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Oh, now you wanna gimme a break? After 25 years of "Make your quota, Janette!" "Push that paper!" "Hit those numbers!" It's impossible! And everybody knows it. You all know it. But you wanna scapegoat me. You wanna make me feel bad. You wanna take me down so you can feel better about yourselves. See? 'Cause you pretended like you don't know that there are poor people out there in the city. Broken people. You don't turn away from the homeless guy on the subway? 'Course you do. Everybody does, 'cause it's too much. You wanna put me in jail for this? Look in the mirror, my friend. Look in the damn mirror.
~ Janette's Mental Breakdown and one of the most famous SVU moments to date.

Janette Grayson is a now-former Child Services Officer and is the main antagonist of the season 17 episode "Institutional Fail" in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She has been approving reports that takes children to abusive parents and is indirectly responsible for the death of Keesha Houston and about five others.

She was potrayed by Whoopi Goldberg, who also played Shenzi in The Lion King, Stretch in Toy Story 3, Stormella in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie, and Chesley Watkins in Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

History

After a starving toddler was found roaming in the streets, Detectives help him get to his home where they find Keesha Houston, who was locked in a dog cage and was starved. The child later died, and they looked at Child Service worker Keith Musio, who has been sending in vague reports and who in reality hadn't checked up on them in months. After being arrested for it, he pointed the finger at Janette Grayson, who had been approving the reports so he thought it was the correct thing to do.

Janette was taken to court, and it was revealed that she had been approving false reports. When asked by Assistant District Attorney Rafael Barba how this happened, she said she did not know. He then proceeds to name the victims of her actions: a boy that was "visited" by his case worker even thought the family had moved back to their home country the year prior, a 4-year-old girl that was tortured and has cigarette markings all over her body, and a 8-year-old boy that was being forced to drink bleach.

When asked again if she didn't know about them, she said no. Barba then called her the most "incompetent manager in the world". He then came to the conclusion that she had told case workers to falsify reports to meet with her view-point goals. Janette then proceeds to say that she didn't want any of those bad things to happen, when Barba interrupts her by making a valid point of her arrogance. She then had a mental breakdown and also made some really good points about the monstrous things of her job and showed her mental state to be downgraded. In the end, she was sentenced to a mental hospital.

Trivia

  • Janette is considered to be one of the most realistic villains in the Law & Order universe, and interviews with real government workers where used to make her character.

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