Julianne Nicholson

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Julianne Nicholson
Julianne Nicholson TIFF 2015.jpg
Julianne Nicholson at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival
Born (1971-07-01) July 1, 1971 (age 46)
Medford, Massachusetts, United States
Occupation Actress
Years active 1997–present
Spouse(s) Jonathan Cake (m. 2004)
Children 2

Julianne Nicholson (born July 1, 1971) is an American actress. She played Det. Megan Wheeler on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and also appeared in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire and Showtime's Masters of Sex, as well as Ivy in the film adaptation of August: Osage County. As of autumn 2016, she plays the lead role in the new USA series Eyewitness.

Early life[edit]

Nicholson was born and raised in Medford, Massachusetts (outside Boston), the daughter of Kate (née Gilday) and James O. Nicholson, Jr.[1][2] She is the eldest of four siblings.

After graduating from Arlington Catholic High School, she modeled in New York for six months, quit for a year, then resumed her modeling career in Paris for another six months. After returning to New York, she attended Hunter College as a general studies major for two years. While in New York, Nicholson supported herself by waitressing and eventually left school to study acting and begin her professional career.[citation needed]



In her first feature film role, Nicholson starred opposite Michael Caine and James Spader in the Peter Yates film Curtain Call. Later she won what proved to be both her breakthrough and favorite role as a headstrong young feminist in Peter Chan's The Love Letter. She has worked with other international directors in films such Alain Berliner's Passion of Mind, and Nick Hurran's Little Black Book. Nicholson's domestic drama credits include William Vincent (Jay Anania), Staten Island (James DeMonaco), Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (John Krasinski), Tully (Hilary Birmingham), Kinsey (Bill Condon), and August: Osage County (John Wells), for which the ensemble cast was nominated for several awards. Her domestic comedy credits include Seeing Other People (Wally Wolodarsky) and Puccini For Beginners (Maria Maggenti).


Among Nicholson's television credits are a supporting role in the television miniseries Storm of the Century and guest-starring roles in ER and Law & Order. She began to work with some of television's top producers. She was tapped by Steven Spielberg for the lead role in the paranormal drama The Others. In late 2001, Nicholson became one of the main cast members of the hit show produced by David E. Kelley, Ally McBeal, portraying the character "Jenny Shaw" for 13 episodes.[3] She worked with John Wells on the medical drama Presidio Med and Steven Bochco on the HBO pilot Marriage. Julianne worked with Dick Wolf in his series on the short-lived NBC television drama, Conviction and in what is her best known role, as Megan Wheeler, in the sixth season of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.[4] Nicholson said her favorite Criminal Intent episode was "Weeping Willow", which she described as "really different from a lot of the ones we've done before and very exciting and current."[5] As of the Criminal Intent episode "Major Case", Nicholson departed the series and was replaced by actress Kathryn Erbe.

In 2011, she guest-starred on Royal Pains as "Jess", one of Dr. Lawson's patients, suffering from panic attacks. She also appeared on Boardwalk Empire, as the recurring character of U.S. Assistant Attorney General Esther Randolph, that same year. In 2012, she guest-starred on The Good Wife as Callie Simko, an attorney who has an interest in Will Gardner.

On October 16, 2016, Julianne debuted in the lead role of Sheriff Helen Torrance in USA Network's new 10-episode police drama, Eyewitness. The series involves two teenage boys who are exploring their new feelings for each other when they witness a triple murder; one of these boys is her foster son. But the boys hide as the murders take place, and the killer gets a good look at one of them. As Torrance tries to start solving the murders, she finds that she has FBI competition on the case. Meanwhile, the boys know that the killer is still at large and will be returning to eliminate the Eyewitness. Although the series is set in western New York State in the general (considerably expansive) region of Poughkeepsie and Buffalo, the two real-life communities most often referred to by the characters, the series was actually filmed in Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada.[6] The characters also frequently refer to "the city." One may presume that the reference would be to New York City; but no, Eyewitness' setting is so small that the townsfolk consider Buffalo to be the grand metropolis.


