9 February 2011 3:00 AM, PST | Essence | See recent Essence news »

Our Favorite Black TV CopsFictional Black CopsFull of suspense and danger that leaves viewers on the edge of their seats, police dramas have remained wildly popular — even surviving the reality TV takeover. Today we salute our favorite actors and actresses who keep the fictional streets clean, from S. Epatha Merkerson's long run as Lieutenant Anita Van Buren on "Law & Order" to Wendell Pierce as Detective Bunk Moreland on "The Wire."Forest Whitaker on 'Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior'Actor Forest Whitaker has been cast as FBI profiler Sam Cooper on the Criminal Minds spin-off. We can't wait to see what this Oscar winner has to offer.Regina King in 'Southland'On this beloved cop show (currently aired on TNT), King plays Lydia Adams, a no-nonsense but compassionate detective.Ice-t in 'Law and Order'Originally slated to do just four guest appearances on "Law and Order: Special Victims »

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Forest Whitaker

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