A steadily working television actress from the time she was a teenager, Kelli Williams went on to build a career in primetime procedural dramas thanks to a breakout role as junior partner Lindsay Dole in the award-winning legal drama "The Practice" (ABC, 1997- 2004). She went on to consistently deliver the goods as likable, highly educated career women in "Medical Investigation" (NBC, 2004-05) and Fox's slightly offbeat "Lie to Me" (Fox, 2009- ), endearing herself to fans with her realistic acting style, believable smarts, and natural beauty.
Williams was born on June 8, 1970, to television actress, Shannon Wilcox, and raised in Los Angeles. She first appeared onscreen in television commercials when she was a baby, and went on to do more commercial work throughout her childhood. So ingrained was showbiz from an early age that she was ready to embark on her acting career following her graduation from Beverly Hills High in 1988. She scored big right out of the gate with a recurring role on the NBC sitcom "Day By Day" in 1989, as well as another recurring role as the high school sweetheart of an as-yet-undiscovered Elvis in the ABC drama series, "Elvis" (1989-90). She went on to take the lead as a teenager coping with the end of an abusive relationship in "But He Loved Me" (CBS, 1991), and expanded her resume to include other TV movies including the fact-based "Snowbound: The Jon and Jennifer Stolpa Story" (CBS 1994). At long last, Williams landed her first regular series role playing an ambitious but untrained intern at a tabloid in the short-lived CBS drama, "New York News" (1995).
Williams landed occasional film roles, including a prototypical flower child named Sunshine in "There Goes My Baby" (1994), but television proved to be her best outlet. After nearly a decade of steady small screen appearances, she finally got the chance to settle into a regular primetime role on "The Practice." Playing a recent law school graduate negotiating the perils and pitfalls of defending clients while her best friend serves as the prosecutor, the actress brought a strong sense of naiveté tempered with the appropriate chutzpah. Effervescent co-star Camryn Manheim had the flashier role, but Williams proved just as capable, whether negotiating an inter-office romance or taking on her former mentor in court. In 1999, 2000 and 2001, Williams and the rest of the show's cast were honored with an Outstanding Ensemble nomination from the Screen Actor's Guild for delivering quality drama.
After five years on the show - which included her character enduring three stalkers, an overturned murder conviction, a marriage and a divorce - Williams was unceremoniously cut from the cast of the flagging series but her solid reputation with serious, professional women led to her immediate casting as a member of an elite medical research team on the NBC medical drama "Medical Investigation." When that series proved to be short-lived, Williams rebounded with a recurring role on the Anne Heche-centered quirky dramedy, "Men in Trees" (ABC, 2006-08) and was back in the spotlight as the co-star of "Lie to Me" (Fox, 2009- ). The moody Fox drama focused on the world's leading deception expert Cal Lightman (Tim Roth) and his partner Dr. Gillian Foster (Williams), a behavioral expert, and the pair's investigations into a variety of criminal cases. The show debuted in early 2009 with critical favor.