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In 1967, the musical “HAIR” asked the question, “How can people be so heartless?” addressing lack of consideration for others, as well as attitudes toward social injustice. The situation has not improved over the decades and the socioeconomic disparity found in U.S. prisons is addressed in tonight’s NCIS episode, “Institutionalized.”
According to The Washington Post, studies show that black men are sentenced to more time for committing the exact same crime as a white person, and a 2014 University of Michigan Law School study found that all other factors being equal, black offenders were 75 percent more likely to face a charge carrying a mandatory minimum sentence than a white offender who committed the same crime.
In “Institutionalized,” Kasie’s lifelong best friend, Dante Brown (guest star Devale Ellis), is the suspect in the murder of a petty officer’s son. Brown is a two-time felon who grew up in the projects, and Kasie (Diona Reasonover) is lending him a hand with getting a new job. Despite Dante’s proclaimed innocence, circumstances force NCIS to investigate him despite Kasie’s protests. The secret may lie in a shiv carved from a toothbrush and a very smart dog.
Guest stars on tonight’s episode are Wayne Lopez, Bertila Damas, Elizabeth Laidlaw, Martin Copping, E. Ambriz De Colosio, Brent Henri, Carl Donelson and Mary Kate Garrney. “Institutionalized” was written by David J. North and directed by Tony Wharmby.
NCIS airs tonight (November 5) at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on CBS in the U.S. and on Global TV in Canada.