Amy Brenneman Amy Brenneman

All is not entirely well with the Oceanside Wellness gang as ABC's Private Practice serves up its second season finale this Thursday at 10 pm/ET. As Addison fights her feelings for married dad-to-be Noah and one of their own "betrays" the practice, pregnant Violet is thrust to a genuinely shocking set of circumstances. Amy Brenneman spoke with about where her complicated shrink has been and where she is about to go. First off, congratulations on the Season 3 pick-up. Were you concerned at all?
Amy Brenneman: Uh, no. No. Not really. It would have been odd if we didn't [get picked up]. How do you think Violet has changed since Season 1? Was there anything you had hoped for or asked for?
Brenneman: In Season 1 we met Violet at a pretty heightened point in her life, and I always thought she's not go to stay in this place of feel jilted and hysterical. I told [series creator] Shonda [Rhimes], "Listen, I will do whatever you want to do, go as far out as you want me to go, as long as Violet can always have that moment of being self-aware." I always find it heartbreaking that she's a professional shrink, but that doesn't mean she can stop her [destructive] behavior. And the revelation about the sexual damage in her life - the rape stuff - makes total sense too. That kind of feeds into what's go on with her now. She doesn't bond romantically well or that often. Obviously Cooper is her surrogate everything. They did a nice job this season evolving Charlotte into a worthy rival for Cooper's affections.
Brenneman: I totally agree. I think that between KaDee [Strickland]'s work and Paul [Adelstein], who is so wonderful... . The way he looks at her says it all. Cooper is just smitten. What was your reaction when you learned Violet would be pregnant for a large portion of this season?
Brenneman: I was excited! No small vane part of you was saying, "Oh, man"?
Brenneman: My god no, I'll do anything! I should have more vanity. [Laughs] What I did think of was how on Judging Amy I hid two of my actual pregnancies; can I ever be pregnant at the same time?! Last year Shonda and I were sitting around shooting the s--t — at the time, Addison was facing fertility issues, and Naomi already is a mom — and I said, "I would love it if Violet did not want to be a mother." Because I feel that is a choice that is not respected in society. Then I said to Shonda, "Then that's the character you should knock up." Tim Daly has grumbled that this storyline sent a confusing message, that most women would kill to have two great guys clamoring to be the father of their child.
Brenneman: Oh, that's just his ego. I've heard him spout off about that too. [Laughs] Tim is a total feminist — I would kick his ass if he wasn't — but sometimes when he reacts to things it's because the genders are reversed. We don't find it shocking if you have a man ambivalent about two wonderful women vying for him... But a pregnant woman with two wannabe dads is supposed to thank her lucky stars.
Brenneman: I guess! I said to Tim, "She is self-sufficient, she gets her emotional needs met through Cooper, so she's not asking anything from Sheldon and Pete." I understand it can be upsetting from the guy's point of view — "That may be half my kid" — but it's the woman's prerogative. At the time Private Practice was cast, you already knew Tim well from working with his sister [Tyne Daly] on Judging Amy?
Brenneman: Oh yeah. Can you tell? [Laughs] What was your reaction to the season finale script, especially Violet's storyline?
Brenneman: I was pretty psyched. Everybody does great work and the stakes for everybody are really high. That said, what's interesting about the structure of the last half is everybody else is sort of in the normal Private Practice world, and I'm in this Quentin Tarantino movie. It's a whole other thing going on. Talk about ending the season with some watercooler buzz.
Brenneman: There you go!