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The Office Theory Explains Why Toby Was Fired In The Finale

The finale of "The Office" takes place a year after the penultimate installment, "A.A.R.M." The episode opens with a brief recap of several key events that have occurred during the time lapse, one of which is the dual firing of Kevin Malone (Brian Baumgartner) and Toby Flenderson (Paul Lieberstein) by the new regional manager, Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson). The dismissal of Toby comes almost as an afterthought, and it appears as if Dwight is getting rid of Toby to avoid him blocking his clearly justified decision to let go of Kevin. However, one popular fan theory provides a clear argument that Toby's termination isn't just justified, it's been a long time coming.

The lengthy fan theory was posted by Redditor u/Primetime22. The tl;dr summary is that Dwight probably didn't fire Toby — David Wallace (Andy Buckley) did. In the year after the documentary came out, copious quantities of well-documented workplace ethics violations would have been revealed, creating, as u/Primetime22 put it, "something of a PR nightmare on [Wallace's] hands due to how much the Scranton branch was able to get away with for so long." This would have put pressure on Wallace to do something to put out the fire and restore Dunder Mifflin's public image.

Who better to take the fall than Toby? "These events almost always fall under HR, and the fact that Toby allowed it all to happen for so long doesn't look good for him (he's even the cause of many of these issues)," u/Primetime22 explained. "Besides, corporate can't lay-off the entire staff, as they're presumably still the company's most successful branch."

Dwight's semi-informal dismissal could have easily been nothing more than a message from Wallace himself that Toby's past HR indiscretions were finally coming home to roost.

What ethical violations are we talking about here?

The Reddit theory goes fairly in-depth to provide substantial evidence to justify Toby's dismissal. Individual examples are legion, and the theory doesn't list them one by one. However, u/Primetime22 points out, "Nearly every act of harassment, racism, violence, and general misconduct that the Dunder-Mifflin Scranton branch ever experienced is neatly documented whether these events were recorded by Toby or not (and we know he probably didn't record all of them, due to him not reporting many of Dwight's complaints against Jim at the end of Season 2)."

Along with tracing the mismanagement of so many ethical violations to Toby's desk in The Annex, the theory adds that David Wallace would have seen everything played back in detail in the documentary. The owner even expresses his disapproval of what he's seen in an interview in the finale.

As a final flourish, the Redditor adds that Michael Scott's relentless portrayal of Toby as a villain may have helped create a certain sense of notoriety around the character in the public eye. This could have made pinning everything on Toby and calling it a day that much easier. It also would explain why he's so gosh darn depressed when he comes back for the panel and Dwight and Angela's (Angela Kinsey) wedding in the finale. Maybe he's become the fall guy for every ethical violation in the entire history of "The Office" — which would undeniably be a heavy burden to bear. Either way, Toby certainly has one of the worst "The Office" character endings.