By People Staff
Updated July 21, 2008 12:00 AM
Credit: Landov

Private Practice star Kate Walsh promises that despite the show’s freshman season being cut short by the writers’ strike, the medical drama will be juicier than ever when it returns this fall. And more fun for Addison Montgomery, who is settled into her new digs and ready to explore a love life outside the workplace.

“You’ll see Addison dating,” she recently told PEOPLE. “There’s a lot of conflict and still that kind of mad and sick balance of comedy and drama that series creator Shonda Rhimes is such an expert at delivering.”

Walsh said her pairing with new love interest David Sutcliffe, seen briefly in the first season as a SWAT officer, is “so fun.”

“Addison around Officer Nelson, the SWAT guy, is so different than what comes out around Pete (Tim Daly) or Grey’s Anatomy‘s Derek (Patrick Dempsey) or Mark Sloan (Eric Dane) or anyone else that you’ve seen,” she said. “It’s really fun to see this total other side of her come out that we never saw. It hit me, this little epiphany of like, ‘Oh, we’ve never seen Addison into someone or someone that likes her back.'”

Walsh revealed that Addison is also stronger and more centered after finally adjusting to her life after relocating to Santa Monica. “Initially in those first nine episodes she’s still getting her footing, still isn’t quite sure and a little wobbly, and then you see that she’s got her groove back.”

While the rest of her cast and crew took an extended break after the strike, Walsh was back in character as Addison on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy when she made a return trip to the show last spring. “It was a little disorienting, but it was also fun,” she said of the homecoming, which she called a case of “art imitating life.”

And to whether or not one of Addison’s former colleagues at Seattle Grace will ever visit her in sunny Santa Monica, Walsh says, “Why not? That would be a fun idea.” — Scott HuverLandov