S. Epatha Merkerson

S. Epatha Merkerson Headshot

Actress

Birth Date: November 28, 1952

Age: 71 years old

Birth Place: Saginaw, Michigan

As an acclaimed performer with gritty but approachable style, actress S. Epatha Merkerson began her career on the stage both on and off-Broadway before moving to television, where she played the longest-running character on the seemingly eternal "Law & Order" (NBC, 1990-2010). Prior to her run on the procedural, Merkerson was perhaps best known for her small, but memorable role as a screaming wife in "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" (1991) while continuing her onstage success with an OBIE Award for her performance in "I'm Not Stupid" (1992). But in 1993, Merkerson went from virtual unknown to household regular who, over the next 17 years, was seen portraying the tough, but determined Lt. Anita Van Buren on "Law & Order," a role she reprised in episodes of the spin-off series and a made-for-television movie. She had arguably her greatest critical success with her leading performance as the spirited "Nanny" Crosby in the acclaimed television movie "Lackawanna Blues" (HBO, 2005), a role that won the actress both a Golden Globe and Emmy Award. Because of her longevity on "Law & Order" and the praise received for "Lackawanna Blues," Merkerson emerged as a highly desirable character actress capable of delivering consistent quality performances.

Credits

National Memorial Day Concert 2023

Self
Show
2023

Poker FaceStream

Guest Star
Joyce Harris
Series
2023
98%

We Grown Now

Actor
Anita
Movie
2023

The 41st Annual Kennedy Center Honors

Music Performer
Show
2018

Fair Hope

Director
Movie
2018

Fair Hope

Executive Producer
Movie
2018

Die Chefin macht 'ne Ansage

Actor
Anita Van Buren
Movie
2017

National Memorial Day Concert

Guest
Show
2016

Year by the Sea

Actor
Liz
Movie
2016

Chicago MedStream

Actor
Sharon Goodwin
Series
2015

Chicago Med: Extras

Actor
Sharon Goodwin:
Show
2015

The ChallengerStream

Actor
Jada
Movie
2015

Being Mary Jane: Extras

Actor
Show
2014

Women of Power

Guest
Show
2014

Chicago P.D.Stream

Guest Star
Sharon Goodwin
Series
2014

The Gabby Douglas StoryStream

Actor
Miss Caroline
Movie
2014

The Real

Guest
Talk
2013

Deception

Guest Star
Beverly
Show
2013

PeeplesStream

Actor
Daphne Peeples
Movie
2013
38%

Second Coming: Will Black America Decide the 2012 Election

Narrator
Show
2012

Chicago FireStream

Guest Star
Sharon Goodwin
Series
2012

Katie

Guest
Talk
2012

Finding Your RootsStream

Guest
Reality
2012

Find Our Missing

Host
Show
2012

The Contradictions of Fair Hope

Director
Movie
2012

The Contradictions of Fair Hope

Executive Producer
Movie
2012

LincolnStream

Actor
Lydia Smith
Movie
2012
90%

Vine Talk

Guest
Show
2011

Access Hollywood Live

Guest
Show
2010

The Good WifeStream

Guest Star
Judge Melanie Ellis
Series
2009
93%

Drop Dead DivaStream

Guest Star
Judge Hiller
Series
2009
78%

Breath of Hope: Lung Cancer the Invisible Disease

Host
Show
2009

Mother and Child

Actor
Ada
Movie
2009

The Wendy Williams ShowStream

Guest
Talk
2008

The Six Wives of Henry Lefay

Actor
Effa
Movie
2008

Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun

Narrator
Movie
2008

The Better Show

Guest
Show
2007

Black Snake MoanStream

Actor
Angela
Movie
2007
66%

Girl, Positive

Actor
Ariel Winters
Movie
2007

