'Private Practice' Takes on Sexual Assault

This week's Private Practice (ABC, Thursday, 10 p.m. ET) focuses on the aftermath of a brutally violent sexual assault. The victim is Charlotte King (KaDee Strickland), a character you'd never call a victim under normal circumstances. Sexologist Charlotte is a sassy go-getter with a sharp tongue, a southern twang and a very bright mind. She's Chief of Staff at St. Ambrose Hospital, and she's put her fiancé, amiable pediatrician Cooper Freedman (Paul Adelstein), through his paces just for falling in love with her.

Viewers saw only the first few moments of the attack in last week's episode. What we do know: It was a random incident, perpetrated by a deranged patient (played by Buffy alum Nicholas Brendon) who, based on the promos, is already in police custody when this week's episode begins. "It takes place all in one night, and it's [set] almost entirely in the hospital," exec producer Shonda Rhimes told Entertainment Weekly. "And there's almost no music. It's a fairly silent episode. It's a compelling, painful episode. The work KaDee did in it was amazing."

We also know, based on the sneak peek, that at first Charlotte tries to hide the rape, and she tells Pete Wilder (Tim Daly) that she was robbed and beaten for her wallet. It's only when Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) knowingly suggests that Charlotte needs "the HIV cocktail, the morning-after pill, STD prophylaxis and the pelvic" that Charlotte acknowledges the truth.

"It's legitimately a very accurate [depiction of what women go through after a rape]," Strickland told EW. "We worked very closely with RAINN [Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network] on this. Also, we in no way are going to let this thing go away in four episodes. Charlotte will live with this for as long as she's a character on Private Practice."

How do you feel about Private Practice tackling such a heavy subject? Chime in below!

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