S. Epatha Merkerson stars as Sharon Goodwin, the Chief Administrator of Clinical Operations of Chicago Med who expects the very best from her people as she balances the tremendous pressures of running the city's largest hospital, and always with a sense of humanity that allows her doctors to provide the very best care possible, on the drama Chicago Med.
Merkerson is an accomplished actress who has won critical acclaim for her work in theater, television and film. She is best known for her 17-season run as Lieutenant Anita Van Buren on NBC's Law & Order, a role that garnered her three NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama.
Her role in the HBO film Lackawanna Blues, earned her an Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG Award, Gracie Allen Award, NAACP Image Award as well as an IFP Spirit Award nomination. Other credits include Radio, which garnered her a Cammie Award, Black Snake Moan, Terminator II: Judgement Day, Random Hearts, Navy SEALs, Mother and Child, The Six Wives of Henry Lefay, Peeples and Lincoln.
Merkerson has completed filming on three upcoming independent films: The Challenger with the late Michael Clarke Duncan; Sexual Healing, a biopic about Marvin Gaye with Jesse L. Martin; and Year by the Sea opposite Karen Allen.
Her theater credits include the 2008 Broadway revival of "Come Back, Little Sheba," which garnered her a Tony Award nomination; August Wilson's "The Piano Lesson," which earned her nominations for a Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and a Helen Hayes Award; "Birdie Blue" and "I'm Not Stupid," for which she won Obie Awards; "The Old Settler," for which she secured a Helen Hayes Award; and "F*cking A" and "While I Yet Live," which led to her Lucille Lortel Award nominations.
On television she was a series regular on Pee-wee's Playhouse, Here and Now and Dick Wolf's Mann & Machine; she also served as host of Find Our Missing for TV One. Merkerson has made guest appearances on Deception, Frasier, The Closer and Being Mary Jane. Her television movies include A Mother's Prayer, A Place for Annie, Breaking Free, Lifetime's The Gabby Douglas Story and NBC's Exiled, which also featured Law & Order alum Chris Noth.
In early 2012, Merkerson completed The Contradictions of Fair Hope, marking her first feature documentary as executive producer/co-director. This project received numerous awards, including the 2012 Best Documentary Award from the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival, top honors at the San Diego Black Film Festival, the Dikalo Award from the Festival International du Film PanAfricain (Cannes), the Teaneck International Film Festival's Jury Award, the Roxbury International Film Festival's Henry Hampton Award and the Paul Robeson Award for Best Documentary from the Newark Black Film Festival.
A native of Detroit, Michigan, Merkerson holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Wayne State University and three honorary doctorates, from her alma mater in 2009, University of Maryland Eastern Shore in 2012 and Montclair State University in 2013.
She lives in New York City. Find her on Twitter at @s_epatha.