Rachael Ray ShowStream

Guest
Talk
2006

The Martha Stewart Show

Guest
Reality
2005

The CloserStream

Guest Star
Dr. Rebecca Dioli
Series
2005
83%

Law & Order: Trial by JuryStream

Guest Star
Series
2005

Lackawanna Blues

Actor
Rachel "Nanny" Crosby
Movie
2005
75%

RadioStream

Actor
Maggie
Movie
2003
35%

The Rising Place

Actor
Lessie Watson
Movie
2002

Law & Order: Criminal IntentStream

Guest Star
Series
2001

Live With Regis and Kelly

Guest
Show
2001

A Girl Thing

Actor
Lani (Co-worker)
Movie
2001

The Daily Show With Jon StewartStream

Guest
Talk
1999

Una Familia Inesperada

Actor
Movie
1998

An Unexpected Life

Actor
Beverly Hawkins
Movie
1998

Exiled: A Law & Order Movie

Actor
Lieutenant Anita Van Buren
Movie
1998

The View

Guest
Talk
1997

Antiques RoadshowStream

Guest
Reality
1997

Breaking Free

Actor
Barbara
Movie
1996

Breaking Through

Actor
Barbara
Movie
1996

A Mother's Prayer

Actor
Ruby
Movie
1995

A Place for Annie

Actor
Alice
Movie
1994

FrasierStream

Guest Star
Dr. McCaskill
Series
1993
95%

It's Nothing Personal

Actor
Louise Waters
Movie
1993

Here and Now

Actor
Claudia St. Marth
Show
1992

Terminator 2: Judgment DayStream

Actor
Tarissa Dyson
Movie
1991
91%

Law & OrderStream

Actor
Lt. Anita Van Buren
Series
1990

Today

Guest
News
1952

News aboutS. Epatha Merkerson

S. Epatha Merkerson as Sharon Goodwin — 'Chicago Med' Season 9 Episode 5
Q&A

‘Chicago Med’: S. Epatha Merkerson on Sharon’s Romance & Bert’s Memory Problems

Natasha Lyonne in 'Poker Face'
Review

Roush Review: No Lie, ‘Poker Face’ Is a Blast

S. Epatha Merkerson, Alana De La Garza, Jeremy Sisto in Law & Order

10 ‘Law & Order’ Stars Who Have Been on Other Dick Wolf Shows

Law & Order: SVU Kelli Giddish Ice-T

12 ‘Law & Order’ Stars Who Played Multiple Characters in the Franchise

Oliver Platt as Charles, S Epatha Merkerson as Sharon in Chicago Med
Exclusive

‘Chicago Med’ Sneak Peek: How Is Sharon’s Health After Calling the FBI? (VIDEO)

S. Epatha Merkerson as Sharon Goodwin, Nick Gehlfuss as Dr. Will Halstead in Chicago Med
Spoiler Alert

Is [Spoiler]’s Job at Risk After the ‘Chicago Med’ Winter Finale? (RECAP)

S. Epatha Merkerson as Sharon Goodwin, Oliver Platt as Daniel Charles in Chicago Med
Q&A

‘Chicago Med’ Bosses Tease Winter Finale Surprises, Ethan’s Return & More

Law & Order - S. Epatha Merkerson, Jesse L. Martin

8 ‘Law & Order’ Stars Who Need to Return for Season 21 on NBC

Nick Gehlfuss as Will, S. Epatha Merkerson as Sharon in Chicago Med
Spoiler Alert

‘Chicago Med’: How Did Will Return to the ED in the Season 7 Premiere? (RECAP)

Chicago Med Season 6 Will Sharon Charles

‘Chicago Med’: Who’s Returning for Season 7?

LaRoyce Hawkins - Chicago PD - Season 8 - Kevin Atwater
Preview

One Chicago Stars Talk Mentors on ‘Fire,’ a New Doc on ‘Med,’ & a Changed ‘P.D.’ Cop

Taylor Kinney and Miranda Rae Mayo Chicago Fire - Severide and Stella - Season 8
Preview

One Chicago Stars Talk Romance, From Will’s Past & Present to a Potential ‘Fire’ Wedding

S. Epatha Merkerson - Chicago Med Season 5 - Sharon Goodwin
Q&A

‘Chicago Med’s S. Epatha Merkerson Says Goodwin ‘Really Crosses the Line’ to Help a Patient

Chicago Med

‘Chicago Med’: Could Love Bloom for Goodwin? (VIDEO)

Chicago Med

‘Chicago Med’: Rhodes Gets in Trouble Over Tricky Procedure (VIDEO)

Chicago Med - Season 2

‘Chicago Med’ Boss on Season 2’s Many Changes