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Series / Private Practice

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A Spin-Off of the hugely popular Medical Drama Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice follows one of its most popular characters, Fiery Redhead Addison Montgomery (formerly Montgomery-Shepherd, played by Kate Walsh) and her new life and job in Los Angeles, at a private practice founded by Addison's friends from Med School, Sam and Naomi. Other coworkers include Pete, the alternative medicine expert, Violet, the psychiatrist who is so good at helping others but can't help herself and Cooper, a brilliant pediatrician who dates girls he meets in online chats. Also in the cast is Charlotte, a chief of staff in a local hospital who doesn't like private practices much.

This show provides examples of:

  • The Ace: A majority of the main characters are the best at what they do, though Amelia is a masterful neurosurgeon like her brother and her first surgery in the show winds up saving the life of someone other medical experts were willing to say was impossible to save.
  • A Day in the Limelight: In season six (the final one), each character gets an episode that focuses on them.
  • A God Am I: The idea of having the fate of someone in the palm of your hands as a surgeon gets discussed a couple of times, usually with the analogy of "playing God" being put in here and there. It's to the point where not only was there an episode titled after said analogy, but during one such surgery, Sam says something along the lines of "I am God."
  • Alone with the Psycho: Happens to Sheldon twice in the show's run. It's justified, as he's one of the two psychologists of the cast.
  • The Artifact: The practice itself ended up becoming this in later seasons, as the show started spending more time in St. Ambrose Hospital, with Amelia, Addison and Sam regularly performing surgeries. In fact, the only character who consistently practiced his or her specialty within the practice for the whole show was Cooper. After the first two seasons, you could count on one hand the number of times Pete practiced alternative medicine, Violet rarely saw patients after being attacked (not helped by the fact that the practice hired a second psychiatrist in Sheldon), and Naomi wasn't around enough to take more than few cases a year. Perhaps most egregiously, Charlotte is hired on as a sexologist, opening the door for a number of interesting plots... and was shown doing this job in exactly two episodes. Hell, even at St. Ambrose, she's allegedly an attending urologist, but all she seems to do there is administrate, with not a single case in six seasons relating to urology.
  • Ascended Extra: Sheldon started as a guest star in season two, was upgraded to "also starring" status in season three, and became main cast in season four. Fans probably breathed a sigh of relief, since Sheldon is the most consistently level-headed person on the show. Amelia also guest-starred in season three before becoming main cast in season four.
  • Back for the Finale: Naomi returns for the finale to bring closure to a subplot that had been lingering since the show began: Sam and her getting back together.
  • Berserk Button: Cooper once punched a patient's father when he the child mentioned being touched, and this was right after he found out that Charlotte was raped and that the rapist has a clear shot of getting away with that. The dad wanted to sue him until he finds out that had jumped to conclusions. It was the mom who was touching the child.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Several episodes end with some surgeries being a success, while others end in failure. Episode 14 of the 4th season is a good example: Charlotte's rapist finally got what he deserved... But on the other hand, Susan, Bizzy's lover, died, and Bizzy soon follow her, by committing suicide.
  • Broken Pedestal: Both Pete and Sheldon encountered their respective mentors doing questionable activities (Pete's mentor operates as doctor from his home without a warrant and receives funding from gangs, while Sheldon's mentor has given into the influence of drugs, decrying talk therapy in favor for drugs to help out the patient) and reacting with this trope.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: They all have their little quirks and dysfunctions, but they are extremely good at their various jobs.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Addison and Sam encounter an injured couple while hiking, and just happen to be perfectly suited to deal with the situation because it involves both of their specialties (the woman is pregnant and goes into labor, and the man has injuries that Sam knows how to treat due to a background in cardiothoracic surgery).
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Amelia Shepherd, who along with her brother Derek was in the store when her father was killed. Also Pete who revealed that he saw his mom murder the only man who gave a damn about him and then testified against her.
