"Email Surveillance" is the ninth episode of the second season of The Office and the 15th overall. It was written by Jennifer Celotta and directed by Paul Feig. It first aired on November 22, 2005. It was viewed by 8.1 million people.


Michael spies the IT guy walking across the parking lot and quickly runs into the office, telling everyone to get down and be quiet. He turns out the light and their cover is blown by Kevin, who asks Michael questions. After the IT guy, Sadiq, explains to Michael the mechanics of looking through e-mails, he proceeds to spy on his staff and learns that he wasn't invited to Jim's barbecue party that evening. He tries to get somebody to tell the plans, but everyone he talks to avoids him. To get Dwight to shush, Jim told him it was a surprise party for Michael. Michael talks to Jim and talks about his plans for the evening, and in that case tells Jim that he is "busy" with Improv class. Eventually Michael goes to his improv class and irritates his instructor and fellow actors by using his action hero character in every scene. After class the improv troop goes to dinner and does not invite Michael, so instead he crashes Jim's party.

At the party, Jim conducts a tour of his house, and finds a distracted Pam in his bedroom. She looks at his yearbook, calling him dorky. Phyllis sings, and when Michael bursts through the door, makes several awkward encounters with the guests. He sings a duet, despite nobody singing with him. Jim joins him and in the background, you see Dwight and Angela's feet.


  • When Jim and Pam are speaking in Jim's room at the BBQ, the video game Call of Duty: United Offensive, an expansion pack to Call of Duty, lies on Jim's desk. (It is best visible when Pam is looking at Jim's yearbook.) Toby plays the Xbox 360 version of Call of Duty 2, at 20:08 there is a clear shot of a WWII-era sniper rifle on each split section of the screen. Call of Duty plays a more prominent role in the third season episode "The Coup".
  • When Michael is reading Jim's invitation, the date on the e-mail for the party is November 5, 2005, which was a Saturday, even though this episode takes place on a Friday. It was likely an error by the production staff or a liberty taken by the writers. This places this episode on November 4 or 5, 2005, depending on which of those scenarios is correct.
  • One of Michael's improv partners is Ken Jeong who we have more recently seen in Community and The Hangover.

Deleted scenes

Notable cut scenes include:

  • Michael tries to eliminate wasted e-mail space on computers, specifically by suggesting that Jim cancel a charge from Amazon rather than continue to contact them regarding an undelivered CD.
  • Michael and Mary Beth argue following their improv scene
  • Michael makes suggestions for an improv scene despite being asked not to.
  • Kevin's mocking of Ryan by calling him the "Fire Guy" during grilling is taken to an obnoxious level.


  • Michael explains that he and Sadiq, the IT guy, "did not get off to a great start," indicating that the two had never met before. Nevertheless, Sadiq attends Jim's barbecue, another indication that Jim is quick to make friends.

Amusing details

  • Michael arrives just as Kevin sings, "Just turn around now, 'cause you're not welcome any more."
  • Tacked to the cork board above Jim's desk at home is what appears to be a tiny doll dressed as a Dunder Mifflin warehouse employee hanging from a noose. Maybe Roy?
  • The shirt that Creed is wearing in the background at Jim's party when Pam asks Phyllis about any possible office romances, is the same shirt he gives to Jim as Jim's Secret Santa in the following episode 'Christmas Party'.
  • When Jim and Michael are singing Islands in the Stream, Jim winks at Pam during the part, "Makin' love with each other." 


  • In Meredith's e-vite that Michael opens, the "Yes" list says 14, but only 10 names are listed. When Michael reads off the names of attendees, he does not say (and the screen does not show) Joe, Mike and Matt - who all appeared the first time the e-vite was shown. This further reduces the "Yes" confirmations to 7.
  • When Michael asks Dwight about his evening plans, Dwight's coat collar changes from flipped up to folded down.
  • When Michael leaves the improv class, he does not wear a necktie, but he has one on when he arrives at Jim's party. It seems unlikely that he would put on a necktie to go to Jim's party, so this is probably a continuity error.
  • The set decorators used the same poster in Jim's room and along the staircase.
  • Michael mentions eating ramen noodles in college, but he never went to college. This may just be Michael lying, but in other episodes he seems more open about his lack of post-secondary education.

Cultural references

  • Michael says Oil can in an impression of the Tin Man character from the movie The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
  • Big Brother is the personification of the surveillance state in George Orwell's negative utopia 1984.
  • Battlestar Galactica is a science fiction television program.
  • Michael shouts, Oooh, ooh, Mr. Kotter! in imitation of the character Horshack from the 1970s television comedy Welcome Back, Kotter.
  • Bernie's Tavern is a pub in Scranton.
  • Dale Earnhardt was an American race car driver.
  • is a large Internet retailer.
  • Cup Noodles or Cup of Noodles is a brand of instant, microwaveable ramen noodles.
  • An e-vite is a form of invitation distributed by email.


see Email Surveillance Quotes


Main cast

Recurring cast

Recurring cast

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.