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« Ausiello Report

Grey's Doc is Staying! Now for the Big Question...

071026brookesmith.jpg
Brooke Smith by Ron Tom/ABC
You know I'm not one to toot my own horn, but given what just transpired on Grey's Anatomy, I believe a little toot's in order. Last July, shortly after Isaiah Washington received his pink slip, yours truly very publicly recommended Seattle Grace's on-again, off-again heart doc Erica Hahn (played to steely perfection by Brooke Smith) for the now-vacant position of top cardiothoracic surgeon. And sure enough, on last night's Grey's — three months since that high-profile endorsement ran in TV Guide magazine — the Chief offered Hahn the job. Cynics would say the idea of Hahn replacing Burke wasn't that much of a stretch considering, well, she'd subbed for him before. But cynics be damned, I'm taking the credit and no one's going to stop me! To be fair, a share of the props also belongs to Smith, who, after years of toiling as a Grey's guest star, will now finally become a full-fledged series regular. To commemorate the milestone, Smith sat down with me to discuss her promotion, offer a sneak peek at what lies ahead for Dr. Hahn, and answer the question on everyone's mind: Is she or isn't she?

Congratulations!
Brooke Smith:
Thanks!

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

Did they come right out and offer a full-time gig? Or were they just offering another guest spot?
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!

What was your first reaction?
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.

Do you like that Dr. Hahn is a little bit of an antagonist?
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.

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

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

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?
Smith:
I think so. Honestly, as of now, there's only a little hinting. I'm getting some suggestions….

Like what?
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 — '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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did the cast welcome you back with open arms?
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.

And it hasn't always been the happiest place to work.
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.

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

Eh, that's old news. Are you going to be in scenes with him?
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.

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

Well, this is exciting news — mostly because I predicted it.
Smith:
I know. God knows what'll happen when I hang up [this time].

Shonda Rhimes is going to call and tell you that Dr. Hahn is gay.
Smith:
Oh my god. Should I call you back if that happens?

You better!
Smith:
All right, I will. I totally will.

It's been a week since we spoke and still no word from Brooke. I still say the call from Shonda is coming and that Dr. Hahn will come bursting out of the closet at some point this season -- despite Hahn's whole "I date men" comment in last night's episode. You guys with me on this? And regardless of her sexuality, are you as thrilled as I am that she's sticking around full-time? Sound off below in the comments section!


Posted by Michael Ausiello
Oct 25, 2007 10:05 PM
I loved the scene between Hahn and Yang tonight. I thought that was totally awesome. Although, I wonder why they had Hahn change the way she acts towards Christina. Last season she was talking about how great she was and tonight she was mean!

It'll be great to see that storyline develop more.
Posted by smile79335
Oct 25, 2007 10:15 PM
Wait, what does this mean about the role I LOVE LOVE LOVE her in on Weeds?? Is she still going to be able to do it? I know Maulik Pancholy manages to do both Weeds and 30 Rock, but his role on 30 Rock is reeally small.

I'd just like confirmation that she's not leaving Weeds any time soon. I'll provide you with a Snapple-flavored Smurf in exchange. Thank you.
Posted by GregoryHarbin
Oct 25, 2007 10:20 PM
so when is joshua jackson showing up?
Posted by tvman24
Oct 25, 2007 10:20 PM
AHHH I am so excited that Dr. Hahn is full time now... however, I wanted to mention that Grey's does have a gay character-- JOE!!!

Anyways, thanks for the interview with Brooke, she seems very fun!
Posted by gglover52
Oct 25, 2007 10:47 PM
Brooke will be a great addition to Grey's. I've enjoyed her since the days of Silence of the Lambs and she's been awesome on Weeds this season, not to mention as Brian Jr.'s mom in the pilot of Dirty Sexy Money.

Check her out Series 7: The Contenders, it's a pretty twisted take on a reality show.
Posted by jlspaulding
Oct 25, 2007 11:07 PM
so my first comment... because when you said you would post who it was at 10 pm tonight I knew it was someone on Grey's and had a feeling that Hahn would become a regular. Now that she is I hope she scraps those red scrubs soon and becomes one of the gang.
Posted by xomcdreamyxo
Oct 25, 2007 11:30 PM
Hey! You promised us a Joshua Jackson spoiler at 10PM...what's up?
Tease!
Posted by WWMisery
Oct 26, 2007 12:00 AM
I'm happy about Dr. Hahn I think she is good, Her & chis will have the relationship like Alex & Addie.
What about Mer/Der are they over, and is Izzie thing go to keep going, it make me sick G is still married and he act like he's not
Posted by gingeredw
Oct 26, 2007 12:23 AM
I love that Grey's finds the best supporting actors in the bus and finally give them the chance to shine. And yeah, I was a little taken aback by the "I Date Men" comment... I thought her Sapphic tendencies were obvious. It'll be interesting to see what happens next...
Posted by jeffofhearts
Oct 26, 2007 1:55 AM
I think actors from Crossing Jordan should start popping up as characters at SGH -- Kathryn Hahn acting with Dr. Hahn would be too cute an in-joke about the names, but how about Steve Valentine playing a man (patient or doctor) of ambiguous sexuality in a storyline in which his character and Dr. Hahn are inexplicably attracted to each other even though they can't stop fighting with each other? And Ravi Kapoor could play his grumpy sidekick . . .

-- Rob
Posted by ShutUpRob
Oct 26, 2007 3:26 AM
Sigh, get a grip, Ausiello. You said that "a share of the props also belongs to Smith." Unless you work for Grey's Anatomy, or you are this woman's agent, ALL OF THE CREDIT BELONGS TO HER!! I love you, seriously, but a get a grip!
Posted by lasilva12
Oct 26, 2007 3:33 AM
This is good news. But,I do wonder why and how is it a fact that Grey's Needs a gay character? Sounds more like an opinion to me unless there is some sort of gay character union that I'm unaware of that forces all shows to have a quota of prominent gay characters. I really hope the writers don't let outside forces dictate their characters backstories but rather they write their characters in ways that make sense to the stories they want to tell.
Posted by davidpw97
Oct 26, 2007 6:01 AM
Great Move!! I also have loved her ever since playing "the girl in the pit" in Silence of the Lambs!
She definitely needs someone other than a serial killer to
"rub the lotion on its skin.";)
Posted by Mr. Furley
Oct 26, 2007 6:02 AM
But,I do wonder why and how is it a fact that Grey's Needs a gay character? Sounds more like an opinion to me unless there is some sort of gay character union that I'm unaware of that forces all shows to have a quota of prominent gay characters.

Seriously? I think what is meant by the showing needing a gay character is that it is one of the most diverse casts on tv and in that spirit could also use a main gay character - its actually surprising it hasn't happened already. And of course there is a gay character on the show - Joe the bartender - but really how often is he on?
Posted by molsongrrrl
Oct 26, 2007 6:39 AM
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