Dunderpedia: The Office Wiki

"The Negotiation" (also referred to as "Labor Negotiation") is the 19th episode of the third season of The Office and the 47th overall. It was written by Michael Schur and directed by Jeffrey Blitz. It first aired on April 5, 2007. It was viewed by 6.7 million people.


The episode opens with Roy waiting outside the building, presumably for Jim. Inside, Jim is talking to Karen on what they should do for the night. An infuriated Roy makes his way up to the office, first to speak to Pam until he sees Jim with Karen. He calls Jim by his last name, and advances on him with his fist raised. Pam screams at Roy to stop and Jim pushes Karen out of the way. As soon as Roy gets his hands on Jim, Dwight sprays large amounts of pepper spray at Roy (it spreads throughout the front of the office as well). In an interview, Dwight is seen crying, from the pepper spray, explaining that everybody laughed at him for bringing pepper spray in to the office. "Who's laughing now?" he asks smugly.

A week later, Michael and Toby are talking to Jan over the speaker phone, and it is revealed that Roy has been fired, and that Darryl now wants a raise. In separate interviews, Pam says that the attack on Jim by Roy "sucked", and Jim says that he was lucky that Dwight had been there and that Roy was lucky that Dwight only used pepper spray. Dwight is then seen showing his cache of weapons that contains nun-chuks and ninja stars.

Jim is then seen thanking Dwight, but Dwight will not accept the thanks. Jim then tries to give Dwight a gift, but Dwight claims he "doesn't want it, doesn't need it, and won't accept it". In an interview, Dwight explains his reasoning for not accepting the thanks, saying the "real heroes" were superheroes. Meanwhile, Oscar tells Angela about Dwight's brave efforts, and Angela struggles not to appear too enthralled, but is clearly very proud of Dwight.

Michael and Jim are then seen in Michael's office, and Michael asks Jim to role-play as Darryl, asking for a raise. Michael is equipped with a list of negotiation tactics that he acquired from Wikipedia, "the best thing ever". In Michael's first tactic, he lowers his voice to create a position of power, but Jim is less than impressed. Michael's second tactic, "leaving the room unexpectedly", is a "surprise". When Michael leaves the room in their second role-play, somewhat expectedly, Jim starts talking quietly, stopping Michael on his way out the door, and confusing him.

Later, Dwight recites the attack on Jim to Toby rather monotonously, ending his description of the events with "...the end". After Dwight leaves, Kelly and Ryan begin arguing in the next cubicle, rather loudly, and Toby, in an interview, questions whether Michael would have moved Ryan in with Kelly as a way to punish him, well aware that the relationship between Toby and Michael is rather unpleasant.

Meanwhile, Darryl enters Michael's office, and Michael employs a tactic in which he changes the location at the last second, presumably as another way to gain a position of power. In the conference room, Michael attempts to employ a tactic in which he declines to speak first, but fails. While Darryl and Michael enter a discussion relating to Darryl's request for a raise, Michael stands and walks to the window, and Darryl notices that Michael is wearing a woman's power-suit.

Michael quickly leaves the conference room, and desperately tries to prove Darryl wrong by getting Pam to look at his suit. Pam agrees that it is a woman's suit, and Michael says in an interview that he got it out of a clothing bin. Kevin asks Michael who makes the suit, and Michael looks at the label on the inside of the jacket (which is lined with pink silk). The label reads "MISSterious". Michael shows Pam the back of his pants, which don't use a belt, but thin elastic. Also, the pants don't have any pockets.

Michael later regrets making one "tiny" little mistake in his negotiation: he "wore a woman's clothes".

Later, Karen tells Angela about the attack on Jim, and Angela experiences a euphoric interest in Dwight's bravery. Meanwhile, Michael is back to discussing Darryl's raise, and uses his tactic of lowering his voice, but ends up simply talking with a slow, strained voice.

Pam apologizes to Jim, and Jim accepts her apology, but seems slightly resentful at Pam and Roy's connection. He comments on the way that Pam and Roy are "bound to find their way back to one another eventually". Still in discussion, Michael reveals to Darryl how much he makes each week, and Darryl seems to find Michael's salary unbelievably low, especially considering how long Michael has been with the company (fourteen years).

