A BOLO(Be On the Lookout) has been issued to crime addicts awaiting their next fix.
As the alert echoes throughout the cable entertainment world, die-hard true crime fans are in for a new millennium bang: like a king returning to its original throne, Forensic Files is making a big and bold return to television.
So get ready to kick back, sharpen your armchair detective skills to help investigators solves some of America’s most wanted murders and other sensational mysterious crime cases.
An updated version of “Forensic Files” aptly renamed “Forensic Files II” is set to begin in 2020 on HLN, according to CNN news reports. Both CNN & HLN(Headline News Network) share the parent company Time Warner Media.
“Forensic Files is the most recognized, celebrated and imitated series within its genre,” Executive Vice President of CNN, Ken Jautz, said, in a statement distributed to media outlets.
“After more than 20 years, it’s amazing that one of the earliest crime docu-series still boasts the most loyal viewers and fan base.”
Forensic Files aired faithfully from 1996-2011, and the show is a pioneer in crime documentary, considered by many as a cult-like true crime classic series. The final decision to reboot the engaging show, no doubt, resulted from the dedication of fans, eight years after the show ended.
“They stopped making it in 2011, we have been speaking with the original producers and the original rights holder for some time,” said Jautz in an interview with Variety Magazine.
Variety further reported: the key to getting files on the air appears to be a promise to its original producer, Paul Dowling, that HLN would refresh the series without gutting much of its most familiar elements.
“We are keeping it true to the format and style. We are really following their storytelling,” said Nancy Duff, CNN’s Executive V.P. of program development. Duff also holds the same VP position of the new Forensic Files series. Even the creepy music will remain the same.
Tons of messages saturated Twitter’s social media program once the news announced the comeback of Forensic Files.
“So excited Forensic Files is coming back! My wife and I have seen every single episode. Love the show,” a fan wrote on Twitter.
Forensic Files Attraction
Forensic Files(FF), a pioneer in the fact-based hi-tech, dramatic storytelling had been, as mentioned, a highly watched show with ‘millions of fans. FF was a show that delved deep into the world of forensic science by profiling crimes and other mysterious events that highlighted the unique type of science that solely relied on the investigators’ ability to uncover clues among the most innocuous, smallest details.
Many cases profiled on Forensic Files usually had an odd twist or an unusual clue cracked the case.
For example, a stray hair found at the crime scene or a tiny insect clung to a dead body. Or simply, a single partial fingerprint that CSI investigators recovered from the oddest place near a crime scene.
As customary for the network production to produce the best cases available, Forensic Files aired a 2005, crackling, kick-ass documentary called Step by Step, season 11, episode 37.
Step by Step … tells the strange story of novelist Michael Petersen, subsequently convicted in his wife’s brutal death. Petersen claimed his wife died after falling downstairs in their home.
What turned the case into a captive and mind-boggling crime was the fact the story’s narrative compelled viewers to question whether a “big-eye” owl was responsible for the woman’s death, rather than her oddish, manipulative, novelist writing husband.
Starting off as a groundbreaking series in 1996, Forensic Files was first named Medical Detectives. Forensic Files examined how cutting-edge forensic evidence techniques like DNA, fiber analysis, blood spatters, bomb material, and, testing of angles related to gunshot wounds are used to track down cold-bloodied murderers, terrorists, and rapists.
Forensic experts in each episode take true crime buffs along on their investigative journey while showcasing how the latest technology help police solve their most baffling cases around the nation.
True Crime Fascination
Within the last ten years, the true crime genre, Forensic Files included, has sucked the human psyche into a tailspin of morbid sensationalism and popular culture – all the way into the deepest pits of depravity and pure evil.
The reboot of Forensic Files will claw its way into the heart of a universal true-crime phenomenon that is steadily evolving in different media forms.
Aside from documentaries, the hottest crime cases feature on popular podcasts like Serial, a program that re-investigated the murder conviction of Adnan Syed, including Netflix’s documentary series Making a Murderer. In Making a Murderer the key arguments focus on two possible wrongful convictions in a Wisconsin murder case.
There are other captivating podcasts like Casefile, My Favorite Murder, Dirty John, and Dr. Death. Let’s don’t forget HBO’s ‘The Jinx,’ a story about Robert Durst whose confession of killing two women that he’d never been charged with was captured on a microphone.
As true crime skyrocketed across multiple platforms, including HBO, Netflix, and other channels like Oxygen and Investigation Discovery, these networks continue to crank out new stories every week.
And, for the most part, the biggest audience of true crime viewers are women. Amazon has the proof.
