In its second season, ABC's Private Practice prescribed much growth for Pete Wilder. Originally introduced as a bad boy for Addison to lust after, Tim Daly's alter ego has since been revealed to have a noble past as a member of Doctors Without Borders. What's more, when a fling with Violet caught afire and resulted in pregnancy, Pete stepped up to profess his paternal leanings. TVGuide.com invited Daly to reflect on the character's evolution, as well as wish for Wilder days ahead.
TVGuide.com: When we spoke at the start of Season 2, 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 and a calm, serene life. 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.
TVGuide.com: Did you fear that a Pete-Violet hook-up would be a tough sell?
Daly: You know, I didn't really think of it that way. I thought that Pete and Violet were oddly good together...
TVGuide.com: Which we quickly saw. But the way they were abruptly thrown together, sometimes that can backfire on a story.
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.
TVGuide.com: 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.
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.
TVGuide.com: 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.]
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.