Nicholson has been in a number of plays in New York. Her work in theater includes the following New York Performances:

Title Producer Director Theater
Stranger Craig Lucas Mark Brokaw The Vineyard Theater
Parlor Song Jez Buttersworth Neil Pepe The Atlantic
This Melissa James Gibson Daniel Aukin Playwrights Horizons
Parents Evening Bathsheba Doran Jim Simpson The Flea
The Hallway Trilogy: Rose Adam Rapp Adam Rapp Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
The Hallway Trilogy: Paraffin Adam Rapp Daniel Aukin Rattlestick Playwrights Theater

Personal life[edit]

In 2004, she married British actor Jonathan Cake in Italy; they met playing a couple on an unaired HBO pilot called Marriage. They have two children. Their son Ignatius was born in September 2007[7] and she gave birth to daughter Phoebe Margaret on April 30, 2009.[8]

One of Nicholson's favorite movies is Living in Oblivion, by director Tom DiCillo.[5]



Year Title Role Notes
1998 Harvest Lou Yates
1998 Long Time Since Phoebe
1998 One True Thing College Student
1998 It All Came True Sandra Hewson
1999 Love Letter, TheThe Love Letter Jennifer
2000 Hero Young German Woman Short film
2000 Passion of Mind Kim
2000 Godass Nancy
2000 Tully Ella Smalley Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female
2001 Dead Dog Charity
2002 Speakeasy Rebecca
2002 Strike a Light Girl
2002 I'm with Lucy Jo
2004 Seeing Other People Alice US Comedy Arts Festival Award for Best Actress
2004 Little Black Book Joyce Moore
2004 Kinsey Alice Martin
2005 Seagull Julianne
2005 Her Name Is Carla Carla
2006 Flannel Pajamas Nicole Reilly
2006 Puccini for Beginners Samantha
2006 Two Weeks Emily Bergman
2009 Brief Interviews with Hideous Men Sara Quinn
2009 Staten Island Mary Halverson
2010 Shadows & Lies Ann
2012 Keep the Lights On Claire
2013 August: Osage County Ivy Weston Hollywood Film Festival for Ensemble of the Year
Nominated – Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Nominated – Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated – Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Nominated – Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Acting Ensemble
2015 Black Mass Marianne Connolly
2016 Sophie and the Rising Sun Sophie Willis
2016 From Nowhere Jackie
2017 Novitiate Nora Harris
2018 I, Tonya Diane Rawlinson In post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1997 Nothing Sacred Cara Episode: "Parents and Children"
1998 Dellaventura Carol Dakin Episode: "David & Goliath"
1998 New York Undercover Daisy Episode: "Sign o' the Times"
1999 Storm of the Century Cat Withers TV miniseries
2000 Others, TheThe Others Marian Kitt Main role (13 episodes)
2001 Law & Order Jessie Lucas Episode: "All My Children"
2001–02 Ally McBeal Jenny Shaw Main role (13 episodes)
2002 Presidio Med Dr. Jules Keating Main role
2004 ER Jordan Episodes: "Just a Touch", "Abby Normal"
2006 Water Is Wide, TheThe Water Is Wide Barbara TV film
2006 Conviction Christina Finn Main role (13 episodes)
2006–09 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Det. Megan Wheeler Main role (24 episodes Season 6-8)
2011 Royal Pains Jess Walsh Episode: "Fight or Flight"
2011–13 Boardwalk Empire Esther Randolph Recurring role (11 episodes)
2012 Good Wife, TheThe Good Wife Callie Simko Episodes: "Pants on Fire", "The Penalty Box"
2012 Covert Affairs Anna Lise Pound Episode: "The Last Thing You Should Do"
2013–14 Masters of Sex Dr. Lillian DePaul Recurring role (12 episodes)
Nominated - Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series
2014–15 The Red Road Jean Jensen 12 episodes
2016 Eyewitness Sheriff Helen Torrance Main role (10 episodes)
2017 Law & Order True Crime Jill Lansing Main role


  1. ^ "Her big-screen breakout A Melrose native joins big names on the set of `The Love Letter,' a film produced on the North Shore by Steven Spielberg's movie company". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. September 27, 1998. Retrieved August 11, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Nicholson Lands 'Ally Mcbeal' Role". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. December 23, 2001. Retrieved August 11, 2014. 
  3. ^ Ally McBeal Episode Guide, TV.com
  4. ^ "The Reel Vincent D'Onofrio Entry Page". Thereelvincentdonofrio.com. Retrieved August 11, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Exclusive interview: Julianne Nicholson, of Law & Order: Criminal Intent." BuddyTV, February 27, 2007. Retrieved on September 8, 2008.
  6. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5369352 Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  7. ^ Julianne Nicholson Expecting Second Child Celebrity Baby Blog, December 18, 2008
  8. ^ Broadway.com Staff (May 4, 2009). "Broadway Buzz: Jonathan Cake and Wife Julianne Nicholson Welcome Daughter". Broadway.com. Retrieved August 10, 2014. 

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