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"The Cover-Up" is the twenty-fourth episode of the sixth season and the 124th episode of The Office overall. It was written by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky who wrote Scott's Tots and The Lover and directed by Rainn Wilson, who marked his directorial debut with this episode. It aired on May 6, 2010. It was viewed by 6.84 million people.

Cold open

Jim and Pam click their pen and mouse respectively, which Dwight believes is an attempt to talk about him in Morse code. Jim sarcastically asks Dwight if he thinks that with their limited free time and budget they hired a nanny so they could take a class on a "very outmoded and very unnecessary form of communication", just so they can talk about him in front of him. In a talking head, Jim and Pam reveal that is in fact what they did, as revenge after Dwight wouldn't stop tapping his foot, retorting when Pam asked him to stop that he will stop when she loses weight. As Jim continues clicking, Dwight jumps in alarm and claims that Jim mentioned a detonator. Dwight tells Michael there is a detonator, who in an attempt to amuse Dwight asks Jim if he is clicking a detonator. Jim shows all he has is a pen, and Michael returns to his office annoyed, telling Dwight to just get back to work. Dwight then puts on his headphones and tells Jim and Pam to just tap away. Pam looks Dwight in the eyes and blinks in Morse code, upon which Dwight solemnly removes his glasses and replies to her in Morse code. Jim blinks in Morse code as well, before looking to the camera and winking.


Michael reveals that he is now dating Donna, and things are going well. He admits he is not used to having a relationship go well. Michael holds a conference room meeting so he can ask the office for recommendation for an upcoming trip with Donna. In the meeting, the other members of the office, particularly Ryan and Kelly, convince him that she might be cheating on him. Pam tries to calm Michael down and tells him not to overthink it and let them get back to work. Michael agrees, but as the office members stand up to leave, he mentions that she refuses to say she loves him, and they sit back down to help him. Pam tells Michael not to let his imagination run out of control, but he can't get the thought out of his head.

Worried sick, Michael hires Dwight to tail her to see if she is spending time with anyone else. Dwight follows Donna to her gym and attempts to seduce her. Donna rebukes him and calls security on him, whereby he openly admits he was sent there by Michael to watch her. Dwight comes back to the office and report to Michael that Donna isn't cheating. An enraged Donna comes to the office to talk to Michael about the whole situation, but the two forgive each other and reconcile by planning a private vacation together.

Andy receives a call from a concerned customer that a Sabre printer he bought caught fire during a routine print-job. Concerned as well, he becomes frustrated when Gabe fails to take his customer's complaint seriously. Capitalizing on his fears, Darryl pranks Andy into believing he has uncovered a major conspiracy. In a talking head, Darryl reveals that he is pranking Andy in retaliation for his blaming one of his mistakes on the warehouse a few years earlier, an act that put Darryl's career in jeopardy. After pretending to help Andy to not get fired for knowing that the printers may be dangerous, Darryl agrees to film Andy testing a printer in a typical fashion to test his burning printer theory. During the shooting of the video, while Darryl is pranking Andy into speaking with a high pitch voice, the printer indeed catches fire and explodes. This confirms Andy's suspicions, and terrifies Darryl who vows to never prank again.

Both Pam and Kelly become suspicious when Donna, wearing earrings that no woman would buy for herself, cannot remember where she got them. While Donna and Michael are planning their trip, Pam investigates Donna's Facebook account and finds pictures of her hugging and kissing another man. At first she and Jim had been skeptical of Donna cheating, and even berated Michael for having destructive tendencies with his personal life, but now they realize his fears had been correct and try to warn him. Pam shows Michael the pictures she found, and he confronts Donna with the evidence. Donna then reveals that she is indeed cheating, but not on Michael, rather with Michael: She is already married to someone else.

In the last scene, Dwight is taking a spin class at Donna's gym. While Dwight is instructing the class (with an imaginary scenario involving going up a hill and cycling off a cliff), the instructor tries to regain control. Everyone in the class ends up listening to Dwight.

Amusing details

  • In the beginning of the episode, Donna and Michael make out passionately in the office lobby. While Angela averts her eyes in disgust, Hank watches attentively while eating.
  • Michael happily lets Stanley leave the conference room meeting, claiming it is because he doesn't contribute anyway. It is more likely due their understanding in "Did I Stutter?"
  • Michael looks at Darryl with disgust after the latter suggests that one possible thing he could do with Donna on the weekend is curl up to watch a DVD.
  • Michael says, "When Ryan had two girlfriends, he used to take me to some diner in Hazelton just so the other girl wouldn’t see." This says that Michael and Ryan had dinner together on a somewhat regular basis.
  • When Michael asks the office if they think Donna is cheating on him, Ryan and Meredith mouth "yes" and nod their heads.
  • Ryan's list of signs that someone might be cheating are in fact common everyday habits.
  • In a talking head interview, Michael says that he "hasn't eaten or slept" since finding out Donna may be cheating on him. However, he says this only moments after finding out.
  • Dwight insists he works with Michael, not for Michael.
  • Dwight tells Michael that he may not like how he gets results. He later reveals that his solution to find out if Donna is cheating on Michael is to "seduce her, bring her to orgasm, then call Michael and tell him the bad news."
  • Michael uses the word amok proudly after Pam teaches him the word earlier in the episode.
  • Michael appears to have forgotten about dating Pam's mother.
  • Michael makes a face after claiming Pam's mother Helene is among the greatest loves of his life.
  • After Donna tells Michael he needs to trust her and "not some freak", the camera pans to Dwight awkwardly drinking straight from a blender while holding a can of protein powder.
  • Kelly appears to know every jewelry store in Scranton and Philadelphia.
  • Creed thinks Darryl's name is Darnell.
  • After learning that Donna is cheating on him, Michael says he has to go to the bathroom and asks Pam to follow, who says "absolutely" and follows him, to Donna's confusion.
  • Glen goes to Darryl for advice on how to deal with the warehouse workers making fun of him, before Andy walks in.
  • Michael is instantly calmed down by a picture of Cece.
  • Stanley is also eavesdropping on Michael's conversation with Donna with Dwight, Jim and Pam.


