Lindsay Soll
November 02, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Paging Catherine Martin! Every time we see no-nonsense Erica Hahn, Seattle Grace’s newest heart surgeon (as of Oct. 25), we can’t help but think of 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs. And we’re not alone. ”It doesn’t surprise me,” laughs Smith about being recognized as Martin, the horror classic’s feisty kidnap victim. ”Most people think they went to high school with me. They can’t figure out why I seem so familiar!” Although the role never catapulted her to major stardom, the 40-year-old New York City native appeared in numerous features (Vanya on 42nd Street, In Her Shoes) and TV series (The Larry Sanders Show, Weeds) before landing the recurring role of Dr. Hahn on Grey’s. She’s already had some memorable moments, including a gutsy battle with Isaiah Washington’s Dr. Burke over a heart. But nothing’s been quite as gory as her terrifying breakout role: ”The crew would be very tense when we would cut, but after screaming and thrashing around, I was incredibly relaxed.” Now, that’s a skill that will come in handy when she’s wielding those scalpels.

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