Shonda Rhimes has resurrected a bit of Private Practice by bringing Grey’s Anatomy doc Derek Shepherd’s recovering addict sister Amelia back to Seattle. As Caterina Scorsone‘s recurring run continues this Thursday (ABC, 9/8c), Amelia will back pocket her loyalty to Addison to consider joining Team Meredith, reveal some truths about her complicated personal life and, yes, work some medical magic. Here, Scorsone previews all that and an “explosive” season finale.
TVLINE | How did this return come about? What were you up to when you got the call?
I’d been talking to Shonda [Rhimes] on and off ever since Private Practice ended — I love her and we have a great relationship. She has always liked the character of Amelia, so it was kind of always in the back of I think both of our minds that it would be possible that Amelia would come over. But in between Private Practice and now, two big things happened. One, I did a sort of action movie, The November Man, with Pierce Brosnan, and I had my baby, so I’ve been home with her breastfeeding in between. That’s pretty much what I was doing in the interim.
TVLINE | What did Shonda tell you up front about the “why” of Amelia’s return, what she wanted to do with you this time around?
She stays very tight-lipped, as you know, so all she told me was that Amelia would come to Seattle and there would be stuff with Derek and the babies, and that she was “mulling.” That’s a key term for her, she was like, “I’m mulling…. I’m not sure exactly where it’s going to go, but I’m mulling.”
TVLINE | From those first couple scenes, Amelia almost seems a little bipolar. I mean, she arrives all chipper and by the end of the episode she’s ready to “check out.”
Well, I think if anyone has experienced spending an entire day with two small children, it can make anybody feel bipolar. You’re laughing and thrilled one minute and close to tears the next. It’s a long day with toddlers.
TVLINE | I was looking at my first interview with you, from 2010, and I asked you for three words to describe Amelia. You said “wild card,” “black sheep” and “lovable.” Do all of those still apply?
Absolutely. I think now she’s also got some wisdom that comes with pain.
TVLINE | And maybe now she’s more of a “gray” sheep.
She may be more of a gray sheep. I mean, it’s all contained within her.
TVLINE | Is she still battling any demons?
Absolutely. Amelia is not an uncomplicated character. She’s endured enough traumas that she’ll be working it out for the rest of her life. So, I’m sure there’s plenty to plumb in the coming episodes.
TVLINE | Tell me about the case that Derek and Amelia work on in this week’s episode.
It’s a very complicated neurology case involving conjoined twins, so we need two neurosurgeons working in tandem, because you’ve got two brains as one. Luckily, both Shepherd siblings are brilliant neurosurgeons.
TVLINE | And then in the May 8 episode, Meredith becomes privy to Amelia’s true feelings about being in Seattle. Is there more to what’s going on with James (played on Private Practice by Matt Long) than we’ve heard thus far?
Again, I think like everything in Amelia’s life is a complicated situation. One of the nice things that starts to happen in the next episode is there starts to be a bit of a bond formed between Amelia and Meredith. Amelia was always very, very close to Addison, Derek’s ex-wife, so she hasn’t really had an opportunity to get close to Meredith – it was almost like a “conflict of interest.” But as it turns out, Derek knows how to pick them, so she starts getting closer to Meredith.
TVLINE | What can you tease about the May 15 season finale? We know that there’s some sort of terrorist event that floods the hospital with patients.
Yes, it’s an explosive episode. It’s going to be “all hands on deck,” absolutely. It’s chaos. It’s Shondaland!
TVLINE | Do you think Shonda might want you back for, at the very least, the start of Season 11?
I sure hope so. To the very last second, we don’t know what’s happening as the actors on the front line. But there are so many complicated aspects to where this story could go in the future. I would absolutely be game to play in this world as long as she wanted me there.
TVLINE | By then, maybe Amelia will be single and ready to mingle?
Who knows. We’ll have to find out. Whatever happens, there will be drama!