Sharon Epatha Merkerson (; born November 28, 1952) is an American film, stage, and television actress.
She has received numerous high-profile accolades for her work, including an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, four NAACP Image Awards, two Obie Awards and two Tony Award nominations.
Merkerson is also the recipient of 4 honorary doctorate degrees.
She is best known for her award-winning portrayal of Lieutenant Anita Van Buren on the NBC police procedural drama series Law & Order, a role she played from 1993 to 2010.
She appeared in 395 episodes of the series.In 2012, Merkerson became the host of Find Our Missing, a reality-reenactment series on TV One which profiles missing people of color.In 2015, she was cast as Sharon Goodwin, Chief of Medical Services of the fictional Gaffney Chicago Medical Center Hospital on the NBC medical drama Chicago Med.