Got a ‘Crime Aid’ question?

Woo! We get a Writer Q&A this week!

I am so excited that one of the newest writers on The Office team, Charlie Grandy, has agreed to answer fan questions about this week’s episode, ‘Crime Aid’!

Please post your question in a comment below by Saturday, October 25th, 11pm PT. :)


  1. Is David Wallace kind of perplexed that Michael can’t seem to keep it in his pants when it comes to ladies in the office?

  2. Hello Charly, loved the episode!
    How do you feel being a new writer of this 5 season old show? Is the challenge bigger (that’s what she said) when you write for a new series or an older one?

  3. Recall from Jan’s lawsuit that you have to register with corporate if you’re going to be a couple. I guess Holly and Michael didn’t register and now it’s going to be a problem.

    I don’t have any questions, since I like to be kept in suspense. But I do think Dwight’s sad faces are priceless.

  4. Is there a full list of what everyone auctioned off (like Secret Santa in Christmas Party)?

  5. Did you write a scenario where Jim really did go to NYC just to see if it clicked, or were you always intent on bringing him back to Scranton?

  6. Really great job! I especially like the Holly/Michael exchange about not being able to go out with each other because they were busy going out with each other. Something about Holly mirroring Michael’s dorky-obnoxiousness makes it less obnoxious, but just as funny. How do you do that?

    Very nice, unexpected “that’s what she said” about the squeaky gavel.

    Was it written or improvised how Michael lost himself (8 mile reference) in the flow of auctioneering?

    Are you responsible for breaking up Darryl and Kelly? And if so, is it because you want us to think that Kelly and Ryan might get back together?

  7. l can’t watch any deleted scene (maybe it’s been shot)

    Why didn’t we see/Are we going to see Wallace realizing Mickael hired back Ryan?

  8. Charlie- GREAT episode. Favorite of the season, possibly the last 2. Was Roy invited by Darryl to the bar? Or was it a coincidence that he was there?

    Also is there any way to pass the message along to Jen that the directing was FANTASTIC? The combination of that and the writing of this episode really made it feel almost like a season 2 episode in its greatness. Seriously, great writing. Did not go for the obvious jokes went for the subtle and the awkward. AWESOME!

  9. I love the things like “Stuff Angela introduced to Dwight” and “Music Michael mistakes for Bruce Springsteen.”

    Did you have any other ideas for these things up your sleeve which didn’t make it to the episode?

  10. Something seems to be off. Why did you choose to have Dwight not be as diligent as he usually is in past episodes? It seems out of character for Dwight even with the Angela factor.

  11. What is the justification for the documentary crew’s following Pam to New York? The travel and lodging expenses seem disproportionate to even the highest expectations they could have had for the footage they would get out of following her there. Do they follow her to every class and then to her room in the dorms? And why did they go to the laundrymat last episode? They’ve never followed anyone in Scranton around in lives outside work (besides multi-employee gatherings)- it seems to be quite a break from the established style and a stretch on what Pam would allow them to follow her to.

  12. What made you decide to have Jim turn around? I think it was a good decision (for Jim) but I’m VERY ready to see some Jim/Pam interaction…I was actually getting excited that they would FINALLY see each other!! When will they see each other again??

  13. What’s better for creativity: random 3am outbursts, or systematic work while the sun is out?

  14. Why wasn’t the issue with Ryan working at Dunder Mifflin as “the temp” again addressed when David Wallace made an appearance? Or will that come later on? I was under the impression that corporate didn’t know about Ryan returning to Scranton.

  15. When we saw the black and white camera in the elevator–was that supposed to mean that the camera crew installed hidden cameras after they had been locked out by Holly?

  16. Please assure me that Jim wasn’t driving drunk? I can’t be the only one who thought he was going to get a DUI after that crazy U-turn.

  17. Was Roy trying to make Jim suspicious when he mentioned that ‘I thought you were her friend’?

  18. Did you come up with the “that’s what she said” line or was it a group effort? That by far might have been the best one to date!

