Private Practice

Common Sense Media says

Grey’s spin-off is entertaining, but for adults only.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series explores heated topics like homosexuality, incest, infidelity, drug abuse, rape, kidnapping, mental illness, teen pregnancy, and death in a thoughtful, if overly dramatized, manner. Rarely are there clear-cut answers to the moral and legal questions raised in the stories, but it does a good job of presenting multiple sides to each dilemma, which encourages viewers to ponder the issues themselves.

Positive role models

Most of the characters are far from perfect; each one battles his or her own personal demons and regrets mistakes they’ve made in their personal and professional lives. Difficult circumstances often make them bend the rules of their medical profession, but their priority always is the well-being of their patients.


Surgical procedures are shown in graphic detail, and when episodes deal with violent content like rape, assault, and attempted murder, these acts are shown as well. Victims are battered and bloodied, and many characters -- including at least one main character -- die.


Kissing, fondling, making out, and foreplay are common, and some scenes briefly show simulated sex. Years of revolving relationships mean that most of the characters have slept with at least a couple of their peers, making for some tangled webs of lust and angst, and sexual tension and bedroom antics are used throughout as plot development devices.


“Ass,” “hell,” and “damn” are commonly used.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adult characters are shown drinking alcohol in social situations and for relaxation at home, but it’s usually in moderation. Drug use is a common topic in this medical-themed show, and some main characters are former drug addicts.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that -- just like its parent show -- this Grey’s Anatomy spin-off is intended for adults and explores a variety of mature themes like drug use, mental illness, incest, and homosexuality to keep its content fresh. Characters have tangled love lives, and many have slept with multiple partners within the office, so sex is a common discussion point and sexy scenes show making out, some partial nudity (backs, cleavage, etc.), and brief simulated sex. Some storylines center on violent acts like rape and assault, and surgical scenes are similarly bloody. That said, the show brings to light complicated real-life issues and attempts to present their many sides, encouraging viewers to ponder them and draw their own conclusions of right and wrong with relation to them.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

PRIVATE PRACTICE is a spin-off of Grey’s Anatomy that centers on the staff of Oceanside Wellness Center, a cooperative private medical facility in Los Angeles where patients are treated by some of the best doctors in specialties ranging from pediatrics to homeopathic care. Noted obstetrician and neonatal surgeon Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) heads up the practice that was started by her best friend, Dr. Naomi Bennett (Audra McDonald) and Naomi’s ex-husband, Dr. Sam Bennett (Taye Diggs). The patient cases these doctors handle are almost as complicated as their own personal lives, ensuring that things are never dull around the water cooler at this busy medical practice.

Is it any good?


Private Practice is an enticing series that’s equal parts medical drama and soap opera. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the intricacies of the characters’ complicated lives, and their revolving workplace romances keep things, well, lively. Smart writing and a talented cast enable the show to handle the intense, real-life subject matter it explores, and the fact that it makes a concerted effort to present weighty issues like mental illness, homosexuality, and addiction from multiple viewpoints gives viewers plenty to ponder after it’s turned off.

Of course, it’s this same content that rules it out as an option for any but the sturdiest viewers, since it doesn’t shy away from violence, sexual content, or raw human emotion. Life-and-death scenarios are commonplace throughout the show, and plenty of characters die. It’s the show’s adherence to sticking closely to reality (with the expected amount of melodrama) that gives it merit for adults but at the same time makes it problematic for most teens.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how this series portrays women. After seeing Naomi, Addison, Violet, and Charlotte in action, whom do you admire most? The least? Are these women’s personal lives very different from their professional ones? How do these doctors compare onscreen to their male counterparts?

  • This series raises tough questions about real-life issues, so families can discuss how the characters cope with the challenges they encounter. How do the characters’ different opinions complicate their ability to reach a consensus about caring for patients? When have you been in a situation where you’ve had to work with others whose opinions were different from yours? How do you best cope with group dynamics under pressure?

  • How does this series compare to Grey’s Anatomy? Both are medical dramas, but do the characters handle issues in a similar fashion? Do the two seem to compete or can like-minded series coexist on TV? Does either series seem to adhere more to reality?

TV details

Cast:Amy Brenneman, Kate Walsh, Tim Daly
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD

This review of Private Practice was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written bysoymissk8 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
Teen, 13 years old Written byvrumayo90210 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Way different!

Yay! I love this show! It is so much better than Grey's Anatomy. The adults actually act like adults and not immature sex-crazed maniacs like on Grey's. I still love that show though! I am so happy to see this refreshing show on TV. It's real.
Teen, 15 years old Written bykhj115 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?


What are the different ways that you access Common Sense Media ratings and information? (Check all that apply)

Essential Apps Guide