Docs

Netflix slates Joe Berlinger true crime series, first season to explore Elisa Lam case

Netflix is set to premiere Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel this February, the first season of a new docuseries from director Joe Berlinger and producers Imagine Documentaries, ...
January 13, 2021

Netflix is set to premiere Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel this February, the first season of a new docuseries from director Joe Berlinger and producers Imagine Documentaries, RadicalMedia and Third Eye Motion Picture Company.

The series will deconstruct the mythology and mystery surrounding infamous locations in contemporary crime.

In the 4 x 50-minute Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel, Berlinger (Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, Paradise Lost) zeros in on the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles

For nearly a century, the hotel has been linked to some of the city’s most notorious activities. Notably, in 2013, college student Elisa Lam was staying at the Cecil when she disappeared.

Berlinger said in a statement: “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. 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…. So, in each season of this new series, we will explore a particular location and the social forces that contribute to its criminal history, while also looking at specific crimes within that context.”

Executive producers are Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Berlinger, Sara Bernstein, Justin Wilkes, Jon Doran, Jon Kamen and Ryan Miller.

The series premieres globally Feb. 10.

About The Author
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.

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