One of Netflix’s most disturbing productions of 2020 was Crime scene: disappearance at Hotel Cecil. Launched in February, the anthology docuseries focused on the unsolved case of Elisa Lam, a 21-year-old student who disappeared in 2013 while vacationing in Los Angeles.
This Wednesday 29, the platform premieres the second season, titled Murder in Times Square, which in three episodes addresses the story of Richard Cottingham, nicknamed the “Torso killer”, one of the serial killers most perverse and dark of the large American criminal record.
In the ’70s, that iconic area of Manhattan was an almost anarchic place where many forbidden fantasies took place, including murder. Against that backdrop, various seemingly random acts of brutality shock even New York’s most experienced homicide detectives and stoke fears of a serial killer.
In the 1970s, Times Square was a high-crime area. The docuseries portrays that time.
That serial killer was Cottingham, also called “The Ripper of Times Square,” who the murder of more than 80 women was claimed. This docuseries of the genus true crime reviews his sadistic record – he raped and mutilated his victims – before finally being captured and sentenced to 200 years for 11 murders in 1980.
Berlinger, the specialist in “true crime”
Joe berlinger returns to take over the direction and executive production of the second season of Crime scene, than seek to expose certain places that contribute and incite criminal activity.
The crime scene docuseries is directed and produced by Joe Berlinger, a specialist in the “true crime” genre.
Berlinger is the right filmmaker for that: a specialist in crime documentaries, he was nominated for an Oscar for Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011) and won the Emmy for Paradise Lost: The Murders of the Children of Robin Hood Hill (1997), the first of that trilogy.
The new installment of this acclaimed Netflix documentary series begins when lFirefighters answer a call at a seedy hotel in the heart of Times Square, in December 1979.
What they discover amid the smoke and ashes shocks even New York’s most experienced homicide detectives; Y triggers the search for a ruthless serial killer who stalks sex workers operating in the then burgeoning local sex industry.
Moment in which Richard Cottingham is handcuffed.
The series reveals the depths of the investigation, with details on the social and systemic forces that played their part in a near-outlaw area of downtown Manhattan, and that allowed numerous crimes to go unnoticed for a long time.
Too topics and characters that serve to portray the time are addressed: from the inhabitants of that Times Square and the police who patrolled the area, to the daughter of the self-proclaimed “king of porn” of New York.
The great novelty of Crime Scene: Murder in Times Square is exclusive access to Jennifer Weiss, the daughter of one of the victims. Berlinger also went to great lengths to identify other victims who have remained anonymous, lost in an infamous time and now looming far away.
Jennifer Weiss, the daughter of one of the “Torso killer” victims.
An unsolved case in a hotel with a bad reputation
The debut delivery of Crime scene took as a starting point a vacation that led to one of the most mediatic and mysterious unsolved crimes in the world: the disappearance and death of Elisa Lam.
Part of the four episodes of the docuseries showed what the last hours of Lam, who was last seen in the elevator of the Hotel Cecil, were like in a lurid video. And he revealed possible clues to the murder, which shook the United States nine years ago.
Hotel Cecil. Marked for crime.
Berlinger also took care to narrate the bad reputation of this Los Angeles hotel, which has around 600 rooms and was the base of operations of other serial killers, such as Richard Ramírez, author of at least 13 crimes.
Cecil drags a dark past. One of the most famous cases was that of Elizabet Short, the “Black Dahlia”, a girl found in 1947 outside the hotel with several mutilations on her body.
To this is added the case of Goldie osgood, a telephone operator who worked for the hotel for many years, and who in 1974 was found in Cecil’s switch room, stabbed, strangled and raped.
Reference from clarin