S. Epatha Merkerson/iˈpeɪθə/, 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. Ms. 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 NBCpolice procedural drama series Law & Order, a role she played from 1993 to 2010. She appeared in 395 episodes of the series—more than any other cast member.