NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 16: S. Epatha Merkerson attends the 2022 NBCUniversal Upfront at Mandarin Oriental Hotel on May 16, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
TV - Movies
The Law & Order
Star With The
Most Original
Series Episode
With the return of the original “Law & Order” series after a 12-year hiatus, many fans have been going back to rewatch some of the older episodes and wondering who among the legendary cast members like Sam Waterston, Jerry Orbach, and Chris Noth appeared in the most episodes over the years. Many viewers might be surprised to learn which actor it is.
Appearing on the show from 1993 to 2010, S. Epatha Merkerson is the titleholder for most "Law & Order" episode appearances of all time with 391. Her character, Lieutenant Anita Van Buren, became commanding officer of the 27th Precinct during the show's fourth season, replacing Dann Florek's Captain Donald Cragen.
Merkerson originally appeared on "Law & Order" in 1991 as a side character named Denise Winters, who lost her son to an accidental gunshot wound. After impressing producers, she bagged the Van Buren role and eventually became the longest-running cast member of the original series, as well as the longest-running Black character on primetime TV.