Prior to his eight years with the CPS, Steel was a defence barrister; but the coincidence of a three-time rapist's case, who James successfully defended even though he felt sure his client was lying, and the birth of his first child changed his outlook on life, and after that day, he promised himself he'd never help a guilty man go free again. He then defected to the Crown Prosecution Service. He has wizened with age and his ability as a CPS Officer has grown with experience.
James is principled and decent and refuses to compromise. He takes the law personally and lives his cases 24 hours a day - a reason his marriage was short-lived as his new passion for the other side of the law consumed his life, alienating him from his family until his wife left for Edinburgh with his son, so his work now fills the hole that his family left.
James resigns at the end of the "Skeletons" episode from the Crown Prosecution Service.