Sonja Sohn

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Sonja Sohn
Sonja Sohn.jpg
Sohn at Harvard Law School in April 2011.
Sonja Williams

(1964-05-09) May 9, 1964 (age 56)
Years active1996–present
Spouse(s)Adam Plack
Sonja Sohn
손 손자
Revised RomanizationSon Sonja
McCune–ReischauerSon Sonja

Sonja Sohn (Sonja Denise Plack,[1] born Sonja Williams; May 9, 1964[2]) is an American actress and director best known for her roles as Detective Kima Greggs on the HBO drama The Wire and Detective Samantha Baker on the ABC series Body of Proof. She is also known for having starred in the independent film Slam, which she co-wrote. Her role on The Wire led to her work as the leader of a Baltimore community initiative called ReWired for Change.[3]

Early life[edit]

Sohn was born Sonja Williams in Fort Benning, Georgia. Her mother was Korean and her father was Black. Her parents met when her father was stationed in South Korea after the Korean War.[4] She attended and graduated from Warwick High School in Newport News.[5]


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

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 Detective Samantha Baker in the first two seasons of the medical drama television series Body of Proof with Dana Delany and Jeri Ryan, which premiered on ABC on March 29, 2011.[8]

On May 30, 2014, it was announced that Sohn would be joining season 2 of The Originals, in a recurring role as the witch Lenore a.k.a. Esther Mikaelson.[9]

Sohn made her directorial debut with the 2017 HBO documentary Baltimore Rising about the 2015 Baltimore protests and community organizing that arose in response to police violence.[10]


Previously involved in political activism (she campaigned in North Carolina in support of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential bid), 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.[11] 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.[12] Other actors and writers involved with The Wire serve as board members.[13] In 2011, she was presented with the Woman of the Year award from the Harvard Black Men's Forum.[14]

Personal life[edit]

In 2003, Sohn married didgeridoo player Adam Plack. She has two daughters born 1986 and 1990.[15] As of 2019 Sohn and Plack are divorced.[16] On July 21, 2019, Sohn was arrested in North Carolina and charged with felony possession of cocaine.[17]



Year Title Role Notes
1996 Work June
1998 Slam Lauren Bell Also screenwriter
1999 Getting to Know You Lynn
1999 Bringing Out the Dead Kanita
2000 Shaft Alice
2001 Perfume Dandy
2002 G Shelly
2003 The Killing Zone Jennifer
2008 Step Up 2: The Streets Sarah
2012 The Wire: The Musical Detective Shakima 'Kima' Greggs Short
2015 The Missing Girl Franny
2017 Domain Atlanta
2019 High Flying Bird Myra


Year Title Role Notes
1998 Bronx County N/A Television film
2002–08 The Wire Detective Shakima 'Kima' Greggs Series regular, 56 episodes
2006–07 Cold Case Toni Halstead Recurring role, 5 episodes
2008–09 Brothers & Sisters Trish Evans Recurring role, 4 episodes
2010–13 The Good Wife Sonya Rucker 2 episodes
2011 Bar Karma Lucy Borden Episode: "An Open Mind"
2011–12 Body of Proof Samantha Baker Series regular, 29 episodes
2012 Drop Dead Diva Judge Vivian Holston Episode: "Jane's Getting Married"
2012 Burn Notice Agent Olivia Riley Recurring role, 5 episodes
2013 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Lisa Carter Episode: "American Tragedy"
2014–15 The Originals Lenore / Esther Recurring role, 8 episodes
2015 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Police Officer Episode: "Public Defenders"
2016 Luke Cage Captain Betty Audrey Recurring role, 3 episodes
2016 Shut Eye Gabriella 5 episodes
2017 Baltimore Rising Director
2018 The Chi Laverne Johnson 9 episodes
2019 Star Trek: Discovery Dr. Gabrielle Burnham 2 episodes
2020 Utopia Agent Katherine Milner 3 episodes

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Film or series Result
1998 Gotham Awards Breakthrough Actor 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


  1. ^ Maddaus, Gene (July 22, 2019). "'The Chi' Actress Sonja Sohn Arrested on Cocaine Possession Charge".
  2. ^ Holtzclaw, Mike (October 25, 1999). "Local Actress Now Working With Big Stars". Daily Press. Retrieved April 17, 2012.
  3. ^ "After 'The Wire', Sonja Sohn couldn’t leave Baltimore’s troubled streets behind" Archived 2010-04-10 at the Wayback Machine Article, ReWired for Change web site
  4. ^ Gross, Terry (March 15, 2012). "Sonja Sohn: Changing Baltimore Long After 'The Wire'". Fresh Air. NPR. Retrieved April 17, 2012.
  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. Archived from the original on March 12, 2011. 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. ^ Tierney Bricker (May 30, 2014). "The Originals Casts The Wire Star in Witchy Season 2 Role". E!. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
  10. ^ Cohen, Sandy (July 28, 2017). "'Baltimore Rising' explores life after Freddie Gray". The Detroit News. Associated Press.
  11. ^ Phil Zabriskie, "After 'The Wire' ended, actress Sonja Sohn couldn't leave Baltimore's troubled streets behind", Washington Post, January 27, 2012.
  12. ^ Sonja Sohn's Road to Redemption Archived 2009-09-07 at the Wayback Machine - story on Sohn's community activism with reWIRED for Change in B (Baltimore online newspaper), accessed January 1, 2010
  13. ^ Members page reWIRED for Change, accessed January 1, 2010
  14. ^ "Sohn honored". Boston Globe. March 29, 2011. p. G14. "The Wire" actress Sonja Sohn receives the Woman of the Year award at the Harvard Black Men's Forum 17th Annual Celebration of Black Women
  15. ^ Brown, Sloane (November 5, 2006). "A NIGHT FOR GUYS TO BE BAD FOR GOOD". Baltimore Sun. p. 2N. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Actress charged with drug possession in North Carolina". Associated Press. July 22, 2019. Retrieved June 24, 2020.

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