Scott Bakula and Melinda McGraw Scott Bakula and Melinda McGraw

There was at least one part of Melinda McGraw's Men of a Certain Age role that didn't require much acting.

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McGraw plays Erin, a former actress who begins dating Scott Bakula's Terry, with whom she'd acted 20 years earlier. Conveniently, McGraw first worked with Bakula more than 20 years ago on his NBC hit, Quantum Leap."It was my first job, and I didn't know anything," McGraw tells with a laugh. "I showed up and we did a scene on the street, and I remember the director saying after we shot it, 'OK, let's go inside.' I thought he meant let's go indoors because we were done; I had no idea we had to go in for close-ups!"Scott was literally giving me Camera Acting 101," she continues. "He would reach out of frame to adjust me on my mark or turn me into the light. I was so embarrassed, but he was so sweet about it. Never did I feel like they were judging me or being obnoxious about it."

McGraw, who Mad Men fans will remember as Bobbie Barrett, says she was already a fan of Men of a Certain Age when this part came along. Working with Bakula again was an added bonus. Although she says he didn't instantly remember her, once she mentioned the 1990 Quantum episode title, "A Little Miracle," it all came back to him. ("He's got an incredible memory. He remembers every script, every scene," McGraw says. )

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Although Erin recently dumped Terry in the show's season premiere, she will be back, beginning with Wednesday's episode (10/9c, TNT). McGraw says she found it intriguing that her character walked away from Terry, even though he said he was in love for the first time."I don't think she really believes he's ready to commit," McGraw says. "When he says, 'I wasn't looking for a fling,' and she says, 'I know you weren't,' she's lying. [Erin] gave up acting to become a teacher. She's trying to be a grown-up, and this has been really fun but he's scary to her."Erin will reconsider after Terry makes a final plea for her. But her return comes as Terry has again fallen into some his old habits — including bedding a much younger caterer.

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"She knows he's a player," McGraw says. "She has to ask herself, 'Is this gross or pathetic? But she's not running from this. The question is: What it is going to mean for him that she came back?  Is that going to be a catalyst for him or freak him out? He has to ask himself, 'Am I the guy who changes girls like pants, or am I going to try to do something deeper?'"

No matter what happens with the characters, McGraw counts herself lucky for her reunion with Bakula.

"It was really this full-circle moment," she says. "It's impossible for me to not look over at him in the makeup chair and go, 'God, I was there, and now I'm here.' That is kind of a parallel to the theme of the show — the idea of midlife and the place where we go, 'Man, this is the next stop before we go into old age.' But you get to see how much you've grown. And you get to be embarrassed but also proud of the choices you've made."

Men of a Certain Age airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on TNT.