KaDee Strickland

Kristian Dowling/WireImage

Is it too early to talk about 2011 Emmy nominations? Hope not, because KaDee Strickland definitely needs to be in the running for her amazing performance on last week's episode of Private Practice, "Did You Hear What Happened to Charlotte King?" I just chatted with KaDee about the series' collaboration with RAINN, and also got the scoop on what's to come on the Grey's Anatomy spinoff.

How will Charlotte and Cooper's (Paul Adelstein) relationship survive this trauma? Will Nicholas Brendon's character get away with his heinous crime? And why did the usually bold Dr. King keep quiet about this tragic attack? Here's what KaDee had to say:

Congratulations. Your performance was so powerful.
Thank you so much, I mean that truly I am above and beyond flattered that you would say what you said. I really appreciate that, but the reward of this [is in the] the exceptional nature of the outreach from people that RAINN has experienced [because of the episode]. To hear from professionals that work here at the rape treatment center at UCLA/Santa Monica, I went in and spent time at the facility and saw the room where the rape kits are done and actually walked in right after five-year-old girl had been brought in. I mean [for people] to experience those things and to have them say to me and Shonda Rhimes as well that, 'I've never seen it articulated so truthfully,'—[there's] been just a lot of generosity coming from people...I've had such a response from survivors, either on my twitter account or just on the street. There are no words for what that feels like. That's just truly humbling.

I'm sure you felt some sense of comfort that Shonda was writing this episode.
Shonda chose this—I mean Shonda chose this for the character...I trust Shonda implicitly, because there's one person and one person only that knows what's going to happen with Charlotte King. And that's Shonda. [Laughs.] I mean that woman's just amazing. My understanding is that it took her eight hours, she wrote for four hours Monday and four hours the next and it was done--and when I tell you that I can only recall three things that changed, we're talking minor--that thing was a masterpiece out of the gate. And I will call it a masterpiece, because I think it is. I believe that woman did such a remarkable thing by allowing herself to create the situation the way she did. I mean she, you know she's got to give herself permission as a writer to go there. She did and she just, I am in awe of Shonda's care for this. And that's ultimately what it comes down to, she really just wanted to legitimize what happens to a person. And really focus on what happens to that individual that is violated. And how it effects everyone around them. I think that there's nobody better, because Shonda's just a great impact that way.

Why do you think Charlotte did not want to report the rape?
This story was very well-thought-out and researched, and I think this is a much more common response than anyone cares to admit, which is heartbreaking in it's own right...Charlotte King would absolutely respond this way. This is a woman who has such control issues already, so for every bit of control to be taken away from her—because that is what has happened—she has truly been robbed of her self and certainly her dynamic need to have things under control. When that happens, you know it made perfect sense to me that this would be her response. I would almost anticipate, when you consider that some people while they're having their rape kits performed, can't speak, I mean they just can't speak, this makes sense that her go to would be to try with every ounce that she can must to have some sense of dignity, to get out of there and get it together and just make it go away.

Of course, that's not reality especially when she has to go back to the place of business where this has happened I mean, she has to face these people, she will have to look at Addison on a daily basis. It's a wonderful depiction I think because it's realistic, and, again, kudos to Shonda for letting it carry out beyond the episode, because the truth is you got to see this journey happen, you got to see her come to grips with having to take responsibility for getting this guy off the streets. I think that's an important part of this puzzle because it is very common for people to not be able to report immediately, and it's unfortunate but it's real. I mean we did not make it up, that happens, and I can even vouch further because a lot of people sent me their story. And a lot of people identified with it. And hopefully they will continue to feel that we go down the appropriate path. But you know there was a lot of care put into it, so I stand by it 100 percent.

How might this change Charlotte in the upcoming episodes?
I think as long as Charlotte King is a character on network television on the show Private Practice she's going to live with this because that's the reality of what survivors go through. And I believe that to be true, and I do believe that you know you will see this season revolve around recovery, just as you did with Violet's after she was attacked. So I think it doesn't go away—it never goes away for the individual. Shonda and I were adamant that we were not going to clean this up in a couple episodes and life is going to be dandy.

