Sharon Goodwin

Played by S. Epatha Merkerson

Actor Bio

S. Epatha Merkerson stars as Sharon Goodwin, the venerable head of Chicago Med who, despite bottom-line pressures from the bureaucrats above, manages to advocate for the doctors in order to provide the best care at the hospital in NBC's 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 and an IFP Spirit Award nomination. Other credits include "Radio," which garnered her a Cammie Award, "Black Snake Moan," "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," "Random Hearts," "Navy SEALs," "Mother and Child," "The Six Wives of Henry Lefay," "Peeples" and "Lincoln."

Merkerson has also completed two independent films: "The Challenger" with Michael Clark Duncan and "Year by the Sea," opposite Karen Allen.

Her theater credits include the 2008 Broadway revival of "Come Back Little Sheba" (Tony-nominated); August Wilson's "The Piano Lesson" (Tony-, Drama Desk-, Helen Hayes Award-nominated); "Birdie Blue" and "I'm Not Stupid" (Obie Awards); "The Old Settler" (Helen Hayes Award); "F*cking A" and "While I Yet Live" (Lucille Lortel Award-nominated).

On television, she was a series regular on "Pee-wee's Playhouse," "The Cosby Show" spin-off "Here and Now" and Dick Wolf's "Mann & Machine," and she also served as host of "Find Our Missing" for TV One. Merkerson has made guest appearances on "Deception," "The Cosby Show," "Frasier," "The Closer" and "Being Mary Jane." Her television movies include "A Mother's Prayer," "A Place for Annie," "Breaking Through," Lifetime's "The Gabby Douglas Story" and NBC's "Exiled," which also featured 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 Awards from the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival and 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, 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 2013.

She lives in New York City.