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The Office Character We Never Get To See In A Single Episode

"The Office" is one the most popular comedy shows of all time. The shenanigans that go down at the Pennsylvania paper supply company Dunder-Mifflin have become such a pop culture staple that the series needs no introduction, with much of its success coming from the combination of clever writing and the show's mockumentary style. However, perhaps the biggest ingredient that has kept "The Office" popular for so long is the show's many beloved characters

They are the heart of the show. The witty writing and hilarity of each episode would not have the same hold on viewers without the many paper pushers that fans have come to love. Sure, a focal point of the show may be the comedy that ensues, but viewers have always been most invested in the character's stories -– like the ongoing office romance between Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer), or the unforgettable antics of Michael Scott (Steve Carell), the manager of the Dunder-Mifflin Scranton branch. Fans even love Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson), Michael's outrageously chaotic best friend.

However, one of the most talked about characters in the show is a character who is never definitively seen at all, though many theories about his true identity exist. Who is he?

The story of the Scranton Strangler

The Scranton Strangler is a character introduced in Season 6, episode 17. His story arc continues all the way through Season 9, however, he is — technically — never confirmed to appear on screen. Furthermore, the identity of the Strangler remains a source of speculation. 

In the aformentioned Season 6 episode, Andy (Ed Helms) holds up a newspaper with the headline "Scranton Strangler Strikes Again" which is the first informal introduction to the Strangler. As the season progresses, it is revealed that the Scranton Strangler is a man terrorizing the community by strangling and attacking people, but that he is yet to be caught. The Strangler becomes a running theme as characters make jokes about the Strangler as well as attempt to discover his true identity.

Eventually, in Season 7, episode 8, Erin (Ellie Kemper) announces that the Strangler has allegedly been captured, which leads to his conviction later on. Toby (Paul Lieberstein) is selected for jury duty for that very trial, and during the process, he slowly becomes hesitant about whether the captured man, George Howard Skub, is truly guilty. Finally, with the help of Nellie (Catherine Tate), Toby confronts George Howard Skub in Season 9, episode 16, by visiting him in prison. Ultimately, Toby is strangled by George Howard Skub when visiting him, however, fans are not convinced that this is a clear solidification of the true identity of the Scranton Strangler.

Who is the Scranton Strangler?

As the mystery of the Strangler's identity grew on the show, it also grew with fans, and thus kickstarted many theories. One theory, which gained enough traction to be mentioned by Newsweek, posits that Toby himself is the perp. However, Toby is not the only person who fans have speculated about. As described in a timeline video of the Scranton Strangler, fans have also speculated that Dwight, Robert California (James Spader), Gabe Lewis (Zach Woods), or Creed Bratton could also be the Strangler. While each theory is certainly interesting, none of them come back with a clear and concrete answer. The uploader of the video, chadnisha, seems to believe the Strangler is actually Gabe, bringing up that the Strangler is only mentioned after Gabe's first appearance. However, the Strangler's first mention in that news headline has the word "again" in it, so he was already attacking people before his actual mention in the show's timeline.

Back in 2018 on the Box Angeles podcast, Lieberstein himself explained that while writing on the show and playing Toby, he never thought that Toby could possibly be the Scranton Strangler. Furthermore, he revealed an interesting fact about the Strangler, pointing out that he "strangled people, but didn't kill them. He left them once they'd been strangled and passed out."

Following that, in 2021, Jules Suzdaltsev — who played David Wallace on the show — claimed via Twitter that his character is the Scranton Strangler. Whether that was a confession or simply stirring the pot is unclear, but as it stands, the identity of the Scranton Strangler remains a mystery, and as far as we know, the man behind the myth might've never actually appeared onscreen.