had Addison/Mark stayed together, had their child and moved to California to start a practice and then see how all the characters would fit in :) I’m really look forward to the crossover, and love when Amelia comes by Seattle to see her brother, plus it’s nice to see some of the other PP characters have a chance to participate in the x/o besides Addison. Can’t wait to see it!

  4. Jen says:

    YUCK.This SL is really boring and they has been changed Charlotte too fast..the kid is annoying and right now we don’t have CharCoop’s scenes as a couple anymore..I only watch PPP for Charlotte and Cooper and right now is all about Mason/Erika and Cooper..NOT cool at all!

    • K says:

      It seems kind of silly to watch a show just for a single couple and then get angry when the other main characters (and there are many on PPP) also have story lines… I think the Mason/Erika/Coop storyline has EVERYTHING to do with Char and Coop, and it’s shown a different side to both of their characters anyhow.

      • WG says:

        Completely agree with the poster above me. It has EVERYTHING to do with Charlotte and Cooper. This storyline has been the ONLY one I’ve tolerated this season thus far. It’s compelling, it has its share of drama and it’s also character growth for Charlotte and Cooper.
        Would you rather see Charlotte and Cooper just be with each other and read the phone book every week? Or would you rather have a story where we get to see character growth for Charlotte and Cooper, both as individuals and as a couple.

  5. Missy says:

    I don’t like the Storyline is totally unreal..Charlotte accept the kid to real life a newlywed woman don’t take this situation that simple!

    • AJ says:

      What other choice does she have? He’s her husband, it’s his kid, there’s nothing she can do to argue that or change it. Like she said to Sam early this season – she married him, she agreed to weather what comes. If you really, truly love and support your partner, you bite the bullet and adjust to the situation, even if it’s not ideal, not comfortable, or not at all something you saw coming for yourself. That’s part of marriage.

  6. Tara says:

    I loved this interview with KaDee . I especially loved when she said Charlotte and Cooper would still be together in an ALT Universe. I love CharCoop. They are the only reason I watch Private Practice. I do think this storyline is very unrealistic. It doesn’t make sense that the woman AJ Langer plays has no family or friends to help her if she is dying. Even if she didn’t get along with her relatives she is dying people will usually rally and want to help you. So I can’t believe AJ Langer has no family or friends and the only solution is to look for a drunk one night stand from 10 years ago to leave her precious child with. uh-uh that does not fly. It is too fabricated to fall into place so easy for Cooper to get this kid.

    • AJ says:

      I would guess Erica’s motive for finding Mason’s dad now that she’s sick is less that she wanted this person to raise her kid because she has no one else, and more that she’s the only one who knows who his dad is, so if she’s dying, she needs to make that introduction, or it may never be made. Plus, it gives her the opportunity to get to know him as well, to see Mason get to know him, and to see if that’s someone she wants raising her kid. Cooper is the one who pushed for custody in the event of her death — which makes a certain amount of sense because he’s Mason’s dad and he’s a good guy and it’s a stable home.
      However, it is entirely possible for Erica to be, say, the only child of two only children, have both her parents have passed away, and not have any relatives nearby. And wouldn’t you rather risk finding the father of your kid and allowing that kid to stay in the area where he grew up, with his school, his friends, etc. than risk having him shipped off to a relative in another state, like Betsey was, and having to make that huge adjustment on top of having to deal with losing a parent?

  7. Lexie says:

    I LOVE CHARCOOP. I want more of them. This storyline is pulling Cooper away from Charlotte and putting Mason and Erica at the center of his life. Charlotte should be at the center of his life so I hate that they did this to them.

    • TARA says:

      I think it may be the way Adelstein is acting it. He is very soft and loving in scenes with Erica/Mason. He of blows Charlotte off like she’s not important in his like it is his and Erica’s kid and she should be out of it. It’s Cooper who is leaving Charlotte out of this. Erica has never been very nice to Charlotte. Charlotte is bending over backwards to accept Erica and Mason and they all treat her like she doesn’t matter.

      • WG says:

        They all treat her like she doesn’t matter? Where and when has that happened? Charlotte is embroiled in this story in a different fashion, as is Cooper. As for Cooper blowing off Charlotte? I don’t see where that’s happened.

      • AJ says:

        But it IS his and Erica’s kid, and they should be the primary decision-makers right now. Charlotte has done a very good job of being stepmom – being warm and caring and doing what she needs to, but not overstepping when it isn’t really her place. If Erica dies, which it’s looking likely that she will, then Charlotte will have to step in and be the mom figure, but right now, she shouldn’t be a decision-maker in their lives. And even from the slightly distant position where she’s put herself, she’s still been able to be very influential in how Cooper and Erica deal with the situation, nudging both of them into action when needed.
        I don’t think Cooper has blown Charlotte off at all — their conversations may revolve more around Mason and that whole situation now, but that’s their life right now. That’s the state of their marriage, it’s big issue right now. But we still see them talking to each other about it — really, truly communicating and supporting each other in a way they have only really been able to do in the last two seasons. This storyline has provided HUGE growth for both of them, and I think it’s been awesome to watch them navigate this with such grace and consideration for each other.

      • Erin says:

        Too bad for Charlotte. It is all her fault she is left out. She never wanted Cooper to have a kid. She married him knowing he loves kids but refused to give him a child. Now he finds this stranger who is willing to have his child when his own wife is too selfish to do it. It is her own fault she is left out. She could have gave him a child but is too selfish. She deserves it. She made her own bed here and she knows it that’s why she’s being so nice all the sudden. She knows Cooper will dump her ass in a second to be with his baby mama and son He is just waiting for her to do something wrong so he can be with his son and baby mama. He doesnt want the baby mama to die. He rather marry her since she gave him a child.

