Private Practice: Shonda Rhimes Explains the Final Episode

private practice series finaleABC’s Private Practice has ended after six seasons and 111 episodes. Thankfully, the network decided that this would be the show’s final season ahead of time so that series creator Shonda Rhimes, the cast, and crew had time to film a proper final episode, to give the characters’ stories some closure.

On her blog, Rhimes has written about why certain things happened the way that they did.

Okay, so tonight the finale of Private Practice aired.

Calling it a finale is weird because when you watch it, it’s kind of…NOT a finale.

I mean it IS. We are done. It’s been crazy sad and strange to be done but we are. So it was the series finale. It’s just that, the episode when you watched it probably didn’t FEEL like a finale.

The entire SEASON was a finale. Each episode (dedicated to each character) worked to wrap up their series-long arcs. To complete them. To finish their stories. So we didn’t really need a big finish. The season itself was the big finish.

Also, I had a very strong desire to NOT end the show. Not in the traditional where characters die or move away or shut down the practice. I felt like I wanted them all to be happy. I felt like, after all our characters had been through, they deserved to be happy. And so I very much wanted you to leave the final episode with this one feeling: that life at Seaside Wellness is going to continue to go on just as it has for the past 6 seasons. That Addison and Sam and Charlotte and Violet and Cooper and Jake and Naomi and Amelia are going to continue living and working at the practice (and Sheldon’s going to sit on his beach in Fiji) and Mason and the rest of the kids are going to grow up and they’re all going to be happy. Or at least all right.

Life at Seaside Wellness is going to go on. We just aren’t going to get to see it anymore.

The script for the finale was long. Like, LOOOONG. Because I was in denial that it was all ending. Because I was freaking out. And because I was trying to smother any and all emotion I might have about it so that I could get through it. The script was LONG.

So some scenes were cut out of the final 42 minute show you watched. Some scenes that were cut were scenes that I loved.

Like Violet offering Charlotte and Cooper the use of Pete’s office to be a nursery and everybody bringing their kids to work everyday from now on. There was a great shot of the Cooplets and Lucas and little Henry at one year old all playing in Pete’s old office. Which felt very circle of life-y since Pete died at the beginning of this season.

I also had to cut Cooper and Charlotte booking a hotel room at the end to have a wild night of sex. But then they decided they were too exhausted for sex and all they admit to one another that all they want is sleep and room service and movies. And Charlotte uttered my favorite line ever: “I have never loved you more.” Cutting that almost killed me.

I cut Addison and Jake having wedding night sex and Amelia and James having an argument over his response to Sheldon’s grief. I cut a dinner scene with Jake and Naomi and Addison on the deck where they overhear and awkward fight between Sam and his girlfriend.


You wanted him with Addison. A lot of you did. My sister did. She yelled at me about it almost every single day. But here’s the thing: Sam was Addison’s best friend’s husband. And while I adored them together, I wanted Addison to be able to truly be changed. And be fresh. And Sam…

I wanted Sam with Naomi. I just did. I love Naomi. When Audra left the show to return to New York to win another Tony and do what she does best, I was thrilled for her. But I was sad for Naomi. Because while I loved Fife and BOY did I love Fife…

Look, when you begin a show you have a vision in your head of how it’s going to end. And my vision of the end of this show was always about Sam realizing that he had been out there looking all around for something new and different when he should have been looking at home. Sam is guy who had a mid-life crisis and blew up his marriage and never understood why. And in my mind, end-game for Sam was always Naomi. I didn’t bank on Naomi going to New York. I didn’t bank on having to figure out how to do it so soon. But it had to be done. Sam had to get his house in order. For him. And for Addison.

I very much needed Addison to come full circle. To no longer think of herself as a cheater. To have grown up. To have…evolved.

And I needed her to get her best friend back by her side. Because I’m leaving. And so are you. We’re not watching her anymore. We’re Violet’s patient, we’re off to France. And if Addison’s life is going to be going on at Seaside Wellness without us, I wanted to know she had everything she needed to be okay. And now she does.

It’s imperfect logic, I know. But I’ve never ended a show before so…you know…cut me some slack. I’m flawed. I’m very flawed. Cut me some slack. Private Practice was our home. Now our home is gone.

111 episodes. We did our best to entertain you. We had a great time and we hope you did too. Truly, this cast and crew are perfect amazing people and you should follow them anywhere they go. I’m grateful for them and their talents and I’m grateful for you and your viewership.

It’s meant the world.


What do you think? Were you satisfied by the last episode of Private Practice? Would you have done anything differently?

Canceled and renewed TV show

Leave a Comment

Your comment may need approval from a moderator before it appears. We review comments to weed out spam, duplicate postings and personal attacks. We welcome constructive discussion.