Last night’s episode, Jury Duty, involved scandalous improprieties, shrewd cover-ups, relentless investigations, and dramatic public confessions. Agatha Christie would have been proud, although Scranton’s twist on these themes might have left her a little confused.
It took Dwight only a few minutes to dismantle Jim’s lie about having been on jury duty for a full week. After uncovering the truth, Dwight celebrated the demise of his nemesis, believing that Andy had no other recourse other than to fire Jim. When Andy gave Jim a mere slap on the wrist (well, face actually), Dwight was beside himself in anger. While no liability should result from any single act from this episode, Andy’s lenient treatment of Jim definitely created a ripe environment for someone else to cry “no fair” in the future. In legal terms, they would allege “disparate treatment.” The cardinal rule for disciplining employees is to enforce your policies consistently. If Andy decides to discipline an employee for dishonesty in the future, that employee could argue that Andy only did so because of his/her race, sex, religion, etc., and point to Andy’s disparate treatment of Jim as proof. The temptation to have favorites is normal, but employers need to know that allowing favoritism to influence the enforcement of policies can be very risky.
By far the juiciest revelation of the night is that Angela’s baby bares an uncanny resemblance to Dwight. Moreover, we learn that the timing of the birth happens to fall nine months after Dwight and Angela had a romantic rendezvous – and a month before Angela and the Senator tied the knot. Angela, attempting to hide the conception date, actually stages a hospital birth long after the child’s birth, even claiming to have had a premature delivery in the hopes of keeping her coworkers away. However, Scranton’s skeletons are not apt to stay in the closet very long. Her coworkers insist on visiting the hospital and are surprised to find a very large and well-fed child in place of the alleged “preemie.” When Oscar quickly connects the dots and figures out that the baby is Dwight’s, he confronts Angela, who adamantly denies that Dwight is the father. Dwight also comes to believe that the baby is his and is immediately infused with fatherly righteousness, promising great drama in the episodes to come. We look forward to this mystery continuing to unravel.