‘Law & Order:SVU’ Recap: ‘Institutional Fail’

By Kitin Miranda | 2 years ago
‘Law & Order:SVU’ Recap: ‘Institutional Fail’
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“Law & Order: SVU” Season 17 Episode 4 “Institutional Fail” aired last Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015 30, 2015 at 9:00 p.m. on NBC. In this episode, the Manhattan Special Victims Unit and Assistant District Attorney Rafael Barba (Raul Esparza) launched an investigation into the system of the city’s Department of Child Services after discovering that their neglect and corruption had led to the death of a young child, after a case of a lost child led the Special Victims Unit to investigate a particular family being handled by the Department of Child Services. Meanwhile, Deputy Chief William Dodds (Peter Gallagher) informed Sergeant Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) of the upcoming changes to her team. Read on to learn more about this episode.

The episode began with Sergeant Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) getting called in as a cashier at a local convenience store discovered a three year old boy trying to buy food by himself.

At a nearby hospital, Olivia was informed that the child, Bruno (Issam Mikaiki), whose parents were nowhere to be found, suffered from neglect.

The next day, after canvassing around the Conyers Housing Project, Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola (Ice-T), Detective Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) and Detective Dominick “Sonny” Carisi, Jr. (Peter Scanavino) discovered that Bruno’s mother, Manuela (Jessica Pimentel).  was never around and was a drug, addict.


Because of this, Olivia and Carisi headed over to the Department of Child Services, and talked to Keith Musio (John Magaro), the case worker of Bruno Ozuna, who also accompanied them to the Ozuna apartment, which he claimed to have visited two weeks ago.

There, they discovered that the apartment was empty, save for Bruno’s eight-year-old half- sister, Keisha Houston, whom they found starving and dehydrated to death inside a dog cage.

At the hospital, Keith was overwhelmed, and began to tell Carisi that Keisha and Bruno had seemed okay when he visited two weeks ago and began complaining about the absurd amount of cases that he had been working for the past few months.


Meanwhile, Fin and Rollins picked up Manuela begging on the streets, who immediately told them that it was Keisha’s fault for not trying to get food for herself. Later, they were informed that Keisha had died.

Because of this,  Olivia, wanting to prosecute Keith, paid another visit to him and his supervisor, Janette Grayson (Whoopi Goldberg) and the Deputy Commissioner of the department, Matt Sheridan (Josh Marcantel), who showed them reports that the Ozunas had been doing well and that what had happened wasn’t on them.

However, even though it was clear after looking at the reports, that they were all falsified, Olivia was told by Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Hank Abraham (Josh Pais) not to do anything, as the matter should be handled by the city’s Department of Investigation.

Outraged, Assistant District Attorney Rafael Barba (Raul Esparza) decided to take matters into his own hands by arresting Sheridan, Keith and Janette for manslaughter and neglect.

After talking to Manuela one more, who begged them to let her go to her daughter’s funeral, Rollins and Fin discovered that Keisha had been placed in the dog cage by Bruno’s father, who died after being shot several months beforehand, as he had  gotten annoyed with Keisha’s complaining, while he and Manuela were busy drinking and taking drugs.

Later, Manuela, who was going away for eight years, learned that Burno was going to go into the care of a loving foster family who was more than happy to take him in.

Thanks to the fact that Carisi had managed to develop a good rapport with Keith, Keith decided to cut a deal with Barba by telling them that Janette and Sheridan, during the weekend after Keisha had died, had forced him to create false reports so that he wouldn’t go to jail. He later on testified in court against Janette and Sheridan.

When it was time for Janette to take the stand, it was discovered that Janette had been prioritizing “productivity goals” instead of taking better care of those families in need, due to the pressures that were being placed upon her by the city government itself. She then had a breakdown, causing them to transfer her to a nearby hospital to recover.

After the trial, Carisi visited Keith in prison, who was remorseful about what he had done, and comforted him.

Later, back at the squad room, Deputy Chief William Dodds (Peter Gallagher) informed Olivia that she was now a lieutenant and that her new number two was going to be someone handpicked by the higher ups- his son. He then also told her that Rollins, from that moment on, was going to be on desk duty, due to her pregnancy.

What did you think of this episode? Did it give you a glimpse as to how the government sometimes fails families in need? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

And that was all for the recap on “Law & Order: SVU” Season 17 Episode 4 “Institutional Fail.”

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About the author

Kitin Miranda enjoys writing, learning new things, telling stories, and doing theater. When she is not busy with her many projects, she can be found reading a good book, writing poetry or fiction, updating her blog, discovering new food places around her neighborhood, or watching American or Asian TV shows.