  • Deus Angst Machina:
    • Poor, poor Amelia... Her life is filled with horrible incidents, starting from her childhood to her current adulthood. The poor girl just can't catch her breath.
    • Betsy follows right in her footsteps. Mother died in a fire, father killed in a car accident, none of the people in the hospital were willing to adopt her and she went to child services, right into the arms of an abusive family (or more appropriately, a family with an abusive son), getting beaten up and eventually be put in a coma. Poor girl couldn't catch a break until Naomi stepped in and offered to adopt her.
  • Deus ex Machina: Amelia is first brought into the story when the team faced an almost impossible challenge involving a comatose woman, who she manages to save. However, she doesn't become their ace in the hole as she manages to fail their next major surgery and for a majority of her second season, becomes a dwindling wreck.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Naomi left the Practice temporarily, though there's some pretty clear distinction that if she was at the Practice for the time she was absent, at least two major events (Betsy being given away to the orphanage and Charlotte's refusal to identify her rapist) would have went way differently with the boss being there to witness them and have something to do about it. Made even more evident when Betsy gets back into the hospital and she adopts her right after her previous family left her.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: The reason why Charlotte refuses to inform anyone that she was raped. Much to her chagrin, it happens to her once the rest find out either through Addison or by figuring it out for themselves.
  • Double Standard: The entire cast is suggest to this every now and then, though it applies especially to Violet (and of all people, Catie, the one who cut her open, calls her on it in Season 4, Episode 19).
  • Driven to Suicide: Bizzy.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Ooooooh boy. Where do we begin? Shall we start with the protagonist and her relationship issues brought on over from Grey's Anatomy? Sam's Parental Abandonment? Pete's Dark and Troubled Past? Amelia's drug addiction? You'll be willing to bet that by the end of each season save the last, that there's still someone with emotional baggage.
  • Epic Tracking Shot: One is pulled off in the finale as it zooms out from the kitchen where the staff hang out at, tracks away to the reception desk, and finally into the elevators, the main way of how people enter and exit the practice.
  • Establishing Series Moment/Establishing Character Moment: The show opens off with Addison leaving to go to Oceanside, with her telling the supervisor why exactly she's leaving. As she does this, she also introduces the starting cast and by doing so, cuts to them caught in a situation that best sums up their character.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Happens a few times, though one memorable moment was in the second episode of the first season. Sam laments that a parent is purposefully poisoning her own child and that caused Addison to realize just what happened that caused a Switched at Birth situation.
  • Every Episode Ending: Doubles with an Every Episode Beginning. For most of the episodes in Season 5 (and the finale to Season 4), Addison starts seeing a therapist, and she often starts out with something that sums up her situation, like an anecdote or discussing a problem she had, and ending them by concluding the anecdote or solving the problem.
  • Fat Suit: Worn by Brett Delbuono playing a 500 pound boy named Justin in Just Lose It.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Dell. Lampshaded in an early episode, where the ladies pretend not to notice him as he's walking out to the beach with a surfboard.
    "If that didn't satisfy, there's another showing in an hour. And it's wet."
  • From Bad to Worse: Susan's cancer was supposed healed. However, she collapses moments after her wedding night. She signed a D.N.R (Do Not Resuscitate), so Addison didn't have the right to bring her back when she coded. Buzzy is devastated, and after tricking Addison into leaving her alone at the Hotel, she commits suicide, leaving only a rather cold letter to her daughter. The last scene we see is Addison crying over her mother's dead body.
    • The first part of season 5 has Amelia's substance abuse getting worse and worse, especially after her terminally ill friend commits suicide.
  • Gag Penis: Sheldon, of all people, is reputed to have one, and he knows how to use it!
  • Grand Finale: Both the penultimate episode and its final episode helped bring closure to the entire series. The first part finished off the Charlotte's pregnancy and Amelia's new love subplot while characters voice their conclusions to their personal arcs to Charlotte's baby. The final episode follows this up with closing off everyone else's subplots, including one that had been going on for the entirety of six seasons.
