Tuned In

The Office to James Spader: You're Hired!

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NBC

The previous season of The Office ended with a cliffhanger, as Dunder-Mifflin interviewed a series of candidates to replace Michael Scott, played by a squad of guest stars. Now comes word that the show has made a hire—sort of—by signing up James Spader as a series regular. (Consider yourself spoiler-alerted if you don’t want to know how the show will bring back his character.)

Spader—who played Robert California, a sales bigshot with a disquieting confidence and weird sexual energy—will join the DM family, but not as Scott’s replacement. He’ll be taking over from Kathy Bates in the role of parent company Sabre’s CEO, where he will be able to unctuously discomfit whomever is finally chosen as the new branch manager.

Good idea? Spader was by far my favorite of the cameos in the finale, though on watching and rewatching, I had to wonder (once word got out he was under consideration) whether the character could work in large doses. There’s a fine line between eccentric and insane (Michael Scott was proof of that), and to work permanently on The Office, we have to believe that his character is actually a person. But I will admit: I can’t wait to see how they will make it work—something I couldn’t have said for any other of the cameos—so that’s a good sign.

All this, of course, still leaves the branch manager position open. Anyone have a resume they care to submit?

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