Lennie James

Lennie Michael James (born 11 October 1965) is a British actor, screenwriter, and playwright. His work includes playing Morgan Jones in the television series, The Walking Dead and in its spin-off, Fear the Walking Dead, and starring as DCI Tony Gates in Line of Duty series one.

Lennie James
Lennie James (35756680210).jpg
James at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
Lennie Michael James[1][2]

(1965-10-11) 11 October 1965 (age 57)
Occupation(s)Actor, screenwriter, playwright
Years active1988–present
SpouseGiselle Glasman

Among James' more notable roles in television is Glen Boyle in the medical drama Critical on Sky 1. On American television, he portrayed the mysterious Robert Hawkins in the CBS series Jericho and Detective Joe Geddes in the AMC television series Low Winter Sun.

James created and starred in Sky Atlantic drama series Save Me which was released in 2018 to critical acclaim. Its second season, titled Save Me Too, won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Drama Series 2021.

Early lifeEdit

James was born in Nottingham,[3][4] the son of Afro-Trinidadian parents. He lived in South London and attended school at Ernest Bevin College.[5] James' mother, Phyllis Mary James, died when he was 10, after which he and his brother, Kester, chose to live in a children's home instead of being sent to the United States to reside with a relative. James remained in foster care for eight years.[6]

James aspired to be a professional rugby player as a teen, and was introduced to acting after following a girl he was interested in to an audition for a play. James attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, graduating in 1988.[7] While there, he helped run a campaign against the school's plan to expel another student, which he has said is the bravest thing he's ever done. "That involved being taken in front of the head and threatening to boycott a big event for the Lord Mayor, even though the head said it would mean they would throw me out," James said in 2015.[8] He was once employed by the British government's social security office.[4]


James in February 2008.

James has appeared in more than 20 films, including Les Misérables (1998), Snatch (2000), 24 Hour Party People (2002), Sahara (2005), and Outlaw (2007). He starred in the 2010 film Tic and appeared in the action film Colombiana (2011) and the sci-fi film Lockout (2012).

On television, James appeared in the short-lived Channel 4 prison drama Buried (2003), the BBC terrorism drama The State Within (2006), the BBC spy drama Spooks (2002–2011), and he starred as Robert Hawkins in the CBS post-apocalyptic drama series Jericho (2006). James appeared in a Channel 4 television drama Fallout (2008), playing the role of a detective alongside another detective solving a teen-related murder. He also appeared in an episode of Lie to Me, as well as the 2009 AMC/ITV miniseries The Prisoner, of which he said, "It wasn’t necessarily the easiest gig I’ve ever been on, but it was always acting."[9] He appeared in HBO's comedy series Hung as a pimp.[10]

James appeared in episodes of the 2010 TV series Human Target as the assassin Baptiste. In 2012, he received critical acclaim for his appearance as DCI Tony Gates in BBC Two's Line of Duty, created by Jed Mercurio.[7]

In 2010, he guest-starred as Morgan Jones in the pilot episode of the AMC series The Walking Dead, titled "Days Gone Bye".[11][12] In 2013, he reprised his role as Morgan Jones in an episode of the third season of The Walking Dead titled "Clear." On 12 October 2014, James made his return to the show in a post-credit scene at the end of the fifth-season premiere and appeared again in a single scene at the end of the mid-season finale on 30 November 2014. He returned for the fifth-season finale and played a significant role in the episode. Despite his few appearances on the show, James has received significant recognition for his portrayal of Morgan from critics and fans, including being stopped by a policeman who wanted to talk to him about the show.[7] He returned as a main cast member in the show's sixth season until the eighth season. As of 15 April 2018, James appears as Morgan in the fourth season of Fear the Walking Dead as a series regular.

On 29 March 2015, James' character was featured throughout the fifth-season finale. The actor's post-show appearance on the Talking Dead—in which he did not speak with an American accent—caused the hashtag #morganisbritish to trend on Twitter.[13]

James stars as Dr. Boyle on the medical drama Critical, also created by Mercurio, which debuted on Sky 1 in February 2015. He spent nearly a year away from his home in Los Angeles to film the series. Each episode takes place in "real time," with the medical staff having to save a life in an hour. James spent a week shadowing doctors at a London hospital to prepare for the role.[7]

James said his favorite television show of all time is the 1980s police drama Hill Street Blues, telling the Daily Express, "It’s the one that spawned every other show. It’s the Muhammad Ali or Pelé of television shows."[8]

