Up 8 this week

S. Epatha Merkerson

A native of Michigan, S. Epatha Merkerson earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Wayne State University. In 1978, she moved to New York City to apply her craft on stage. Although best known since 1993 as the smart and shrewd Lieutenant Anita Van Buren on the long-running TV crime drama Law & Order (1990), she has a long list of Broadway ... See full bio »

The 10 Most Immersive Worlds in Cinema

Highly immersive cinematic worlds can carry a movie, and we've rounded up the best of the best.

See the full list

On Amazon Video

Watch on TV

Projects In Development

Details only on IMDbPro »

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 21 people
created 11 Aug 2011
a list of 48 people
created 26 Mar 2012
a list of 28 people
created 07 May 2013
a list of 38 people
created 04 Jul 2013
a list of 30 people
created 10 months ago

Do you have a demo reel?

Add it to your IMDbPage

Connect with IMDb

How Much Have You Seen?

How much of S. Epatha Merkerson's work have you seen?

User Polls

Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 11 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

Known For


Hide Hide Show Show Actress (55 credits)
 2015 You Can Go (Short) (post-production)
Mrs. Bryant
 2015 Chicago Med (TV Series) (announced)
Sharon Goodwin
- Pilot (2015) ... Sharon Goodwin
  Sexual Healing (announced)
Alberta Gay
 2015/I The Challenger
 2015 Being Mary Jane (TV Series)
Mark's Mother
- Freedom (2015) ... Mark's Mother
 2014 The Gabby Douglas Story (TV Movie)
Miss Caroline
 2013 Deception (TV Series)
- I'll Start with the Hillbilly (2013) ... Beverly
- You're the Bad Guy (2013) ... Beverly
- Good Luck with Your Death (2013) ... Beverly
 2013 Boomerang (TV Movie)
 2012 Drop Dead Diva (TV Series)
Judge Hiller
- Lady Parts (2012) ... Judge Hiller
 2009 Great Performances (TV Series)
 1999-2008 American Masters (TV Series documentary)
Narrator / Eslanda Robeson
- Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun (2008) ... Narrator
- Paul Robeson: Here I Stand (1999) ... Eslanda Robeson (voice)
 2007 The Closer (TV Series)
Dr. Rebecca Dioli
- Culture Shock (2007) ... Dr. Rebecca Dioli
- Manhunt (2007) ... Dr. Rebecca Dioli
- Four to Eight (2007) ... Dr. Rebecca Dioli
 2007 Girl, Positive (TV Movie)
Ariel Winters
 2005 Lackawanna Blues (TV Movie)
Rachel "Nanny" Crosby
 2004 Jersey Girl
Doctor #1
 2003 Radio
 2001 The Rising Place
Lessie Watson
 2001 A Girl Thing (TV Movie)
Lani (Co-worker)
 2000 Frasier (TV Series)
Dr. McCaskill
- Dark Side of the Moon (2000) ... Dr. McCaskill
 1999 Random Hearts
 1998 An Unexpected Life (TV Movie)
Beverly Hawkins
 1996 Breaking Through (TV Movie)
 1995 A Mother's Prayer (TV Movie)
 1994 A Place for Annie (TV Movie)
 1993 South Beach (TV Series)
Madam Bouchard
- I Witness (1993) ... Madam Bouchard
 1993 It's Nothing Personal (TV Movie)
Louise Waters
 1992 ABC Afterschool Specials (TV Series)
Ruth Clayton
- Summer Stories: The Mall - Part 2 (1992) ... Ruth Clayton
 1990 Moe's World (TV Movie)
Moe's Mother
 1990/I Jacob's Ladder
 1990 Navy Seals
 1990 Equal Justice (TV Series)
Mrs. Walters
- Pilot (1990) ... Mrs. Walters
 1990 Loose Cannons
 1989 CBS Summer Playhouse (TV Series)
- Elysian Fields (1989) ... Jimmie
 1988 The Cosby Show (TV Series)
- Bookworm (1988) ... Elena
 1986 She's Gotta Have It
Doctor Jamison (as Epatha Merkinson)
Show Show Director (1 credit)
Show Show Producer (1 credit)
Show Show Soundtrack (1 credit)
Show Show Thanks (1 credit)
Show Show Self (47 credits)
Show Show Archive footage (2 credits)

Related Videos


Personal Details

Other Works:

(4/16/90-1/21/91) Stage: Appeared (as "Berniece") in "The Piano Lesson" by August Wilson on Broadway. Also in cast: Charles S. Dutton, Rocky Carroll and LisaGay Hamilton. See more »

Publicity Listings:

5 Articles | 1 Magazine Cover Photo | See more »

Alternate Names:

Epatha Merkerson | Epatha Merkinson


5' 6" (1.68 m)

Did You Know?

Personal Quote:

My dad said he had a teacher named Epatha who was influential in keeping him in school. But my mother said it was an old girlfriend of his. So that's why she stuck in the Sharon Epatha. That's what the "S" stands for. Everyone knows now because some numbskull I went to high school with decided to put it on the Internet. See more »


Her favorite Law & Order (1990) episode is the first season show "Mushrooms," in which she plays Denise Winters, a woman whose son is mistakenly killed by a boy who, unable to read, fires shots into the wrong apartment. See more »

Star Sign:


Message Boards

Recent Posts
Agnostic? Atheist? tim_d_williamson
Wasn't she on Law + Order NOT as Lt. Van Buren? imamc_scouts2
RACIST TRIVIA?! janelleknd
Golden Globe Win! midian-6
Wayne State Golden327
S. Epatha Merkelson inloveman123003
Discuss S. Epatha Merkerson on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page