Fall TV Preview

It's Official: James Spader Joins The Office as 'High-Class Weirdo Jedi Warrior' CEO

The resilient Dunder Mifflin staff is about to meet its match, now that James Spader has officially boarded The Office for Season 8.

“James will reprise his role as Robert California, this uber-salesman that has a power to convince and manipulate, like a high-class weirdo Jedi warrior,” series regular/executive producer Paul Lieberstein said in announcing the casting.

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As previously reported, Spader’s ambitious character won’t be long for his mid-level Dunder Mifflin job. As Lieberstein previews, “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” as the new Sabre CEO.

All of which means that The Great Office Boss Mystery will continue, since Robert California won’t occupy Michael Scott’s vacated office for long.

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A veteran of films as well as TV’s The Practice/Boston Legal (for which he won three Emmys), Spader made his debut on the NBC sitcom in the Season 7 finale, as one of multiple all-star guest-star candidates who interviewed for Michael’s job. Notably, Robert California did in fact almost play Jedi mind games with his interviewers, practically incepting his twisted life and work philosophies in their brains.

“James has an energy that is completely his own, and the office [staff] has no tools for dealing with this guy,” says Lieberstein. “We’re thrilled he’s joining our cast.”

Are you thrilled, Office fans?

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  1. Keith says:

    Now they should sign Maggie Gyllenhaal to play his secretary

  2. Dick Whitman says:


  3. Steven says:

    Bring Candice Bergen and William Shatner, too ;)

    • iceturkee says:

      yes, yes and yes. that would be a hoot if bergen and shatner joined the cast!!

      i’ve never watched the office but will now. i absolutely adore james spader.

    • Pat D. says:

      Scranton Legal? Hey, it works….they still sell some paper at Dunder-Mifflin/SABER right?

  4. Mike D says:

    This stinks. Spader will ruin the show. Bank on that.

  5. Amy says:

    I have always found James Spader kind of annoying, but oh well. At this point I am going to watch the Office until they run it into the ground. Unless, of course, they break-up Jim and Pam.

  6. Heather says:

    He’s too much of a freak for The Office. The characters are “zany”, not freaks

    • april-ann says:

      Thank you, Heather, great point! I was wondering what it was that bothered me about this, because I generally like James Spader and do think he’s talented. But it’s possible the character is just not a good fit.

      • timshel says:

        Agreed. I’ve liked him in the past, in his creepy, off beat, dramatic roles but can’t stand the thought of him on a show like The Office. I’ll probably continue to watch, but I don’t have high hopes for liking him on the show.

  7. Mercedes says:

    Should have been Catherine Tate, but I’m sure Spader will be fine.

    • susela says:

      They can still have Catherine Tate as office manager; Spader’s the CEO of the company.

    • Bob says:

      They now have their new wacky cast member, so I don’t think they’ll add a second one by hiring Catherine Tate. My guess, “Andy” will get the manager’s job.

  8. TJ says:


  9. Joyce says:

    I don’t much care for Spader, but if the new boss turns out to be Tate, I’ll be happy.

  10. Nick Nitro says:

    Catherine Tate was the most unfunny thing on the finale last year. Despite her comedy chops in other projects, she was NOT a fit for the Office.

  11. Heazie says:

    This is absolutely AWFUL news. I am so disappointed it hurts me.

  12. murley says:

    this is awesome. i loved his weird energy in the finale.

  13. bamalam says:

    but I liked Kathy Bates…I loved her occasional visits to the office or via web chat.

    • kristine says:

      her show Harry’s Law got picked up for next season, that’s probably why she’s not going to be around on The Office anymore.

  14. kristine says:

    he cracked me up so hard in the finale. he really was the best of all the guest stars. I don’t know what everyone is so grumpy about him. the guy’s hilarious (not just on The Office finale but in Boston Legal as well) and even if you don’t like him, he’s not going to be on that long. win-win for everyone, really.

  15. sarah says:

    Great news – love James Spader. I don’t understand all the hate here. He is a very good actor and will add something extra to the show. I’ve certainly never seen him ‘ruin the show’. More likely to have another Emmy nomination!!

  16. MichelleR says:

    Go ahead, make a typo — he dares you.

  17. edawg says:

    Good casting choice. And once again–Catherine Tate was horrible, is horrible and would make me turn off and possible detonate my TV if she were hired. Don’t understand the love for this one note comedienne.

  18. SB says:

    Totally happy! James Spader is so unique and will be a great addition to the cast. People who say they don’t like him just don’t get it. BRILLIANT on Boston Legal…can’t wait to watch Season 8 of The Office!

  19. LauraHolt says:

    You guys are nuts. Spader is awesome no matter how small or big the role he KILLS it every time.

    His guest spot on Seinfeld was GENIUS, his turn on The Practice as Alan Shore is what led to Boston Legal. Don’t forget about this tremendous body of dramatic work.

    Don’t be afraid of his unique energy or his oddly sexual presence. He’s a hell of an actor.

  20. Amy says:

    James Spader is GOD. Anyone who has not seen him in Boston Legal simply cannot know his genius. And genius aside, James has an incredible sexual energy about him that however odd or initially “creepy”, is SURE to capture and draw in women sooner or later. The more you watch, the more you fall in love with him. Excellent move for the Office…I am STOKED!

  21. Andrea says:

    I’m so surprised that some people here think of James Spader as “creepy”! I have always thought of him as a brilliant actor, and sooo sexy. He was hilarious in Secretary…I can’t wait to see him in The Office.

    Melbourne, Australia

  22. DTH says:

    Awful fit! Spader is obnoxiously monotonous as an actor and a labor to watch. The thing about The Office is that has always had a breeziness to it and that’s what’s created it’s staying power; throwing Spader in the mix is like using mud for motor oil in a Hemi that was purring along great. Spader sucks.