Tonight on ABC’s Private Practice, it’s time to experience Charlotte’s POV — as static as it might seem, seeing as she is restricted to bed rest in the wake of delivering the first of her triplets. But being who she is, Charlotte will still crack the (figurative) whip at St. Ambrose, when she isn’t managing to trip the light fantastic while supine.
During a visit to TVLine’s Times Square offices, KaDee Strickland teased a surprise on tap for tonight, revealed how a “Crazy in Love” pop star helped Charlotte bust a move and pondered her Shonda Rhimes times past… and future?
TVLINE | How does it feel, doing this goodbye tour for the show?
Are you trying to make me cry? It’s incredible because it’s closure for me, in many ways. It won’t really be closure until January rolls around and I watch the finale — I’ll probably watch it a few times — but I certainly am grateful that I got to do this because, somehow, it helps me move forward.
TVLINE | Do you think the cast will have a finale viewing party of any kind?
We haven’t talked about that but it wouldn’t surprise me, if people are around. Tim Daly was unfortunately not able to come, because he was on the East Coast, but Audra [McDonald, Naomi] and Chris [Lowell, Dell] flew in for a cast dinner just before Thanksgiving. So, we all had our night together — dancing, dinner — and just whooped it up. You know it to the bone but when you break bread with these people and start talking about what’s happened in their lives since you started the show, you physically have evidence of how much a life has changed. I mean, Amy [Brenneman]’s son was 2. I bought a house. Paul [Adelstein] bought a house, and he’s got a daughter in his house now. Taye [Diggs] got a house, and he’s got a son. Caterina [Scorsone] got a house, she’s got a daughter now…. I mean, it’s all the sort of the stuff that dreams are made of, when you’re a professional actor. To go 111 episodes is such a huge milestone.
TVLINE | And it’s going out on such a high note. Paul’s episode was fantastic, and who’d have thought that one of the most romantic moments in the show’s history would go to Brian Benben?
It’s true; that gutted me. Sheldon has always been one of my favorite characters and I think Brian’s remarkable. I mean to watch him goof around and then go right into a scene is always something I can never get enough of.
TVLINE | So what’s the theme for the Charlotte episode?
Bed rest. It’s one of the most creative scripts, I think, because it’s also one of the most restrictive. We have four locations in the entire show. Most of them are in a NICU or in my hospital room. The other one is a dance floor, and then there’s one more surprise location — and it’s a surprise for Charlotte, so I won’t share it, but it’s a really lovely, lovely episode, in terms of what you’ve loved about the character for six seasons, every good and bad piece, showing its head in every moment. Plus it’s really fun in terms of the experience of having to portray something like that, when you are upside down at an angle, laying on your back most of the time. A lot of it takes place in voice-over, in my head, so not only are the dance sequences my imagination, but you hear my inner thoughts, too.
TVLINE | Speaking of the dance photos, one of our mutual Twitter followers suggested that you perhaps don’t have the best dance-floor moves…?
Well, I love to dance, but that doesn’t make me a dancer, and I was not experienced in these dances. There’s the tango, hip-hop, foxtrot, Bollywood, swing, tap… a little Martha Graham. It’s hilarious. These are not things that I have in my repertoire.
TVLINE | The hip-hop one may be my favorite, snapping the gum and all.
I watched a Beyonce video with Jay-Z in it, because I was trying to see male/female hip-hop dynamic, and I saw her popping gum and thought, “Oh, my God, I have to do that.” So in some takes it was full-blown bubble the whole time but I think they chose to go the other way.
TVLINE | Am I correct in predicting that Georgia — as in the episode title “Georgia on My Mind” — will be that first triplet’s name?
Oh, I don’t want to spoil your fun. You’ve got to watch!
TVLINE | Will all three of them have names by the end of the episode?
No. No. This episode is not the end of Charlotte’s pregnancy, by any stretch.
TVLINE | What can you say about the series finale (airing Jan. 22)?
You’ve got a lot of characters to wrap up, so there are a multitude of events that I think people will be surprised by and happy to see [including this wedding]. We also had the great fortune of having Audra come back, and it was like she never left, which was so beautiful. She walked on the set and we were like, “Oh, I’m sorry, you just racked up a bunch of Tonys. Don’t mind us.” [Laughs] That was hilarious to acknowledge, that this woman has continued to make history, a different history, while we were shooting the show. So it was great to have her back.
TVLINE | I asked Paul the flip side of this: What will you miss most about your “work husband”?
Being protected. I was very protected. He was very much a gentleman, especially in those early years. He always made sure that I was completely comfortable with a scene and that the crew was prepared to take care of me, because he treated me like he would want his wife treated on a set.
TVLINE | Did you grab anything from the set before wrapping?
I did. I took my Charlotte badge. And when [series creator] Shonda [Rhimes] came on the last day, I was like, “Who’s this person [in the ID photo]? Who is that?” Because it’s me with short bangs and all!
TVLINE | Are you going to miss having Shonda words coming out of your mouth?
I’m going to miss having Charlotte words coming out of my mouth. Certainly, when Shonda is at the helm of an episode, or Jennifer Cecil, or Barbie Kligman, there’s a real genuine articulation of that character that’s undeniable, and I am going to miss it. But who knows how long that’ll last? I mean, a girl could get hired again by this lady, if she’s lucky. Who knows?
TVLINE | “A girl could get hired again by this lady”? Is there a secret you’re keeping?
That’s not a secret I’m keeping. The truth is, I’m in a remarkably exciting time in my life. I’ve gotten very excited about what’s next for me and I’m not quite sure what that looks like just yet but it’s a wonderful thing to understand how fulfilling this kind of job can be and to live with a character for a period of time. It’s so vast and so present, the work that you have to do, that it’s exhausting and wonderful.