The Search (The Office)

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"The Search"
The Office episode
Episode no. Season 7
Episode 15
Directed by Michael Spiller
Written by Brent Forrester
Production code 715
Original air date February 3, 2011
Guest actors
Linda Purl as Helene Beesly (voice)
Episode chronology
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"The Seminar"
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List of The Office (U.S. TV series) episodes

"The Search" is the fifteenth episode of seventh season of the American comedy television series The Office, and the show's 141st episode overall. Written by Brent Forrester and directed by Michael Spiller, the episode aired February 3, 2011 on NBC.

In the episode, Michael gets left behind at a gas station when Jim leaves him to attend to Cece and starts wandering around Scranton, leaving Dwight, Erin, and Holly to look for him. Meanwhile, Pam starts a caption contest in the office, with Gabe instituting rules that no one wants to follow.


During the cold open, Ryan and Kelly announce to the office that they are getting a divorce—apparently having married over a week earlier on the spur of the moment. Originally, they ask for no one to take sides, claiming it was an amicable break up but realizing that no one cares, Ryan declares that the split was not amicable.

Michael continues to try to ask Holly to get back together with him, but she continually refuses, stating she doesn't want a relationship with someone she works with. Since she dated Michael when she worked in Scranton before and AJ when she moved to Nashua, she feels like she doesn't want to fall into her pattern of dating co-workers again. Michael and Jim then go out on a sales call. After landing the sale, an irritable Michael needs to stop to use the bathroom. While at a gas station, Jim gets a call from Pam's mother Helene, who was taking a feverish Cece to see the doctor when she accidentally locked the child in the car. Jim leaves to attend to Cece, but not before attempting in vain to tell Michael through the door of the bathroom; he also tells a guy in coveralls to tell Michael what happened, but the guy is a customer rather than a gas station employee and drives away. Michael is left at the gas station with no way of contacting the office, as his cell phone and wallet are with Jim and he doesn't remember the office's number, so he ends up wandering around Scranton and making stops at a pet store and a hot dog stand.

Jim, now with Cece, calls Pam and tells her Michael is at the gas station, so Holly, Dwight, and Erin plan to head out before Dwight insults them both and says he'll lead the expedition. Dwight and Erin are rude to Holly, but when Dwight suggests that Michael walked back to the office, Holly correctly guesses that he went in the direction of the bakery next door "just for the smell of it". After stopping at a grocery store to get some things for Pam, Dwight and Erin notice Holly changing cell phone services at a kiosk outside the store. They and the kiosk attendant are annoyed to discover that Holly used a joke name to complete the forms in order to get a rubber stress ball, but when the attendant mentions that someone else had done the exact thing earlier, Dwight and Erin recognize a fake name that is used by Michael. Believing that Holly can subconsciously determine where Michael has been, they follow her to a Chinese restaurant, where they find his picture on the wall along with others who have dined there without paying (Creed also being among them, twice).

Michael eventually runs away from the camera crew so they can't find him. Dwight demands Holly to tell him where Michael is, but Holly says she doesn't know. She suggests that they find a high vantage point at which they can try to spot him, but Dwight rejects this idea, and the two split up. Holly walks away while Dwight decides to look in a bowling alley. Holly heads up to the roof of a tall building to see if she can spot Michael from above. On the roof, she finds Michael who was similarly trying to spot the office from above. They both admit that they've missed each other and kiss. Erin, who opted to follow Holly instead of Dwight, walks in and is happy for Michael.

Meanwhile, Pam notices her Sabre printer doodle on the refrigerator has funny captions that insult Sabre and gets the office to participate in a caption contest involving a cartoon of two dogs on a tropical island. Gabe, who finds the captions insulting, implements a list of annoying rules, stating that they can't insult Sabre or use pop culture references, and that they have to use new Dunder Mifflin/Sabre "sticky quips". The office instead decides to use an instant messenger to share quips. Gabe catches them and prints out the list of quips and reads them to the office, which start off insulting Sabre before they attack Gabe personally. The favored entry involves one where one of the dogs says he's going to piss on one of the palm trees because it reminds him of Gabe; an interview reveals that Angela came up with that one. The office continues to get good laughs out of the ones that insult Gabe, who is once again defeated and miserable.


This episode was written by consulting producer Brent Forrester, his first writing credit of the season and his ninth writing credit of the series. It was directed by Michael Spiller, his first directing credit for The Office. This was the third consecutive episode in which John Krasinski has a limited role in the episode as Jim, due to the filming of Big Miracle in Alaska.[1]


In its original American broadcast on February 3, 2011, "The Search" was viewed by an estimated 7.29 million viewers and received a 3.7 rating/9% share among adults between the ages of 18 and 49, decreasing in viewers from the previous episode.[2]


  1. ^ White, Cindy (February 4, 2011). "The Office: "The Search" Review". IGN. Retrieved February 5, 2011. 
  2. ^ Gorman, Bill (February 4, 2011). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'Vampire Diaries,' 'Mentalist' Adjusted Up; 'Private Practice,' 'Parks & Recreation' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved February 4, 2011. 

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