So she won't be dancing it out next episode?
No. She will not be dancing, in fact she's still in the cast. But I think you're going to see her go through putting on a game face, putting on a happy face. Anger, sadness, joy, you know trying to find humor in things. You know again, survivors when I talk to them, they were like 'Please make sure there are some laughs, because we do laugh in life.' And thank god that this show allows us to go further into all those things. Believe me I don't write it, I don't run the network, but so far I can tell you that what I've been given to do and how they've taken responsibility by going to specialists and how brave the network's been by letting us you know even really go there with the way the episode did. I think we're doing a really great thing and I think certainly for me that based on the response I've gotten that I couldn't feel any other way at this point because people have just been, again very supportive. So I think it's very appropriate what they've been doing. And I'm just grateful that I've had the opportunity to become a different human being as a result of this storyline. I mean it has really just changed my heart.

When the truth comes out will it affect all the other characters?
Again, the thing that they did by design, that I love, is they've dealt with cosurvivors, which is also something you don't see. I mean to see it happen to someone you know and love and what it brings up in your own questioning of safety in your own relationships or your own fears or your own experience. You look at the number of characters just on the show and you start breaking down statistics of every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted, one in six women, I literally can't look at scenes of a show or even frankly I can't—I was watching football, college ball, and I'm looking in the stands counting off six college-aged woman and I know one of them in her lifetime is going to be sexually assaulted. I mean that's kind of the way my mind is working and if my mind's working that way because of the fictional circumstances that I'm under you can imagine if this had happened in your workplace or had happened to someone you love. These characters are really living that out, I think I'm doing a long-winded version of explaining that. Yeah, there's no way you can, for Addison to have this, [for anyone] living with this and to have to go and perform intimately with your partner, all those things come up, there's just no way it wouldn't stir something within you.

The die-hard Buffy fans are shocked by Nicholas Brendon's role.
My understanding was that he was pretty handpicked and I think perfectly cast, in terms of that element of surprise, no one would see that coming and I think just to speak to him as an actor, how brave. How brave. I really you know just sort of applaud anyone that is responsible enough to understand how important it is to that character and really just not hold back. So I applaud him for taking on the responsibility of that role. Because it's a huge responsibility because if the actor backs off it at all, the story doesn't really get played out. I think the other part to that that's so wonderful, is because he is so beloved there to me is an element of a person being that much more shocking, in terms of like how could this person who seems so normal and wonderful possibly do this.

And know that we are exploring him as having some difficulties. I'm not going to label him crazy because I don't think that's really the point of what we've done. I don't think he's just simply deranged person because he, what's your going to find out is there's more to him. You're going to learn more about this person and the life he has and I think the reality with sexual assault is these are people who are around us all the time. These monsters live next door to us, they stand next to us in the grocery store. So for the audience that has found him so beloved, to maybe somehow not only lose themselves in the good work that the actor did but to somehow identity with, understanding that these people you know, the boogey man is there. In the world. All the time. And it can come in the form of a person that you think is a really good person. And I think that he sort of elicits that because of the Buffy lovers of the world and I think he went for it very bravely.

This does show that we all do need to be careful.
That is beautifully put and again I think that's why having it be Charlotte was incredibly effective. This is this woman that does have everything, she has a fiancé, she has two jobs, she doesn't need for money, she doesn't need for anything. I mean she just has it together and that is the reality. There's no certain type of person that is born into the world to be beat down. It has no face. It's just a horrid crime, sickness that has really affected people on such a deep level. Ultimately the way I can best say it is there is absolutely no reason or excuse on this planet in the universe that should allow this to happen. There's no excuse for it. There's never a situation where this is okay, it just does not exist. There's no justification. And to be able to apply that to a person that seemingly this wouldn't quote unquote happen to, she's so in charge, I thought that was really very good, very good to do.

Share your thoughts on KaDee's performance in the comments!

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