Huge Private Practice Spoilers: Major Character Will Be Raped

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Wow. Shonda Rhimes wasn't kidding when she teased that tragedy was coming to Private Practice - a series hardly a stranger to dark story lines already - in the next few weeks.

Now it's out of the bag: A major character is going to be raped.

We know who it is, too, courtesy of the long interview the actress just gave to Entertainment Weekly. If you have a weak stomach and/or want to be surprised, turn back now.

If not, proceed for the shocking details ...

Charlotte will be attacked and raped by a deranged patient October 28.

The vicious attack, perpetrated by a patient played by former Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Nicholas Brendon, kicks off a season-long storyline that, not surprisingly, will touch every character on the show in one way or another.

Charlotte After the Attack

“A lot of violence against women on television is from the point of view of law enforcement,” says executive producer Rhimes, “as opposed to standing in the shoes of the actual victim and seeing how it is for them and the people around them.”

To that end, the November 4 episode will be unlike any previous hour of Private Practice in that it will revolve solely around the immediate aftermath of the attack on Charlotte.

“It takes place all in one night, and it’s [set] almost entirely in the hospital,” reveals Rhimes, who penned the episode. “And there’s almost no music. It’s a fairly silent episode. It’s a compelling, painful episode. The work KaDee did in it was amazing.”

Speaking of KaDee Strickland, here are portions of her Q&A with EW ...

On how she responded to the idea when pitched to her: "I was thrilled. I was so on board. It’s funny, we were at a table read and I gave Shonda my usual hug and 'what’s up?' and she said, 'I’m going to do something with your character this season and it’s huge and you’ll know soon.' And I’m like, 'Are you kidding me?' Once she saw the look on my face she said, 'We are going to have Charlotte be raped this season. Are you okay with that?' And my response was, 'Hell, yes. Let’s do it. Let’s go. I’m in.'"

"There’s something wonderful about playing a character for four years and then have her completely turned on her head. Creatively, it’s a real gift for an actor. I also knew that this would reach so many people who have either experienced it or have been close to people who have experienced it. The only thing I said was that we have to get it right. Shonda was totally on board with that."

"It was amazing. It’s a page-turner. It doesn’t feel like our show, and I don’t say that with any negativity toward our show. It almost feels like a movie in some ways."

On how this differs from other TV rape stories: "Shonda poured her heart and soul into getting it as accurate as possible. And it is. I mean, it’s legitimately very accurate. We worked very closely with RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) on this."

"Also, we in no way are going to let this thing just go away in four episodes. Charlotte will be living with this for as long as she’s a character on Private Practice."

Over the past three seasons, Charlotte has been slowly tearing down the walls she built up around her. She’s less closed off than she was in the beginning. Is she going to revert back to old Charlotte now?

On not using a stunt double for the attack itself: "No way. I wasn’t letting anybody else step into those shoes. I would’ve been heartbroken if anyone suggested it. We had a great stunt coordinator, and we gave [Nicholas Brendon] full permission to go for it. I didn’t want to act around it and play around with it. I wanted make it as realistic as possible."

"I definitely wasn’t unscathed. And I don’t think [Nicholas] was either. Let’s just say that the day after, the makeup artists had a few legitimate bruises to cover up."

On the impact on Charlotte and Cooper’s wedding plans: "Derailing things with something like this is a lot more interesting than [one of us having] an affair or [getting] cold feet. This is very real. Do I think the wedding is off? I don’t. I think that you’re going to see Charlotte and Cooper as you’ve never seen them before. Charlotte leans into Cooper in a way that I don’t think she has ever in the history of the show."

What do you think? Are you looking forward to watching the drama unfold in this story, tragic and unsettling as it may be? Is Shonda pushing things too far? Discuss below.

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.


I'm a little confused right now. Will we actually see the rape happen or will the epi start with this clip?
I would hate to skip a few minutes, but I can't deal with rape scenes... But I can totally see why KaDee is excited. She's an actress and she now has the opportunity to do something new with her character and I'm looking forward to see how Charlotte will handle this (and Cooper!).


