Michael Boatman

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Michael Boatman
Michael Boatman 2013.jpg
Boatman in 2013
Michael Patrick Boatman

(1964-10-25) October 25, 1964 (age 58)
Occupation(s)Actor, writer
Years active1987–present
Myrna Forney
(m. 1992)

Michael Patrick Boatman (born October 25, 1964) is an American actor and writer. He is known for his roles as New York City mayoral aide Carter Heywood in the ABC sitcom Spin City, as U.S. Army Specialist Samuel Beckett in the ABC drama series China Beach, as 101st Airborne soldier Motown in the Vietnam War movie Hamburger Hill, and as sports agent Stanley Babson in the HBO sitcom Arli$$. He also starred in The Good Fight, the Paramount+ spinoff of The Good Wife.

Early life and education[edit]

Boatman was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the son of Gwendolyn Boatman Pugh, a job supervisor for the disabled, and Daniel Boatman, an army officer.[1] He was raised in Chicago. Boatman is a graduate of Western Illinois University and received its "Alumni Achievement Award" in 1997.[2]

Boatman studied acting at Western Illinois University, where he played a variety of roles including Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Purlie in Purlie Victorious. He was a member of the student sketch comedy troupe Shock Treatment, which performed at local bars and nightclubs. During his senior year Boatman won the prestigious Irene Ryan theater award for best supporting actor during the finals competition at the Kennedy Center.[3]

Acting career[edit]

In 1986, Boatman moved to Chicago, where he studied acting with Jane Brody, a popular acting teacher and casting director. Later that same year, he auditioned for and won the role of "Motown" in the critically acclaimed Vietnam action drama, Hamburger Hill. That same year he appeared in Running on Empty with River Phoenix, and The Trial of Bernard Goetz for the PBS American Playhouse series. In 1988, he auditioned for the pilot episode of the Vietnam era television drama, China Beach. He went on to play Samuel Beckett, the mortician in the China Beach mortuary, for the next three seasons. He later co-starred on The Jackie Thomas Show with Tom Arnold, and the short-lived WB series Muscle. In 1996, he landed a role on the ABC sitcom, Spin City, playing Carter Heywood, the irascible, openly gay minority affairs liaison. For his work on Spin City he was nominated for five NAACP Image Awards for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy. He also won the GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Association Against Defamation) award for Best Actor.

At the same time he was on Spin City, Boatman played the role of Stanley Babson, the anal-retentive chief financial officer on the HBO original series Arliss and starred on both series simultaneously until they were canceled in 2002. For his work on Arliss Boatman was nominated for four Image Awards, also for Best Supporting Actor. He played the lead role in the critically acclaimed Charles Burnett drama, The Glass Shield. Later, he appeared in the feature films The Peacemaker, with George Clooney and Nicole Kidman, and Woman Thou Art Loosed, and in several made-for-TV movies. Michael Boatman also narrated in the WPA slave narratives[4] in the HBO film Unchained Memories, in 2003.

In 2007, Boatman co-starred in the feature films, The Killing of Wendy (2008), American Summer and My Father's Will. He has had many notable guest appearances, including five episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Less Than Perfect, Yes, Dear, Scrubs, CSI: Miami, Hannah Montana and Grey's Anatomy. Boatman guest starred in the mystery/drama Warehouse 13, in July 2009.[5]

In 2009, he joined the cast of the Lifetime comedy series Sherri, starring Sherri Shepherd. The series is based on Shepherd's life experiences as a divorced single mom, actress and stand-up comedian. Boatman plays Doctor Randy Gregg, Sherri's son's pediatrician and Sherri's love interest.[5]

More recently he has appeared as attorney Julius Cain in The Good Wife. In 2011, Boatman guest-starred as Russell Thorpe on Gossip Girl, along with Tika Sumpter, who played his daughter Raina. In 2012, Boatman became a recurring character in the FX original series Anger Management, reuniting with his former Spin City co-star Charlie Sheen as Sheen's next door neighbor Michael. Beginning in late September 2013, he began co-starring in Nick at Nite's new series Instant Mom, alongside Tia Mowry-Hardrict.[5] In 2016 Boatman recurred on the CBS All Access drama The Good Fight, reprising the role of attorney Julius Cain, the character he played on The Good Wife. He was promoted to series regular in the second season.


