The Unsolved Elisa Lam Mystery Is Becoming a Netflix Docuseries
'Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel' will explore the Vancouver student's mysterious 2013 disappearance
Published Jan 13, 2021Back in 2013, the puzzling disappearance of University of British Columbia student Elisa Lam made headline across the world, and now Netflix has announced it will be delving into the unsolved mystery with a new docuseries.
The upcoming series is called Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel, and it's set to premiere on February 10, Variety reports.
The Netflix series will be made up of four episodes, and it will come from executive producer and director Joe Berlinger, who did The Ted Bundy Tapes and Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, among tons of other docs. In Crime Scene, Berlinger aims to examine the incredibly strange circumstances surrounding Lam's disappearance at the Cecil Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.
In February 2013, the 21-year-old Vancouver student travelled to L.A. as a tourist and mysteriously vanished, leaving behind all her possessions, including her wallet and ID. Incredibly puzzling security footage of her eventually emerged showing Lam acting erratically in an elevator. Things got much stranger from there, but in efforts to avoid spoilers, we'll stop it here.
"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," said Berlinger. "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."
As Variety reports, the series will also dive into the history of the Cecil Hotel itself and its notorious reputation.
"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," Berlinger said. "The fact that Elisa disappeared in a location that has a multi-decade history of crimes is what made her case fascinating to me."
Apparently, while Lam's story will be the focus of the first season of Crime Scene, future seasons will explore other Cecil Hotel mysteries.