Nearly 75 percent of true-crime podcast listeners are women. A 2010 study found approximately 70 percent of Amazon reviews of true crime books are by women compared with books about war, with 82 percent of the reviews are by men.
People are drawn to true crime for various reasons, but the ugliness of what the most charismatic criminals can inflict upon innocent victims triggers the most powerful emotion in all of us – “fear.”
Women’s devotion to true crime material piques their deepest interest. Most women are eager to learn how to read people’s behavior, particularly prior to getting involved with an intimate partner.
“Women are more often the victims, and we’re trying to figure out how to survive and outsmart the criminal in any given situation,” said Stephanie Fredricks, owner of FGW Productions in Los Angeles, California.
Fredricks is a relentless go-getter in the film producing world. She’s a two-time Emmy Award-winning broadcast TV reporter turned Hollywood movie producer, film content creator, and executive producer of hit TV shows and documentaries that air on cable television.
Fredricks’ company has produced the following popular films:
- Who Killed Tupac?
- Time For Justice
- Death Row Takeover
- Murder in Vegas
- Light Girls
- 12 Years A Slave
- Martin Lawrence
- Django Unchained
- Crime & Punishment
Fredricks FGW company also produce trailers for the movie industry. A trailer is a commercial production which showcases the highlights of a particular feature film scheduled for release at a cinema on a specific date.
While juggling with her camera crew that is responsible for filming the trailer shots of different movies for subsequent previews by critics, as well for the trailer action to be filmed and shown on TV. Trailer clips are also distributed on social media to mass audiences.
Fredricks occasionally has worked among Hollywood’s biggest stars—Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Hart, Cuba Goodings Jr., Oprah Winfrey, and Angela Bassett.
Fredricks’ continues. “I was producing for Warner Bros’ syndicated show ‘Crime Watch Daily.’ And my goal for each segment was, ‘how can I learn(and for someone else to learn) not to be a victim if something happened.”
“How can I survive?”‘
Fredricks admits that many crime stories are horrible to watch. “But we can learn from them.”
World-renowned best selling true crime book author Ann Rule shared similar sentiments as Fredricks. After writing and publishing 35 nonfiction crime books, with eight books turned into TV movies, Rule’s ultimate goal for her books was that her work “might somehow save other victims.”
In an article published by the Guardian.com, a crime novelist and TV documentary journalist gives his views on the impact true-crime has wreaked on many facets of society.
“Humans are fascinated by evil,” said bestselling crime writer Ian Rankin. “We wonder where it comes from and whether we ourselves could ever carry out such an act.”
Rankin is a prominent writer most famous for the Inspector Rebus novels. Rankin also served as a contributor to the BBC documentary titled “Evil.”
During an interview with OZY Media, Michael Mantell, a psychologist with the San Diego Police Department, explains the fear factor.
“Women fear being crime victims more than men do.”
Younger audiences may think the popularity of true crime recently arrived and hit the airwaves.
True crime popularity goes back to at least 1897-amid a frenzied rivalry between newspaper barons William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer. True crime coverage was so popular until Hearst’s hand-picked reporters to investigate criminal cases called the “Murder Squad.”
True Detective (true crime) Magazine is the first American crime magazine. The magazine published stories from 1924-1995.
(Editor’s Note): Author Clarence Walker, writer of this Forensic Files article, started his true-crime writing career with True Detective Magazine in 1983, at age 20.
True Detective dominated the fact-based crime genre, selling millions and millions of copies.
The brand published four other similar magazines like Master Detective and Official Detective, and thereafter, the popularity of these magazines sold at bookstores, including newsstands across the globe, spawning many other imitators.
(Legendary crime author Ann Rule got her first start in crime reporting by writing for True Detective Magazine under the fictitious byline Andy Stack)
Sixteen new episodes of Forensic Files II will kick off in February 2020 on HLN. As part of the show’s grand return, HLN will air old reruns of Forensic Files during weeknights. HLN has already been airing 65-70 hours of the show weekly for several prior years, so did other TV shows.
If you’re the same old addict or a new crime fan looking for your next fix, stay tuned, Forensic Files is on its way back.
Editor’s Note: Investigate your way through these gripping cases. Here are 28 earlier episodes of Forensic Files that are so creepy that your brain will spin like a top.
Crime Journalist Clarence Walker Jr. has written and published hundreds of true crime feature articles and other general stories in magazines, online crime media, business journals, and newspapers.
A half dozen articles written by Walker were reprinted in paperback published by Pinnacle Books in New York. Walker also work in the private investigation industry, and he also provides commentary and consultant work for TV production crime media companies.
Journalist Clarence Walker Jr. can be reached at: [email protected]