S. Epatha Merkerson


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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 »

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Law & Order
Barter (S7, Ep12)
Tue, Dec 07 9:00 PM PST on WE (092)
Law & Order
Angel (S6, Ep8)
Wed, Dec 08 5:00 PM PST on BBCA (110)

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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 13 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »

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Known For

Law & Order Lieutenant Anita Van Buren / Mrs. Denise Winters
(1991-2010)
(1990)
Lincoln Lydia Smith
(2012)
Lackawanna Blues Rachel "Nanny" Crosby
(2005)

Filmography

Hide Hide Show Show Actress (59 credits)
  Sexual Healing (post-production)
Alberta Gay
 2015-2021 Chicago Med (TV Series)
Sharon Goodwin
- Just as a Snake Sheds Its Skin (2021) ... Sharon Goodwin
- A Square Peg in a Round Hole (2021) ... Sharon Goodwin
- When You're a Hammer Everything's a Nail (2021) ... Sharon Goodwin
- Change Is a Tough Pill to Swallow (2021) ... Sharon Goodwin
- Status Quo, aka the Mess We're In (2021) ... Sharon Goodwin
 2021 Desmond's Not Here Anymore (Short)
Selma
 2015-2019 Chicago Fire (TV Series)
Sharon Goodwin
- Infection, Part I (2019) ... Sharon Goodwin
- Going to War (2018) ... Sharon Goodwin
- Deathtrap (2017) ... Sharon Goodwin
- The People We Meet (2017) ... Sharon Goodwin
- Scorched Earth (2016) ... Sharon Goodwin
 2015-2019 Chicago P.D. (TV Series)
Sharon Goodwin
- Infection, Part III (2019) ... Sharon Goodwin
- Endings (2018) ... Sharon Goodwin
- A Shot Heard Round the World (2016) ... Sharon Goodwin
- Start Digging (2016) ... Sharon Goodwin
- In a Duffel Bag (2016) ... Sharon Goodwin
 2016 You Can Go (Short)
Mrs. Bryant
 2016 Year by the Sea
Liz
 2015/I The Challenger
Jada
 2015 Being Mary Jane (TV Series)
Mark's Mother
- Freedom (2015) ... Mark's Mother
 2014 The Gabby Douglas Story (TV Movie)
Miss Caroline
 2013 Boomerang (TV Movie)
 2013 Peeples
Daphne Peeples
 2013 Deception (TV Series)
Beverly
- I'll Start with the Hillbilly (2013) ... Beverly
- You're the Bad Guy (2013) ... Beverly
- Good Luck with Your Death (2013) ... Beverly
 2013 The Good Wife (TV Series)
Judge Melanie Ellis
- Going for the Gold (2013) ... Judge Melanie Ellis
 2012 Lincoln
Lydia Smith
 2012 Drop Dead Diva (TV Series)
Judge Hiller
- Lady Parts (2012) ... Judge Hiller
 1991-2010 Law & Order (TV Series)
Lieutenant Anita Van Buren / Mrs. Denise Winters
- Rubber Room (2010) ... Lieutenant Anita Van Buren
- Love Eternal (2010) ... Lieutenant Anita Van Buren
- Immortal (2010) ... Lieutenant Anita Van Buren
- The Taxman Cometh (2010) ... Lieutenant Anita Van Buren
- Crashers (2010) ... Lieutenant Anita Van Buren
 2009 Mother and Child
Ada
 2009 Great Performances (TV Series)
Narrator
 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
 2007 Slipstream
Bonnie
 2006 Black Snake Moan
Angela
 2005 Law & Order: Trial by Jury (TV Series)
Lieutenant Anita Van Buren
- Skeleton (2005) ... Lieutenant Anita Van Buren
 2005 Lackawanna Blues (TV Movie)
Rachel "Nanny" Crosby
 2004 Jersey Girl
Doctor #1
 2003 Radio
Maggie
 2003 Law & Order II: Double or Nothing (Video Game)
