By People Staff
September 04, 2008 12:00 AM
Jason Merritt/FilmMagic

Private Practice star Kate Walsh promises her fans this: Her character Addison Montgomery will be better than ever in the second season of the medical drama spin-off–and she gets a new beau to boot!

“You will see… ‘strong Addison’ again,” Walsh told PEOPLE Tuesday at the DVD launch party for the first season of the series. “She’s found her footing in season 2. In season 1 she’s a little wobbly and back and forth, all over the place. This season you see more of the old Addison-of-surgery strong.”

“She’s still conflicted and vulnerable,” Walsh added. “There is a great dichotomy of her being a tough professional and then her mushy underside in her personal life. You see her dating and happy for a change.”

That new love interest is not the holistic doc Pete (Tim Daly) she flirted with in the initial nine episodes. Instead, it’s the cute cop played by David Sutcliffe. “I’m back for 11 episodes –I’m her love interest,” Sutcliffe confirmed to PEOPLE earlier, saying he and Walsh share “an easy rapport.” The Scoop on the Characters Also luckier in love is Addison’s co-worker Violet, according to Amy Brenneman. “It takes her a while,” Brenneman teased. Meanwhile costar Paul Adelstein says his character Cooper continues his clandestine hookups with uptight Charlotte King (KaDee Strickland), bringing the romance out into the open. “He’s going to maybe try to make a go at that, see if he can have a real girlfriend for the first time in his life.”

Which suits Strickland (who has been upgraded to a series regular) just fine. “I’m all over it in a major way,” she laughed. “Charlotte King is very much wedded to this show. I’m having the time of my life playing her. She is a kick.”

However, surfer-nurse Del (Chris Lowell) continues to pine for Naomi (Audra McDonald). “What ends up happening to him is, when nothing changes, he just snaps,” Lowell said. “He’s through with not being taken seriously. He’s going to put his foot down one way or another.”

While love is blooming for most of the doctors, the mood at the medical co-op is about to change, says Adelstein. “The practice itself falls into some hard times,” he revealed. “That creates some tension within these characters. They have different ideas of how the practice should move down the line.”

One thing all the actors do agree on is that the long hiatus caused by the writers’ strike gave the creators and cast time to step back and approach the show from a fresh perspective. “It’s stronger,” Strickland said. “Private Practice has very much found its feet. I think it’s hitting the ground running.”

“We are in the thick of our season and there is so much goodness happening,” Walsh added. “There are so many fantastic guests and characters on our show. We have Grant Show, Billy Dee Williams… I’m loving every minute of it. I can’t wait for everyone to see season 2.” –Scott Huver

Jason Merritt/FilmMagic