‘The Office’: Is Toby the Real Scranton Strangler?

The Office ended in 2013, but that hasn’t stopped fans from coming up with interesting theories about the characters. Mental Floss has gathered 12 of those theories, one of them being that HR Rep, Toby Flenderson is the Scranton Strangler.

The Scranton Strangler was a serial killer that the employees of Dunder Mifflin talked about. In one Halloween episode, Dwight Schrute, a Sales Representative, dresses up as him on The Office.

Eventually, he is caught, but viewers are never shown his face. The show’s fans have collected quite a bit of evidence to explain why they think Toby is the real strangler. 

What is ‘The Office’ About?

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The Office is an American adaptation of a British show with the same name that follows the lives and everyday antics of the employees of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company in Scranton, PA. There are several quirky characters, but the show mainly focuses on Michael Scott,  Jim Halpert, Pam Beesly, and Dwight Schrute.

The Office aired on NBC for nine seasons, starting in 2005. The show was filmed as a “mockumentary.” This style of filming wasn’t received well by viewers initially, and the show struggled in the beginning. However, now it has a large fan base and is favored by many.

Who is Toby Flenderson?

Toby Flenderson
Toby Flenderson | NBC

Toby Flenderson, portrayed by Paul Lieberstein, is the Human Resources Representative at Dunder Mifflin. He is hated by Michael Scott, the manager of the paper company.

Toby just tries to do his job, but in doing so, he attempts to stop Michael’s antics often. He comes off as mild-mannered and soft-spoken most of the time.

Throughout the show, Toby has a secret crush on Pam Beesly, the receptionist. In addition to this, viewers learn that he is also divorced and has a daughter named Sasha.

At one point in the show, Toby goes on a trip to Costa Rica, but has an accident on the third day and ends up in the hospital. He eventually makes his way back to his old job at Dunder Mifflin. 

Is Toby the Scranton Strangler?

Fans and Ranker have gathered a substantial amount of evidence to show that Toby is, in fact, the Scranton Strangler.

During season seven, episode eight, “Viewing Party,” everyone gathers to watch the police car chase on live television at work. However, Toby is not there, and later everyone attends a Glee viewing party, and again Toby isn’t present.

In another episode, Toby is selected for jury duty for the Scranton Strangler case. Fans think he’s the strangler because of how obsessive he becomes, and he’s willing to break the rules by hinting that he’s on the jury.

Then at the last Dundies, season seven, episode 21, Toby announces the man on trial was found guilty, but Toby voices his doubts about it. Fans think this is because he’s feeling guilty himself about putting someone else behind bars.

In the last season, Toby continues to talk about the Scranton Strangler to anyone who will listen, which isn’t many. Eventually, Nellie, who is fed up, convinces him to visit the man who was convicted and tell him that Toby thinks he’s innocent. Well, during this visit, Toby is strangled, but survives. There isn’t footage of this event, but fans believe this just helped Toby cover his tracks even more. 

Some fans just find Toby overall creepy. In one episode, he places his hand on Pam’s thigh and strokes her knee. In season 5, episode 10, Michael says to Toby, “you are the silent killer,” and all Toby says is, “you’ll see.” Super creepy! You can re-watch ‘The Office’ on Netflix until January 2021 and gather your own opinions on whether Toby is actually the Scranton Strangler.