Last week on “Private Practice” viewers watched in horror as Charlotte King was brutally attacked at the end of the workday in her office at the hospital. Her fiance Cooper and coworkers rushed to her side, but only Addison learned that Charlotte had been raped. Humiliated, terrified and determined to not let anyone find out the truth, Charlotte claims she was beaten and robbed and makes a conflicted Addison promise to keep her secret.
Life After a Brutal Attack
In “What Happens Next” we see the aftermath of the attack for Charlotte (KaDee Strickland) and the other doctors. Her colleagues want to help but have no idea how to act around her, making Charlotte all the more angry when they tiptoe around her and check up on her frequently. Unsure of what to do, Addison (Kate Walsh) confides in Sam about Charlotte ‘s rape. In this conversation we also learn that when Addison examined Charlotte she discreetly did a minimal rape kit in case Charlotte changed her mind. After several days of wavering, Addison decides to do what the law requires her to do and sends the kit to be processed.
Last week Amelia talked to Charlotte about her own history with drugs and NA. This week Amelia checks on Charlotte , wondering if any of her old cravings had returned with the physical pain and emotional stress of the ordeal. Charlotte brushes it off and says, “I grew up wrestling two brothers. I have an incredibly high pain threshold.”
Violet Relives Her Past
Without telling her what he knows, Sam (Taye Diggs) urges Violet to talk to Charlotte . And after watching Charlotte struggle through the aftermath of the attack Violet wonders if there is more to the story. In the process Violet finally tells Pete that she herself was raped in college. Pete admits he had a feeling, but never pressed her because he knew she would talk about it when she was ready. Later Violet (Amy Brenneman) finds Charlotte and explains her own story, tearing up as she says, “I wanted you to know that I get it, and I’m here for you.” After Violet leaves we see Charlotte let loose with the anger and emotion she’s bottled up since the attack. She ends up asking Amelia if she’ll go to a meeting with her and the two leave immediately.
A Young Girl with Cancer
Pete (Tim Daly) and Cooper treat Elisa, a young girl in the midst of a long battle with lymphoma. Cooper (Paul Adelstein) is ready to proceed with chemotherapy, but the girl’s father wants to remove her from the hospital and take her to a Shaman in hopes that she will be healed. Eventually a compromise is reach when Charlotte , as chief of staff, allows the Shaman to come to the hospital while Elisa is also being medically treated.
A Couple Facing Unusual Circumstances
Former “Practice” star Michael Badalucco guest stars as a husband whose wife is a breast cancer survivor who, without warning or provocation, will suddenly become enraged and begin to slap and hit him. Sheldon (Brian Benben) and Addison search for the cause of these angry outbursts in an otherwise sweet, levelheaded woman. What they find is a tumor on her ovary, secreting enough testosterone to create rage symptoms. Sadly, the cancer has spread too far and the couple decides hospice is their best option.
Quality Writing on a Difficult Subject
While the rape storyline is difficult to watch, part of the brilliance in writing is the fact that Charlotte King is a strong, stubborn lady with a firecracker personality and a demanding, successful career…and she was raped. As often happens in real life Charlotte responded differently to her attack than how other people and even she herself might have imagined. Most would expect a woman like Charlotte to fight like crazy to see her attacker put behind bars. But in reality, no one really knows quite how they would respond in such horrific circumstances. And as ready as we are to see this guy be held responsible for what he’s done, the writers of “Private Practice” have done a commendable job at showing us multiple scopes to this story and reminding us that we really don’t know exactly how we would respond in a given situation unless we experience it firsthand.