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Private Practice Review: "Did You Hear What Happened to Charlotte King?"

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Private Practice picked up right where last week's episode terrifyingly left off, and the immediate aftermath of what Charlotte endured was extremely difficult to digest.

The aptly-titled "Did You Hear What Happened to Charlotte King?" did not focus on her long road back from this tragic assault (we're sure that will be shown down the line).

Instead, it focused on the hours that followed, and the characters' different reactions to the events. It was almost like Law & Order: SVU, with events unfolding in real time.

The Devastation

KaDee Strickland was terrific as Charlotte in this powerful episode.

There was both a criminal aspect to the episode, as well as a medical one, but mostly it was about emotion. How the victim responds. How her fiancee, friends and doctors respond.

You might criticize Shonda Rhimes for pushing the envelope with such dramatic story lines, but it was compelling TV, thanks primarily to terrific performances by the entire cast.

We begin just minutes after Charlotte's rape, hearing her gasping breaths. She staggers into a supply room and when Pete finds her, we finally see her face. It's a stunning image.

Pete tends to her injuries, of which there are many. When he steps away, she makes a phone call that you knew would be to Addison. She's going to be her lifeline of sorts here.

It was typical of Pete to protect her, but only Addison can get through to her. Charlotte won't admit she's been raped, she's too strong. She doesn't even want Addison to say it.

Meanwhile, Sheldon is called down to the police station and asked evaluate Lee, a disturbed man who was brought in with blood on his clothes. You know where this is going.

The rest of the doctors are at a bar celebrating Cooper’s engagement. That party comes to the worst possible end when Violet comes by to deliver the news about Charlotte.

Cooper's an emotional guy anyway, but the weight of what happened and his alcohol consumption were a bad combination in this case, and he puts his fast through a wall.

After The Attack

Sheldon interviews a suspect as the police look on.

Typically for these two, Charlotte is somehow the one to comfort Cooper when he sees her. He loves her so much, he can't even bring himself to grasp that someone could do this.

Pete continues to treat his battered colleague and Addison makes little progress in getting her to admit the sexual assault took place. She's thrown up a wall. More like a fortress.

Probably the most intriguing part of the episode was the fact that Sheldon is oblivious to all that’s happened to Charlotte as he interviews Lee, the blood-covered criminal suspect.

Sheldon gets Lee to admit that he attacked and raped a woman, but he attacks Sheldon before he can get a name, and the cops are forced to pry him away. The interview is over.

Sheldon still has no idea that the woman Lee attacked was Charlotte.

Unless the victim comes forward, there will be nothing to charge him with and legally he will have to be set free. It's painful to watch, knowing Charlotte isn't about to come clean.

One thing she was able to do was show her face. Charlotte breaks down and insists she and Cooper go home. With the attack happening at the hospital itself, we can understand.

The stares from everyone as she walks down the hall hurt, but were unavoidable. KaDee was so good, and the pacing of the episode so perfect, it felt like we were there with her.

What will happen next? How will Cooper come to grips with what happened, and how will their relationship be affected going forward? Will the attacker be brought to justice?

Next week, appropriately, is called "What Happens Next." Tell us what you think will, and what you thought of last night's Private Practice, by commenting below.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (211 Votes)

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

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Pam it is the Ave Maria that played at the beginning of this episode

