'Private Practice' interview: Amy Brenneman previews the series finale

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After six seasons of medical emergencies and emotional drama, "Private Practice" is coming to an end. We spoke to series co-star Amy Brenneman about what was coming in the finale and what it was like to leave Seaside Wellness after so many years.


How are you feeling at the end of 'Private Practice'?

Amy Brenneman: Sad! I mean, we wrapped the show about a month ago, so I went through that goodbye already. But I was thinking -- there's today and next week and then that's really it. Another ending.


What was it like for you and everyone else at 'Private Practice' when you wrapped the show?

Amy Brenneman: Oh, it was bittersweet. It was kind of like the end of college in a weird way. You spend a number of years doing this. They were very important years. People got married, got divorced, had children. They're very rich years. So along with missing "Private Practice" and the characters, we also got tight -- pretty intimately, because you know these production hours are kind of wacky.

I was cracking a lot of jokes, I think to deflect. And then at the end of the day -- the very, very end of the day -- I got really welled up. I was like, "Oh my God. This is it."


How do you think fans are going to react to the end of the show? Do you think there is a good resolution?

Amy Brenneman: I do, I do. What I really, really love about what Shonda [Rhimes] did is it's not anything -- what's that word? -- it's not splashy just to be splashy. I feel Shonda -- really more than anybody I've worked with so far and partly because of the enthusiasm of first the "Grey's" fans and now "Private Practice" fans -- she has a very active and respectful relationship with the fans. And so she doesn't mess with that. It's not like people die in a fiery crash or something.

For the fans and for everybody, these people continue to live on in our imagination. It's like the end of a novel. She ties up loose ends in a really satisfying way. There are surprises, but when you think about it, it's like, "Ah! That was kind of inevitable." She did a really good job.


What can you say about how "Private Practice" ends for Violet?

Amy Brenneman: Well, she ends single. And I think that's significant because she's the only one that does.

What I said to Shonda was, "I can sense this is going to be the end of a Shakespeare play where everybody pairs off." Because that is the end of most romantic-comedy things. It's very important to me, also because there haven't been any relationships growing for Violet, that she ends with the dignity and the choices of being single.

And the other thing I said... is the realization that she's never been particularly good at relationships. But she always felt that she should be in one, because that's what everybody says they want. But the truth is that she has this resolution about Pete's death and she has this wonderful little boy, this wonderful family of her friends, she's actually good. The suffering comes from a little bit of what she thinks she should be doing.

I really like that. When we first met Violet, she was this emotionally-arrested, jilted... In her professional life she was mature, together. But it was almost like she was stuck in adolescence.

I think, at the end of the series, she's standing on her feet.


Considering the emotions and high stakes of "Private Practice," has there ever been anything you found particularly difficult to play?

Amy Brenneman: A lot. The whole section where I'd been cut into and gave my baby to Pete. And then not being able to bond with my baby. So literally what that meant was there was this beautiful, gorgeous, yummy, delicious baby which I had to look at as Violet. It's just so counter to what I want to be doing.

There were a number of times like that where I thought, "OK, I'm going to go on this ride."
I thought that when Stephen Amell came on the show, I thought, "OK, we're going to go for a young lover. OK... I'm not really a cougar." I've never been particularly into young dudes. But then Stephen came in and within a few seconds, I was like, "This is going to be really fun!"


What's coming up next for you?

Amy Brenneman: Probably producing -- more behind the scenes. I have been commissioned to write a play. And I'm also teaching a class, which I really love. I love teaching. My husband and I may get a production deal to create content for cable.

I produced on "Judging Amy," and I loved it, loved it, loved it. And then I had two children, and I was like, "Oh my God. I'm never doing that again." So I was very grateful for "Private Practice" and the ensemble nature and the fact that I wasn't producing. But now the children are a little older, so I want to go back to that because I like it so much.


The "Private Practice" series finale airs on Tuesday, Jan. 22 at 10pm.

Photo/Video credit: ABC
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