‘The Office’: Michael Scott’s Spy Mission at a Rival Company Uncovered an Interesting Detail

The Office’s Michael Scott considered the Dunder Mifflin employees to be his family because he really yearned for one of his own. In one season 5 episode of the show, when Michael spies on a rival paper company, there’s an interesting detail that really speaks about Michael’s desires.

Steve Carell sits in front of a window as his character Michael Scott on The Office.
‘The Office’ star Steve Carell | Getty Images

‘The Office’ Season 5 episode had Michael spying on a small paper company

During the Sept. 1 episode of the Office Ladies podcast, hosts Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey discussed the season 5 episode “Prince Family Paper.” In the episode, David Wallace asks Michael to see what kind of information he can find out about a small family-owned competitor.

Michael enthusiastically takes on the mission and brings Dwight along to help. When they talk with the employees at Prince Family Paper, Michael gets a lot more intel than he could have imagined, including the territory map for the company and a list of their clients.

The Prince Family Paper office was a set created from scratch

Fischer and Kinsey discussed the location for Prince Family Paper, which Fischer revealed was an empty strip mall the show rented so they could build the paper company’s office. According to Fischer, “Location manager Kyle Alexander had to find a location where we could have some sort of office front that had all windows because we assumed that if they were going undercover, they couldn’t bring a documentary crew with them.”

She continued, “And so they had to be able to have a total glass front on this office. But then we also needed this giant parking lot. So he was able to find all of that in this little empty mini-mall.”

The show brought in their own cars to fill the parking lot. “And then our production designer, Michael Gallenberg, had to create the entire Prince Family Paper offices from scratch,” Fischer added.

There’s an interesting detail about the small family company that relates to Michael so perfectly

Kinsey and Fischer marveled at how the set for this office had some little details that painted it perfectly as a family business.

Fischer pointed out little “hand-painted ceramic animals, like the kind that your granddaughter would give to you” as well as a wall of framed photos. “All of those details to me, just like really set this up as a family business,” she explained. “And it made the whole storyline even more heartbreaking.”

Those details are also important in terms of Michael’s desire to have a family. “Just like the most amazing details,” Kinsey said. “I feel like this is Michael’s true dream office because it is a real family.” The company is run by Mr. Prince, his son (eagle-eyed fans noticed they have ‘World’s Best Dad’ and ‘World’s Best Son’ mugs), and Mrs. Prince.

Fischer agreed, saying, “You’re so right. He wants his office to be his family — and this office is a family.”

Kinsey remarked, “I know. Well, that’s going to weigh on his heartstrings.”

RELATED: ‘The Office’: Jenna Fischer Said This Michael Scott Scene ‘Hit Me So Hard’ Because It Was So Sad