|Private Practice character|
KaDee Strickland as Dr. Charlotte King
|First appearance||"In Which We Meet Addison, a Nice Girl From Somewhere Else" 1x01|
|Last appearance||"In Which We Say Goodbye" 6x13|
|Created by||Shonda Rhimes|
|Portrayed by||KaDee Strickland|
Cruella (by Violet)
|Occupation||Attending at St. Ambrose Hospital
Physician at Seaside Health & Wellness
Physician at Pacific Wellcare Center (former)
Physician at Oceanside Wellness Group (former)
|Title||Chief of Staff (St. Ambrose Hospital)
Former Director (Pacific Wellcare Center)
|Family||"Big Daddy" (father, deceased)
Augusta King (mother)
Duke King (brother)
Landry King (brother)
|Spouse(s)||Billy Douglas (divorced)
|Significant other(s)||Archer Montgomery
|Children||Mason Warner (step-son via Cooper)
(triplet daughters with Cooper)
Dr. Charlotte King is a fictional character from the ABC medical drama Private Practice, portrayed by KaDee Strickland. Charlotte is the Chief of Staff at the fictional St. Ambrose Hospital in Santa Monica. She has an "adversarial" role in the show, and is responsible for opening the Pacific Wellcare Center, a medical practice in direct competition with the series' main practice, the Oceanside Wellness Group. Charlotte is also the wife of pediatrician Cooper Freedman (Paul Adelstein).
Charlotte (Char) is from Monroeville, Alabama. She has two brothers, Duke (Tyler Jacob Moore) and Landry (Caleb Moody), and was raised by her parents "Big Daddy" and Augusta King, who she refers to as "a son of a bitch" and "a drug addict" respectively. She has trouble connecting with others because signs of affection were discouraged in her family. Charlotte attended Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and went on to become the youngest physician to hold the position of Chief of Staff at St. Ambrose Hospital in Santa Monica. She uses internet dating websites using the handle "CanYouHandleMe441", and is embarrassed to discover a man she has been interacting with online is Cooper Freedman, the Oceanside Wellness Centre's pediatrician. She agrees to go for a drink with him, however, and the two end up sleeping together.
Charlotte and Cooper enter into a relationship, but break up when he discovers that she is opening a new practice to rival his own, on the fourth floor of the same building. They come close to reconciling when Charlotte believes she may be pregnant, but she is disappointed when her pregnancy test comes back negative and Cooper subsequently rejects her again. They re-unite when Charlotte's father dies from lung cancer, and Cooper helps her to turn off his life support machine. Charlotte is jealous of Cooper's relationship with his best friend Violet Turner (Amy Brenneman), particularly when he opts to move in with her to support her through her pregnancy. In retaliation, Charlotte sleeps with Archer Montgomery (Grant Show); however, Cooper forgives her as he realizes she is afraid of being in a committed relationship and is trying to push him away. Charlotte is later fired from her position as director of Pacific Wellcare as the practice owner, William White (James Morrison), believes her to be heartless. However, she continues private practice work as she is employed to replace Naomi at Oceanside Wellness, electing to practice sexology as her specialty.
In the beginning of the third season she and Cooper were having trouble because Violet was attacked and he put himself at fault. But, in S03E03 at the end he literally "swept her off her feet" and asked her to move him with him. In the S03E04 Charlotte renovates Cooper's bathroom, destroying it in the process. At the end it is revealed that he is broke. In S03E05, Charlotte is accepted into the practice and takes up sexology. Toward the end of the episode Cooper admits that he is threatened by Charlotte because she says that she is "too much of a woman" for him, but they get over this and they continue to be happy. That is, until it's revealed that Charlotte was married before and lied about this to Cooper. Then she enters into a sexual relationship with Sheldon, who later admits that he loves her. In 3x20 Cooper reveals that his parents had a son that died before him and he felt like he was replaced and that's why he took Charlotte's first marriage so badly. He tells Violet that he is going to "get her back". In S03E21 Cooper tells Charlotte that she is important to him and they go get dinner. In S03E22 the episode opens with Cooper and her in bed after having sex. Later in the episode Sheldon admits that she deserves better, and he can be more to her. He asks her out to dinner. At the end, Violet asks Cooper if he loves Charlotte and he nods. So, she says to "go get her". He follows Violet's instructions and leaves for Charlotte—who is out with Sheldon. In the season 3 finale Cooper admits his love for her and proposes. Later in the episode he tells everyone that he proposed and she said yes. Sheldon resents being everyone's "second choice". At the end Cooper says that he takes back the proposal, so he can do it the next day. She questions this, but he says he can't live without her and she is everything he never knew he wanted. She tosses him the ring, and he asks, "if I propose again tomorrow, what are you gonna say?" Charlotte replies: "I'm gonna say yes."
