"People really appreciated who the character was. I even have parents telling me that their children have gone into law enforcement or into law because they watched 'Law & Order' and that 'Van Buren' made such an impact."
About This Interview
In her four-hour Archive interview, S. Epatha Merkerson talks of her early interest in drama and theater. She tells of her childhood dream to move to New York, and how she made that dream a reality. She discusses her stage work in high school and college and the difficulty she had landing leading roles as a black woman. Merkerson describes her success in musicals and as an understudy on Broadway, and shares how she transitioned to winning lead parts. She talks of getting cast as "Reba" on Pee-Wee's Playhouse and explains what it was like on set of the popular children's program. She speaks of winning the role of "Lt. Van Buren" in the long-running drama Law & Order, recalls working with fellow cast members, and explains how storylines were selected for the program. Merkerson shares why she decided to leave Law & Order, talks of her Emmy and Golden Globe-winning performance in Lackawanna Blues, and describes working on the film "Lincoln." Jim Colucci conducted the interview in New York, New York on June 14, 2013.