Family & Companions
A popular and prolific character actor on television, Michael Boatman essayed an array of diverse roles, from a mournful Army mortician to an acerbic political liaison on such popular programs as "Spin City" (ABC, 1996-2002), "The Good Wife" (CBS, 2009-2016) and "The Good Fight" (CBS All Access, 2017- ). Born Michael Patrick Boatman on October 25, 1964 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, he was raised by his parents - an army officer father and a mother who served as a job supervisor for disabled clients - in Chicago, Illinois. There, he developed an interest in acting, and chose it as his major at Western Illinois University. Before graduating in 1986, Boatman won the Best Supporting Actor Award in the Irene Ryan National Competition at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Almost immediately afterwards, he earned his first feature film roles, playing a U.S. Army soldier in John Irvin's Vietnam War drama "Hamburger Hill" (1987) and a supporting turn in Sidney Lumet's Oscar-nominated drama "Running on Empty" (1988). He then segued into a three-year run as Army mortician Samuel Beckett on the critically acclaimed Vietnam War series "China Beach" (ABC, 1988-1991). When that series ran its course, Boatman joined the cast of two short-lived series - the darkly comic "Jackie Thomas Show" (ABC, 1992-93), with Tom Arnold, and the primetime soap opera parody "Muscle" (The WB, 1995) - and starred in Charles Burnett's independent drama "The Glass Shield" (1994) as a police officer caught up in a department cover-up over a murder case involving black suspect Ice Cube. From there, he moved into a remarkably busy schedule of television and film work, starring on two popular shows at the same time - on "Spin City," he played the openly gay minority affairs liaison to New York City deputy mayor Michael J. Fox, and on "Arliss," he was the fiscally conservative advisor to sports agent Robert Wuhl - while also appearing as an Army lieutenant in the thriller "The Peacemaker" (1997) with George Clooney and Nicole Kidman. For his work on "Spin City," Boatman won the GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Association Against Defamation) Award for Best Actor and netted five NAACP Image Award nominations, while "Arliss" earned him an additional four Image nominations. When both series concluded, Boatman settled into steady work as a guest player on numerous series, including multiple appearances "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC, 1999- ) as defense attorney Dave Seaver, and a turn as the Jester in a "Wonderful World of Disney" (ABC, 1995-2005) production of the musical "Once Upon a Mattress" with Carol Burnett and Tracey Ullman. During this period, Boatman also launched a second career as an author, specializing in dark horror fiction; his first collection of short stories, God Laughs When You Die, was published in 2007, with a debut novel, The Revenant Road, arriving two years later at approximately the same time Boatman launched into a new cycle of consistent recurring television roles. He segued from the short-lived "Sherri" (Lifetime, 2009), starring Sherri Shepard to a six-year run as lawyer Julius Cain on "The Good Wife." Between these efforts, he also played vengeful businessman Russell Thorpe on "Gossip Girl" (The CW, 2007-2012), reunited with former "Spin City" co-star Charlie Sheen as his hapless neighbor on "Anger Management" (FX, 2012-2014) and starred opposite Tia Mowry-Hardricht in the Nickelodeon/TV Land comedy "Instant Mom" (2013-2015). In 2017, he reprised Julius Cain for multiple episodes of the "Good Wife" spin-off series, "The Good Fight."
Cast (Feature Film)
Appeared in "Tiny Mommy" at Playwrights Horizons in New York, billed as Michael Patrick Boatman
Made film debut as a soldier in the Vietnam War drama "Hamburger Hill"
Had early TV role in "American Playhouse" offering "The Trial of Bernhard Goetz" (PBS), billed as Michael P Boatman
TV-movie debut in "Donor" (CBS)
Appeared in regular role on syndicated sitcom "Muscle"; first teaming with actor Alan Ruck
Had featured role in the film "The Glass Shield"
Played regular role of Carter, the openly gay member of the mayoral staff, on "Spin City" (ABC)
Co-starred on "Arli$$" as a sport agent's financial advisor
Began eight-year recurring run on "Law & Order" as attorney Dave Seavers
Cast in "Woman Thou Art Loosed" based on the self-help novel by T.D. Jakes