  19. How many different sides of Creed are we going to see? Are we ever going to know who the real “Creed” is?

  20. Was is in the plans all along to bring Roy back in some capacity. Any chance we might be seeing him again?

  21. In the scene where Jim is driving to New York, where was this shot? There were signs that pointed to the Interstate and New York. Does your props team make interstate signs as well? If so, “props” to them…sorry :)

  22. What is Pam doing at corporate (jobwise)? Also, was there anything important to us JAM fans on that voicemail that Jim didn’t listen to?

    Thanks so much!

  23. Will there be more to the Pam working at Corporate story or was that just for the cold open?

  24. Not to be a wet blanket, but why oh WHY did they just not get the stuff back with insurance??

  25. Was the idea for a gavel that squeaks something you came up with before you got the actual prop, or is that really “all you found” and figured it was funny?

  26. Bringing back Roy was fantastic! How did that storyline come about, and how did you determine that they could at least be civil to each other?

  27. What episode of TWW were Pam and Jim watching?

    Also, can we get Aaron Sorkin to guestwrite an episode?

  28. Give that the premier covered an eight week period and we’ve had no indication of time since then, exactly what time of year is it currently in the world of The Office and exactly how long is Pam’s summer session going to last?

  29. Well, because I read spoilers I pretty much get how and why Amy Ryan’s last episode is the next one. My question is, because I know you can’t go into specifics, will we still like Holly Flax after the next episode? Or will we not like her so much anymore?

  30. First of all – great episode! More LOL moments than any episode in a long time!

    Question: Why didn’t David Wallace make a bigger deal out of Ryan being there? Surely it would be an issue to have him working there?

  31. Was Hank really performing? It was really nifty to see Hank doing something other than being a security guard!
    Also, kudos for David Wallace driving to Scranton to help out!

  32. It seems that most of the cast has either sung or played a musical instrument in The Office. Hank can play the blues! How did you approach Hugh Dane about this scene?

  33. First of all, thanks so much for this FABULOUS episode! I was so happy after watching it last night and can’t wait to watch it again and again through the week.

    I’m curious about the lack of Pam… we got a glimpse of her in the cold open, and heard her drunk dial. Were more scenes with her filmed/planned but lost on the cutting room floor? I miss Pam!

  34. Loved the episode! How long did it take to come up with the acronym for Crime Aid? What were some of the other thoughts on that? That was so great!

  35. Extremely funny episode.

    My office got robbed this year. Does Dunder Mifflin not have insurance that would pay for all the stolen items or did Michael just want to take things in to his own hands?

  36. I thought Pam’s art program was only 3 months… why is she still in New York? She left in June, right?

  37. What were some other items/favours auctioned off that didn’t make the final cut or didn’t make it into the script?

  38. Is it difficult to write the snippets of Pam’s life that Jim overhears? How do you strike the right balance between the emphasis on her new life (at times Pam comes across almost as a stranger, to both the audience and Jim) yet at the same time making sure she is still the Pam we know and love?

  39. I assumed Pam is staying at art school for the entire fall semester, but shouldn’t that have been brought up by now? It’s been over three months. Is this going to be established?

  40. Since Pam is currently in NY studying art, we haven’t got to see much of her much at all. Was this planned intentionally so that the audience can get a feel of the stress of Jim and Pam being a long distance couple?

  41. Please, can you guys (be it official or Office Tally) post the Crime Aid poster with Bruce Springsteen somewhere? Such a collector’s item, especially for Office and Boss fans!

  42. Congratulations on a remarkable episdode. I hope you guys realise that you have, with this episode, made television history. Not since George Burns has there been so much direct address to the camera in a sit-com!

    First, Michael and Holly include “us” in their conversation about miniature golf; then, Phyllis includes “us” in her comments to Dwight about Angela. And, finally, Jim turns and speaks directly to “us” while in his car.

    This is not traditional “documentary style”; this a whole new style of doing a sit-com. The asides to “us” seem to have replaced some of the talking heads — and this is an exciting development.

    Did the writers and producers intentionally set out to create a new style of television? Because, intentionally or not, that is what you have done.

  43. Was it a group effort to come up with the auction items? I thought it was a great way to get many cast members involved. Any good ones that didn’t make the final cut?

  44. What was with Ryan’s reaction when David Wallace showed up, does David not know Ryan is temping there? Also, what’s with the lack of Ryan last couple episodes?

