Take Me To Your Leader: James Spader Rules On The Office

Spader's character breathes new life into the long-running sitcom.

By , Columnist


The news that three time Emmy winner James Spader is to be the new man in charge on NBC's The Office is cause for celebration. The aging show, while not quite stale, is not as fresh as it used to be. Steve Carell’s departure might have spelled the end for the series had Spader’s character, Robert California, not been introduced in the two-part season seven finale.

California, who will actually be replacing Kathy Bates as CEO (since her Harry’s Law show has been renewed for a second season), is psychologically manipulative and more quirky than Michael Scott ever was. He’s a Svengali in a suit jacket: a salesman with the power to charm, intimidate, and ostensibly make people do whatever he wants them to. California is also strangely sexy, but his creep factor is way off the map, offsetting any real appeal he might have in that way. I can see the writers having a tremendous amount of fun with him. Already he’s faced down Dwight Schrute, and caused a stunned Jim Halpert to mutter, “I think he’s a genius,” after interviewing him for Scott’s position.

Paul Lieberstein, an executive producer of The Office’s gives a bit of insight into how California’s story will continue. "He'll have been hired over the summer as the new manager, but within hours, got himself promoted. Within days, he took over the company. James has an energy that is completely his own, and The Office has no tools for dealing with this guy. We're thrilled he's joining our cast."

The announcement of Spader’s hiring and the question of who will take Michael Scott's place has people talking about The Office again in a positive way. If the writers do their job and handle this intriguing character well, season eight has the potential to be one of the brightest and best of the entire series.

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Mindy Peterman is a freelance writer whose focus is on television, movies and pop culture. She has written over one hundred articles for the award winning Blogcritics.org website and has conducted interviews with producer Peter Asher, psychic-medium John Edward, Greg Grunberg and Bob Guiney from Band…

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