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James Spader joins 'The Office' full-time

Actor James Spader poses on the press line

Actor James Spader poses on the press line at the opening gala celebration in 2008 of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA in Los Angeles. Credit: AP, 2008

James Spader -- who played a particularly odd and unsettling salesman interviewing for Michael (Steve Carell) on "The Office" season finale -- will be joining the show full-time. 

This was expected -- "EW" had reported some time ago -- and also expected, that his character would not replace Michael's but Kathy Baker's Jo Bennett; Baker is leaving to concentrate full-time on "Harry's Law."

The statement, via Paul Lieberstein, show-runner and of course the inimitable Toby:

"James will reprise his role as Robert California, this uber-salesman that has a power to convince and manipulate, like a high-class weirdo Jedi warrior,” said Paul Lieberstein, one of the series’ executive producers and a series regular. "He'll have been hired over the summer as the new manager, but within hours, got himself promoted. Within days, he took over the company. James has an energy that is completely his own, and ‘The Office’ has no tools for dealing with this guy. We're thrilled he's joining our cast."

Meanwhile, the first part of "Search Committee," and Robert! 

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