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Gillian Rosh

In Praise of Lt. Van Buren & Her Cup of Coffee

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A place to discuss all things Van Buren.

 

I always have to remind myself that S. Epatha Merkerson was not a member of this show's original cast because she became such a mainstay. Her presence on the show was quite comforting to this viewer - especially during the not so great seasons.

 

And I loved her story arc in the show's final season.

 

So, what are your fave Van Buren moments? 

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Being in the middle of Season Nine, two immediately come to mind:

 

In "Scrambled," she tells Lennie and Rey that her sister has been trying to get pregnant for years. Of course, His Holiness can't stuff a sock in it and starts yammering that maybe L.T.'s sister just wasn't meant to have children. She shoots him a death glare and there's this long pause until she says, "Excuse. Me?"

 

 

I FUCKING LOVED the side-eye she threw at him when she said that.

 

I love the scene in "Blood", where they all find out the victim's husband is African American, but was able to pass as a White man. The one who had that horrid, nasty piece of work of an ex-wife, who referred to their son, who looked as White as White can be as a "nappy-headed monkey" or something. UGH.

 

Ahem.

 

Van Buren walks in...sits down...

 

"Hello My Brotha.  DAMN!"

 

And then there's this other episode, which I can't recall, but I'm sure I mentioned it in the season thread, where they're all after this perp, and she, Lennie and Martin, I believe, or maybe it's Rey....are after him. Dude tries to get away and run up the stairs, and Van Buren reaches out, grabs him by the waist of his jeans, and drags his sorry ass back down the stairs and cuffs him.

 

Now that's what you call a BADASS!

Edited by GHScorpiosRule
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I love the scene in "Blood", where they all find out the victim's husband is African American, but was able to pass as a White man. The one who had that horrid, nasty piece of work of an ex-wife, who referred to their son, who looked as White as White can be as a "nappy-headed monkey" or something. UGH.

 

Ahem.

 

Van Buren walks in...sits down...

 

"Hello My Brotha.  DAMN!"

 

Before stupid Netflix stopped streaming L&O, I watched this one. That ex-wife was disgusting and to find out she didn't want custody of her own kid at one time because he was part black was...OMG, it was beyond the pale. But yeah, that zinger Van Buren threw to the husband was CLASSIC.

 

And the less said about Rey, the better.

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Agree with all of the Van Buren moments mentioned here. Another favorite of mine was from season 20's "Just a Girl in the World" when LT asks Lupo how he knew where to find evidence in a suspect's house.

 

Lupo: She invited me in.

 

Van Buren (eyebrow raised): Invited you in. For what?

 

Lupo: For...tea.

 

Van Buren's death stare was a thing of beauty.

 

 

And the less said about Rey, the better.

 

Always.

Edited by Gillian Rosh
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I loved it when she called a suspect "Little girl" for some reason.  I think there were 2 she did that to.  Each time you knew a smack down was coming.

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Ahem.

 

Van Buren walks in...sits down...

 

"Hello My Brotha.  DAMN!"

 

That might be my favorite Van Buren scene of all time. It never fails to crack me up.

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Okay, not Van Buren, but more her portrayor, and since there is no "Other Roles" thread that I found, I'll put this here. I'm sort of surprised no one has posted that S. Epatha Merkerson is on board for Dick Wolf's backdoor (the second try, I guess?) pilot for Chicago Med.

 

So, I'm assuming (and I know what's said about that!) that if the proposed limited Law & Order revival happens within this lifetime and it wasn't just spitballing (since the article cautioned the idea is just being thrown around) that, depending on if Chicago Med comes to pass, Van Buren may not be involved.

 

But at least Dick Wolf seems to still like working with her!

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Okay, not Van Buren, but more her portrayor, and since there is no "Other Roles" thread that I found, I'll put this here. I'm sort of surprised no one has posted that S. Epatha Merkerson is on board for Dick Wolf's backdoor (the second try, I guess?) pilot for Chicago Med.

So, I'm assuming (and I know what's said about that!) that if the proposed limited Law & Order revival happens within this lifetime and it wasn't just spitballing (since the article cautioned the idea is just being thrown around) that, depending on if Chicago Med comes to pass, Van Buren may not be involved.

But at least Dick Wolf seems to still like working with her!

I actually posted about S. Epatha Merkerson being in the Chicago Med Pilot in the "small talk" type threads, I think; or wherever I posted about JK Simmons, before he won, on Oscar weekend.

Edited by BW Manilowe

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I actually posted about S. Epatha Merkerson being in the Chicago Med Pilot in the "small talk" type threads, I think; or wherever I posted about JK Simmons, before he won, on Oscar weekend.