James wrote the autobiographical TV film, Storm Damage in 2000, which was nominated for a British Academy Television Award for Best Drama Series. Storm Damage depicts a teacher who tries to go back to the foster home he left and help the teenagers there, as James did.[7] He also wrote the play The Sons of Charlie Paora, which opened at London's Royal Court Theatre in 2004.[14]

James has also portrayed the Destiny and Destiny 2 character Lord Shaxx who is the host of the in-game PVP (Player Versus Player) "The Crucible" in which he voices over matches and also has an in game vendor to purchase items, and bounties. In an interview with GameSpot, Lennie stated his favorite line in the game, was in fact a line straight out of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. The line in question is in game as "But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and I--I am the Crucible."[15]

Personal lifeEdit

James lives in Los Angeles, California with wife Giselle Glasman.[16] They have three daughters together.[8][17] He is the main cook for his family and has professed a fondness for Caribbean cuisine. He is a fan of Tottenham Hotspur FC and Valencia Club de Fútbol (from Spain).[18]

James is among the celebrities who have penned an open "letter to my younger self" for The Big Issue magazine. In his letter in March 2015, he wrote about the pain of losing his mother at a young age. "It hit me quite strongly. It had just been the three of us: my brother, my mum and me. Everything changed when the terrible thing happened. It had a profound, fundamental effect on me. One disappointment is that I never knew my mum as an adult," he wrote.[19]

James also works as a mentor to black inner-city children, and says he rejects the importance people attach to fame and celebrity. "Boys and men in our community need to be aware of the guy who gets up every morning and goes to the job that he doesn't necessarily love, in order to support his family. They are the heroes my community need to celebrate," he said.[7]



Year Title Role Notes
1995 Fathers, Sons and Unholy Ghosts Martin Short film
1997 The Perfect Blue Danny
1998 Lost in Space Jeb Walker
Les Misérables Enjolras
Among Giants "Shovel"
1999 Elephant Juice Graham
2000 The Announcement Richard
The Miracle Maker Tribune (voice)
Snatch Sol
2001 Lucky Break Rudy "Rud" Guscott / Hardy In Show
The Martins Police Constable Alex
2002 24 Hour Party People Alan Erasmus
2003 Without You James Short film
2004 Frances Tuesday Trent
2005 Sahara Brigadier General Zateb Kazim
2007 Outlaw Cedric Munroe
2010 Mob Rules "C-Note" Method Fest Award for Best Ensemble Cast
The Next Three Days Lieutenant Nabulsi
2011 Colombiana FBI Special Agent James Ross
2012 Lockout Harry Shaw
2014 Swelter Bishop
Get on Up Joe James
2017 Double Play Chamon
Blade Runner 2049 Mr. Cotton
2021 Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway Barnabas (voice)


Year Title Role Notes
1988 Screenplay Writer Episode: "Between the Craks"
1990 The Bill Writer Episode: "Burnside Knew My Father"
1991 The Orchid House Baptist 3 episodes
1992 Civvies Cliff Morgan 6 episodes
1993 Comics Delroy Smith Television film
1994 A Touch of Frost DC Carl Tanner Episode: "A Minority of One"
Love Hurts Steve Episode: "Parent Trap"
1995–1996 Out of the Blue DC Bruce Hannaford 12 episodes
1998 Cold Feet Kris Bumstead 3 episodes
Undercover Heart Matt Lomas 5 episodes
1999 Shockers: Deja Vu Mark Television film
2000 Storm Damage Bonaface Television film; also writer
Nominated–BAFTA TV Award for Best Single Drama
2003 Buried Lee Kingley 8 episodes
2004 Family Business Roy Tobelem Episode: "#1.1"
Stealing Lives Narrator Television film
2005 ShakespeaRe-Told Oberon Episode: "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
Born with Two Mothers Errol Bridges Television film
2006 Spooks David Newman Episode: "Agenda"
The State Within Luke Gardner 4 episodes
The Family Man Paul Jessop Television film
2006–2008 Jericho Robert Hawkins 29 episodes
2008 Fallout DS Joe Stephens Television film
2009 Lie to Me Terry "Tel" Marsh Episode: "Grievous Bodily Harm"
Three Rivers Dr Maguire Episode: "Alone Together"
The Prisoner 147 6 episodes
U.S. Attorney Eric King Pilot
2010 Human Target Baptiste 3 episodes
2010–2011 Hung Charlie 14 episodes
2010; 2013–2018; 2022 The Walking Dead Morgan Jones Guest, 4 episodes (seasons 1, 3, 9, 11)
Recurring, 3 episodes (season 5)
Main cast, 29 episodes (seasons 6–8)
2012 Line of Duty DCI Tony Gates 5 episodes
2013 Low Winter Sun Joe Geddes Main cast, 10 episodes
Run Richard 2 episodes
2015 Critical Glen Boyle Main cast, 13 episodes
2015; 2017 The Met: Policing London Narrator 10 episodes
2017 Robot Chicken Morgan Jones (voice) Episode: "The Robot Chicken Walking Dead Special: Look Who's Walking"
2018–present Fear the Walking Dead Morgan Jones Main cast, 54 episodes (season 4–present)
2018–2020 Save Me Nelson "Nelly" Rowe Main cast, 12 episodes
Also creator and writer
2020 Unprecedented Ray Episode: "Penny" by Charlene James
2021 Invincible Darkwing Episode: "It's About Time"

Video gamesEdit

Year Title Voice role Notes
2014 Destiny Lord Shaxx [20]
2017 Destiny 2 [21]


Year Title Notes
2004 The Sons of Charlie Paora Writer
2022 A Number

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Work Result
2002 Black Filmmakers Magazine (BFM) Film and Television Awards Best Male Performance in Film[22] Lucky Break Won
2013 Online Film & Television Awards Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series[23] The Walking Dead Won
Gold Derby TV Awards Best Drama Guest Actor[24] Nominated
RTS Television Awards Best Actor-Male[25] Line of Duty Nominated
2014 RTS Television Awards Best Actor-Male[26] Run Nominated
2016 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best TV Supporting Actor[27] The Walking Dead Nominated
2019 Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actor on Television Fear the Walking Dead Nominated
2022 Evening Standard Theatre Awards Best Actor A Number Pending


  1. ^ "Lennie Michael JAMES - Personal Appointments". Companies House. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  2. ^ England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916–2007
  3. ^ "Lennie James Biography". Film Reference.
  4. ^ a b "Lennie James". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  5. ^ "Alumni". Ernest Bevin College. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Lennie James: Biography". Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Iqbal, Nosheen (23 February 2015). "Line of Duty's Lennie James: 'I was 12 when I was first called the n-word – by a policeman'". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  8. ^ a b c Packer, Amy (29 March 2015). "Critical actor Lennie James: 'I'm very good at styling girls' hair'". Daily Express. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  9. ^ "Jim Caviezel and Lennie James on 'The Prisoner', Nervousness and Working in Cramped Taxis". Daily Actor. 10 November 2009.
  10. ^ Hibberd, James (12 September 2010). "'Hung,' 'Sons of Anarchy' expand casts". The Hollywood Reporter.
  11. ^ Press Department (24 July 2008). "Four More Residents of The Village". AMC.
  12. ^ "Lennie James as 147". AMC. 16 November 2009. Archived from the original on 15 November 2009.
  13. ^ "The Walking Dead Season 6: Morgan Will Return, Daryl Loves Carol, and More". US Magazine. 29 March 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  14. ^ Billington, Michael (27 February 2004). "The Sons of Charlie Paora". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  15. ^ "Destiny's Shaxx Actor Told Us His Favorite Unreleased Line from the Crucible".
  16. ^ Packer, Amy (29 March 2015). "Critical actor Lennie James: 'I'm very good at styling girls' hair'". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  17. ^ Romy Glasman-James, born 1990; Celine and Georgia Glasman-James, born 1994; England & Wales birth index; 1837–2006
  18. ^ Keckler (18 February 2008). "The Lennie James Interview". Television Without Pity. p. 10. Archived from the original on 27 February 2008.
  19. ^ Graham, Jane (3 March 2015). "The Terrible Thing Is that I Never Knew My Mum As An Adult". The Big Issue. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  20. ^ Destiny – End Credits – IGN Video. IGN Video. 11 September 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  21. ^ Destiny 2 - Credits. YouTube Video. 7 September 2017. Archived from the original on 22 December 2021. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  22. ^ "First black 'Baftas' are used to show discrimination in awards". The Independent. 10 September 2002. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  23. ^ "Online Film & Television Association". ofta.cinemasight.com. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  24. ^ Montgomery, Daniel (18 September 2013). "'Breaking Bad,' 'Parks and Rec' win big at Gold Derby TV Awards!". Goldderby. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  25. ^ "RTS Programme Awards 2013 | Royal Television Society". rts.org.uk. 19 March 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  26. ^ "RTS Programme Awards 2014 | Royal Television Society". rts.org.uk. 18 March 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  27. ^ "The 2016 FANGORIA Chainsaw Awards Winners and Full Results!". FANGORIA®. Retrieved 1 November 2016.

External linksEdit