  • Happily Married: Cooper and Charlotte, though it did take several episodes before they became completely well-adjusted. Charlotte ending up pregnant with triplets (on top of becoming Mason's new mother) really didn't help.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All of the first season episodes (and the Grand Finale) were titled In Which followed by an event in the episode, a la Friends.
  • Informed Ability: Amy is supposed to be a crack neurosurgeon, but so far she's killed more people than she's helped.
  • Ignorant About Fire: Dr. Sam Bennett recalls a time when, as a teenager, his bipolar older sister left some oil on the stove, which caught fire and nearly burned the house down. She watched the flames rise, transfixed, instead of moving to put it out.
  • Jerkass: Addison's father, and her mother too. Also Violet in Season 2. And Fife in Season 3 manages to come off as a complete asshole. And then there's Cooper's uber-asshole behavior towards Charlotte. Though Charlotte is a pretty big Jerkass herself, what with all the lying, cheating, and the fact that she served as an antagonist for most of the early run before joining the team.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Archer may not be very nice, but he really likes his sister (not THAT way, pervs). Also, Charlotte. Fife (see above) seems to be headed this way, too.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Some episodes focus on the psychiatrists dealing with kids, and some of those episodes show that said kid isn't working right, like Betsy's adoptive brother who kept abusing her or one kid who stabbed her sister to the point of brain death because she enjoyed it.
  • Killed Off for Real: Dell and Pete.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Charlotte's rapist gets hit with a Humiliation Conga as soon as he begins beating his wife. It starts with a stabbing and ends with him being arrested.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility
    • Addison. A majority of Season 5 was her trying to get a baby, first by doing it the old fashioned way (it helps that they just recruited a major in fertility) before finally settling with adoption.
    • And Charlotte, who dislikes children and never wanted any, but ends up raising Mason (Coop's son from a previous encounter) as well as triplets of her own.
  • Let Them Die Happy: Pete with Heather, Dell's wife.
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Addison is an expert at this trope, but the rest of the cast is certainly no slouch in this department.
  • Love Triangle: Sam/Naomi/Dell, Violet/Cooper/Charlotte, Pete/Violet/Sheldon, Addison/Noah/Noah's-poor-wife-whose-name-fans-don't-even-remember-any-more... As the series goes on, the dynamics shift and eventually it becomes Sam/Addison/Jake, Pete/Violet/Scott, Naomi/Fife/William, Pete/Addison/Sam. The one major one for a good chunk of the series was Addison/Pete/Violet. It's to the point where it's more like a Love Dodecahedron.
  • Mauvaise Belle: Charlotte.
  • Medical Drama
  • Mercy Kill: Happens from time to time in the show, though often frowned upon by the staff members. One memorable moment is when Amelia's old friend comes by and asks her to kill her. She complies, but it becomes a Bungled Suicide soon after. Though the friend manages to just cut the middleman and do the killing herself.
  • Missing Child: All the mini-arc about the little girl who disappeared in season 6 revolves around this trope. The parents are worried sick, and their girl shows no sign of being alive after 3 months of disappearance. The mother believes she's still alive, whereas the father doesn't... Because he can't stand the thought that she may have been kidnapped by a pedophile who may be abusing her. It turns out she was kidnapped by a pedophile, and locked inside his basement for the whole time. Said pedophile, who hopefully didn't abuse her during this time, was talking about ending things with her... Depending on how you read between the lines, he may have been talking about taking her by force, releasing her, or simply kill her.
  • Nice Guy: Ryan, Amelia's boyfriend during her resurfacing drug addiction. At first, he seems like a shady guy, with even Mason being suspicious of him. However, he ultimately proves to be a good guy. His moments include shooing away a group of friends when Amelia wanted them out when it looked like they were going to stay and telling Amelia to go to rehab with him so that they can be clean. It's his death that causes Amelia to consider rehab and becomes a point of guilt for her.
  • The Not Secret: Half of the group finds out Charlotte's rape this way, though for Sheldon, he needed only to recall his interview with said rapist to get the secret.
