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S. EPATHA MERKERSON (Maggie) is a native of Detroit and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Wayne State University. She has since won critical acclaim for her work in theatre, television and film. Merkerson recently completed her 10th season as ‘Lieutenant Anita Van Buren' on NBC's acclaimed hit drama "Law & Order." She also recently appeared in The Rising Place with Gary Cole and Mark Webber and opposite Jennifer Lopez in Kevin Smith's Jersey Girl. Merkerson has performed on and off Broadway in productions including the 1990 Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Piano Lesson," for which she received a Tony and Drama Desk nomination for Best Actress. She received a 1991 Obie Award for her work in the Young Playwrights Festival's production of "I'm Not Stupid" and a 1999 Helen Hayes Award for her role in "The Old Settler" in Washington, D.C.

Merkerson's other feature film credits include Random Hearts with Harrison Ford, Terminator II: Judgment Day, Jacob's Ladder, Navy Seals and Loose Cannons with Gene Hackman.

Prior to "Law & Order," Merkerson was a series regular on "PeeWee's Playhouse," where she played ‘Reba The Mail Lady,' Dick Wolf's "Mann and Machine" and the "Cosby" spin-off "Here and Now" with Malcolm Jamal Warner. She also appeared in the pilots "Elysian Fields" and "Moe's World." She has made guest appearances on "The Cosby Show," "Equal Justice" and most recently, "Frasier" as the psychiatrist for Daphne Moon (Jane Leeves).

Ms. Merkerson co-starred in numerous television movies, including "A Mother's Prayer" with Linda Hamilton, "An Unexpected Life" and "It's a Girl Thing" with Stockard Channing. In 1998, she reprised her role as ‘Lt. Van Buren' for the NBC movie "Exiled" with Chris Noth.

Ms. Merkerson and her husband divide their time between New York City and Maryland.

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