Where has Kelli Williams been since she exited The Practice last year? After learning she was one of six pink-slipped series regulars — including her TV hubby Dylan McDermott — the actress focused on motherhood.

"I had my third child four months after I left The Practice ," she says. "So I got to spend a ton of time with my kids [Kiran, 6, Sarame, 3, and Ravi, 1]. I worked a little bit, but it wasn't a priority to me. I just wanted to not have to go to work, be with the kids and look for something for this TV season."

By the way, she's past feeling bitter about losing her signature role as lady lawyer Lindsay Dole. "Things have a way of working themselves out," Williams shrugs. "It's never fun to be let go from a job. They say you should experience that once. It's all good in the course of life, even when it's hard. I went back and directed an episode with James Spader and my own cast mates, which was fantastic. It was really good. Talk about a learning experience!"

This fall, Williams can be seen on NBC's Medical Investigation, where she'll play pathologist Natalie Durant. Since her father was a plastic surgeon — she grew up watching him do face-lifts and liposuction! — she doesn't mind the sight of blood and gore. "I think it will be fine," the 34-year-old laughs. "It won't bug me. I would go to my dad's office sometimes, put on a little surgical mask and talk to him while he did a rhinoplasty, as he was breaking this person's nose. It didn't freak me out."

Spouting MI's complex medical jargon is a bigger challenge, since the series deals with all sorts of far-out diseases. "After all the legalese, I got used to [learning lingo]," she says. "It's funny. On The Practice, I was always told I speak pretty quickly and to slow down, take my time. I got to my next job as Natalie Durant, and I was told to speed back up! Everything is of the utmost urgency. We're running against time. I also have a tendency to mumble, so I have to overenunciate my medical terms, which I obviously have to look up and understand."

For more from Kelli Williams, including how her Medical Investigation character would fare in a catfight with her Practice attorney, pick up the current issue of TV Guide.