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Brooke Smith Joins the Grey's Anatomy Cast

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After several strong guest appearances over two years-plus, Brooke Smith is set to join the Grey's Anatomy cast as renowned heart surgeon Erica Hahn.

With her role cemented after last night, Brooke Smith talked with Michael Ausiello of TV Guide to discuss her character, what it's like to join such a talented ensemble, and whether or not Erica Hahn will be portrayed as a lesbian ...

TV Guide: Congratulations!
Brooke Smith: Thanks!

TV Guide: You must've had an idea this was coming.
Brooke Smith: Honestly, I wasn't expecting it, [probably] because I didn't want to be disappointed if it didn't end up happening. I thought it was really cool when TV Guide [floated the idea], because I thought, "Wow, I didn't even think of that!" And literally a couple days after we spoke, they called.

Brooke Smith Joins the Grey's Anatomy Cast

TV Guide: Did they come right out and offer a full-time gig? Or were they just offering another guest spot?
Brooke Smith: No, it was, "Hey, can you come full-time?" Thank God. I couldn't handle any more dabbling. It's too much. [Mock anguish] I feel like I want someone to commit to me already!

TV Guide: What was your first reaction?
Brooke Smith: You know, we were kind of excited. [Laughs] I say "we" because my husband and I were like, "Wow, OK." We had just finished [renovating our apartment] in New York, and put down a deposit on school for our little girl. But, aside from that, we just said, "All right, I guess we're moving to L.A. for a little while." But we're going back to New York at the end of this.

TV Guide: Do you like that Dr. Hahn is a little bit of an antagonist?
Brooke Smith: Yeah. I've heard people say [Dr. Hahn] is abrasive. [Laughs] Dr. Hahn is a workaholic and she's very professional and, you know, I think she feels that there should be professionalism at work, and when other people do things that aren't professional she gets a little upset.

TV Guide: And lord knows, there are a lot of people acting unprofessional at Seattle Grace.
Brooke Smith: There are! For God's sakes, c'mon, it's a hospital, people!

TV Guide: It's not a Motel 6.
Brooke Smith: Exactly! Lord.

TV Guide: Since you're sticking around, I guess it's safe to assume that they're going to delve a little more into Dr. Hahn's background… maybe give her a love interest?
Brooke Smith: I think so. Honestly, as of now, there's only a little hinting. I'm getting some suggestions….

TV Guide: Like what?
Brooke Smith: There might be a certain man there who's interested in me. But I don't know what Dr. Hahn will think of that. It's really interesting. I haven't worked like this before. We start shooting the next episode on Monday and I don't have a script yet. We'll get it tomorrow, and you just sort of read them out loud with everyone, and you're like, "Oh my god!" I know a little bit about her. And, certainly, I have a dialogue with the writers and I ask them questions and they sort of steer me down their same path. But I don't think anyone knows what's going to happen…. The other day I joked, "I know who I'm hooking up with!" There's this surgical nurse who's always there. When she's there I'm thrilled, because she always makes me feel very real â€" 'cause she's a real [surgical nurse]. I turned to her at one point and said, "Are you single on the show?" She doesn't even have a name on the show and I'm already trying to hook up with her.

TV Guide: I can see Dr. Hahn hitting it off with Cristina.
Brooke Smith: Secretly, we pushed for that. You know, Sandra Oh and I played lovers in [the off-Broadway play] Stop Kiss.

TV Guide: You know, there were rumors a while back that Cristina might be bisexual...
Brooke Smith: I know. I heard those rumors.

TV Guide: Then it's destined to happen!
Brooke Smith: That's what I think. But I don't know….

TV Guide: I think Dr. Hahn would make an awesome lesbian.
Brooke Smith: I think so, too.

TV Guide: Could it happen?
Brooke Smith: I honestly don't know. I've certainly let [the producers] know I'm open to it.

TV Guide: What was their reaction?
Brooke Smith: They were like, "OK, duly noted!" I think they wanted me to shut up already.

TV Guide: The fact is, Seattle Grace needs a gay character.
Brooke Smith: Well, hey, you called it that I [would be] on the show full-time, so...

TV Guide: Did the cast welcome you back with open arms?
Brooke Smith: They've been great. Everybody's great. It's very comfortable… which is weird. It feels like it shouldn't be, because it's such a big show.

TV Guide: And it hasn't always been the happiest place to work.
Brooke Smith: I guess that was last season. I haven't seen any of that. And I didn't see it the last time I was there. Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm in some sort of bubble.

TV Guide: Any Grey's Anatomy scoop you can give me before you go?
Brooke Smith: I heard Seth Green is coming.

TV Guide: Eh, that's old news. Are you going to be in scenes with him?
Brooke Smith: Not yet. But we're doing a two-parter now, so maybe in the second part. I'm not involved with him in the first part.

TV Guide: Who are you involved with in the first part?
Brooke Smith: I've been working with Dr. Sloan... Izzie... and Alex... And I finally got to work with Dr. Torres.

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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wow that is the stupidest thing ever
a i hate dr hahn
b her and cristina together is rediculous
c can they add some damn men to the show instead of all these women
seriously

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i dont like dr. hahn at all.
cristina better not get with her...

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I think the Chief will hit on Hahn (eventually ... when he recovers from the shock of his wife filing for a divorce). They are both in love with their job first, so it would be a good match. Plus, it would give Cristina the chance to mock Dr. Hahn for doing the very thing she chastised Cristina for doing with Burke - sleeping with her supervisor!

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Okay..
I'm just thinking. What about Lexie and Hahn?
Because Leigh has said that Lexie falls in love with someone unexpected. (there aren't that many men that can be called 'unexcepted'. In fact, actually, there's no one left.)
and there would be a gay couple, we had hahn an an "awesome lesbian"..
whatever (;

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I knew it!!! when I heard that Isaiah W. wasnt coming back I so thought that she should be the head of cardio! haha..sweet.

Grey's Anatomy Quotes

Did you say it? 'I love you. I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life.' Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it, but every now and then, look around; Drink it in 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow."

Meredith (closing voiceover)

There's a reason I said I'd be happy alone. It wasn't 'cause I thought I'd be happy alone. It was because I thought if I loved someone and then it fell apart, I might not make it. It's easier to be alone, because what if you learn that you need love and you don't have it? What if you like it and lean on it? What if you shape your life around it and then it falls apart? Can you even survive that kind of pain? Losing love is like organ damage. It's like dying. The only difference is death ends. This? It could go on forever.

Meredith