Meanwhile, Jim offers Dwight a free beer after work, but Dwight refuses this gesture, as well. Jim confides in Karen as to why Dwight is so easy to play pranks on, but so hard to be nice to. Karen tries to help, but suggests that Jim simply "try and sell some paper" so that they can take a trip. Kevin and Creed are later seen giving Michael money, presumably because they found out about Michael's low salary, and Stanley, in an interview, claims that Michael is still "way overpaid".

Eventually, Darryl convinces Michael to ring Jan and ask for a raise for himself. Outside Michael's office, Creed tells his version of the attack on Jim to Angela, but Creed is clearly confusing events, and Angela, disappointed, calls him "useless". Michael is then seen talking to Jan over the speaker phone, with Darryl nearby, and Jan says that Michael should come to Corporate Headquarters to negotiate a raise. Michael agrees, but almost backs out when he finds out he has to bring Toby. Michael is eventually convinced, though.

Toby is grateful to get away from Ryan and Kelly's bickering, and Michael, Darryl and Toby head to Corporate HQ in Darryl's cramped truck.

On the way there, Darryl says that his cousin has a big place in New York, and that Toby could stay with them. Michael says that he might stay, to which Darryl replies "it's not that big". Meanwhile, Kelly is describing the attack on Jim to Angela, but Kelly gets a phone call, and says that Angela should just look at Toby's report. While Kelly is on the phone, Angela takes the report from Toby's desk.

At Corporate HQ, Michael enters Jan's office, with some encouragement from Darryl.

Meanwhile, Roy returns to the office with a security guard to get his last paycheck, and apologizes to Jim. Dwight tenses and stands up, but doesn't do anything except discreetly take out his nun-chuks. On his way out, Roy convinces Pam to meet him for coffee after work to talk things through. As Roy leaves, Kevin warns Jim of Roy's presence in the office.

At Corporate Headquarters, the negotiation begins. Michael meets Jan's new assistant, a young man, and asks Jan "who's the boy-toy?". After specifically being told not to bring their relationship in to the negotiation, Michael, disappointed at Jan's six percent raise offer, threatens Jan with no sex. Toby, who is being a third-party stand-in, writes something down, and Michael calls him a "perv-ball".

While getting coffee, it is initially tense between Pam and Roy, but eventually they talk openly. Roy is puzzled when Pam says she isn't going to try to win Jim over, saying if she does not, then all of what had happened would be for nothing. They hug, Pam wipes a tear from her face, and they part ways. Back at the office, Jim leaves a fake certificate of bravery on Dwight's desk, but Dwight unexpectedly sees through Jim's ploy, and Jim is left once again with no way to repay Dwight for his bravery.

At HQ, Toby is asked to leave the room and Michael tells Jan about all the bad things that had happened to him lately: "I accidentally cross-dressed...and then Darryl made me feel bad for not making any money...and then I had to ride up here with stupid Toby...and then your assistant was all young and hot...". Jan eventually offers Michael a twelve percent raise.

Michael reflects in an interview about the day's events. He claims that "life isn't about salary - it's about perks, like having sex with Jan", of which Jan is standing next to him and immediately rebuffs his comments as they leave. Back at the office, Angela tells Dwight about how proud she is of him, and they begin to passionately kiss. Jim emerges from the washroom and sees this from the window, a distance away. He quickly runs back inside the washroom, and says that he and Dwight are now even, because he won't tell anybody about what he saw.

The episode closes with Andy returning from anger management.  He enters the office seemingly ready to make amends with his co-workers. However, he can barely get a word out when Dwight hits him with the pepper spray and Andy falls to the floor in pain. Toby is then seen confiscating all of Dwight's weapons (which include, a taser, a boomerang, handcuffs, a nightstick, a pair of brass knuckles, and a samurai sword) In an interview Dwight claims that unlike Hiro from Heroes and Bono, he is "not a hero".

Connections to other episodes[]

  • Dwight also confused heroes and superheroes in "Diversity Day".
  • Michael also showed admiration for Bono in the "Pilot".
  • Michael previously role-played with Jim in "Halloween".
  • Kevin previously had Jim's back in case Roy gets violent in "Boys and Girls".
  • Darryl previously taught Michael slang in "Casino Night".
  • Creed previously returned money that Michael "gave" him in "Casino Night".
  • To get Michael's attention, Jim mutters "sex, Steve Martin, Teri Hatcher." Michael had expressed admiration for Teri Hatcher in "Michael's Birthday".
  • Michael declares his negotiation a "win-win-win". He learned about win-win-win in "Conflict Resolution".
  • Roy calls Pam "Pammy", which he also did in "Cocktails" and "Hot Girl".
  • In the episode "Boys and Girls", Darryl says to Michael regarding his wage "... but we get compensated very differently." And in the episode "Email Surveillance", Michael states "There are certain things a boss does not share with his employees. His salary, that would depress them." However, in this episode, Darryl was more amazed than depressed to learn that Michael earns little more than he does.
  • Spoiler: This episode starts a running joke about Dwight's hidden weapons. He will later have his weapons confiscated in "The Duel" and again in a deleted scene from "Spooked".
  • Dwight first mentioned bringing weapons to the office in "Drug Testing" where he decides to bring in a bo staff after learning security does not carry guns.


