Kathleen Gati"General Hospital" SetThe Prospect StudiosABC Studios04/24/15© Howard Wise/jpistudios.com310-657-9661Episode # 13312U.S. Airdate 05/26/15
Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

“There was no humanity in the beginning.”

After shooting two episodes as Dr. Liesl Obrecht on General Hospital in 2012, Kathleen Gati went on her merry way working on other shows and thinking her time in Port Charles was done. Little did she know that it was only the beginning of a decade-long-and-counting run on the soap. Gati is now proudly celebrating the 10 year anniversary of her on-screen debut, which aired August 24, 2012.

While she was working on The CW’s Arrow in Vancouver, she got the call letting her know that Obrecht was not only being brought back, but given an expanded role on the canvas. That return might not have happened if it hadn’t been for Anthony Geary (ex-Luke), who sang her praises to executive producer Frank Valentini. Gati believes that the immediate bond she and Geary shared helped seal the deal which lead to her becoming far more than was originally intended. “Frank was just awesome and [then headwriter] Ron Carlivati wrote this character, and they kept developing and developing her,” she gushes. The result? “It’s a really satisfying role.”

More: General Hospital’s couples — who’s getting together and falling apart?

Over time, the character has gone through several drastic changes, not the least of which was her developing beyond a caricature.  “There was no humanity in the beginning,” Gati admits. “I didn’t see it, I didn’t find it, it wasn’t written, and that wasn’t my job. I was there to do some evil and dark things.”

Over time, the writers discovered the character’s gentler side, which came in part as her daughter, Britt, and son, Nathan, were introduced. “The humanity in Obrecht came with the family, because there were the children and her realization that she had messed up,” Gati reflects. “You confront history, your past, and your truth, and you go… ‘I made many mistakes.’ Not that she sits into those mistakes too long. The comedy that I’m allowed to do, and the humor, the music, and the dance —  that has softened the edges of her.”

Over the years, the fan reaction has morphed, too. “When you’re evil and dark, I got a lot of hate — which is expected —  but then people were really loving it,” Gati recalls, adding that it helped that viewers were able to realize  that “there was always a reason behind” Obrecht’s darkness — well, most of it. “There’s been a few gratuitous kidnappings, poisonings, and killing… but the fans have been supportive of the whole thing,” she laughs. “So when the fans go, ‘We hate you, but now we love to hate you… ‘ That really means a lot.”

For more of our exclusive chat with the charming, bubbly actress, check out the video above. Then check out the photo gallery below to remember exactly why we love to hate Dr. Obrecht so darn much!