In season four, Charlotte meets a mentally unstable patient who appears to be extremely aggressive. When she goes to leave her office after a hard day of work, she is knocked back into her office and is raped and brutally beaten, left with a broken wrist, and hand, a deep laceration on her left arm, a broken eye socket, and a broken nose. Cooper is at a bar with Sam and Amelia while this is happening and Cooper drunkenly comes onto Amelia, Sam stepped in to stop the sexual feelings between the two, before Cooper did something he would regret later on. Addison comes to Charlotte's aid at the hospital and she tells Addison that her attacker "wiped" himself off in her hair and then raped her again. She reveals to Amelia that she also was addicted to pills. At first keeping quiet what really happened, Charlotte is able to tell Cooper and the others how she was raped. However, her reluctance to come forward at first leads to her rapist being allowed to go free. When the man attacks his girlfriend, she stabs him in self-defense, sending him to the hospital. While Cooper and Sheldon are tempted to let him die, Sam saves his life. Before the operation, Charlotte sees the man, saying that if he dies, she wants the last thing he sees to be her face. Charlotte learns the man had told his girlfriend of the rape and convinces her to tell the police so he'll be arrested. He survives the surgery and Charlotte confronts him, saying she had built him in her mind as a monster but now sees he's just a weak little man and is able to move on. Charlotte and Cooper continue on the path to engagement with the couple taking a policy to be honest with each other. Cooper confesses his run in with Amelia at the bar and Charlotte confronts her, but the two are able to salvage the friendship and Charlotte asks Amelia to be her maid of honor. In the episode "What We Have Here..." Cooper confronts Charlotte's ex-husband Billy after finding out that Charlotte keeps a photo of him after all these years. It is revealed that Billy cheated on Charlotte to find out if he was gay, which he is, shocking Charlotte. Charlotte eventually marries Cooper in the episode "Something Old, Something New", which finds them eloping to Vegas after dealing with dueling families that suggest that they call off the wedding. In season 5 she finds out Cooper has a son named Mason. After his mom dies of cancer, Charlotte accepts Mason into her home. In the first episode of season 6, she and Cooper find out they're pregnant with triplets. Charlotte is extremely hesitant towards becoming a mother, especially when she learns the triplets are all girls, but Cooper assures her that their daughters will be special.
Charlotte is one of the few series regulars not to have appeared in the backdoor pilot episode "The Other Side of This Life". Strickland was added to the cast in July 2007, prior to the commencement of the first series. She did not have to audition for the role, but was cast after a meeting with series creator Shonda Rhimes. Strickland was drawn to Charlotte's hardworking nature and "strong moral code". She has stated that the role is challenging as she does not "necessarily agree with her way of handling people or what she stands for" and is "shocked at how her point of view just really takes over for her and that's kind of it." Strickland grew up in a medical environment as her mother is a registered nurse, something she has deemed useful for the role as it presents her with a "phenomenal resource for [...] research material".
Prior to the broadcast of the first season of Private Practice, Lynette Rice of Entertainment Weekly described Charlotte as the show's "Tough-as-nails hospital administrator who disapproves of Oceanside Wellness' New Age attitude toward medicine." Matt Mitovich of TV Guide stated that a season later, Charlotte seemed "less shrill", observing that: "She originally came across as a character simply designed to be the thorn in everyone else's side. But I think they've worked her in better this season." Strickland agreed with this assessment, commenting: "I think that's what Shonda and the writers always sought for her, without even telling me where it was going. I clearly never saw the Cooper thing coming. I knew from what I had learned of Shonda's writing for Grey's that I would eventually get some justification for why I'm a kick in the pants. It's wonderful to have layers get peeled off. She's a Southern girl, and us Southern folks tend to have a lot of Southern gothic strangeness behind us."
