Sonja Sohn

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Sonja Sohn
Sonja Sohn.jpg
Sohn at Harvard Law School, April 2011
Born Sonja Williams
1964[1]
Newport News, Virginia
Occupation Actress, screenwriter
Years active 1996–present
Spouse(s) Adam Plack (2003-present)
Children 2
Website
http://www.sonjasohn.net

Sonja Sohn (born 1964) is an American actress and community activist. She is best known for her role as Detective Kima Greggs on the HBO drama The Wire, and as Detective Samantha Baker on the ABC series Body of Proof. She is also known for having starred in the independent film Slam, which she also co-wrote.

Her role on The Wire has led to her current work as the leader of the Baltimore community initiative "ReWired for Change."[2]

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Sohn was born in Newport News, Virginia. Her father, an African-American soldier in the United States Army, met her Korean mother when he was stationed in South Korea after the Korean War. After Sohn's older brother was born, her mother decided to move to the United States as she felt that a child of mixed Korean and African-American parentage would be discriminated against in Korea.[3] Sohn had a difficult childhood; she was often teased for her mixed heritage,[3] her schizophrenic father physically abused her mother[4] and her older brother was killed when she was a teenager. She attended and graduated from Warwick High School in Newport News[5] where she had struggled with an addiction to cocaine and pills that continued into her twenties.[3]

Career[edit]

Sohn (left) with The Wire co-stars, Jamie Hector (middle) and Michael K. Williams (right)

Before she was an actress, Sohn was a slam poet. While performing her work on stage, she was spotted by Marc Levin who offered her a role in his film Slam. She also wrote lyrics and co-wrote the script for the film. It went on to win the Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic Film at the Sundance Film Festival. After debuting in Slam, Sohn appeared in minor roles in films such as Shaft and Bringing Out the Dead. She also starred in independent films Perfume, G and The Killing Zone. Through the five seasons of the HBO series The Wire, she held a starring role as Detective Kima Greggs.[6] She struggled during the first season of The Wire and considered quitting as she had trouble recalling her lines. She has also guest starred on many episodes of Cold Case as "Toni Halstead". She won the supporting television actress award at the 2008 Asian Excellence Awards for her character on The Wire.

She had a supporting role in the Hollywood film Step Up 2 the Streets. In 2008-09, she was a guest star in the ABC series Brothers & Sisters, and in 2010 she appeared in an episode of CBS series The Good Wife. In 2011, she was a guest star on the show Bar Karma.[7] She played (Seasons 1-2) Detective Samantha Baker in the medical drama television series Body of Proof with Dana Delany and Jeri Ryan, which premiered on ABC on March 29, 2011.[8]

Activism[edit]

Previously involved in political activism (she campaigned in North Carolina in support of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential bid),[citation needed] Sohn took a break from acting in 2009 to concentrate on social issues. She is the founder and CEO of the Baltimore-based reWIRED for Change, an outreach program intended to communicate with (and ultimately rehabilitate) at-risk youth involved in criminal activity.[9] The program is run out of the University of Maryland School of Social Work and uses episodes of The Wire as a teaching tool, encouraging the participants to examine and query their lives and past actions.[10] Other actors and writers involved with The Wire serve as board members.[11] In 2011, she was presented with the Woman of the Year award from the Harvard Black Men's Forum.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Since 2003, she has been married to Australian didgeridoo player Adam Plack, and together they have two daughters.[13]

Filmography[edit]

Sohn (second from right) with (from left to right) Donnie Andrews, Fran Boyd, Jim True-Frost, and Jamie Hector, (Andre Royo is in the bottom row)
Year Film Role Notes
1996 Work June
1998 Slam Lauren Bell Also Screenwriter
Bronx County
1999 Getting to Know You Lynn
From the Last Tony Wang
Bringing Out the Dead Kanita
2000 Shaft Alice
2001 Perfume Dandy
2002 G Shelly
2002–2008 The Wire Detective Shakima 'Kima' Greggs TV Series (60 episodes, 2002–2008)
2003 The Killing Zone Jennifer
2006–2007 Cold Case Toni Halstead
  • Forever Blue" (3/12/2006)
  • "Knuckle Up" (7/1/2007)
  • "Blackout" (14/1/2007)
  • "8:03 AM" (28/1/2007)
  • "World's End" (4/11/2007)
2008 Step Up 2 the Streets Sarah
2008–2009 Brothers & Sisters Trish Evans
  • "Troubled Waters: Part 2" (3/1/2009)
  • "Troubled Waters: Part 1" (3/1/2009)
  • "Unfinished Business" (11/30/2008)
  • "Do You Believe In Magic" (11/9/2008)
2010 The Good Wife Sonya Rucker 1 episode
2011 Bar Karma Lucy Borden 1 episode
2011–2012 Body of Proof Samantha Baker Main Cast: 27 Episodes
2012 Burn Notice Agent Olivia Riley 5 episodes
2013 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Lisa Carter 1 episode

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Film or series Result
1998 Gotham Awards Best Actress Slam Won
1998 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize Slam Won
1998 Independent Spirit Awards Best Debut Performance Slam Nominated
2005 Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series The Wire Nominated
2008 Asian Excellence Awards Outstanding Television Actress The Wire Won
2009 Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series The Wire Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ Holtzclaw, Mike (October 25, 1999). "Local Actress Now Working With Big Stars". Daily Press. Retrieved April 17, 2012. 
  2. ^ "After 'The Wire', Sonja Sohn couldn’t leave Baltimore’s troubled streets behind" Article, ReWired for Change web site
  3. ^ a b c Gross, Terry (March 15, 2012). "Sonja Sohn: Changing Baltimore Long After 'The Wire'". Fresh Air. NPR. Retrieved April 17, 2012. 
  4. ^ Ulman, Danielle (November 29, 2011). "Sohn, Torre, others tell of their struggle to overcome trauma". The Daily Record. "She said she watched in horror as her father put her mother's head on the chopping block in the kitchen, held a knife over her and threatened to kill her. She later found out that her father was a paranoid schizophrenic..." 
  5. ^ Life Servers Sohn Well; Actress Graduated from Newport News School, Richmond Times-Dispatch, November 7, 1998, B4, by Mike Holtzclaw
  6. ^ "Character profile - Detective Shakima "Kima" Greggs". HBO. 2004. Retrieved 2006-07-22. 
  7. ^ Bargiel, Nina (February 22, 2011). "Episode 103: "An Open Mind" with Sonja Sohn!". Current TV. Retrieved April 16, 2012. 
  8. ^ "ABC Adds "Body of Proof", "Off the Map" to Roster". The Futon Critic. May 14, 2010. Retrieved May 18, 2010. 
  9. ^ Phil Zabriskie, "After 'The Wire' ended, actress Sonja Sohn couldn't leave Baltimore's troubled streets behind," Washington Post, January 27, 2012.
  10. ^ Sonja Sohn's Road to Redemption - story on Sohn's community activism with reWIRED for Change in B (Baltimore online newspaper), accessed January 1, 2010
  11. ^ Members page reWIRED for Change, accessed January 1, 2010
  12. ^ "Sohn honored". Boston Blobe. March 29, 2011. pp. G.14. ""The Wire" actress Sonja Sohn received the Woman of the Year award at the Harvard Black Men's Forum 17th Annual Celebration of Black Women on Friday." 
  13. ^ Brown, Sloane (November 5, 2006). "A NIGHT FOR GUYS TO BE BAD FOR GOOD". Baltimore Sun. pp. 2.N. Retrieved April 17, 2012. 

External links[edit]