James Hanlon is an American firefighter-turned-actor and director, best known for his directorial and executive producer work on the documentary film 9/11.


Hanlon was born sometime in 1966 as an American citizen. He attended UCLA's directing program. In addition, he received a degree in Journalism and Media, and received work at The New York Daily News from 1989 to 1994. In 1992, Hanlon joined the New York City Fire Department as a firefighter. In 2001, he convinced the Commissioner to allow him to shoot a documentary about Tony Benetatos, a probationary firefighter. During filming, however, the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred, killing over 2,600 people in New York City alone. The documentary subsequently became the film 9/11, which he is executive produced and co-directed, and which aired on CBS.

Hanlon began a career in the TV entertainment industry and directed episodes of several shows, such as NCIS: Los Angeles, its parent show, and numerous episodic dramas produced by CBS. Hanlon won an Emmy Award, a Peabody Award and an Edward R. Murrow Award for his directorial work. In addition, he directed the indie documentary film A New American Dream, which won the grand jury at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival. Along with being a TV director, he has appeared as an actor in episodes of NYPD Blue, Sex and the City, Criminal Minds, Law and Order, and other shows.

On Criminal MindsEdit

Hanlon portrayed Sergeant Michael O'Mara, the lead local investigator of the Boston Reaper case who wound up being killed by the very unsub he was chasing. He appeared in the Season Four episode Omnivore.


  • Legends (2014) as Dan Cabot
  • Single Ladies (2014) as Brig
  • Person of Interest (2011-2013) as Detective James Stills (2 episodes)
  • NCIS (2012) as Baltimore Fire Captain James Marsh
  • The Protector (2011) as Detective Van Stone (6 episodes)
  • Weeds (2010) as FBI Agent Jessup
  • Cold Case (2009-2010) as Detective Pierson (5 episodes)
  • Taking Woodstock (2009) as State Trooper
  • Criminal Minds - Omnivore (2009) TV episode - Sergeant Michael O'Mara
  • Law & Order: Trial by Jury (2005) as Detective Hagen Burke
  • Raising Helen (2004) as Restaurant Maitre d'
  • Sex and the City (2003) as Cop
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2001) as Larry Falls
  • 100 Centre Street (2001) as Charlie Gunner
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2001) as Officer Austin Bates
  • The Bookie's Lament (2000) as Joey C. (short)
  • Law & Order (1997-2000) as Officer Charlie Curran/Charlie Davies (2 episodes)
  • Third Watch (2000) as Larry
  • Joe Gould's Secret (2000) as Officer Mike
  • NYPD Blue (2000) as Officer Joey Bradshaw
  • Bringing Out the Dead (1999) as Fireman
  • New York Undercover (1998) as Wedge
  • Lesser Prophets (1997) as Plainclothes Cop
  • Brooklyn South (1997) as Officer Mike Cavanaugh
  • Zoya (1995) as Firefighter


  • NCIS: Los Angeles (2014-2016) (7 episodes)
  • 9/11: 10 Years Later (2011) (TV documentary)
  • Philippe's Sandwich (2011) (short)
  • Popwhore: A New American Dream. (2007) (documentary)
  • 9/11 (2002) (TV documentary)


  • Compulsion (2011) - Producer (short)
  • 9/11: 10 Years Later (2011) - Executive Producer (TV documentary)
  • Philippe's Sandwich (2011) - Producer (short)
  • Popwhore: A New American Dream. (2007) - Producer (documentary)
  • 9/11 (2002) - Executive Producer (TV documentary)


  • Philippe's Sandwich (2011) (short)


  • 9/11 (2002) (TV documentary)


For an up-to-date filmography, see here.

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