An effortlessly protean character performer who excelled in independent features and on television since her teenage years, Merritt Wever rose to prominence as the affable, but trepidatious nurse-in-training Zoey Barkow on "Nurse Jackie" (Showtime, 2009-15). Prior to her breakthrough role, Wever navigated the world of indie features while often guest starring on a number of high-profile TV series. She made her onscreen debut in the television movie "Blue River" (Fox, 1995) and was on the big screen for the first time in "Arresting Gina" (1997). After taking a break to attend college, Wever landed a major role in the black comedy "Series 7: The Contenders" (2001) and a small part in M. Night Shyamalan's hit sci-fi thriller "Signs" (2002), before elevating her profile with "Something the Lord Made" (HBO, 2004) and a recurring role on "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" (NBC, 2006-07). After a small, but pivotal part in "Michael Clayton" (2007), she proved herself more than capable to serve as star Edie Falco's foil on "Nurse Jackie," which earned her a loyal following atop of critical acclaim. Of course, she maintained her footing in the indie film world with roles in "The Messenger" (2009) and "Tiny Furniture" (2010), though it was her turn on "Nurse Jackie" that served as a platform for her ascendant career.
Born and raised in New York City, circa 1980, Wever first became interested in acting thanks to the city's public school system and its devotion to the arts. By junior high, she was a regular in drama departments before moving on to attend the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art & Performing Arts, where she further honed her talents. At 15, she made her onscreen debut with a role in the made-for-TV movie "Blue River" (Fox, 1995) before landing her first feature with a supporting turn in the indie drama "Arresting Gina" (1997). Throughout her teen years, Wever continued to log film and television appearances with several episodes of "Law & Order" (NBC, 1990-2010), while playing small parts in more independent films like "All I Want to Do" (1998) and "The Adventures of Sebastian Cole" (1998). Wever briefly stepped away from acting to attend Sarah Lawrence College, but returned in due course to deliver a formidable turn in "Series 7: The Contenders" (2001), where she played a high school student competing in a reality series in which the contestants try to kill each other.
Following a small turn as a pharmacist in M. Night Shyamalan's hit sci-fi thriller "Signs" (2002) and an episode of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (NBC, 2001-2011), Wever had a more significant part in the indie drama "Bringing Rain" (2003), written and directed by Noah Buschel. Turning to the stage, she delivered off-Broadway performances in "Smashing" (2003) and "Cavedweller" (2003), before joining Alan Rickman, Gabrielle Union and Kyra Sedgwick for the true-to-life medical drama "Something the Lord Made" (HBO, 2004). Also at the time, she had a guest starring role as the ex-girlfriend of the careless and ultimately ill-fated Ziggy Sobotka (James Ransone) on the second season of "The Wire" (HBO, 2002-08). Wever next co-starred opposite Michelle Williams and Meat Loaf in the period black comedy "A Hole in One" (2004) and was cast in the pilot episode of the much-hyped Internet-themed show, "Quarterlife" (ABC, 2004), only to see it fail to make it to series. She moved on to another highly anticipated, but ultimately doomed series, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" (NBC, 2006-07), created by Aaron Sorkin, where she played the assistant to head writer Matthew Perry. Unfortunately, "Studio 60" struggled to find an audience and was canceled after its overly publicized first season.
Both series helped raise Wever's profile despite their limited runs and led to more substantial roles. She was the plaintiff who revealed the first inklings of a law firm's conspiracy against one of its attorneys (George Clooney) in "Michael Clayton" (2007), before playing the McDonald's assistant manager who voices her disapproval of Chris McCandless' (Emile Hirsch) hygiene in Sean Penn's "Into the Wild" (2007). The following year, Wever landed her breakout role on "Nurse Jackie," immediately impressing critics with her turn as the sweet-natured nurse-in-training Zoey Barkow. Blending jubilance with trepidation, Zoey navigates her way through a major urban hospital and serves as foil for Edie Falco's drug-addled emergency-room nurse. Thanks to her deft comic timing, Wever enjoyed a devoted following, as well as an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2012. While working on "Jackie," Wever continued appearing in features, including "The Messenger" (2009), starring Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson, Noah Baumbach's "Greenberg" (2010) and "Tiny Furniture" (2010), in which she was the faithful best friend to star-writer-director Lena Dunham's hopelessly lost heroine. In 2013, she picked up a recurring role on the sitcom "New Girl" (Fox, 2011- ) and won her first Emmy for "Nurse Jackie," accepting her award with one of the shortest speeches in television history.
Cast (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Made screen debut in the independent feature, "Arresting Gena"
Appeared in "The Adventures of Sebastian Cole"
Co-starred as one of the contenders in "Series 7: The Contenders"
Had a small role in M. Night Shyamalan's "Signs"
Co-starred in Noah Buschel's directorial debut, "Bringing Rain"
Appeared in the Off-Broadway play, "Cavedweller"
Cast in Brooke Berman's Off-Broadway play, "Smashing"
Had a small role in the HBO film, "Something the Lord Made"
Starred in Ed Zwick's ill-fated ABC pilot, "1/4life" (never aired)
Had a recurring role on NBC's "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" as Suzanne
Re-teamed with Noah Buschel for the biopic, "Neal Cassady"
Featured in the Sean Penn directed, "Into the Wild"
Cast as Zoey, a sweet-natured nurse-in-training, in Showtime's dark comedy "Nurse Jackie"
Starred opposite Annette Benning in the Geffen Playhouse production of "Female Of The Species"
Featured on "New Girl"