 

In that case, I stand corrected!  :-)

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I actually posted about S. Epatha Merkerson being in the Chicago Med Pilot in the "small talk" type threads, I think; or wherever I posted about JK Simmons, before he won, on Oscar weekend.

 

 

 

 

In that case, I stand corrected!  :-)

 

 

Don't we have like a media thread? I could have sworn I created one, but maybe one of the mods merged it with another? I can't quite recall. Then again, my brain is like swiss cheese these days...

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The WE network runs an L & O marathon fairly often, and last night they ran an episode shortly after Ed Green was partnered with Briscoe, and Lennie was having a really hard time adjusting to his presence. I loved how Van Buren told him that he was just going to have to get used to it while still being clear that she was on his side too. And this?

 

"The press is asking me how fifteen units in hot pursuit managed to lose this guy."

 

"Maybe they should be asking patrol instead of the detective squad."

 

"Maybe the detective squad should be getting them off my back."

 

Awesome.

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I watched part of an episode yesterday where Anita was suing the dept and they wouldn't give her resources because of it.  Does anyone know if she overcame this?

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Yesterday I was at a doctor's office and picked up a current issue of a television entertainment magazine. I paged turned, came across a pic and article about the cast of "Chicago Med" and I squealed with joy and almost did a happy dance when I saw S. Epatha Merkerson was in the cast. I'm so happy to see that woman on my television again in another show, even if she's not Lt. Van Buren.

 

WOO HOO!!!

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I just started to really get into L&O & the more I watch Van Buren as a character the more I love her she's a great boss! I wish she had been on the show since the beginning (and in fact she should have been as Van Buren that is) I just saw the episode Slave I think it is from season 6 I loved it her it I think that's now a favorite episode of mine with he along with Competence from season 5 & Blood from season 8 as well.

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I think S. Epatha Merkerson was just as strong in her early L&O guest role (from S1!) as a mother whose baby was shot to death because a kid with a gun that could not read shot up the wrong address (forget the title).

 

She just had such strength as that poor mother, so it doesn't surprise me that Wolf brought her back as Van Buren in S4. (Also a kick to see Jerry Orbach as a defense attorney, Frank Lehrman, opposite Ben Stone in "The Wages of Love" from S2, a season before we got the fabulous Lennie Briscoe. At least Wolf knew to keep the talented actors in mind for future roles!)

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I think S. Epatha Merkerson was just as strong in her early L&O guest role (from S1!) as a mother whose baby was shot to death because a kid with a gun that could not read shot up the wrong address (forget the title).

She just had such strength as that poor mother, so it doesn't surprise me that Wolf brought her back as Van Buren in S4. (Also a kick to see Jerry Orbach as a defense attorney, Frank Lehrman, opposite Ben Stone in "The Wages of Love" from S2, a season before we got the fabulous Lennie Briscoe. At least Wolf knew to keep the talented actors in mind for future roles!)

I agree with you Wendy I loved her in her first appearence on L&O (BTW the episode is called Mushrooms, 1x17) I'm so glad they brought her back again in season 4. I find it odd that she wasn't credited for the Mushrooms episode either as a guest star nor was in the credits she had pretty decent screen time considering. Edited by LegaspiWeaver

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My favorite Van Buren moments are as follows.

Her last season (20) storyline which I'm still getting through I have a few more episodes to get through but so far it's so sad, but Epatha is doing an phenomenonal job!

I also loved her in Marathon from season 10 especially that scene with Lennie that was a powerful moment.

I loved her in Blood & Denial from season 8.

Loved her in Slave from season 6 her being undercover w/ Lennie was awesome & their scene together was cute!

Also loved her episode Competence I liked that we got a little more personal with her & see how she was out of work, loved seeing her children too.

That's all I have for now I'm sure once I see more episodes I'll add more to my list.

Edited by ESS
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In this AV Club article, Lemony Snicket discusses his affection for L&O (he and his wife are big fans). I particularly loved this part of it (emphasis mine)

 

Currently we’re interested in S. Epatha Merkerson, who plays—the sergeant, I guess? She’s in charge of the detectives. I have no idea what that’s called. But the detectives go to her and they say, “We’ve interviewed everybody but the wife.” And she says, “Interview the wife.” And they say “Great.” And then they leave, and that’s all great. But what I like is there’s always a shot of her returning to her paperwork. We talk about what a powerful multitasker she must be, because if I were in charge of a murder investigation I would be on pins and needles the whole time. Sometimes she says, “Go arrest him, he killed three people.” And they say “Okay.” And then you see her pick up something from her desk, and you think, “My God, she’s able to compartmentalize that so elegantly.” I would say, “Be super careful and call me the moment you get the murderer,” and, “Oh my goodness, can you believe we live in such a morally corrupt world?” But she just picks it up; she has other stuff to do. It’s very admirable.

