TV

Everyone In ‘The Office’ Most Likely To Secretly Be The Scranton Strangler

Scranton's most prolific serial killer definitely worked at Dunder Mifflin.

One of the weirder plots in The Office is that of the Scranton Strangler, a local serial killer who casts a shadow over the extremely pedestrian happenings of the small company.

It’s an odd side-plot to what is essentially a comedy about people going slowly mad in a small, underperforming paper company. But it exists! And it actually makes for some of the best moments in the show.

The Strangler is first referenced in Season 6, when Andy frames the front page of the newspaper from the day Pam and Andy’s daughter is born — the headline reads ‘Scranton Strangler Strikes Again’.

After that, the Strangler is referenced a bunch of times, including when Dwight dresses up as him for Halloween and utters the wonderful line “to my chickens, I’m the Scranton Strangler.”

A man named George Howard Skub is eventually arrested as the culprit, however there’s a lot of doubt as to whether or not he actually did the murders. Some evidence suggests that the true identify of the Strangler remains unknown.

I posit that the first place we should be looking for the real Scranton Strangler is inside the drab walls of Dunder Mifflin itself. But which of the company’s employees might have blood on their hands?

Here’s 16 suspects, ranked from least likely to be the Strangler… to dead likely.

#16. Pam Beesly

Pam did not do it. The most interesting thing that ever happened to Pam in her entire life is that she was the prettiest girl at a suburban paper company and was fought over by two of the other employees. There’s no way she’d even consider strangling someone for pleasure — and yes, that was an insult.

#15. Andy Bernard

Andy is a useless, ineffectual peacock of a man who couldn’t strangle a person if his life depended upon it.

#14. Kelly Kapoor

“I can’t control what I say to people. I spend the whole day talking.”

#13. Meredith Palmer

Meredith is a loose unit who has absolutely accidentally killed someone, but she doesn’t have the ability to strategically plan a murder.

#12. Oscar Martinez

One of the founding members of the Finer Things Club, a murderer?????? No. But seriously, Oscar is quite neat, which is his most suspicious trait.

#11. Kevin Malone

Unless he’s faking us out by pretending to be a giant idiot to cover up his horrendous crimes, this seems unlikely.

#10. Stanley Hudson

The one thing I’m gonna focus on here is that Stanley famously cannot even climb a set of stairs without having a heart attack, so he probably doesn’t have the physical ability to strangle a bunch of folks. Plus the diabetes.

#9. Darryl Philbin

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There’s literally nothing to suggest that Darryl is a murderer, but also nothing that suggests he isn’t.

#8. Michael Scott

Michael is a lot of things: a giant man-baby, an insecure hole of depthless narcissism, a sometimes breathlessly-offensive piece of shit, and a gold standard sweetheart.

I would almost categorically say that there’s already too much going on for him to be a murderer. He not only wears his heart on his sleeve, but his brain, emotions and every thought are smeared down his shirt for everyone to see. He’s too transparent to be the strangler.

#7. Phyllis Lapin-Vance

Here’s the thing about Phyllis — she’s perpetually underestimated. I wouldn’t feel comfortable writing her off ever. But, Phyllis’s MO seems to be about inflaming jealousy in men and forcing them to fight over her. Maybe she’d poison someone at best. Strangling just doesn’t seem right.

#6. Angela Martin

http://dundermifflinscranton.tumblr.com/post/99204533587

Angela is extremely unpleasant, and would probably strangle someone if she had the capacity to do so. But her method of murder would be running someone over. Her hands are tiny.

#5. Ryan Howard

Literally a self-obsessed, Patrick Bateman style psychopath. He’d do it for sure, but he’s also pretty risk-averse, and would probably only kill if there’s a clear benefit for him.

#4. Dwight Schrute

If anything, Dwight is TOO obvious. He’s pretty into the Scranton Strangler, which I guess is a little suspicious. He owns a creepy beet farm, perfect for burying bodies in. He has an inflated sense of his own worth, and an inability to properly gel with normal society. He enjoys revenge. He’s a misogynist.

He’s such an clear culprit that he’d be TOO suspicious — people would figure it out quicker, because it’s so incredibly obvious.

#3. Jim Halpert

Honestly, Jim could be a candidate. We know he’s the kind of guy who creates elaborate schemes and pranks to help overcome a sense of tedium and boredom, and that when left untended he can inch towards malevolence and schemes. Mostly against Dwight, but you know — there’s precedence.

We know he feels a sense of superiority over everyone else, that he’s frustrated by his lack of ability to actually advance his situation in life. We know he can be charming when he wants, secretive by default. Who buys a HOUSE without telling their partner? Who takes a job in another city?

There’s also a theory that the Strangler seems to escalate in times of emotional turmoil for Jim. He also has big handsome hands, good for strangling.

#2. Creed Bratton

Creed Bratton is the Quality Assurance Manager, or as he calls it, the “Quabitty Assuance” manager, because he is actually deranged. While Dwight might be a flashier type of weird, Creed’s more infrequent interjections are always solidly upsetting, often threatening, and always hinting at a dark and odd past.

Remember when he revealed he had four toes? Remember when someone took a dump in Michael’s office and Creed smelled the air and asked if “anyone was making soup”?

But he’s always revealed several interesting nuggets from his past which firmly set himself up as easily being a strangler, if not THE Strangler.

In the Season 4 episode ‘Fun Run’ he admits to being involved in quite a few religious cults. He frequently makes jokes about faking his own death, and even has a passport under the name of William Charles Schneider. He’s constantly stealing things, saying that it’s “just something that I do”.

All this is worrisome, for sure, but the real evidence comes from a handful of situations — such as when he asked Phyllis (dressed as Santa) about what would happen to someone if they’ve been “really, really bad, more evil than wrong”, or when he arrived at the office in a bloodstained shirt.

The show ends with Creed being arrested, and then escaping from custody. His arrest is ostensibly for past crimes as part of a troublesome rock band, but perhaps the police had started to join the dots and had him firmly pegged as the Strangler.

#1. Toby Flenderson

But it’s Dunder Mifflin’s most hated HR rep Toby Flenderson who is the most suspicious culprit. There’s a whole bunch of evidence that the Strangler escalated his killings the more miserable Toby’s life got.

Most damning, however, is that when the whole office gathered around to watch the Scranton Strangler under siege… only Toby was absent. Was it because he was whizzing past in the car, pursued by the police?

Toby has an intense interest in the Scranton Strangler case — something that comes from his time actually spent on the jury for the trail of George Howard Skub, where he was instrumental in the man’s eventual jailing. However, Toby became adamant that Skub was NOT actually the Strangler, and that he’d put an innocent man in prison. This could be because Toby is a decent human being… or, more likely, Toby’s obsession with the case comes from the fact that he himself is the Strangler.

One thing’s for sure: he loves talking about the Strangler. He literally lights up at any mention of the case, like he’s grateful for even this tiny morsel of attention. This miserable man absolutely strangles people in a bid for attention because he is lonely and pathetic and nobody loves him.

Patrick Lenton is an author and staff writer at Junkee. He tweets @patricklenton.