“The Office” Priming for Finale

Dwight Schrute finally achieved his Dunder-Mifflin management dreams on Thursday’s penultimate episode of “The Office.”

But Dwight being Dwight, he barely lasted a week, which tees up next week’s finale as a star-studded search for a more permanent successor for Steve Carell's bumbling Michael Scott. In the meantime, it appears Creed – Creed! – has been given the role of acting office manager.

It didn’t start out that way. After Jim passed on taking over for interim boss Deangelo Vickers (guest star Will Ferrell), Dwight (Rainn Wilson) seized the opportunity on Thursday's show.

Soon the Scranton branch was reciting the pledge of allegiance, staggering its lunch breaks and using individual pass codes for the copier.

But Dwight’s quasi-fascist utopia came crashing down after he accidently shot off a gun he’d brought to the office – sending Andy to the hospital with a burst eardrum and his colleagues into all-out extortion mode.

When CEO Jo Bennett (Kathy Bates) stopped by for a visit, Dwight was so tired of having been blackmailed to perform such tasks as deep tissue back massages for Kevin and jazz hands on command for Jim that he copped to the in-office shooting and was promptly relieved of command.

With Carell’s Michael Scott already having moved on to greener pastures and Deangelo having suffered an unfortunate basketball accident, next week's 50-minute seventh season finale, ”Search Committee" will be chock full of potential (better) management applicants – including Ricky Gervias, Jim Carrey, Will Arnett, Ray Romano, James Spader, Catherine Tate and…Warren Buffett?

Andy (Ed Helms), Darryl (Craig Robinson) and Dwight are also in the hunt, and the ultimate hire will define a new direction for the series.

“There were a lot of rumors a couple of years ago that there was going to be a spinoff, and I think that this IS our spinoff,” says star John Krasinski, who plays the long-suffering Jim Halpert. “It’s a totally different show that you’re lucky enough to have the same structure and intricacies from a show that you think you know. You have all these great characters and great situations, but the dynamics are going to change and that’s extremely exciting.”

“Where we’re going now is, in a lot of ways, what made me fall in love with the show in the beginning,” adds Krasinski, “which is a lot of the inter-office intricacies and relationships and all the hilarity that come from a lot of smaller stuff. The last two episodes this year are without Steve or Will Ferrell, and I think they’re two of the best episodes that we’ve had.”

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