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@SerenaVDW You've missed my point. As a friend, I would hope you had enough smarts to know when to push and when to just be supportive. As a friend, I would hope that a instead of pushing a traumatized friend to confront something she is clearly not ready to confront and to further traumatize this friend - a rape victim, one would have enough sensitivity to know thatyour sense of right and wrong doesn't trump the wishes of your friend. Perhaps Addison could have done more to help Charlotte make the right decision. However, the decision isn't up to Addison, but rather Charlotte... the victim. To take further power away from someone who was powerless to defend herself against an incomprehensible violation would simply be wrong. If you truly disagree with this, then I hope you are never put in the same situation that Addison was put in. Either way, the story isn't over. This episode was about the aftermath. My understanding is the rape kit needs to be done within 24-48 hours. Who's to say someone isn't able to talk some sense into Charlotte before it's too late. I mean, Sheldon still doesn't know what happened to Charlotte so hasn't made the connection. Yes, in a perfect world, all women would have the strength to do the right thing after a rape. However, Charlotte, despite her hard exterior, is not a particularly strong woman. She's often hostile, defensive, and frankly, often quite bitchy, which are traits of a very insecure person - a woman who pushes others away before they can be given the chance to hurt her. Strong and confident women do not typically behave this way. Charlotte is only "strong" on the outside. She's in NA which means she was addicted to pills at some point. She's more about presenting a brave face than she is about facing her demons. As for Amelia's exchange with Charlotte, it was subtle and if you blinked, you might have missed it. However, to me, Amelia picked up on Charlotte's insistence to not take any pain medication and gave her an opening by reciting the NA line, an opening Charlotte accepted. Seems somewhat normal to me when you're trying to connect with someone who needs to be comforted. Had it been a complete stranger, it still would have made sense. You have to remember, NA/AA support groups are somewhat designed like a fraternity. Everyone's a part of the same family with the addiction being the common link. But yes, there was some creative storytelling, especially with Sheldon being the one called in to unknowingly deal with the attacker. It is a TV show, after all.

Misskitten

@SerenaVDW Amelia picked up on it by Charlotte's insistance not to have any drugs. She put two and two together. I didn't find it fake.

Serenavdw

So Amelia who is practically new to the show, therefore to Charlotte's life just blurts out that prayer from AA or NA and I'm not allowed to say the interaction seemed fake? Charlotte doesn't want the world to know she is weak but she is willing to share that she was a drug addict and bond over it with someone she barely knows? That seems weird. It feels like Shonda wanted to intertwine everyone's lives into this storyline. What's next? Naomi went to high school with the rapist? It feels forced. @Ken So you think being a friend means doing everything your friend tells you to do? Ade is a grown up womaN and knows that she should report the rape. Not only for the sake of potential victims, but for Charlotte's well being. They might have lost important evidence against the rapist. How do you think Charlotte will feel if he is roaming the streets freely? Sure, Charlotte would get mad at Ade but eventually she would fogive her (and if she didn't, still the important thing is getting that man behind bars). I just hope the police took some blood samples from the man's shirt (if he is the rapist, maybe there is a twist).

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I'm a regular Private Practice viewer, and I've been waiting for this episode to air since I read an interview by Kadee about her upcoming rape storyline. You see, I was raped by a stranger at knifepoint in a dark parking lot back in 1986 while I was in college. It was the most devastating moment in my life and although I've been healed from it, I know that I carry indelible emotional scars. So coming from a survivor's perspective, I offer this commentary. They got a lot of things right in this episode. The shock, the survival mode, wanting to protect your loved ones from the horror you just experienced, and the pain and terror of having to go through a pelvic exam after having just been raped. I was crying throughout this episode as they so vividly described what she was going through. It was very well acted by everyone and made it seem real. But like many other viewers, I was so disappointed that they would have Charlotte hide the rape from the police and everyone else except Addison - and that Addison didn't report it. I can understand not wanting the whole hospital and all her friends know, as I certainly didn't want the whole student body to know what happened to me. But the first thing I did was drive myself to the hospital, walk into the Emergency room, go up to the window and announce that I have to see a doctor because I've been raped. They then called the police, and I had to tell my story to several people that night. It was no fun having to relive it and retell it, but I knew it was the right thing to do. Of course they performed a rape kit on me and gathered the necessary evidence, and although the exam was painful physically and emotionally (I was a 21 yr. old virgin), I knew it had to be done. So for Charlotte, a DOCTOR, to not choose to do the right thing is just inexcusable writing. I know they're using it as a dramatic device for the ongoing storyline - but trust me, there is enough drama to contend with the rape without drumming up this irresponsible plot line. I know everyone reacts differently in different situations. I'm pretty certain that Shonda did her research and found that there are many rapes that go unreported. But a rape of a Doctor in a hospital? A doctor that knows how the justice system works chooses to not do the right thing? That is just too far fetched for me and so disappointing. The end of my story is so much better. The nest day, the police officer that was with me in the emergency room went to the location that I was raped and found a guy fitting my description on a park bench. When they asked him what he was doing there, he said he was drunk and sleeping it off. So they brought him into the station. He had a knife on him that fit my description. They brought a photo line up to me at my apartment and I was able to ID him and he was booked. So by this MIRACLE, this abhorrent criminal was behind bars the next day! The legal process was not fun to go through, especially when I was trying to stay in school and put my life back together. But I knew I had to do everything I could to put him away so that he couldn't harm anyone else. In the end, he pleaded guilty (because of the overwhelming evidence against him - due to my immediately reporting the crime and the rape kit), was sentenced to 12-15 years and he served 13 years. I could take comfort in knowing that my attacker was behind bars so I wasn't looking for his face in the crowd, and I took comfort in knowing he couldn't do this to anyone else for a long time. So I really wish that Shonda had written for Charlotte to do the right thing.

