Dana Delany Dana Delany

Twenty-three years after nurse Colleen McMurphy hit China Beach, Dana Delany is getting back into medicine as an ME on new drama Body of Proof. One of TV's most talented actresses cutting up corpses to solve crimes? We could just die! Here's why we dig her — whether she's playing house (Desperate Housewives) or doctor.

1. She's a bookworm.

Like her character, Dr. Megan Hunt, she enjoys a good mystery novel. "My mother introduced me to writers like Ross Macdonald and John D. MacDonald when I was 8," says Delany, who calls herself a "secret nerd."

2. Those legs.

"Thanks! They're my father's — he had great legs!" jokes Delany. Still, she admits some work goes into those shapely gams. "I've been doing yoga for, God, 30 years, and I think the whole mind/body/spirit thing makes it the perfect exercise."

3. She knows that patience is a virtue.

Her show was first slated to premiere in the fall, then... Cut to spring? "I think we lucked out," she insists. "We were going to go on Friday night with so many other fall shows. Now we're on Tuesdays behind Dancing With the Stars!"

4. She's no diva.

"I've had some of my purest experiences while acting, so I'm extremely thankful I get to make a living at something I love — and that I still get to do it," she says.

5. She isn't squeamish.

While researching the role, "I was allowed to participate in one autopsy where we took the brain out," says Delany excitedly. "They let me section the testicles! I loved it! Though I have to admit, it was a little hard eating sushi that night."

Body of Proof airs Tuesday at 10:01/9:01c on ABC.

Subscribe to TV Guide Magazine now!