To put it simply, Private Practice's KaDee Strickland never saw it coming. Yet here her stern Charlotte is, falling into something ever-so-slightly resembling (gulp) love with Paul Adelstein's Cooper. What's beneath the good doc's steely exterior? (Other than naughty lingerie, if that?) Strickland shared a peek at Charlotte's inner demons, then teases an emotional medical story to come. (ABC's Private Practice airs Wednesdays at 9 pm/ET/)
TVGuide.com: First things first: Can you set the record straight on the Private Practice publicity stills? You're standing in front a wall of rocks, right? And not a wall of potatoes?
KaDee Strickland: That is true. [Laughs] But that's hilarious, it does look like a bunch of potatoes. You're not a liar.
TVGuide.com: It never dawned on me until we ran Chris Lowell's photo the other day and one of our readers pointed it out. "Why is he standing in front of potatoes?"
Strickland: Because we're in hard times over there at Oceanside Wellness.... It was actually pretty beautiful, the set-up. Our pictures came out great, but I want you to know that you just ruined it for me. I'll never be the same again.
TVGuide.com: Charlotte seems a wee less shrill this season.
Strickland: Well, one can hope! After all, she's got somebody trying to steal her heart. And it's kinda looking like it's working some!
TVGuide.com: She originally came across as a character simply designed to be the thorn in everyone else's side. But I think they've worked her in better this season.
Strickland: I completely agree. I think that's what [Private Practice creator] Shonda [Rhimes] and the writers always sought for her, without even telling me where it was going. I clearly never saw the Cooper thing coming. I knew from what I had learned of Shonda's writing for Grey's that I would eventually get some justification for why I'm a kick in the pants. It's wonderful to have layers get peeled off. She's a Southern girl, and us Southern folks tend to have a lot of Southern gothic strangeness behind us. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Has it been spelled out why Charlotte is the way she is?
Strickland: It will be revealed in due time. The writers really took it home on that one. For me to act, it was quite wonderful.
TVGuide.com: Did you ever have any idea that Charlotte possessed such a voracious sexual appetite?
Strickland: Oh, honey, when you sign on to play a chief of staff, you have no idea this is going to be in her back pocket. Then again, this is Shondaland, where you should anticipate anything to be possible.
TVGuide.com: Paul Adelstein told me you've been a pretty good sport about the assorted get-ups Charlotte has had to wear in the name of... lust.
Strickland: Let me tell you something - it's definitely not my comfort zone, and yet it's such a kick. There's always good humor attached, especially when the other person on the other end of the screen is Paul. But beyond that, there's a sheer ridiculousness when you first read the script and have that moment where you might perhaps blush, because your mother and father are going to be watching.... I'm in bondage in the next episode, and my mother is like, "I don't understand why they put you in that!" She gets very affected.
TVGuide.com: Kate Walsh is getting fitted for DVF while you're trying on vinyl.
Strickland: Let me tell you something. In "that" whole world, I don't know how anybody can even get to business. There's lube and latex.... I literally didn't have circulation in my arms. It was bizarre. But hey, that's part of the fun of being an actor - you get to learn new things all the time.
TVGuide.com: Can you tease any cool medical cases to watch out for in upcoming episodes?
Strickland: Honey, there are so many, but one in particular was so incredibly touching to me. There's a young boy who's life is at stake, and this kid that we worked with was so extraordinary. Bless him, he had to have the trach tube put in his mouth, and you could not find a more graceful, well-behaved child. At the end of the day, we got him an In-N-Out burger, because that's what he loves!
TVGuide.com: I'll play a sick kid if it gets me free In-N-Out burgers!
Strickland: You could get it with everything on it, if you so chose! But that case for me was particularly moving. I'm always fascinated by what we come up with in terms of fertility and allowing people to make choices about that. There's a lot of stuff going on this season. It gets bloody, it gets funny, it gets juicy....
TVGuide.com: And then Cooper and Charlotte walk down the aisle in the season finale.
Strickland: Well, we'll see. Stranger things have happened in Shondaland, certainly!