Photo: Bill Camp is narrating "Forensic Files II."
Photo: Bill Camp is narrating "Forensic Files II."

Actor Bill Camp talks about narrating ‘Forensic Files’ revival on HLN, debuting Feb. 23

Originally posted Sunday, February 23, 2020 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog



Actor Bill Camp is the new narrator for the revived “Forensic Files II” on HLN, which debuts Sunday, February 23 at 10 p.m.

Camp took over for the legendary Peter Thomas, who died in 2016.

“Forensic Files,” which debuted in 1996 as “Medical Detectives” on TLC, is the true crime original that led to seemingly hundreds of knockoffs and entire networks devoted to the genre. 

The repeats are so beloved, HLN still runs them  incessantly. Originals ended in 2011 and creator Paul Dowling resisted bringing it back until now.

“It stands on its own and has such a rich history,” Camp said. “It’s the forerunner, the model for all the shows that came after it. It’s still the best.” 

Camp is a well respected actor with an impressive resume including films such as “Joker,” “12 Years of Slave,” and “Birdman” and TV series such as “The Night Of” and “The Leftovers.”

He said when HLN asked, he said yes immediately. “I’ve been a fan of the show for a very long time,” he said. “It was not a difficult decision.”

Camp enjoys the genre: “I like being an armchair detective. I love really well told and compelling stories. There’s an element of terror to each and every one. Basically what is the worst things we can do to each other as human beings. It sparks my imagination and I think that’s something an actor is attracted to.”
He also enjoys the forensic science and how it’s improved since the show began. And that there is some level of justice at the end of each 30 minutes.

“The real heroes of the show are the scientists, law enforcement and the families,” he said. 

He was amazed how they could take DNA from a candy wrapper and the fingernails of the victim to figure out what the suspect looks like. 

Camp said as a narrator, he is not trying to imitate Thomas.

“That’s be a monumental task,” Camp said. “He’s in a league of his own. At the mountaintop. I can only really integrate what skills I have and what I can bring as a storyteller to all of the new aspects of ‘Forensic Files II.’”

He said this type of narration takes a certain level of discernment.

“I have to make sure it’s more of a conversation with the viewer,” Camp  said. “I have to do whatever mental calisthenics to create the reality within my head while sitting or standing in the booth alone. I see it as a challenge. I want to bring life to the words, to make them active to the listener. It’s a privilege to partake in.” 

Each episode narration script is six to nine pages, double sided, and can take 45 minutes to tape, he said. He will do the same lines over and over again until he feels they’re right, which is relatively easy doing narration vs. acting. 

Camp last year shot HBO’s Stephen King murder crime series “The Outsider” in Atlanta and spent several months living in Cabbagetown.

“It was a one bedroom bungalow on Savannah Street,” he said. “I dug the feel over there. I didn’t want to live in a high rise or an old mill.” 

ON TV

“Forensic Files II,” debuting Sunday, 10 p.m. on HLN

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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