  8. Lisa says:

    CharCoop 4 Ever and Ever!!!! Kadee Rocks the show!!!!! More Kadee now!

  9. Liz says:

    For me this crap about Mason and Erika is just a waste of time..Erika is gonna die and the kid will get stuck with Cooper and Charlotte not gonna be the same with this kid in the middle..they are killing the magic of CharCoop

    • TJ says:

      And exactly HOW are they killing the magic? If anything, this story has allowed them to grow as a pairing. It’s not like Erica is breaking these two up. This story is two-fold. It’s allowing Cooper to be a father (something he’s always wanted to be) and it’s allowing Charlotte the time to get used to having a child in their lives, based off what she said to him in the first few episodes of Season 4.
      Perhaps the issue this all boils down to is the implication that this is Cooper’s kid and NOT Charlotte and Cooper’s kid. I’m wagering a guess that fans would be singing a different tune if this was a story about Charlotte and Cooper’s child. In the end, a story is a story. Some like it and some won’t. Me, I like it.

  10. Carol says:

    predictable SL = B O R I N G
    Where is the Charlotte we love?
    right now she is a shadow of this annoying SL

  11. Bianca says:

    I´ve recently made my own Private Practice marathon and watched all the episodes from season 1 and it´s amazing to notice how Charlotte and Cooper had grown as a couple and how everything make sense,including the “softer” Charlotte we see now. Keep doing the good work. love you all.

  12. Laura says:

    It looks like I’m not the only one who is NOT enjoying this Storyline..I used to get excited to go home and watch private practice..but right now like someone said is all about this kid and his mom..and yes the story is predictible and NOT realistic at can I leave my kid with someone that I just met just because he is the father..she doesn’t know what kind of man is Cooper,What if he is some creepy pedophile..Not real folks

  13. Ebony says:

    I love CharCoop. I think they are the best couple on the show. I hate this Cooper/Erica/Mason Arc. It is ruining the show. It’s unrealisitic. They act like Erica is family. They just met her. This is crap! Where is Erica’s family and friends? Has she lived in a bubble with Mason the past nine years? Does she conveniently not have a soul in the world she trusts who knows her son. Instead she leaves him with the drunk guy she didn’t even want to call and tell knocked her up. Now she trusts her child with him? Bogus Crap! Lazy daytime soap material. Except this is supposed to be primetime. It’s supposed to be more realistic and make sense. On daytime people expect this crap, not on Primetime. Is it any wonder this show is in jeopardy of being cancelled.

    • Allie says:

      I wouldn’t say they “just” met her — they’ve known about Mason for a good six months or so now, and Cooper clearly spends a lot of time with them. Cooper has earned her trust in that time – it’s not like she just showed up and said “This is your kid, I’m dying, bye,” and left. In the beginning she was anxious and cautious about leaving Mason w/ Cooper, but over time, they’ve earned that trust. And as Charlotte said a few episodes ago, Coooper *does* consider Erica family, and that’s a relationship they’ve been building up since the fall. Granted, that aspect has been largely offscreen, but I can’t imagine that people who are complaining this arc isn’t enough about CharCoop are going to complain that there hasn’t been more screen time with Erica and Cooper to justify their co-parenting relationship being based on a certain amount of trust at this point. You can’t have it both ways.
      And frankly, this is one of the most realistic arcs this show has had in a while, so I don’t know why we’re all so grumpy about it. Unless the problem is that we wanted to watch five years of Charlotte and Cooper boning in any office, bedroom, bathroom, or public place they can. But as for me? I’d rather see some actual real-life stuff for them, and this is very real.

  14. Kyra says:

    I hope they both (Erika/Mason) die..I don’t care about them..I’m just wasting my time every time I turn up my TV to watch this BS story about Mason and Erika..the ratings are not going pretty well and they are just risking with this SL that obviously the big part of the CharCoop fans don’t like!

    • TJ says:

      Last I checked, Private Practice is an ensemble show. If a show gets cancelled, it’s because of the writing of ALL the storylines, not one storyline alone.

  15. Jackie says:

    I am so far removed from this Erica mason story because it is too far contrived. I don’t buy it so me and my friends laugh at the way they act instead.
    We plan already to laugh at the scene of Cooper and Mason crying when Erica dies. We want to see how far they overact it. Cooper is a sissy daddy he is just like a woman not a father figure.
    Why does a beautiful smart lady like Charlotte want such a womanly man. Oh right her ex was gay. She must go for the feminine men.

    • Helen says:

      She is rich, intelligent, beautiful, Sexy lady
      She has two jobs..and she is married with an idiot like she said before..A baby boy who is trapped in a big body with the brain of a 5 year old kid..she deserves better..a prince charming not this wanna be man!

  16. WG says:

    So, what would you rather see them doing? Read the phone book to each other every week? Maybe bring in a woman from Cooper’s past and have a romantic triangle? Or just watch them do it like bunnies in every room of every place they go. This storyline was created to show character growth. Sometimes, in order to do that, other characters, recurring characters have to be introduced in order to facilitate character growth.

    • Natasha says:

      I would have liked to see them get pregnant instead of this Mason kid. I would like them to show more of Charlottes history. I would like them to do something involving her momma or brothers. I would have liked if it was Chatlottes nephew who was being left with them because her brother was sick and had no wife. There is much more they could have done that would have been better than this.

      • Liz says:

        I would like to see more of Charlotte’s siblings and mom
        and what about Cooper’s real parents..but not they needed to f*ck the thinks up with this spoiled brat!

  17. Mayra says:

    KaDee is such an awesome actress. Just love her.