Boatman is also a screenwriter and novelist. He sometimes writes in the splatterpunk horror genre. Joe R. Lansdale praised his first collection with "Michael Boatman writes like a visitor from hell. Someone out on short term leave for bad behavior. I love this stuff. He's one of the new, and more than promising, writers making his mark, and a dark and wonderful mark it is."[6]

Many multi-author anthologies feature at least one of his short stories. They include Sick Things: An Anthology of Extreme Creature Horror, Until Someone Loses an Eye, Sages and Swords, Badass Horror and Christmas in Hell and Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction From Africa and the African Diaspora. He has been published in Weird Tales, Horror Garage and Red Scream. He introduced Cyber-Pulp Halloween 3.0 which was published by Cyber-pulp Books. His Born Again from Eulogies II: Tales From the Cellar received an Honorable Mention from Ellen Datlow in The Best Horror of the Year: Volume Six.[7] His first collection of short stories, God Laughs When You Die, was published by Dybbuk Press on October 23, 2007. His humorous horror novel, The Revenant Road, was published by Drollerie Press in 2009.[citation needed]



Year Title Role Notes
1987 Hamburger Hill Specialist Ray Motown
1988 Running on Empty Spaulding
1992 Unbecoming Age Robert
1994 The Glass Shield Deputy J.J. Johnson
1997 The Peacemaker Lieutenant Beach
1998 Walking to the Waterline Marshall the Mover
2004 Woman Thou Art Loosed Todd
2006 Kalamazoo? Special Angel Albert
2007 And Then Came Love Ted
2008 The Pool Boys Donovan Tucker
2009 The Killing of Wendy Detective Blake
My Father's Will Lawrence
2010 Three Chris's Walter Wayne
Philadelphia: The Great Experiment Narrator Short
Inside Out Katherine's Therapist Short
2011 Queen of Media Robert
2012 Bad Parents Gary
2017 Anything Charles
Like.Share.Follow Norman
2018 Second Act Edward Taylor


Year Title Role Notes
1988 American Playhouse - Episode: "The Trial of Bernhard Goetz"
1988–91 China Beach Pvt. Samuel Beckett Main cast
1990 Donor Arnold TV movie
1991 Fourth Story Sgt. Teal TV movie
Shades of LA Dr. Robinson Episode: "Line of Fire: Part 2"
1992 In the Line of Duty: Street War Robert Dayton TV movie
Quantum Leap Sergeant Billy Johnson Episode: "Nowhere to Run"
1992–93 The Jackie Thomas Show Grant Watson Main cast
1993 House of Secrets Sgt. Joe DuBois TV movie
1995 Muscle Garnet Hines Main cast
The Larry Sanders Show Greg Episode: "I Was a Teenage Lesbian"
Living Single Brent Washington Episode: "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow... Dammit"
1996–2002 Spin City Carter Haywood Main cast
Arli$$ Stanley Babson Main cast
2003 Less Than Perfect Ted Elliot Episode: "The Umbrella" & "Choices"
Law & Order Defense Attorney Dave Seaver Episode: "House Calls"
2003–11 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Defense Attorney Dave Seaver Recurring cast: Season 5-7 & 12
2004 CSI: Miami Wes Gallagher Episode: "Not Landing"
Yes, Dear Adam Episode: "Couples Therapy"
Educating Lewis Joe TV movie
2005 Play Dates Stewart TV movie
Scrubs Ron Laver Episode: "My Roommates"
The Wonderful World of Disney The Jester Episode: "Once Upon a Mattress"
2006 Huff Art Episode: "Maps Don't Talk"
2007 Traveling in Packs Bob TV movie
Frangela Adam TV movie
Law & Order Defense Attorney Dave Seaver Episode: "Remains of the Day"
Grey's Anatomy Doug Kendry Episode: "My Favorite Mistake"
2008 Hannah Montana Randall Harrison Episode: "Hannah in the Streets with Diamonds"
2009 Criminal Minds William Harris Episode: "Soul Mates"
The Game Lawrence Chauncey Wright Recurring cast: Season 3
Warehouse 13 Professor Ed Marzotto Episode: "Pilot"
Sherri Dr. Randolph Gregg Recurring cast
2009–15 The Good Wife Julius Cain Recurring cast: Season 1-3 & 5, guest: Season 6
2010 White Collar Russel Smith Episode: "Copycat Caffrey"
2011 Gossip Girl Russell Thorpe Recurring cast: Season 4
The Doctor Dr. Robert Brody TV movie
2012 Hornet's Nest Richard Panessa TV movie
The Smart One Tom Holiday TV movie
2012–14 Anger Management Michael Recurring cast
2013–15 Instant Mom Charlie Phillips Main cast
2016–17 Madam Secretary FBI Director Keith Doherty Recurring cast: Season 3
2017 The Other F Word David Michaelson Recurring cast: Season 2
2017–22 The Good Fight Julius Cain Recurring cast: Season 1, main cast: Season 2-6
2022 Would I Lie to You? (US) Himself Episode: "Criminal Bear"
Law & Order Defense Attorney Dave Seaver Episode: "12 Seconds"


  1. ^ Michael Boatman profile, filmreference.com; accessed January 7, 2016.
  2. ^ Alumni Association: Recognition: Western Illinois University Archived September 4, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, wiu.edu; accessed January 7, 2016.
  3. ^ "AMC". Archived from the original on April 7, 2016. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  4. ^ Slave narrative#WPA slave narratives
  5. ^ a b c Michael Boatman at IMDb
  6. ^ God Laughs When You Die, amazon.com; accessed January 7, 2016.
  7. ^ "Honorable Mentions 2013". April 7, 2014.

External links[edit]