  • As of this episode, Ed Helms (Andy Bernard) is credited as part of the main cast.
  • In this episode, Michael claims to have obtained his list of negotiation tactics from Wikipedia. These tactics did not actually come from Wikipedia. After the episode aired, Wikipedia administrators had to protect the "Negotiation" page because Office fans were adding Michael's fake negotiation tactics to it.[1]
  • Ryan's middle name is revealed to be "Bailey."
  • When Kelly answers the phone she deals with a customer that received an order of 12,000 reams of paper instead of the 12 reams that was ordered.
  • Writer Michael Schur was nominated for an Emmy Award for this episode. He lost to Greg Daniels for writing "Gay Witch Hunt".
  • This episode is the final one with David Denman (Roy) as a regular cast member, although the character would return as a guest in three subsequent episodes.
  • Ryan and Kelly argue off camera when Michael enters the annex. This allowed B.J. Novak and Mindy Kalling to work on their scripts while still fulfilling their roles as the plot requires.
  • As of this episode only Jim and Pam are aware of the relationship between Dwight and Angela.
  • Michael is jealous of Jan's new assistant Hunter. As revealed in "The Job" and "Dinner Party", Michael's jealousy is well founded.

Amusing details[]

  • When Jim and Karen discuss their weekend plans, Creed is playing Spider Solitaire.
  • Dwight genuinely does not expect thanks from Jim for saving him, having a look of bewilderment when Jim does thank him.
  • Dwight summarizes the incident for Toby in the same manner one would write a police report, possibly a reference to when he was a volunteer sheriff's deputy.
  • When Darryl points out that Michael is wearing a woman's suit, Michael says that he "would not make that mistake again," implying that he has made this mistake at least once before. Spoiler: He would, in fact, arguably make that mistake twice again. First in "Launch Party," when he calls Pam, Kelly, Meredith, Angela, and Oscar into the conference room to ask if his shirt is too tight (the consensus is that it is too tight and it seems that it could be a woman's shirt), and second in the episode "Nepotism", when Erin mentions the pants that Michael wanted to return to Talbot's, a chain of high-end women's clothing stores. In the Season 5 Super Bowl promo, when Michael asks if anybody notices something different, Dwight says, "You're wearing a man's suit."
  • Darryl is seen laughing in a phone call as Michael asks the office for their opinion on his suit.
  • Angela is visibly aroused by hearing the different office members recount Dwight's heroism.
  • While waiting to speak to Jan, Michael is seated next to a woman wearing the same suit as he is.
  • At the end of the episode, Michael goes home with Jan because Darryl is spending the night in New York and did not let Michael stay with him.
  • Michael tells Toby to come with him because he wants to smack him in the head with a hammer. Toby looks at Kelly and Ryan arguing and then decides "alright" opting to go with Michael without knowing what he wants.
  • Both times Roy comes into the office in this episode, Kevin is not around. He previously promised Jim to watch his back around Roy in "Boys and Girls". As Roy leaves the office Kevin shouts to warn Jim the second he sees Roy while coming out of the pantry area.
  • Toby notes this is the first time a male subordinate attempts to blackmail a female superior by withholding sex for a modest pay raise. It is more typical for a female subordinate to do so from a male superior in exchange for a large pay raise.
  • Jan doesn't need to finish her sentence for Toby to willingly leave the room.
  • Pam replies "I know" after Roy says he doesn't understand her, acknowledging that throughout their relationship Roy doesn't seem to understand Pam's needs.
  • When Toby is confiscating Dwight's weapons he does not take his pepper spray.
  • When Dwight uses pepper spray on Roy, he accidentally also sprays himself, Pam and Jim. While using it on Andy, no one else is caught in the spray.

