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Private Practice

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9-10PM · ABC · Returns Oct. 1

Addison Montgomery will no longer be dancing in a bath towel. In the second season of Private Practice, the once sanguine obstetrician (Kate Walsh) ?will be more apt to bark at a patient; possibly betray her best friend, Naomi (Audra McDonald); and turn a blind ? eye to the holistic-healer hunk ? (Tim Daly) down the hall. ”There’s more ? conflict all around,” explains Walsh. ”We’re not as palsy-walsy.”

Though the writers’ strike forced Practice (last season’s second-most-watched new drama with 10.8 million viewers) into an excruciating seven-month hiatus, Walsh says the break gave creator Shonda Rhimes a chance to rethink her Grey’s Anatomy spin-off, in which onetime Meredith Grey archenemy Addison headed south to join a beach-based practice full of randy doctors. Now all that break-room gossip about interoffice smooching will give way to button-pushing medical cases that drive the Oceanside Wellness team into? animated debates. ”At its core, Private Practice felt best when dealing with issues that got everybody in the? practice of taking sides,” says Rhimes, who’ll continue to run the writers’ rooms of both Practice and Grey’s this year. ”Having strong cases that bring up moral dilemmas is important.”

She tackles no fewer than three in the first episode back, including one that involves a mother who’s desperate to give birth to her 26-week-old fetus so the cord blood can be used to save her dying son. The case ? immediately pits Addison against Naomi, who’s already under stress because of her flirtation with Dell (Chris Lowell). The drama continues as Sam (Taye Diggs) is forced to make a big decision regarding the ?future of the practice, and Cooper (Paul Adelstein) risks losing his ?license by revealing a patient’s life-altering secret. And later, we’ll learn more about Addison’s mysterious past when her doctor brother, played by Swingtown‘s Grant Show, makes a surprise appearance.

But as this is a Grey’s spin-off, there will also be a healthy dose of sex. Cooper’s love affair with the ? uptight Charlotte King (KaDee Strickland) will continue on the down low, and David Sutcliffe will reprise his role as the charming cop who steals Addison’s affections away from Daly’s Pete. ”I love that Tim Daly,” says Walsh of her costar. ”You’ll see Addison and Pete working together a lot more, but he’s got some dating to do. Shonda’s not ? putting us together right away.” ? After all, time-outs can be good for people — and TV series. ”It feels like its own show now,” says Walsh of Practice. ”It flows seamlessly ? between cases and the characters. It’s sexy and identifiable. We’ve found our footing.”