  45. Who came up with the acyromn for C.R.I.M.E. A.I.D.? I love that Michael seems to want to make everything stand for something when he has a meeting.

  46. Who came up with the “and one penny” thing for Dwight’s bids? I thought it was hilarious that he would be willing to pay $700 for a hug from Phyllis, but only willing to raise the bet by $.01. Gotta love Dwight.

  47. I see this has been addresssed already, but I never really figured Pam was staying for the entire fall semester at art school. Can you please explain why it’s October and she is still in the 3-month program she got into. I was under the impression that she got into a specialized summer program that taught the material at an excelled pace. It doesn’t really make sense that she is doing the normal semester stuff. I really loved this episode and thought it was very well-written, but please tell us what is going on with her! It’s just not the same without Pam in the office!

  48. loved the episode! i especially love that both michael and dwight have gone to phyllis for their relationship troubles. were y’all always planning on him agreeing to talk to phyllis?

  49. The central theme for Michael seems to be that he wants to be loved by all those around him to the point where he is prepared to make all sorts of promises he can’t possibly keep. Those around him seem to have accepted this with some resignation, but Holly hasn’t known him that long. Will this come around to bite him, or will Holly accept this as part of his charm?

  50. Is Roy to make anymore Office appearances this season – meaning, is Roy over Pam?

    How many takes did Rainn and Phyllis go thru during the “Or she can say goodbye to this” line without cracking up?

  51. I really loved this episode and I can’t tell you how much I enjoy seeing Holly and Michael’s interactions with one another. I will be so sad when Amy Ryan leaves.
    Okay, to my question … I was trying to understand the significance/motivation of Dwight’s bidding on Phyllis’ hug. Was he doing it to impress Angela or was there some other reason I’m just not getting?

  52. When Dwight tells Angela she has until 6:14, the way he says it is strikingly similar to a White Stripes song called Red Death at 6:14, even how he repeats it a second time. Is this a reference to a large coincidence?

  53. Did Roy just happen to show up at the bar or did Darryl call him up to have a confrontation with Jim?

  54. The missing David Wallace reaction is addressed in the Paley Recap post:
    “I asked about the thought process behind having Dunder Miflin re-hire someone who defrauded them (Ryan) — they pointed out that he was not re-hired but working as a temp. They also said that there is a deleted scene where David Wallace calls and Ryan answers the phone and he recognizes his voice. ” I assume it’s a talking head scene that was cut by the way Jen Celotta described how Ryan starts bawling and says “He just made the list!”

  55. hey charlie, fantastic episode – an instant classic. you came from snl and the daily show; both really satirical shows. this episode, more than the last few, i felt like the jokes kept coming. do you feel that writing for shows like snl or tds versus normal sitcoms influenced the way that you wrote the episode? did you focus more on jokes and quips?

  56. This might be digging a little too deep, but did I got the feeling that David Wallace was a little bit more unhappy about Michael and Holly dating than I would expect him to be. Do Holly and David have a past?

  57. Hey Charley – welcome to the show and what a fantastic episode!

    If I may ask two questions:

    1) Similar to the question about calling the police, why didn’t anyone suggest filing an insurance claim to replace the stolen items? I’m sure Michael and Holly would have shot it down because an investigation would have found that they left the office unlocked, but no one even mentioned it.

    2) How did you come up with all the songs that Michael thought were Springsteen? I have a friend who’s made a similar mistake (she thought a John Fogerty song was Bruce) and I just thought it was SO funny and SO like Michael.

    Also, I 2nd, 3rd and 4th #39 about the Crime Aid poster. I would buy a poster and a t-shirt!

  58. There were a lot of references to the camera this week – Phyllis talking to Dwight, Michael and Holly making out in the stairway (LOL) – and there seem to have been a lot of references this season. Was this something you planned in advance?

  59. Did you have any other rock legends you were trying to decide between or was it Springsteen all the way? How did you decide to use Huey Lewis and the News, Tracy Chapman, etc. for what Michael assummed were Springsteen songs? So funny!
    Excellent episode last night!