Edited by Gillian Rosh

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In this AV Club article, Lemony Snicket discusses his affection for L&O (he and his wife are big fans). I particularly loved this part of it (emphasis mine)

Currently we’re interested in S. Epatha Merkerson, who plays—the sergeant, I guess? She’s in charge of the detectives. I have no idea what that’s called. But the detectives go to her and they say, “We’ve interviewed everybody but the wife.” And she says, “Interview the wife.” And they say “Great.” And then they leave, and that’s all great. But what I like is there’s always a shot of her returning to her paperwork. We talk about what a powerful multitasker she must be, because if I were in charge of a murder investigation I would be on pins and needles the whole time. Sometimes she says, “Go arrest him, he killed three people.” And they say “Okay.” And then you see her pick up something from her desk, and you think, “My God, she’s able to compartmentalize that so elegantly.” I would say, “Be super careful and call me the moment you get the murderer,” and, “Oh my goodness, can you believe we live in such a morally corrupt world?” But she just picks it up; she has other stuff to do. It’s very admirable.

Oh I love that so sweet, Anita can definitely multitask well! Thanks so much for sharing.

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I watched part of an episode yesterday where Anita was suing the dept and they wouldn't give her resources because of it.  Does anyone know if she overcame this?

In season 8 they had a storyline where Van Buren lost a promotion to a white woman with less experience and the same score on a test. By season 9 it wasn't mentioned again so we can assume her suit was settled somehow. 

 

She was planning to leave after season 20. So if the show had continued (and it should have! I'm still mad about that) I wonder who would have replaced her. No one near as good. 

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I read something that she WAS replaced( can't remember where now). Appearently Van Buren retired. I just can't remember the name, but it was another woman the only thing I remember was her first name - Toni (I think that was the name) but yeah Van Buren could never be replaced she was just too amazing! She was irreplaceable for sure!

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I find that hard to believe--since as soon as the news came out that Epatha was leaving--she gave an interview how she approached Wolf and told him, and two weeks later, we got the news the show was canceled.

 

That last scene of the show wasn't her retirement party, but a celebration since the test results came out and she was in remission.

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I find that hard to believe--since as soon as the news came out that Epatha was leaving--she gave an interview how she approached Wolf and told him, and two weeks later, we got the news the show was canceled.

That last scene of the show wasn't her retirement party, but a celebration since the test results came out and she was in remission.

She had also gotten engaged to her partner (Ernie Hudson), who'd seen her through her cancer treatment, so it unexpectedly also celebrated that. And the party actually started out as a way of everybody showing Van Buren what she meant to them, as well as being a sort of fundraiser, organized by Lupo, Bernard, or both of them, after they heard her talking about how she wasn't sure how she'd be able to pay off her extensive medical bills accumulated during her cancer treatment (though getting engaged helped because her new fiancé said he was willing to help her with them financially). It was also mentioned she got at least 1 check from some bigwigs connected to the cops to help with her medical expenses.

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Yeah I know it wasn't her retirement party like I said that's just what I read. I didn't say I believed it.

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Okay I just remembered where I read the "retirement" info:

 

She presumably retired sometime afterward; as by 2013, Toni Howard was head of the two-seven. (SVU: "Poisoned Motive")

 

source: 

 

http://lawandorder.wikia.com/wiki/Anita_Van_Buren

 

now I know that wikia isn't that reliable but still it makes sense especially with that SVU episode stating it. But who knows. 

Edited by ESS

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Okay I just remembered where I read the "retirement" info:

 

She presumably retired sometime afterward; as by 2013, Toni Howard was head of the two-seven. (SVU: "Poisoned Motive")

 

source: 

 

http://lawandorder.wikia.com/wiki/Anita_Van_Buren

 

now I know that wikia isn't that reliable but still it makes sense especially with that SVU episode stating it. But who knows. 

 

That doesn't mean that this took place on the mothership, as the mothership ended in 2010; but the 2-7 still exists in the Law & Order universe, so that show probably threw that line in, so we would know what happened with Van Buren.  Wiki, like Imdb, is "written" by fans and unless official cites are sourced, I take with a grain of salt. 

 

I doubt that Wolf or whoever, wrote the name of her replacement at the time mothership ended.