  • Oh, Crap!: The reaction most of the staff have whenever an old face bursts through the elevator doors injured or on a stretcher, provided said face isn't someone that brushed off them in a bad way. If they did, the staff member's reaction would be more of a Death Glare.
  • Older Than They Look: Real Life example: Tim Daly (Pete) is 53 and doesn't look a day older than 41.
  • Once per Episode/Every Episode Ending: Starting from the finale to Season 4 and throughout Season 5, we see Addison visiting a therapist and often recalling anecdotes which play their way into the episode's context.
  • One of Our Own:
    • Most notably Violet; at the end of Season 2 she is given a C-section by a crazy patient.
    • Also Cooper, who was imprisoned and beaten up in prison for refusing to disclose where a lying kid was staying to avoid his supposedly abusive stepfather.
    • Dell, whose house blew up with his wife and daughter in it; the daughter came out fairly fine, but the wife died of her burns, and soon after gets into a fatal car accident.
      • His wife, who was using the burner to make Meth and caused the explosion
    • Charlotte, who has been brutally raped between the end of All In The Family and the beginning of Did You Hear What Happened To Charlotte King?
    • Amelia, a former addict who's started to relapse.
  • Only Sane Man: Sheldon occasionally fills this role, giving advice to other members of the practice, and staying (comparatively) drama-free.
  • Patient of the Week
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: A variation happens to Betsey in the 4th episode of the 4th season, when no one is willing to step in and adopt her. This character's line "Don't you want to take care of me ?" is quite poignant, considering that both her parents are dead, her aunt literally abandoned her, and now the only people she knew besides her family did the same to her. As Violet put it : "We did a bad thing. You know it".
  • Poor Communication Kills: Because Charlotte refused to say she was raped and refused to identify the rapist the first time around, he almost got away with it. It took his own wife to turn him in before he sees justice.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: The two part episode 'The Other Side Of This Life' in Grey's Anatomy.
  • Post-Coital Collapse: Many of the shows sex scenes are show in this manner, usually including Modesty Bedsheets. One notable example being when Cooper and Charlotte first get together after he invites her for a drink.
    Cooper: A drink. Not sex. Absolutely no sex.
    [Charlotte gives a reluctant shrug and a skeptical look]
    [Smash Cut to Charlotte collapsing in bed, on her stomach and completely naked, drenched in sweat and panting heavily before being followed by a smug Cooper]
    Cooper: Can I get you that drink now?
    Charlotte: Not yet. Ask me again in two hours.
  • Put on the Bus: Happens a few times in the show, with the In-Universe reason being that the person going on the bus went through a traumatizing or otherwise dramatic experience and needed to be elsewhere for a sabbatical. Particularly, Violet in Season 3 and Naomi in Season 4.
  • Rape as Drama: Charlotte.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot Amelia's pregnancy.
  • Rookie Red Ranger: The series begins with Addison joining the Practice.
  • The Sixth Ranger: The rate in which new characters join the team become almost once per season, counting the first with Addison. Charlotte fills this trope to the Trope Namer's standards as she began the show with an antagonist relation to the main cast. Amelia and Jake are also examples of this, with James being an example of 11th-Hour Ranger, as he joined in the final season.
  • Spin-Off
  • Same-Sex Triplets: Cooper and Charlotte's triplet daughters, Georgia, Caroline, and Rachel.
  • Straw Feminist: Addison in one episode in which the practice was holding a meeting to decide whether or not to perform abortions, when she said that the vote of anyone who didn't have a vagina didn't count. They may be guys, but they're partners in the practice too. They have to have their say.
    • Of course, considering her past — aborting a child even though she really wanted to be a mother because the father wasn't the "right guy" — it was probably a little to personal an issue for her to see clearly how unfair she was being.
    • And to be fair, this is a real life limitation commonly imposed on abortion debates and generally considered acceptable by both pro-choice and pro-life women; if it hadn't been an issue that had a direct impact on how they would have to run their business, some would consider it reasonable.