  60. @ 72 Josh J

    it’s probably because Michael already had an inter-office relationship and didn’t disclose it. Plus, Holly is the HR rep and she should know better then to engage in an inter-office relationships.

  61. Great job, Charlie! Welcome to the strange yet fun world of “The Office” and its fans! :)

    Anyways, question: How was working with Jen the Director on this episode, especially since she, too, is a writer? Does it help to have a director who has been part of the writing process?

    BTW, “Future mother of my children” was a great line and I’m sure it made a good number of people swoon.

  62. I noticed that Hank the security guard’s last name is Dunnit. Is his last name a clue as to who robbed them?

  63. Will we ever find out who broke into the office? Why did they choose Dunder-Mifflin? Did the writers come up with ideas for this?

  64. Who came up with that awesome line Phyllis said to Dwight about Angela not being a risk-taker, and Andy not being a risk?

  65. In Dwight’s line “She introduced me to so many things. Pasteurized milk. Sheets…”, was it supposed to be sheets, as in bed sheets, or Sheetz the convenience store?

    (Gotta love Sheetz, especially their MTO subs!)

  66. Thank you for writing such a great episode! The essence of the characters shone throughout and the hilarious lines never let up. Hank the security guard singing the blues, the Crime Reduces Innocence…acronym, and Fast Car being a Bruce Springsteen song had me laughing so hard I had to wipe away tears. Just wonderful.

    Phyllis was such a star in this episode, from her spot on assessment of Angela, to her willingness to be a sounding board for Dwight,to her bank-breaking hug. Were you planning on spotlighting her in this episode, or did that gradually come about as you wrote the script?

  67. Does anyone in the office (besides Hank and Kevin) have musical talents that we’ll be seeing in the future?

  68. Not sure if mentioned, but was it your idea to bring back Roy, or was there talk of bringing him back and then writing around that?

  69. Why is Hank’s last name “Tate” in Season 2, but “Doyle” in this episode? Sorry for being nitpicky.

  70. Jennifer Ann Burton is listed in the credits of this episode. Any relation to Ursula Burton? No?

    The man who was on a date at Benihana in “A Benihana Christmas” appeared in this episode. Did he appear as Scranton local at the auction, or at the Bar with Jim and Darryl? Played by Stephen Saux.

  71. Not an episode-specific question. Has the lack of Pam while she is at Pratt been to take advantage of the time the fantastic Amy Ryan is available, a writers’ decision that filming at Pratt would not be acceptable or some other reason?

  72. Great episode! I noticed that Jen Celotta directed for the first time. Was there anything in particular that she did with your script that surprised you or enhanced any of the fantastically written scenes/lines?

  73. In season 2 Angela is insulted when Pam hand delivers her a save-the-date. Why is she allowing Andy to hand them out to coworkers for her own wedding?

  74. Are there any other meanings of Roy’s “I thought you were a friend” instead of an attempt to make Jim jealous or suspicious? Could it have been surprise to learn that Jim and Pam were a couple?

  75. Do we ever find out who robbed Dunder Mifflin? And any hints as to whether it was someone we might know who has a score to settle or whether it was just a random crime?

  76. Not exactly related to this episode, but I’m confused on the time line for Pam being at art school. I guess I assumed she went at the beginning of the summer. Did she go in August, and will then be coming back in November?

    A related question. Were the writers trying to suggest there’s trouble in JAM land with the voice mail Pam left for Jim? Is their relationship just as strong as ever, or is it on the rocks?

  77. Regarding #76:

    Joseph, if you are referring to Michael’s relationship with Jan, this was disclosed. There is a scene in “Cocktails” where Jan has Michael to sign it and he refers to it as a “love document.”

  78. Charlie, congrats for writing one of the best episodes ever! And by ever I mean all 5 seasons of the Office.

  79. Ryan tried to hide when David Wallace arrived, and we all understand why. However, does Wallace know that Michael has hired Ryan again?

  80. Dwight was nice but also super nasty to Phyllis during this episode. Did Bob Vance kick Dwights A$$ when he saw Phyllis’ tires?

  81. The elevator black and white shot reminded me of many scenes from The Wire. Considering that much of the writing staff are fans of The Wire, what is it like working with Amy Ryan, especially seeing her in a non-serious role?

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