Behind the scenes[]

  • There were about a dozen takes of the attack in the cold open, but only a few of them included the spraying with pepper spray (actually, just water).[2]
  • Pam smirks at the end of her talking head where she says that "it sucked." Some fans interpret this to mean that Pam secretly enjoyed it, but Jenna Fischer (Pam) says that was not her intention. It was meant to be an expression of nervous embarrassment.[3]
  • Michael's suit was a genuine woman's suit. Wardrobe designer Carey Bennett did not have time to sew two suits from scratch, so she went to stores looking for a suit that would fit Steve Carell (Michael), look masculine enough that it would fool Michael Scott, and have two copies, one for Carell and one for an actress playing the woman in the lobby. She brought Carell in for a fitting to try on several candidates, and that was when Carell learned of the plot element that Michael would accidentally wear women's clothing.[4]
  • Angela is eating grapes when she asks Karen to describe what happened. This fruit was chosen because it has an elegant, Renaissance association.[5]
  • The diner scene between Pam and Roy was filmed at the Hungry Fox Diner in North Hollywood.[6][7] This was a popular dining spot for Greg Daniels and other cast and crew.[8]
  • Having Dwight sit on Angela's desk before they kiss was a practical choice: Rainn Wilson is so much taller than Angela Kinsey that he needs to be seated in order to bring their heads to roughly the same level. In one take, Wilson swept everything off the desk and lay Kinsey on the desk to kiss. It was hilarious, but the director felt it was too over-the-top.[9]

Cultural references[]

  • The Philadelphia Phillies are a professional baseball team.
  • Even Steven is an informal term meaning that a situation has been resolved equitably. Coincidentally, on The Daily Show, actor Steve Carell participated in a debate against Stephen Colbert in a regular sketch called Even Stevphen.
  • Dwight's concept of "real heroes" comes from superheroes Superman and Batman.
  • Roy picks up his last paycheck. Payment in the form of a paper check is still common in the United States. Michael shows Darryl his pay stub, which is the portion of the check that is not deposited. The pay stub summarizes earnings and deductions for the pay period.
  • Wikipedia is a collaborative Web site. It is open to editing by anyone.
  • Steve Martin is a comedian and actor. Teri Hatcher is an actress.
  • Hillary Clinton is a prominent female politician known for wearing pantsuits.
  • A gas card is a gift card which can be used to purchase gasoline. They are a form of scrip.
  • The story of Han Solo comes from the first Star Wars movie.
  • James Van Der Beek is an actor best known for his role on the teen drama Dawson's Creek, which went off the air four years before this episode takes place.
  • Ross is a chain of discount clothing stores.
  • Missy Elliott is a female rap artist.
  • Trenton, New Jersey is the capital of the state of New Jersey, about two and a half hours' drive from Scranton.


See: The Negotiation Quotes


Main cast[]

Supporting cast[]

Recurring cast[]

Guest cast[]

  • Liz Ross as Woman in Waiting Room


  1. Jesdanun, Anick. 'Office' fans, inspired by Michael Scott, flock to edit Wikipedia, Associated Press, 2007.
  2. Kinsey, Angela and Jenna Fischer. Episode 48: The Negotiation with David Denman. "Office Ladies" podcast, October 7, 2020. Time code 29:36.
  3. Kinsey, Angela and Jenna Fischer. Episode 48: The Negotiation with David Denman. "Office Ladies" podcast, October 7, 2020. Time code 34:00.
  4. Kinsey, Angela and Jenna Fischer. Episode 48: The Negotiation with David Denman. "Office Ladies" podcast, October 7, 2020. Time code 1:05:23.
  5. Kinsey, Angela and Jenna Fischer. Episode 48: The Negotiation with David Denman. "Office Ladies" podcast, October 7, 2020. Time code 53:00.
  6. Kinsey, Angela and Jenna Fischer. Episode 48: The Negotiation with David Denman. "Office Ladies" podcast, October 7, 2020. Time code 22:55.
  7. Blake, Lindsay. The Hungry Fox Restaurant from “The Office”, I am not a stalker blog, July 9, 2010.
  8. Kinsey, Angela and Jenna Fischer. Episode 48: The Negotiation with David Denman. "Office Ladies" podcast, October 7, 2020. Time code 1:13:26.
  9. Kinsey, Angela and Jenna Fischer. Episode 48: The Negotiation with David Denman. "Office Ladies" podcast, October 7, 2020. Time code 1:21:28.