Lieutenant Anita Van Buren (voice)
 2002 Law & Order: Dead on the Money (Video Game)
Lieutenant Anita Van Buren (voice)
 2002 Law & Order: Criminal Intent (TV Series)
Lieutenant Anita Van Buren
- Badge (2002) ... Lieutenant Anita Van Buren
 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
Nea
 1998 Exiled (TV Movie)
Lieutenant Anita Van Buren
 1998 An Unexpected Life (TV Movie)
Beverly Hawkins
 1996 Breaking Through (TV Movie)
Barbara
 1995 A Mother's Prayer (TV Movie)
Ruby
 1994 A Place for Annie (TV Movie)
Alice
 1992-1993 Here and Now (TV Series)
Ms. St. Marth
- Pennies from Heaven (1993) ... Ms. St. Marth
- Pre-Ring Circus (1993) ... Ms. St. Marth
- Backsliding (1992) ... Ms. St. Marth
- Take My Grandparents... Please (1992) ... Ms. St. Marth
- A.J.'s Big Leap (1992) ... Ms. St. Marth
 1993 South Beach (TV Series)
Madam Bouchard
- I Witness (1993) ... Madam Bouchard
 1993 It's Nothing Personal (TV Movie)
Louise Waters
 1992 Mann & Machine (TV Series)
Captain Margaret Claghorn
- Cold, Cold Heart (1992) ... Captain Margaret Claghorn
- Billion Dollar Baby (1992) ... Captain Margaret Claghorn
- Truth or Consequences (1992) ... Captain Margaret Claghorn
- Mann's Fate (1992) ... Captain Margaret Claghorn
- Torch Song (1992) ... Captain Margaret Claghorn
 1992 ABC Afterschool Specials (TV Series)
Ruth Clayton
- Summer Stories: The Mall - Part 2 (1992) ... Ruth Clayton
 1991 Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Tarissa Dyson
 1986-1990 Pee-wee's Playhouse (TV Series)
Reba
- Playhouse for Sale (1990) ... Reba
- Rebarella (1989) ... Reba
- Dr. Pee-wee and the Del Rubios (1989) ... Reba
- Reba Eats and Pterri Runs (1988) ... Reba
- Pajama Party (1987) ... Reba
 1990/I Jacob's Ladder
Elsa
 1990 Navy Seals
Jolena
 1990 Moe's World (TV Movie)
Moe's Mother
 1990 Equal Justice (TV Series)
Mrs. Walters
- Pilot (1990) ... Mrs. Walters
 1990 Loose Cannons
Rachel
 1989 CBS Summer Playhouse (TV Series)
Jimmie
- Elysian Fields (1989) ... Jimmie
 1988 Christmas at Pee-wee's Playhouse (TV Movie)
Reba
 1988 Beverly Hills Buntz (TV Series)
Meter Maid
- Duck! L'Orange! (1988) ... Meter Maid
 1988 The Cosby Show (TV Series)
Elena
- Bookworm (1988) ... Elena
 1986 She's Gotta Have It
Doctor Jamison (as Epatha Merkerson)
Show Show Producer (1 credit)
Show Show Director (1 credit)
Show Show Soundtrack (4 credits)
Show Show Thanks (1 credit)
Show Show Self (55 credits)
Show Show Archive footage (3 credits)

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Personal Details

Other Works:

She acted in William Inge's play, "Come Back, Little Sheba," in a Manhattan Theatre Club presentation of a Center Theatre Group production on Broadway in New York City with Kevin Anderson in the cast. See more »

Publicity Listings:

5 Articles | 1 Magazine Cover Photo | See more »


Alternate Names:

Epatha Merkerson

Height:

5' 6" (1.68 m)

Spouse:

Toussaint Louverture Jones Jr.  (divorced)
Edit

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 »

Trivia:

Was nominated for Broadway's 2008 Tony Award for Best Performance By a Leading Actress in a Play for "Come Back, Little Sheba". See more »

Star Sign:

Sagittarius

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