S. Epatha MerkersonFreedom Tales

S. Epatha Merkerson   

S. Epatha Merkerson is featured in Season 5, Episode 5: Freedom Tales (check local listings).

Ms. Merkerson has won critical acclaim for her work in theatre, television and film. She is best known for her portrayal of Lieutenant Anita Van Buren on NBC’s LAW AND ORDER (2006/2010/2011 Image Award) and currently plays hospital administrator Sharon Goodwin on the NBC series CHICAGO MED.

Her credits include the HBO film LACKAWANNA BLUES (Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG, Gracie Allen, 2006 Image Award and an IFP Spirit Award nomination) RADIO (Cammie Award), BLACK SNAKE MOAN, TERMINATOR II: JUDGEMENT DAY, RANDOM HEARTS, NAVY SEALS, MOTHER AND CHILD directed by Rodrigo Garcia, THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY LEFAY, PEEPLES, Steven Spielberg’s LINCOLN and the independent films THE CHALLENGER with Michael Clark Duncan, and A YEAR BY THE SEA with Karen Allen.

Ms. Merkerson’s extensive theatre work includes the 2008 Broadway revival of COME BACK LITTLE SHEBA, directed by Michael Pressman (Tony Award nomination), August Wilson’s THE PIANO LESSON (Tony, Drama Desk and Helen Hayes Award nominations), BIRDIE BLUE (Obie Award), I’M NOT STUPID (Obie Award), THE OLD SETTLER (Helen Hayes Award), F*CKING A by Suzan Lori Parks (Lucille Lortel Award nomination) and WHILE I YET LIVE by Billy Porter (Lucille Lortel nomination.) and Jen Silverman’s THE ROOMMATE with Jane Kaczmarek at Williamstown Theatre 2017.

On television Merkerson was a series regular on PEEWEE’S PLAYHOUSE, The Cosby Show spin-off HERE AND NOW, and Dick Wolf’s MANN AND MACHINE. TV pilots include: MOE’S WORLD, EQUAL JUSTICE, ELYSIAN FIELDS and BABYLON. TV movies: A MOTHER’S PRAYER with Linda Hamilton, A PLACE FOR ANNIE with Sissy Spacek, BREAKING FREE with Jobeth Williams and NBC’s EXILED with Chris Noth. She was the host of TVOne’s FIND OUR MISSING.

In 2012 Ms. Merkerson completed her first feature documentary as producer/director. THE CONTRADICTIONS OF FAIR HOPE received numerous awards including the 2012 Best Documentary Award from the San Diego Black Film Festival, the DIKALO Award from the Festival International Du Film Panafricain (Cannes), Philadelphia Independent Film Festival, the Roxbury International Film Festival’s Henry Hampton Award and the Paul Robeson Award for Best Documentary from the Newark Black Film Festival the film had it’s television premiere on STARZ.

A native of Detroit Michigan, Ms. Merkerson holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Wayne State University and 4 honorary Doctorates, from her alma mater in 2009, University of Maryland Eastern Shore in 2012, Montclair State University 2013 and the University of Pittsburgh 2017. She lives in New York City and Chicago.


Season 5 

Discover the surprising ancestral stories of 25 fascinating guests, including Marisa Tomei, Felicity Huffman, Laura Linney, S. Epatha Merkerson, Michael K. Williams, Andy Samberg, Chloe Sevigny, Kal Penn, George R.R. Martin, Christiane Amanpour, Ann Curry, Joe Madison, Lisa Ling, Sheryl Sandberg, Seth Meyers, Michael Strahan and more in season five of Finding Your Roots. Learn more here.

/findingyourroots/tree 1440px x 560px hero carousel.png
WETA | Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr.
When to watch

Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr.

See Full Schedule

Streaming on:

Your purchase supports PBS and helps make our programming possible.

Finding Your Roots - The Seedlings