    • To be even fairer, she didn't say their votes wouldn't count, she said for them to leave the room unless they wanted to fight with her. Which they didn't. As much as the issue was debated, it was never put to a vote onscreen with or without the guys.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: James Peterson does double duty for this one, replacing two characters that were killed off. The first being Ryan, Amelia's small-time boyfriend who died of an overdose and the second being Pete, the series mainstay that was killed off at the beginning of the season James debuted in, It doesn't help that his last name is Peterson. He fills both the roles those two have played.
  • Teen Pregnancy Maya, who's keeping her baby and marrying the father at fifteen years old.
  • Temporary Substitute: Brian Benben finally started getting his own plots when Amy Brenneman took a leave of absence for a few episodes in Season 3. The first of these episodes is especially obvious about it; it's clear that a good 90% of Sheldon's dialogue was originally written for Violet.
  • Title Drop: At the very end of the show, the title comes in as Violet's new book. The show ends on a debate over how odd the name is.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Amelia in season 5. It's quite a miracle she managed to recover from all the horrors she suffered (see her nightmare fuel entry for the details).
  • Troubled, but Cute: Pete and Amelia both have their Dark And Troubled Pasts and their troubling times in the show.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Amelia has various for all of her colleagues, but especially Addison, during an intervention. Borders on being a Hannibal Lecture at points. And despite her being an addict who needs help and this being her intervention, she is still absolutely spot on with everything she says about the others.
  • The Unfair Sex: Everything Violet does is justified by this, and the sheer power of Wangst. Dell's daughter is almost killed because his wife thought it perfectly safe to cook meth in the kitchen, and when he gets insanely pissed off about it (wouldn't you?) he's being a bad, baaaad parent. This in spite of the fact that Dell supported her through her addiction, took her back after multiple relapses, and even forgave her for kidnapping his child, after all of which the beautiful fair lady went ahead and decided cookin' meth in the kitchen with her little girl sitting in the next room was an awesomely good idea. Seriously, what could possibly go wrong? And then he was deemed wrong for Not wanting his daughter to see her badly burned, mutilated mother before she died. Really?
  • This Is Unforgivable!: An early 4th season episode has the drunk driver that nearly killed Maya and killed Dell arrive to apologize, though his presence infuriated Sam to the point where, when it's revealed that said driver needed surgery, he struggled with the decision of even performing the surgery in the first place. Didn't help that he said that he shouldn't be forgiven and it triggered flashbacks of a surgery he performed with the exact same circumstances (heart problem, had committed a heavy crime) in which he let the patient die.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Mason is able to guess with accuracy what's going on around him. A memorable moment of this trope being when he correctly guesses the reason Cooper is sticking around is because he's his father.
  • Wham Episode: The final episode of season 2 and the first of season 3. Then, episode 7 of season 4 came... The sixth season premiere, "Aftershock" ends with Pete dying.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Dell is the frequent invoker of this trope - He's called out Violet, Naomi, Sam and even Addison about their bad decisions on more than one occasion. Fans practically cheered their lungs out when Violet finally got a good telling-to. Go, Dell!
    • A couple of lawyers had a go at the group during a custody battle for Lucas in season 3, pointing out most of the developments that happened in the season so far and pointing out where they went wrong.
  • What Were You Thinking?: Happens every now and then.
  • Who Would Want to Watch Us?: Downplayed. Amelia Shepard rants in front of a reality TV crew about how they're taking advantage of Sam's recent tragedy and that Sam needs more respect than that. Though the way she brings it up can also be said about the show itself.
  • Wrong-Name Outburst: Sam calls out Naomi's name while having sex with Sonya.
  • You Did Everything You Could: Said every now and then.


Video Example(s):


Absolutely no sex

Cooper proposes a drink to a reluctant Charlotte, assuring her he's not just trying to get her in bed. Instant cut to both collapsing in bed post-sex.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / InstantSeduction

Media sources: