Netflix’s Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel Review


Netflix’s Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel tells the story of the mystery and tragedy of Elisa Lam’s disappearance.

vanishing at the cecil hotel netflix poster

If you like mysteries and documentaries, then Crime Scene: The Vanishing At The Cecil Hotel is a must watch for you. This series comes to Netflix and I have my fingers crossed we get more seasons featuring other mysteries and events. In this four episode miniseries, the vanishing of Elisa Lam is discussed. The story itself is spread out with each episode focusing on a different part of the story, until it all comes together in the final episode.

Being only four episodes this is a really easy binge, especially if this sort of show is your jam – think Dateline as inspiration. Crime Scenes is an interview style documentary that chronicles what happened to Elisa Lam while she was staying at the Cecil Hotel in downtown L.A. She was visiting from Canada and traveling alone and then one day simply, disappeared. The Cecil Hotel has a lot of history that is shrouded in abnormality, as well as murder, but what happened to Elisa?

vanishing at the cecil hotel netflix poster

Admittedly I had not heard of the Elisa Lam story before watching this show but I was immediately intrigued from the start. I found myself holding back from googling her and looking into theories because I did not want to accidentally spoil the ending and the truth of what happened to her.

In this series it is expressed how important Elisa became to many people on the internet. They were invested in solving this and I can see why because I became that way too. I do not want to spoil anything for those who have not seen this but just know, the final episode is climactic and ties it all together.


Episode 1 of Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel. c. Courtesy of Netflix © 2021

Overall Thoughts

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel does a good job of also bringing some issues to light, including “Skid Row” and mental health. All too often mental health is overlooked in this country, in this world, and I hope that this helps people realize how sad this journey can be for anyone who is struggling with it. There are a lot of people that need help on Skid Row, and if there is a way to do it, I hope it gets done. 

This is labeled as season one of Crime Scene, so I am really hoping that we see more. I was intrigued from beginning to end, and the final episode really did put it all in a great perspective. I enjoyed this series’ way of telling the story of Elisa Lam. If this sort of thing intrigues you, then you will be hooked from the start of Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel!

Amy Price (General Manager of the Cecil Hotel) in episode 2 of Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel. c. Courtesy of Netflix © 2021

About Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel

From director Joe Berlinger (CONVERSATIONS WITH A KILLER: THE TED BUNDY TAPES, PARADISE LOST), CRIME SCENE: THE VANISHING AT THE CECIL HOTEL is the first season in a new documentary series that deconstructs the mythology and mystery surrounding infamous locations in contemporary crime. For nearly a century the Cecil Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles has been linked to some of the city’s most notorious activity, from untimely deaths to housing serial killers.

In 2013 college student Elisa Lam was staying at the Cecil when she vanished, igniting a media frenzy and mobilizing a global community of internet sleuths eager to solve the case. Lam’s disappearance, the latest chapter in the hotel’s complex history, offers a chilling and captivating lens into one of LA’s most nefarious settings.

Check in to the Cecil Hotel on February 10, only on Netflix.

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