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Institutional Fail 

1:08 | Trailer
SVU goes after Social Services after a pattern of falsified reports leads to the death of a young girl, but Benson is receiving a lot of political pressure to let it go and not open up a can of worms.


Martha Mitchell


Dick Wolf (created by), Julie Martin (teleplay by) | 3 more credits »





Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Mariska Hargitay ... Olivia Benson
Kelli Giddish ... Amanda Rollins
Ice-T ... Odafin Tutuola (as Ice T)
Peter Scanavino ... Dominick Carisi Jr.
Raúl Esparza ... Rafael Barba
Whoopi Goldberg ... Janette Grayson
John Magaro ... Keith Musio
Joseph Lyle Taylor ... Mickey D'Angelo
Jessica Pimentel ... Manuela Ozuna
Scott William Winters ... Detective Joe Dumas
Yvonna Kopacz Wright ... Dr. Darby Wilder
Michael Mastro ... Judge Serani
Steve Rosen ... Public Defender Guthrie
Caris Vujcec ... Detective Louise Campesi
Josh Pais ... Hank Abraham


A starving toddler found wandering the streets alone leads detectives to the home of Manuela Ozuna (guest star Jessica Pimental) and another child in grave condition. The police question Department of Child Services caseworker Keith Musio (guest star John Magaro), whose vague and backdated reports on the family suggest he hadn't checked on the children in months. When the overworked Keith accuses his supervisor, Janette Grayson (Goldberg), of orchestrating the false reports, Chief Dodds (guest star Peter Gallagher) promises to conduct an internal investigation. But when neglect leads to death, Barba (Raúl Esparza) takes matters into his own hands and arrests them for manslaughter. Meanwhile, Dodds indicates some changes coming to Benson's (Mariska Hargitay) squad.

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Did You Know?


Jessica Pimentel was in two prior episodes of SVU: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Retro (2008) and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: 911 (2005). She plays a mother in all three. See more »


When Olivia enters Bruno's apartment, the number on the door is 9D, but when they find his sister inside, Carisi calls for an ambulance for apartment 9J. See more »


Rafael Barba: [to Olivia and Rollins] If you want me to go after this guy, I'm gonna need more than maternal outrage to make a case.
See more »


Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Best Law & Order: SVU Cameos (2018) See more »

User Reviews

Hit those numbers
23 March 2020 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

This was an SVU story I could truly identify with. As a former investigator at the New York State Crime Victims Board I saw in my own agency this relentless pursuit of numbers and statistics.. Close your claims and whether the crime victim clients were serviced was definitely taking second place.

A young pre-school kid is found wandering the streets and when they find out who he is, Mariska Hargitay finds the older sister locked in a cage and nearly starved to death in their apartment and the child dies in hospital. After that it becomes a personal crusade.

At the Department of Social Services indictments come down on John Magaro, Whoopi Goldberg, and Josh Marcentel.

Whoopi Goldberg is the high point of the episode with her scene in the witness box with ADA Raul Esparza. Guilty as she was I can truly sympathize with her.

I've been there.

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Release Date:

7 October 2015 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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