Does any show--medical, legal, or plain old prime-time soap opera--cram in as much personal melodrama and high-stakes issues as Private Practice
? Every episode is a staggering compilation of psychological knots and thorny ethical dilemmas. To pick an example almost at random, Violet finds her personal traumas interfering with her ability to objectively counsel a woman who's considering carrying her long-sought baby to term… even though that baby resulted from a rape that she and her husband are seeking counseling to leave behind. At the same time, Violet is avoiding giving any affection to her own baby, the baby that was untimely ripped from her womb at the end of season two, and the baby's father (it would be a spoiler to reveal whom) tries repeatedly to get her to even acknowledge the infant. That's only one story line in the season's fourth episode, which also features a homeless girl with a child trying to evade her possessive mother, financial strife, and interpersonal conflict between floors. Maybe seeing only one episode a week makes such a traffic jam of issues seem exciting, but when watching the series on DVD, the cumulative effect can be preposterous.
Over the season, love triangles expand into rectangles and maybe even pentangles as Addison, Sam, Pete, Violet, Sheldon, and the rest trade partners more often than square dancers. Addison is stunned to learn secrets about her parents, Sam and Naomi are shocked to learn secrets about their daughter, and pretty much everyone reveals a secret of one kind or another at some point in the series. And it ends with a dramatic operation on a pregnant woman as she's simultaneously giving birth--and a central character dies! Fortunately, these emotional high jinx are carried out by a ridiculously good-looking cast; honestly, being a guest star on Private Practice is downright cruel. (If Taye Diggs isn't the handsomest man on television, he's at least in the top three.) The combination of gloss and angst may turn some viewers away, but others will dig into this show with delight. --Bret Fetzer
Relive every moment of ABC's hit drama PRIVATE PRACTICE: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON -- from the Golden Globe(R)-winning creator of GREY'S ANATOMY. The challenges that Dr. Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) and her coworkers at the Oceanside Wellness Group face every day have bonded them into a tight-knit family, but big changes may be just around the corner. An all-star cast including Taye Diggs, Amy Brenneman, Audra McDonald, Tim Daly, Paul Adelstein, KaDee Strickland and Chris Lowell is tested at every turn by the moral and ethical dilemmas that accompany their practice's unique medical cases. Addison learns a huge secret about her past while dealing with new feelings for a friend. Pete attempts to help Violet deal with the aftermath of her attack, while Sam and Naomi receive a life-changing announcement from their teenage daughter. Cooper's personal life is affected when Charlotte joins the practice, and Dell struggles to raise a daughter on his own. Own all 23 episodes of Season Three in this 5-Disc DVD collection, along with never-before-seen bonus features including bloopers, deleted scenes and Kate Walsh's personal favorite moments. With a prescription for a healthy does of romance, drama and heartwarming moments, PRIVATE PRACTICE makes perfect.