"Business Ethics" is the second episode of the fifth season of The Office. It was written by Ryan Koh and directed by Jeffrey Blitz. It first aired October 9, 2008.


Jim tells the office that he and Pam are engaged. Kevin, Oscar, Andy, and Angela provide rude responses. Dwight tells Jim that Pam is not a virgin. Creed, forgetting Jim's name, tells Michael that Jim is engaged causing Michael to take Jim down onto the floor.

Holly gave the office a questionnaire, and Michael and her start the ethics meeting by dancing to the song, "Physical," but with the lyrics, "Let's get ethical." Michael explains his plan to merge the friendship between him and Holly into a relationship. Holly explains that the Business Ethics seminar is because of Ryan's fraud. Ryan tells the office what happened. He said that it was an amazing ride, even though he committed fraud. Holly discusses the questionnaires. Holly explains how time theft is horrible, but Kelly disagrees about it, telling Holly that she will take up smoking to waste time. Michael tells Holly that she is not doing a great job by setting herself up for failure.

Oscar explains how this meeting is not ethics. Then, Andy asks Michael whether he would take bread for his family or if he would let his family go hungry. Michael can't decide.

Michael tells Holly that when he discovered YouTube, he didn't work for five days. Oscar says that sometimes he takes a long lunch. Kelly says she downloads pirated music. Dwight tells Michael to fire Oscar. Angela says she reported Oscar to the INS. Meredith then says that she has been sleeping with a Hamermill Rep for the past 2 years for lower prices and steaks. Holly is shocked and tries to get Michael to discipline her, however, Michael doesn't believe that it is that serious.

Holly asks Meredith questions. Meredith gives Holly the wrong answers according to Michael. Michael tells Meredith to say that the sexual meetings were personal, but Meredith says that it was only for the steaks and the lower prices. Michael calls Meredith a stupid bag. Meredith feels good about being pretty much a prostitute.

Meanwhile, after Dwight says he has never wasted company time, Jim begins to time him to the second. Dwight tries to work all day without blinking or anything else.

Holly and Michael talk to each other in the annex, and Michael asks if she wants to go to lunch to talk to Meredith. Holly says she already has lunch. Michael throws it away, and Michael tells her that she will have to pay half. Holly wants Meredith to be fired, and Michael and Holly joke around at the restaurant. Michael has an uncomfortable talk with Holly about chastity belts. Michael tells Holly that Meredith needs this job, but Holly disagrees. When Michael tells her that Dunder Mifflin is home to the employees, Holly tells him that it is not a family but a workplace. Michael becomes very upset.

Jim tells Andy about Dwight's favorite show, Battlestar Galactica, however, he uses wrong details to explain it, upsetting Dwight. Jim explains that Dwight sneezed while keeping his eyes open. Also, Jim says, that Dwight peed in a cup at his desk. Jim says that he hasn't started work. Dwight has sex with Angela, however, and Jim tells Dwight that he is not completely ethical, to which Dwight agrees.

Michael tells the crew that Holly is not right and throws away the leftovers from her lunch. Holly explains that being the morality police isn't popular. Michael won't talk to Holly. Michael and Holly talk to Kendall. Kendall tells Holly that Meredith isn't doing anything wrong, and that the discounts are good. Kendall tells Holly that she was only supposed to get the office to fill out the questionnaire. Michael struggles to find a way to tell Holly that he told her so about the Meredith situation.

Holly tells the office to finish the ethics seminar. When the office refuses, Michael screams at the office telling them to get into the conference room, to which the enter the room. Holly becomes seemingly happier. Meredith gives the whole office steaks from her sex deal, and they want Meredith to keep doing what she is doing. Stanley high-fives Phyllis, saying, "Just keep the ribs coming."

Deleted scenes

These deleted scenes were on the Season 5 DVD, notable cuts include:

  • Ryan reveals that he broke the side-view mirror on Kevin's car. When Kevin confronts him on it, Ryan blames it on "the guy he used to be" and says he is now "Ryan 2.0". Afterwards, Kevin bakes Ryan's sunglasses in the same toaster oven where the latter started the fire. Kevin then blames it on "Kevin 1.0".
  • When Jim asks Dwight for answers on the HR questionnaire, Jim tells Holly that Dwight is cheating.
  • Pam's class is cancelled and Pam agrees to go with her friends including Alex to Tiki Bar.
  • Oscar explains that he would love to have a real talk about ethics.
  • Creed explains that he made atrocities in Vietnam, "2 Years ago."
  • Phyllis explains that she think may of hit a kid on a safari
  • Holly and Andy give Michael brain teasers.
  • Dwight assigns people to look at each wall and the ceiling.
  • Pam gets drunk and tells her friend to send a big LOL little lol to her friend.
  • Pam drank a whole vat of rum and she has a slurred voice. Her friends point out what she did and laugh. She tells the documentary crew that she is not a drunk, only a moody artist.
  • Stanley tells Meredith that she said a bunch of racist stuff about him.
  • Michael orders two lobsters.
  • Some of Pam's rum comes up.
  • Meredith tells Michael that she comes in at 11 and leaves at 4.
  • Holly finds a poster saying NARC taped on her computer.
  • Michael talks to Toby but then hangs up.


  • Ryan claims to have hooked up with a woman who looked just like JoAnna Ward from the sixth season of Survivor. Ward is African-American, further supporting Ryan's preference for dating women with darker skin.
  • This is the first episode in which Pam does not appear on screen. (She is only heard on the phone.)
  • Battlestar Galactica is a television science fiction series which ran from 2004 to 2009. However, the rest of Jim and Andy's discussion is deliberately incorrect -
  • The establishing shot of Michael and Holly's lunch out is of Cooper's Seafood in Scranton. The interior, on the other hand, was shot in Los Angeles.
  • Meredith says that she has a bunch of cigars in her bag. Later, In Niagara, we learn that Meredith smokes every morning, to the disgust of Pam.

Amusing details

  • At the "business-romantic" lunch, Michael has a glass of wine. Holly has a salad, the same lunch she was planning to eat originally.
  • In the final scene, Angela (a vegetarian) eats only the potato salad.

Cultural References

  • Michael and Holly sing parody lyrics to Olivia Newton-John's Physical.
  • Michael tells Holly she needs to be more like Robin Williams (a madcap comedian) and M. Night Shyamalan (a filmmaker whose movies have surprise twist endings).
  • Michael does no work after discovering YouTube, a video sharing site. Chocolate Rain was a virally popular video on YouTube in 2007. At the time of the episode's airing, there was no video of the song being performed by Cookie Monster, a popular children's television character, although such videos were quickly produced by fans after the episode aired.


  • Meredith says she has been having sex with Scranton's Hammermill representative for six years, implying that Dunder Mifflin has sold Hammermill products during that time, though it was only two years ago in The Convention that Michael broke Hammermill's exclusivity with Staples. In an online video chat, writer Ryan Koh explains that he chose Hammermill because it is the only well-known paper manufacturer, and he liked that the name Hammermill sounded somewhat sexual.[1]


Main Cast

Supporting Cast

Special Guest Star


  1. Ask the Writers, Ryan Koh answers questions about Business Ethics.

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