Netflix is known for its engaging and in-depth true crime documentaries, and it doesn’t look like they have plans on stopping anytime soon. Their newest series, Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel, will focus on the disappearance of Elisa Lam from a hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, and the events which led to the discovery of her body two weeks later. Needless to say, it looks like it’s going to be a good one.
Elisa Lam’s disappearance has always been a mystery. Surveillance footage from the Cecil Hotel, where she was staying, shows her repeatedly entering and exiting an elevator and even gesturing wildly towards the corner of one of the hotel’s corridors. Leaving all of her personal belongings behind in the hotel room, she then disappeared without a trace. Her body was found two weeks later on a water tank on the hotel’s rooftop, though how she got there has never been discovered.
There have always been conspiracy theories surrounding Lam’s death. Given her bizarre behavior prior to her disappearance, many conspiracy theories have cropped up over the years about what happened to her. Some have claimed that she must have had a mental breakdown and committed suicide while others think something more sinister is at work. However, the truth remains unknown.
Director Joe Berlinger wants to reconstruct what may have happened. The Netflix series talks with Cecil Hotel employees, investigators looking into Elisa Lam’s case, and fellow guests at the hotel to try and piece together what could have happened on the night of Lam’s disappearance. Berlinger, who was also behind Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, believes there’s a lot to be uncovered from these interviews.
The case has always fascinated Berlinger. “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 said 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.”
It will be available to watch from next month. Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel will debut on Netflix on February 10. All four parts of the series will be available to stream immediately.
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