Born in Kitchner, Ontario, Ratchford's first on-screen credit was the title role in an off-beat, low-budget horror film, "Junior" (1985). Unlike many novice film actors, Ratchford managed to avoid being marooned in the exploitation field (aside from the 1986 science fiction feature "The Vindicator," and 1989's atrocious "Prom Night III: The Last Kiss") and moved almost exclusively into TV movies and episodic series in both the United States and Canada for the next few years. He turned up in supporting roles opposite a young Keanu Reeves and Robert Urich in "Young Again" (1986); in the early AIDS drama "As Is" (1986) with Robert Carradine; and with an against-type Gerald McRaney as a serial killer in the unsettling "Easy Prey" (1986). Series work during this period included appearances in Canadian productions like the police drama "Night Heat" (1985-1991), the supernatural show "Beyond Reality" (1991-93) and "War of the Worlds" (syndicated, 1988-1990), as well as "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (NBC, 1985) in the U.S.A supporting role as one of Gene Hackman's deputies in Clint Eastwood's Calgary-lensed "Unforgiven" (1992) started the 1990s on a high note for Ratchford, as his roles soon became more diverse and recognized. More television work followed, including "Lonesome Dove: The Series" (syndicated, 1994-95), "TekWar: The Series" (1995-96), and three turns as the voice of Banshee on the animated "X-Men" series (Fox Kids Network, 1992-97). In 1994, Ratchford received his first Gemini nomination for the heartfelt Christmas telefilm, "Small Gifts," which became something of a holiday favorite in Canada. Steady work in television and feature films continued throughout the late '90s, including "Fly Away Home" (1996), for which he received excellent notices as the film's nominal villain, a by-the-books wildlife officer.Ratchford landed his favorite role during this period, in the Southern period action-drama "Moonshine Highway" (1996). More television followed, this time in more prominent series - Ratchford turned up on "Brooklyn South" (CBS, 1997-97), "The Outer Limits" (Showtime, 1995-2002), "JAG" (CBS, 1995-2005), and two 1998 episodes of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1997-2003) as Lyle Gorch, part of a ornery vampire clan from the Lone Star State. Ratchford took supporting roles in the Jennifer Lopez thriller "Angel Eyes" (2001) and a rare second-billed lead in the offbeat Malcolm MacDowell thriller "The Barber" (2001) before joining the cast of the Canadian cop series "Blue Murder" (2001-2004). On this show, Ratchford played the morally questionable detective Jack Pogue from 2001-03 and earned two Gemini nominations for his work on the show at the beginning and end of his tenure. A second appearance on "The Practice" (ABC, 1997-2004) (he had guested on the show once before in 1997) and one on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS, 2000-) followed before he joined the cast of "Cold Case," a procedural series that was spawned in part by the immense popularity of "CSI."