Part of Charlotte's evolving characterization in the second season revolved around her relationship with Cooper. The season placed greater focus on the characters' love lives and the subsequent pressure placed on their personal and professional relationships. Rhimes explained: "I look at this sort of like a family business. I wanted the stories to challenge the family and how they deal with one another." Korbi Ghosh of Zap2it opined that the relationship between Charlotte and Cooper was interesting as it "came out of left field", something which Strickland agreed with, stating: "it just goes to show that life is very unpredictable, I think. The truth is that people end up in the most unlikely situations. You can be around someone for years and not know you have chemistry with them. Charlotte and Cooper have been in this professional environment, never knowing that they have a similar proclivity, if you will. And where that’s leading is really just wonderful. I’m really thrilled." The season also saw Charlotte in more of a central role, as the show's main protagonist Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) spent more time working at St. Ambrose Hospital. Walsh assessed that: "All the doctors at Oceanside Wellness need Charlotte, and yet they resent needing her, because she's a pain in the ass to deal with." With regards to the development of Charlotte and Cooper's relationship in the show's third season, Strickland has said: "I think I'm perfectly well-placed with Cooper. Other characters are going to have more of a triangle than me and Violet." By the sixth season, executive producer Barbie Kligman said the pairing was "real" while Walsh said it was "one of the best relationships", citing the example of Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton in Friday Night Lights, and that it was rare to see that on television. Strickland described her character's relationship with Cooper as "honest" and "steadfast".
Isabelle Carreau of TV Squad is critical of Charlotte's character. In October 2007, she noted that of 306 respondents to a TV Squad poll on viewers' favorite Private Practice character, only one had selected Charlotte. Following the episode "In Which Charlotte Goes Down the Rabbit Hole", she opined: "I'm not sure that this somewhat Charlotte-centric Private Practice episode will have viewers relate more with the character." She wrote that she was indifferent towards Charlotte, and saw her as more of a recurring than regular character, whose lack of screen time made her hard to relate to. When Charlotte slept with Cooper in "In Which Cooper Finds a Port In His Storm", Carreau opined: "I'm not sure I like the port Cooper found in his storm and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone thinking this [...] It's clear they are trying to make Charlotte more meaningful but for me, it's too little too late." She wrote that Charlotte was as poorly introduced as unpopular Lost characters Nikki and Paulo, and suggested that the relationship had the potential to ruin Cooper, who was in her opinion the show's best character. Carreau would have preferred for Cooper's online date to turn out to be Violet. She did find Charlotte's nickname of "CanYouHandleMe441" interesting, and noted that: "It sure shows a side of her that we didn't know existed." When Charlotte was fired from her position as Director of Pacific Wellcare, Carreau wrote: "Someone finally told Charlotte that she doesn't have a heart. Okay, she does have one but it must be made of stone or ice or something similar."
Andrea Reiher of Zap2it called the scene in "Nothing to Fear" which saw Charlotte dress in white lingerie and a veil after proposing to a hesitant Cooper "creepy". When Cooper declined Charlotte's request that he move in with her in favor of moving in with Violet, Reiher questioned: "Why did Cooper have to tell Charlotte? Why couldn't he have just said yes to her and told Violet things were off? If he really loves Charlotte, why wouldn't he do that?" Fellow Zap2it writer Kiley McMichael agreed: "Cooper is an idiot. Truly. He says he wants this real future with Charlotte, but doesn't act like it. Best friends or not, there's no need for him to move in with Violet now that she's pregnant. She's not debilitated." When Charlotte slept with Archer in retaliation, McMichael noted: "[her] tough as nails exterior is crumbling, which is sad, because that's what made her interesting. Now she's just flawed." Reiher was critical of Charlotte in the episode which followed, commenting that she took an opposing stance to Cooper at work: "Because she's a giant turd. Man, I dislike her." She further recapped: "Cooper tries to reconcile with Charlotte and she gets mad at him for loving her, even though she's a horrible, horrible woman. I side with Charlotte. She sucks, don't love her Cooper! Love Violet! Instead, he grabs her in a hug and she cries and they kiss and I vomit in my mouth a little. Sorry but... I hate Charlotte."
In another negative review, Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times wrote that the female characters in Private Practice "collectively offer one of the most depressing portrayals of the female condition since The Bell Jar." Mid-season two, Jon Caramancia for the Los Angeles Times opined: "That Charlotte has become the axis around which most of this show's intrigue revolves only highlights how thin the central characters have become and how many of the show's initial charms have been neutered. The vivid sexual confusion between Violet Turner (Amy Brenneman) and Cooper Freedman (Paul Adelstein) has been completely sacrificed so that Cooper could play out his ridiculous affair with Charlotte, whose character has resisted all attempts at softening—sea changes in hair, makeup and wardrobe be damned."
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