Tourist Elisa Lam was found dead in the water supply of the Cecil Hotel back in 2013, sparking a bizarre mystery about what led to her death, which the new Netflix series Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel hopes to shed light on. As if her death wasn't tragic enough, Lam was last seen in bizarre footage in which she enters and exits an elevator within the hotel repeatedly, while also exhibiting unexplained body language, igniting a number of theories about what happened to her in the hours leading up to her passing. The new series from filmmaker Joe Berlinger is set to debut on Netflix on February 10th.
Variety describes the series, "The four-episode season comes from executive producer and director Joe Berlinger, who sets out to deconstruct what really happened to college student and tourist Lam, who stayed at the Cecil Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles in February 2013. When Lam vanished, leaving behind all of her possessions, including her wallet and ID in her hotel room, it ignited a media frenzy and mobilized a community of internet detectives who had suspicions about the last-known security camera footage released of her, as well as of some of the other people staying in the hotel. The docuseries features interviews with hotel employees and guests, as well as with some of those who investigated the case."
While Berlinger has dabbled in narrative storytelling, he is most known for true crime documentaries such as Brother's Keeper and the trilogy of Paradise Lost films, which explored the West Memphis Three and their wrongful incarceration.
“As a true crime documentarian, I was fascinated in 2013 when the elevator video of Elisa Lam went viral and legions of amateur detectives used the internet to try to solve the mystery of what happened to her, a 21-year-old Canadian tourist on her first trip to Los Angeles,” Berlinger shared in a statement. “So, when journalist Josh Dean, who is also a producer on the project, brought us his research into this case, we realized there was as an opportunity to do something different by not just telling the story of Elisa’s disappearance, but to create a series that explores a particular location’s role in encouraging or abetting crime — or the perception thereof.”
He continued, "My past projects have leaned into individual crimes and criminals, but I have never explored the role a particular location has played in creating an environment in which multiple crimes seemingly take place over and over again. The fact that Elisa disappeared in a location that has a multi-decade history of crimes is what made her case fascinating to me.”
Check out Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel when it debuts on Netflix on February 10th.
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