I think while its commmendable that the show is aiming to portray a realistic depiction of a rape victim, I think its somewhat frustrating because it propogates the popular image of the rapist being a disturbed stranger when stats show that approximately 75% of rapes are committed by people know to the victim. Once again the fear of 'dark alley' stranger rapist will dominate portrayal of rape on TV.


I think they are going in a great direction with the show. I enjoy a real story line. It will be great and encouraging to women (and men) who have experienced this very same heartbreaking, horrible act. Hopefully they will show how she gets through it and to attack the hearts of everyone who does not understand what it is like. People need to know so that they can understand those who have been through this ordeal. The fact that people don't want to see this sort of thing makes me think that they are ignorant to reality. It is sad, but it can also bring light and support to those who have suffered. Right on Private Practice!


I don't understand why everyone thinks this is so bad for the show. Compared to Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice has been way more interesting. The actors are great and the show never ceizes to amaze me. For a spin off show, id say it's been excellent. Topics like rape, death, aids, and even the issue with Betsy...these are all things that can actually happen in real life. Charlotte is a stron character and has a lot of supressed issues which infact don't make her the stable person she thinks she is. All of what is happening to her will help her open up more to Cooper and she will get through it. Private Practice is not a family show like 7th Heaven. It's a dramatic sitcom. You all need to get over it.


I am so disappoinetd that they're going in this direction. Reading this and seeing the end of this week's show was enough to make me stop watching. I do not want to see a known and beloved cahracter of 4 years suffer this. Realizing these are dramas, I still believe many television shows have pushed the envelope too far on this topic. This is too upsetting--replacing shock and awe with drama and actual storylines is the first sign of the end of a good show.


I'm DONE-to me the show went off the air last night. If I want to be depressed with all the bad things in the world like Rape, Death and people who turn their backs on small children-I can watch the news. There are so many things that they could have done to stir things up, like letting some of the characters actually be HAPPY!!!! I just hope they loose enough viewers that they feel the impact.


Wow - I'm surprised at all the negative comments about characters at the practice not wanting to take in Betsy. To me, it was a very realistic decision, especially on such short notice. To take in someone's child -- who has emotional problems, according to this episode -- is a huge commitment, and not one taken without some time to consider it carefully. It would be difficult for one of them to do so without stepping down to a part-time position, and hiring a caregiver for the child when they must be at work. The person I blamed was the aunt, a blood relative, who simply dropped the child off at the medical office and walked away. In my view, she should be charged with child abandonment. I can't imagine doing that to one of my nieces or nephews.


I don't mind a few episodes of a character dealing with trauma, but the whole season??? Sorry it's dragging it out too much, kind of like a soap opera. But they are good with giving each character a few min here and there in the spotlight. I think they are still copying Grey's storylines. Hello, last season, a patient's husband goes out for revenge on the hospital for the death of his wife, and now a patient goes crazy on Charlotte? Hopefully this will soften Charlotte to not be such a tough cookie, she finally soften up a bit, and now this! And I agree, it's too bad that others couldn't take Betsy, and Violet and Addi so wanted to but didn't get pete and sam to go on board, what a shame.


What's interesting to me about the Betsey episode is that Addison didn't immediately step up to take the little girl. Hasn't she wanted a child all along? Isn't that one of the main things we know about the character? I'm a little baffled at the writing this time. No one had the heart to take the child of a friend in...that's crazy. Anyway...I can definitely seeing this next episode's story line opening up old wounds for Violet. It'll be interesting to see how it could possible affect hers and Charlotte's way of relating to each other and possible how she helps Charlotte deal with what happens to her.


why such a huge spoiler?

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Private Practice Quotes

Having a conscience is brutal.


Lucas's mom is amazing.


Private Practice Music

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Song Lost The Mary Onettes
Down in the valley Down In The Valley The Broken West iTunes
Song Message From Yuz The Switches