Sharif Atkins was born in Pittsburgh, the son of a chief public defender and a museum executive, he moved with his family to Chicago, Illinois, when he was 6 years old. After graduating from Whitney Young High school in Chicago, he was admitted at nearby Northwestern University.
While he remembers his first acting role as a strawberry in a fourth-grade play, he didn't feel any special commitment to the arts until he participated in a summer theater arts program at college. In 1997 he would graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech and Theatre at the prestigious private university.
He remained in Chicago and worked in small stage productions until he got a role in the feature film Light It Up and another in the locally filmed series Early Edition.
Atkins then moved to Los Angeles, worked as a waiter and as a Victoria's Secret stock boy, found an agent and started landing guest star roles on That's Life, The District, and Arli$$. His big break came, however when he risked a trip into the history of TV as a musically inclined performer in the 2001 made-for-TV feature The Big Time of ER executive producer John Wells, which would earn him the new role of Dr. Gallant in the medical drama that same year.
In 2004, he went on to star in the short-lived police drama Hawaii as former Chicago Police Department Detective John Declan, who transferred to an elite crime unit of the Honolulu Police Department, and played the recurring character Gary Navarro in the acclaimed series The 4400. Atkins continued to make guest appearances in ER until his character died in Iraq in 2006.
More guest star roles came his way in series such as Numb3rs, Cold Case, Criminal Minds, CSI: Miami and The Good Wife until another recurring was offered to him, Special Agent Clinton Jones in White Collar, which he currently plays.
He portrayed William Hightower a 2nd Gulf War veteran badly hurt in combat who, while looking for his sister in Detroit, gets the BAU involved in several cases of disappearances in the Season Four finale double episode To Hell... and ...And Back.
- White Collar - 14 episodes (2009-2010) TV episodes - Jones
- The Good Wife - Fleas (2010) TV episode - AUSA Harrison Rivers
- Preacher's Kid (2010) - Wynton
- CSI: Miami - Hostile Takeover (2009) TV episode - Mathew Sloan
- The New 20s: Episodes 1 (2009) - Ralph
- Criminal Minds - To Hell... and ...And Back (2009) TV episodes - William Hightower
- Cold Case - Officer Down (2009) TV episode - James Valentine
- My Manny (2009) TV series - Mike (unknown episodes)
- Raising the Bar - Shop Till You Drop (2008) TV episode - Andy Hamilton
- Numb3rs - Thirteen (2007) and End Game (2008) TV episodes - Clay Porter Jr.
- Close to Home - Drink the Cup (2007) TV episode - Greg Ogletree
- Paved with Good Intentions (2006) - Rick Balden
- The 4400 - Voices Carry (2005), The New World and The Home Front (2006) TV episodes - Gary Navarro
- ER - 61 episodes (2001-2006) TV episodes - Dr. Michael Gallant
- In Justice - Victims (2006) TV episode - Ty Furlong
- Eve - 6 episodes (2005-2006) TV episodes - Grant
- Hawaii (2004) TV series - John Declan (unknown episodes)
- Something for Nothing (2004) - Maynard Lassiter
- The Big Time (2002) - Joe Royal
- Arli$$ - Standards and Practices (2002) TV episode - Jordan
- The District - The Project (2001) TV episode - Cyrus Sparks
- That's Life - Something Battered, Something Blue (2001) TV episode - Football Player
- Light It Up (1999) - Gunman
- Early Edition - The Fourth Carpathian (1998) - Cashier and Number One with a Bullet (1999) TV episodes - Bodyguard
- Turks - Pilot (1999) TV episode - Black Kid
- Something for Nothing (2004) (executive producer)
- For an up-to-date Filmography: imdb.com/Sharif Atkins
- He was initiated while in college in 1996 as a member of the Theta Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.