This stage-trained player began working as a professional actor before graduating from college. In 1988, she appeared in The Grapes of Wrath, her first collaboration with Chicago's famed Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Not only did she become a full-fledged ensemble member in 1993, she ended up marrying the troupe's cofounder, Terry Kinney. Throughout the '90s, Erbe alternated between stage and screen, consistently earning fine reviews and even snagging a Tony nod for her work in the bloody 1991 stage drama The Speed of Darkness. On the small screen, she first made a terrifying impression as a murderous mom on death row on the HBO prison drama Oz. She then became more recognized on Law & Order: Criminal Intent as Vincent D'Onofrio's tough-as-nails partner, a role she played from 2001 until 2010.
- Decided to become an actor after playing the Little Red Hen in a kindergarten production of Chicken Little.
- As a member of Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company, she starred in a 1997 production of A Streetcar Named Desire (directed by husband Terry Kinney), playing Stella opposite Gary Sinise's Stanley and John C. Reilly's Mitch.
- Her second pregnancy was incorporated into a Law & Order: Criminal Intent story line by having her character act as a surrogate mother for her sister.
- 1991, Tony — Actress (Featured Role--Play): Nominee
- Elsbeth Erbe — Mother
- Jennifer Erbe — Sister
- Maeve — Daughter
- Carson Lincoln — Son
- Jonathan Erbe — Brother
- Richard Erbe — Father
- Terry Kinney — Husband
- New York University, New York, New York, United States (1989)