S. Epatha Merkerson attends SCAD aTVfest 2020 in Chicago.
Source: GETTY IMAGES

Will S. Epatha Merkerson Leave 'Chicago Med' to Reprise Her Role as on 'Law & Order'?

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Oct. 13 2021, Published 9:10 a.m. ET

Actor S. Epatha Merkerson has portrayed the Head of Patient and Medical Services at Gaffney Chicago Medical Center, Sharon Goodwin, since the NBC hit drama Chicago Med premiered back in 2015. Before that, she was on another hit series on the network.

For 17 seasons, S. Epatha Merkerson played Lieutenant Anita Van Buren on Law & Order, the longest-running character on the award-winning series.

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After Season 4, her character replaced Capt. Don Cragen (Dann Florek) to take over the 27th Precinct Detective Squad. The show was canceled in 2012. However, it was announced in Sept. 2021 that the iconic series will be revived, and Season 21 is expected to debut sometime in 2022.

Fans of Law & Order hope that some of their favorite characters will return to the beloved drama. So will S. Epatha Merkerson leave Chicago Med and rejoin Law & Order? Here’s what we know.

Lieutenant Anita Van Buren sitting in her office in 'Law & Order'.
Source: NBC
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Is S. Epatha Merkerson leaving 'Chicago Med' for 'Law & Order'?

In 2010 before Law & Order was officially canceled, S. Epatha Merkerson announced that she would be leaving the show. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, she shared, "It's the end of my contract this year, and the storyline has been so perfect. I've given it my best for 16 years. It's time to move on. I'm doing other things, and this will be a great way to leave what has been an extraordinary gig."

For those who don't know, during Season 20, her character was diagnosed with Stage II cervical cancer, and in her last episode, she learns if her cancer had stopped or spread. The way the episode ends is that the doctor tells her the news, but because the camera doesn't show her face, audiences don't know the outcome.

So, S. Epatha Merkerson could easily return to Law & Order.

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Castmembers of 'Law & Order'.
Source: NBC

At this time, there have been no reports suggesting that S. Epatha Merkerson is leaving Chicago Med. We do know that during the offseason, she did extend her contract with the medical drama, which, according to Fansided, was a multi-year deal that ensures Dr. Goodwin will be around for a few more seasons.

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Even though it's probably unlikely that she is leaving Chicago Med, the actress could possibly be on both shows. Chicago Med and Law & Order are both produced by Dick Wolf and will be on the same network, which could lead to S. Epatha Merkerson bringing back Anita Van Buren in a limited capacity.

At this moment there is no cast set, but some characters from the original series will be back, and hopefully, Anita will be one of them.

In the meantime, you can watch S. Epatha Merkerson on Chicago Med.

Chicago Med airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.

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