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Arts and Entertainment

TV's 'Castle' Copies L.A.'s Unsolved Elisa Lam 'Corpse Water' Case

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Too soon? In Monday night's season finale of Castle, the body of a young woman was discovered in the rooftop water tank of a seedy hotel, echoing the real-life and still unsolved case of Elisa Lam.

The ABC drama is set in New York, and their murder victim was an honors student pretending to be a prostitute (Lam was a vacationing student from Canada), but the other similarities are undeniable: In Castle, the crime took place at the "Cedric Hotel"—the real-life crime occurred at the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, a similarly seedy establishment.

Lam's body was discovered in the water tank after several days when the guests complained of low water pressure. The TV version was far more dramatic: Instead of noticing that the water was a little bit "off," blood poured out of the showers, horrifying one unfortunate guest.

A key component in the Lam case was her strange behavior before her disappearance, as caught on a surveillance camera in an elevator. The Castle episode, entitled "Watershed," also featured video footage from an elevator, but without Lam's erratic movements.

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On February 26, Los Angeles police denied that they had ruled out foul play in Lam's death. There have been no further updates on the case.

As in real life, we imagine that those TV guests immediately filed lawsuits against the hotel for their exposure to "corpse water."

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