  • The episode is dedicated to the memory of Larry Einhorn, father of Randall Einhorn, the show's director of photography and occasional director.
  • The episode title continues in the tradition of titles with multiple meanings. In this episode, there are two cover-ups: Donna hides her married status, and Sabre hides the fact that their printers catch fire.
  • The Morse code messages in the cold open are mostly gibberish. Pam's second message decoded as "SE HE IT" which might have been an attempt to say "That's what she said."[1]
  • The printer Andy and Darryl are testing is the Sabre 9900 All-in-One Color Ink-jet
  • After the episode aired, the producers of the show created the Dwight Schrute, P.I. Web site in which Dwight offers his services as a private investigator.
  • This is the first episode that Rainn Wilson directed. This season also featured John Krasinski and Mindy Kaling directing for the first time.
  • The pictures Pam holds up are from the album "profile pictures" by "Donna." The album has eleven photos, but both photos Pam shows are "1 of 11." Everything else on the page is the same as well, including an advertisement for "Sid Dexter's," titled "Donna's Networks" and saying "find out who has been stalking your online profiles and searching your name." This suggests the prop team created an image and merely swapped the photos, as opposed to creating a fake profile or album for Donna or it could simply mean that the ads on Facebook didn't change, which frequently happens. It also appears that Pam has one unseen message and four unseen notifications.
  • Michael hangs up a fake phone call before he finishes talking. He does this several times while on pretend phone calls in the series.
  • The scene where Michael is in the kitchen with Jim and Pam eating his “comfort food” (mayonnaise with black olives), you can see that his bowl, in between different camera angles, has moved further away from him, and then closer to him, and then back to being far away from him.

Connection to previous episodes

  • Michael sits on the floor behind the reception desk groaning. He did the same in "A Benihana Christmas". In this episode he reveals he does so because he likes the attention.
  • Andy and Darryl test the printer in the storage room previously home to The Michael Scott Paper Company.

Cultural references

  • Michael took Donna to "The Poconos", a common nickname for the Pocono Mountains in northeast Pennsylvania. It is a common local destination for honeymooners, and many resorts in the area cater to that audience.
  • Meredith mentions that "they have heart-shaped jacuzzis", which were invented in 1963 by Morris Wilkin of the Coven Haven Resort and quickly spread through the area, making it a feature closely associated with romantic Poconos getaways.[2] Meredith says that it has "room enough for three", suggesting that Meredith uses it for threesomes.
  • P.F. Chang's is an American casual dining restaurant chain which serves American-Chinese cuisine. There is, however, no P.F. Chang's restaurant in northeastern Pennsylvania. The nearest one to Scranton is (or was) in the Plymouth Meeting Mall, almost two hours drive to the south.
  • The Great Wall is a real Chinese restaurant in Scranton.
  • Michael says "TMI", a common abbreviation for "too much information", a saying which means that too much personal information was revealed.
  • Michael tells Kelly that this is not "The Real World: Scranton". The Real World is a reality television series in which a group of young adults, strangers to each other, live together in a new city. There was no series set in Scranton.
  • Hazleton is a city in Pennsylvania about 45 miles from Scranton.
  • Ryan defends the Starlite Diner, saying that it was featured in Life. Life was a general-interest magazine known for its photography. Ryan claims that it appeared in a story on Americana, which is kind of vague since that was what most Life stories were about. It is not clear which diner Ryan was actually referring to.
  • Michael tells Dwight "I will give you fifty, money is no object," after Dwight asks for a hundred dollars as payment. The phrase "Money is no object" means "Price is not a concern", which is inconsistent with Michael's attempt to haggle over the price.
  • Facebook is a widely popular social networking site that was launched on February 4, 2004.
  • Andy's voice during the test prank sounds like Pinocchio from the Shrek movie.
  • Meredith reads the magazine Men's Health.
  • Michael mentions a Weird Al and Spice Girls concert.


Main cast

Supporting cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast

  • David Mate as Flex
  • Fay DeWitt as Lady at the Gym


  1. Tim G, "The Office: The Cover-Up, comment 65970, May 9, 2010.
  2. Heart Shaped Tubs, Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau.