The Real Reason Why Bill Paterson Left Law and Order UK

The Real Reason Why Bill Paterson Left Law and Order UK
Image credit: ITV

The reason was purely plot-related.


  • In 2011, fans of Law & Order: UK fans were disappointed to learn of Bill Paterson's departure.
  • The actor left the project because his character was written out of the script.
  • After that, Paterson appeared in many popular shows.

Law & Order is one of the most popular procedural dramas on television. Created by Dick Wolfe, the franchise has been drawing huge audiences for over 30 years, and its ratings show no signs of slowing down. But among the many L&O spin-offs, its British iteration, Law & Order: UK, stands out, as moving the action to London has appealed to many fans.

Speaking of characters, George Castle, played by Bill Paterson, was undoubtedly one of the most memorable characters of the first four seasons of Law & Order: UK. A brilliant, if sometimes too strict, leader is remembered as a father figure to James Steel (Ben Daniels) and Alesha Phillips (Freema Agyeman). It was he who helped them through even the coldest of cases.

But why did the actor of such a popular character leave the project? Let's get to the bottom of it.

Why Did Bill Paterson Leave Law & Order: UK?

In 2011, the news of the actor's departure from the project with Ben Daniels came as a big shock to fans. However, the reason was not some behind-the-scenes conflicts and not even his busy schedule.

It was because the writers needed to make room for two new characters, Crown Prosecutor Jacob Thorne, played by Dominic Rowan, and Henry Sharpe, played by Peter Davison. It was the latter who replaced George Castle as Director of CPS London in the story.

Fortunately, the character was not killed off, his departure was explained by his promotion to Director of Public Prosecutions. As for the actor, he was not upset because it allowed him to focus on other projects:

'I don't rush around from job to job the way that it seems. I left Law and Order: UK a while ago and have never really replaced that in my schedule. I think part of it is that I quite often play lots of small roles in larger shows so can fit them all in, and there are often long gaps between them. I've definitely not got plans to slow down, actors don't retire as even the busiest of us are not day-in day-out busy the way most people are.'

Fortunately, it was not the last role for Paterson and his career continued to grow. While filming L&O, he also appeared in the fifth series of Doctor Who, played Ned Gowan in the first and third series of Outlander, and played the father of the title character in Fleabag.

The Real Reason Why Bill Paterson Left Law and Order UK - image 1

In recent years he has also appeared in popular shows such as Good Omens, Brassic, The Sandman, House of the Dragon and Halo.

Where to Watch Law & Order: UK in 2024?

If you're interested in a British version of Law & Order that delves into the cultural and criminal context of the United Kingdom, the show is available for streaming on various services in 2024.


For residents of the United States, the series is available for streaming in several options.

All eight seasons are streamed on AMC+, with a monthly subscription costing $8.99 after a seven-day free trial. AMC+ content is also available on Prime Video and Apple TV.

In addition, the first five seasons are available to stream on Sundance Now. The cost is $6.99 per month after a seven-day free trial or $4.99 per month with an annual subscription. Sundance Now is also bundled with AMC+.

UK and Other Countries

Unfortunately, Law & Order: UK is much harder to watch from the UK and other countries. For example, only the first three seasons are available on Prime Video for UK residents, and only the first six seasons are available on Apple TV. We recommend using a VPN to access the US options listed above.

Source: Daily Record.