 

But that's my own opinion and speculation.

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Like I said who knows what's true or not with that & yeah I know wikia isn't that reliable & I know that L&O ended in 2010.

I'm just happy that Van Buren is okay & still alive in the L&O universe that's all I care about really.

Edited by ESS

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Van Buren changed her name, moved to Chicago, and had a career change and is now is a hospital administrator.  :-)

LOL yep & I love it!

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Like I said who knows what's true or not with that & yeah I know wikia isn't that reliable & I know that L&O ended in 2010.

I'm just happy that Van Buren is okay & still alive in the L&O universe that's all I care about really.

 

TNT showed the Mothership's finale way early this morning, and I was impressed all over again by Epatha's acting when Van Buren finds out she's likely in  remission. Since she has her back to the camera while she's talking to the doctor, her expression is hidden, and then she turns, wiping tears from her eyes. As she returns to the celebration, they leave it ambiguous as to whether or not she's a hundred percent, but watching her embrace Frank and whisper in his ear, I like to think she came away from the brief conversation with good news.

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TNT showed the Mothership's finale way early this morning, and I was impressed all over again by Epatha's acting when Van Buren finds out she's likely in  remission. Since she has her back to the camera while she's talking to the doctor, her expression is hidden, and then she turns, wiping tears from her eyes. As she returns to the celebration, they leave it ambiguous as to whether or not she's a hundred percent, but watching her embrace Frank and whisper in his ear, I like to think she came away from the brief conversation with good news.

 

Sounds like TNT cut out the part when she receives the good news, she says "Thank God!"  or whispers it, before hanging up. From what I can remember from the original airing, there was no ambiguity about it. She was in remission.

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Yeah when I watched the last episode I also thought she was in remission as well even though a lot of people say that it was up in the air. I don't think it was like that it's pretty much confirmed that she was at least in remission it's obvious I don't know why people ask if she's cured, I guess if you didn't really pay attention you'd not know, but still..I'd hated if they killed her off.

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I'd forgotten just how much LT slays in the episode "Fed." Her scenes with Jack are great, especially toward the end of the episode. I even love her reunion with Rey. Just a great Van Buren ep all around. 

Edited by Gillian Rosh

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On 8/31/2016 at 8:47 PM, Gillian Rosh said:

I'don't forgotten just how much LT slays in the episode "Fed." Her scenes with Jack are great, especially toward the end of the episode. I even love her reunion with Rey. Just a great Van Buren ep all around. 

Yeah that's a great episode for her. 

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I'm home dealing with chemo watching the episode "Four Cops Shot," one of the episodes in which Van Buren is dealing with her cancer.

A cop who wants the death penalty says: I know you've been sick Lieutenant, and I'm sorry about that. Maybe it's effecting your judgement.

--which made me feel defensive and question my own "chemo brain,"

—until I heard her reply:  I certainly hope so. 

Staring death in the face does and should change the way you see things.

Right now the cop is apologizing to her, which she accepts with grace and wisdom.

 

ETA from later in the episode Van Buren with her detectives at the station examing new evidence:

Quote

 - What's that?
- Uh, it's a logbook kept by officer ramos. Her husband found it and brought it in.
- You tell the d.A.S? 
- No. No, we just got it.
- You know, I heard about the trial today. That defendant kicked butt.
- Yeah, sob story from hell.
- So what's in it?
- Informant log-- Every contact she had with stokes.
- Interesting.
- Some might think so. She saw him do drugs. She gave him money she knew he would use to buy drugs. And she and her partner Did push him about his mother.
- And this here, their last meeting with him-- The d.A.S could use it.
- Well, if we turn it over, It all comes out.
- So? 
- So officer ramos and her partner crossed some lines. It's nothing anybody needs to hear right now.
- Oh, so that's what you're worried about. Okay. [chuckles] But what about me? If I'm not ever around, You gonna turn me into a retroactive saint? Go through my office and clean out my nasty habits, Tell the world how sweet I was all the time? Look, she was a cop. She wanted to be a detective. She made some mistakes-- Honest, good-faith mistakes, but she made some mistakes.   Get over it.

Edited by shapeshifter
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That is a great bit of dialogue @shapeshifter

[off-topic]I hope you are soon in the NED (I don't think I need to explain this acronym to you) category.  I hope that your chemo-brain doesn't last too long.  A friend who is nearly 5-years NED, so almost formally in remission, blames all her forgetfulness on chemo-brain. She says it's a good catch-all & she's almost 100% of the time forgiven![/off=topic]

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