Addict666

this episode was astounding. the way that charlotte reacted fit her character so well and was just devastating to watch

Misskitten

@Ken you made some really, REALLY good points. Well done on your post. I actually think Shonda DID make a statement by not having Charlotte report the rape. She showed the consequence of it, which was how the police was unable to hold Lee, despite his bloody clothes and the admittance that he had raped a woman. A lot of women has said that taking that route with the characters, Shonda made them think more closely about what they would do in Charlotte's place. When show creators make episodes basically into a public statement, showing what is the desirable outcome, the episode becomes boring, predictable and has very little effect, but going the complete opposite direction, taking chances by showing a less desired outcome, the show creators challenge us to think. That's what Shonda did.

Snailly

@Ken Agree with everything you've said! This episode was very realistic, not easy to watch, but great and real!

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Great episode. Probably PP's best. It was heart-wrenching and went into many of the issues surrounding the attack and rape of women that most people, especially men, wouldn't typically consider. As for the criticisms others have posted, I think some of you are out to lunch. 1. Considering the percentage of women who do not report rapes, what Charlotte chose to do was more realistic. We don't just see her refuse to report the rape. We get some pretty good insights into why she's so adamant about not reporting it. Sorry it offends your sensibilities but any woman who goes through the trauma of a rape (as graphically as it was portrayed in this episode), you can imagine it would mess with your judgment. The show choosing to take this road isn't a statement to support for women who don't report rapes. It shows how a woman, barely hanging on, makes choices just to survive such an attack. Being an educated and powerful woman doesn't teach one how to psychologically handle such a unfathomable violation.
2. The NA quote exchange between the women was meant to explain why Charlotte was adamant about not taking any medication.
3. The person who said it was ridiculous that they didn't use a topical anaesthetic clearly wasn't paying attention. It was clearly stated that she was allergic to topical anaesthetics.
4. As for Addison not telling the police about the rape, she was there as a friend and support system, which is why Charlotte called her. She was NOT there to be a doctor. As a friend, what would you do? I would hope you would support your friend rather than dismiss her wishes after such a trauma, and just do whatever you yourself think is right.
5. Nobody knows she was raped except Charlotte, Addison and the rapist. At least for now.
6. The comment about where Charlotte hurt the most - to me, this was said sarcastically and angrily and not to be melodramatic. It fits with her personality.
7. As for educating the audience about what to do if you go through something like this, I hate it when shows do this. It summarizes the episode into a contrived public announcement, as if they designed the entire script so they can make a statement. This episode was so powerful, such a message would have ruined it. I swear, some of you with your comments have forgotten that these characters are supposed to be portrayals of actual human beings with emotions. All this talk about right and wrong regarding what Charlotte "should have" done completely removes the humanity from these characters. News flash. We are not watching robot characters who live in a world of absolutes. To construct a storyline that focusses simply on "the right thing to do" after a rape - one where Charlotte is coping, where Addison reports the rape to the police despite the pleas of a friend/colleague, where Cooper is strong for his woman - that would be lazy and sloppy storytelling and would have been wholly unrealistic. This was an episode about the aftermath of a rape and the physical and psychological trauma associated with it. This more realistic approach was meant to draw you in to empathize with the characters and all the emotions surrounding the attack on a loved on. I'm sure they'll delve into some of these other issues in upcoming episodes. Look beyond your crusades and just be human. Not every story dealing with real trauma is or should be reduced to an public educational announcement. Just a man's opinion.

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Can someone tell me what the piano piece is at the beginning of the episode "Did You Hear What Happened to Charlotte King?" It's so familiar it's killing me.