Valerie Cruz took a serious and pointed approach to acting, majoring in theater at Florida State University and earning a BFA. Afterward, she made a few small TV appearances before landing a recurring role on FX's surprise hit series "Nip/Tuck." She portrayed Grace Santiago, a psychologist hired by the show's plastic surgery practice; she appeared in just over half of the episodes in the first season. Though her character added tension and drama to the plot, the show's creator, Ryan Murphy, felt that it was implausible to have a psychologist working in a plastic surgery clinic and decided not to bring her back for the second season. Her next recurring role was on "Dexter," the Showtime thriller following the secret serial-killer life of the title character, a forensic bloodstain-splatter analyst. Cruz played Sylvia, the wife of Assistant District Attorney Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits), but once again she kept the gig for only a single season. The year 2009 brought her a new part on another popular cable show, this time HBO's vampire soap opera "True Blood." Her character was Isabel, a fanged law-enforcement officer with a human boyfriend. She made her way to network primetime in 2011 with a starring role on the ABC medical drama "Off the Map."