Tim Daly Discusses Private Practice, Character Development

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Private Practice prescribed growth for Pete Wilder in Season Two.

Originally introduced as a cocky bad boy for Addy to lust after, Tim Daly's character has since been revealed to have a noble past with Doctors Without Borders.

What's more, when a fling with Violet Turner (Amy Brenneman) caught fire and resulted in her pregnancy, Pete even stepped up to profess his paternal leanings.

Tim Daly chatted with TV Guide this week, reflecting on his character's evolution, as well as wish for Wilder days ahead when the series returns in September.

Q: When we spoke at the start of Season Two, you had certain hopes for Pete's trajectory. How satisfied were you with how things actually played out?

Tim Daly: I was pretty happy. He remains rather mysterious, and he seems to be vacillating between being a lothario and someone who wants to have a more meaningful relationship.

We left him making a strong play for Violet, and in a very earnest way. I'm not sure where he's going to wind up, but... I'm still interested in him. It's funny - I like the character a lot, and usually when I like someone I wish them smooth sailing. But as an actor I hope that Season 3 offers nothing but trouble for Pete. It's so much more fun when you have something going through a lot of s--t.

Pete and Violet Pic

Q: Did you fear that a Pete-Violet hook-up would be a tough sell?

Tim Daly: You know, I didn't really think of it that way. I thought that Pete and Violet were oddly good together ...

Q: Which we quickly saw. But the way they were abruptly thrown together, sometimes that can backfire on a story.

Tim Daly: Yeah, but I like working with Amy [Brenneman] so much, I thought we should just let it rip and see what happens. So far, it's good. Again, relationships on television played out over a long period of time are only good when there are tons of problems, and clearly they have some coming up. I also feel there's an inevitability to Pete and Addison at some point getting together. So many fans continue to reference that to me, so... we'll see.

Q: Did you in fact have an issue with the message that the Pete-Violet-Sheldon/"two possible dads" story was sending? When I spoke to your longtime friend Amy Brenneman, she dismissed it as your "ego" talking.

Tim Daly: Oh, no, no, no - she's insane. [Chuckles] I do think that in a certain respect women have been struggling for so long to get men to take responsibility for the children that they father, and here we have a woman with two men saying, "I'm willing to be responsible" - and she is saying, "Ah, never mind." I think it's very odd, but the fact that I might disagree with it is great. I don't need to be acting in a show where my point of view is at the forefront of a storyline. It's almost better when I disagree. The thing that's great about [Private Practice creator] Shonda [Rhimes] is that, whatever you think of her, she is unafraid to create controversy. She has this understanding that a lot of television executives certainly don't, which is that when an audience disagrees passionately with a storyline, that's not bad. That means they're invested in it.

Q: Speaking of which, was there any discussion or hesitation about that very last scene from the season finale? The morning after it aired, I got this sense that ABC might have had some misgivings. [Pregnant Violet had been sedated by a crazed patient intent on surgically stealing her unborn baby.]

Tim Daly: I don't know what the network thought, but it stirred people up - and when entertainment does that, it's a good thing. One of my favorite episodes we did this season was about euthanasia. Joel Grey played an old friend of mine who was dying of cancer and wanted Pete to help him die. That's controversial stuff. We've done stories about abortion, and vaccination and autism.... For a television show that's appealing to a large audience, that's pretty cool.

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

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Private Practice Quotes

Charlotte: My mom always says God doesn't give with both hands. You're young, beautiful, brilliant. There has to be something you can't have.
Amelia: Some days I'd give that all up.
Charlotte: That's just the craving talking. The longer you go without a drink...
Amelia: I drank at your wedding. I thought it was ginger ale. I spit it out.
Charlotte: OK, since then?
Amelia: Nothing, but I can't stop thinking about it.
Charlotte: It was an accident. Don't let a slip turn into a fall. Get your butt to a meeting.

Violet, I love you, but right now, I'm done with you.


Private Practice Music

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