S. Epatha Merkerson

Lowest Rated: 0% Loose Cannons (1990)
Birthday: Nov 28, 1952
Birthplace: Saginaw, Michigan, USA
S. Epatha Merkerson is a Tony-nominated and Obie-winning, African-American stage actress, but is best known for her portrayal of detective squad chief Lt. Anita Van Buren in the series Law and Order. Born and raised in Detroit as the youngest of five children, she was a fine arts graduate of Wayne State University and began her New York theater career in the late 1970s. Merkerson was nominated for a Tony award for Best Actress for her performance as Berniece in The Piano Lesson and won an Obie award in 1992 for her work in I'm Not Stupid. Her screen credits include Jacob's Ladder and Loose Cannons and, perhaps most visibly, her role as Joe Morton's terrified wife in James Cameron's Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Merkerson made her television debut as Reba, the Mail Lady on Pee Wee's Playhouse, and has appeared on The Cosby Show, among other series, but her most important single television appearance may have been in the first season Law and Order show "Mushrooms," in which she portrayed the grief-stricken mother of an 11-month-old boy who is shot accidentally. Her work was not only memorable to the audience during that key first season, but also to the producers, who later picked Merkerson for the role of the new detective squad chief in the series' fourth season--a role she continued to play for over ten years. Merkerson's talent on the small screen led to roles in numerous TV movies such as Breaking Through and A Mother's Prayer, as well as roles in such films as Radio and The Rising Place. Still, her monumental gifts in both presence and interpretation may not have truly been utilized until she took the part of a strong matriarch who runs a 1960's boarding house in HBO's mini series Lackawanna Blues. Her first leading role in almost twenty years on screen, her performance earned her an Emmy Award as well as a Golden Globe. After her triumphant turn in Lackawanna Blues she returned to the big-screen in Craig Brewer's follow-up to Hustle & Flow, Black Snake Moan co-starring Christina Ricci and Samuel L. Jackson.Over the coming years, Merkerson would appear in a number of films, like The Six Wives of Henry Lefay and Mother and Child.


Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet Sexual Healing Alberta 2018
50% Year by the Sea Liz Bloomington 2017
100% Terminator 2: Judgment Day 3D Tarissa Dyson $1M 2017
No Score Yet The Challenger Jada 2015
No Score Yet The Gabby Douglas Story Grandmother 2014
37% Peeples Daphne Peeples $9.2M 2013
89% Lincoln Lydia Smith $129.5M 2012
No Score Yet The Contradictions of Fair Hope Director 2012
No Score Yet The Six Wives of Henry Lefay Effa Devareaux 2010
78% Mother and Child Ada $1.2M 2010
No Score Yet Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun Actor 2008
25% Slipstream Bonnie 2007
No Score Yet Girl, Positive Ariel Winters 2007
66% Black Snake Moan Angela $9.3M 2007
75% Lackawanna Blues Rachel `Nanny' Crosby 2005
42% Jersey Girl Doctor No. 1 2004
36% Radio Maggie $52.3M 2003
13% The Rising Place Lessie Watson 2002
No Score Yet A Girl Thing Lani 2001
15% Random Hearts Nea 1999
No Score Yet Exiled (Exiled: A Law & Order Movie) Lt. Van Buren 1998
No Score Yet An Unexpected Life Beverly Hawkins 1997
No Score Yet After the Silence Barbara 1996
No Score Yet A Mother's Prayer Ruby 1995
No Score Yet A Place for Annie Alice Blakely 1994
No Score Yet Moe's World Actor 1992
93% Terminator 2: Judgment Day Tarissa Dyson $198.2M 1991
71% Jacob's Ladder Elsa 1990
19% Navy Seals Jolena 1990
0% Loose Cannons Rachel 1990
90% She's Gotta Have It Dr. Jamison 1986


No Score Yet Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr.
  • 2019
No Score Yet Chicago Med
Sharon Goodwin
  • 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
No Score Yet Chicago Fire
Sharon Goodwin
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
No Score Yet Chicago P.D.
Sharon Goodwin
  • 2016
  • 2015
38% Deception
Beverly Padget
  • 2013
96% The Good Wife
Judge Ellis
  • 2013
72% Drop Dead Diva
  • 2012
No Score Yet Law & Order
Lt. Anita Van Mrs. Winters Lt. Anita Van Buren
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007
  • 2006
  • 2005
  • 2004
  • 2003
  • 2002
  • 2001
  • 2000
  • 1999
  • 1995
  • 1994
  • 1993
  • 1991
No Score Yet Great Performances
  • 2009
No Score Yet Live From Lincoln Center
  • 2007
84% The Closer
Dr. Rebecca Dioli Dr. Dioli
  • 2007
No Score Yet Law & Order: Criminal Intent
Van Buren
  • 2002
94% Frasier
Guest Paula McCaskill
  • 2000
No Score Yet The Cosby Show
  • 1988