Brooke Smith is scrubbing in as Dr. Erica Hahn, Seattle Grace’s new no-nonsense surgeon. A respected New York stage vet, Smith, 40, is also the daughter of retired PR powerhouse Lois Smith, whose clients included Robert Redford; dad is publisher Gene Smith. But she’s best known as the woman trapped in a pit (and ordered to moisturize her skin) by a serial killer in The Silence of the Lambs.
• Anatomy 101: Smith, who didn’t own a TV for years, just saw the first season of Grey’s. “[The producers] said, ‘Watch the show; it’s really good,'” says Smith, who was also oblivious to all the Isaiah Washington drama. “I live in a bubble.”
• McCrush in the Making: Smith’s daughter Fanny, 4 (with cameraman husband Steve Lubensky, 35), “may kill me, but she might have a crush on Patrick [Dempsey],” says Smith. “She was on her scooter in a hospital hallway. He said, ‘Can I get past?’ She said, ‘No.’ She doesn’t give him the time of day; he’s very concerned.”
• Earth Mama: The “hippy-dippy” Smith refused an epidural during Fanny’s 78-hour birth. And she’s down with the show’s green ways. “They got rid of bottled water,” says Smith. “We get thermoses that say ‘Grey’s Anatomy Season Four’ with our names on it. Cool.”
• Lamb Chops: The torture in The Silence of the Lambs didn’t freak Smith out. “I had bad dreams before shooting, but when we started, it was cathartic,” she says. “I screamed so much, it was like primal therapy.”