Before he was Heimdall, Luther and Brixton, Idris Elba had a short stint on The Office. He portrayed Charles Miner, the new Vice President of the Northeast Region in season 5 of the sitcom but his tenure didn’t last long. So what happened to Charles and why was he fired from Dunder Mifflin?
Charles was introduced in the episode titled “New Boss.” He filled in for the position left by Ryan Howard (B.J. Novak) at the end of The Office season 4. Unlike Ryan, Charles didn’t want Michael Scott’s (Steve Carrell) carefree management style to continue. The tension between Michael and his superior escalated when Charles disbanded the party planning committee in an effort to save money. Charles also cancelled Michael’s 15th-anniversary celebration which resulted in Michael quitting the company.
During Michael’s final two weeks at Dunder Mifflin, he tried to interfere with some of the company’s longtime clients so Charles had him escorted from the property. Michael then started the Michael Scott Paper Company along with Ryan and Pam (Jenna Fischer). Charles stayed in Scranton to oversee the branch but he started to lose control when Michael successfully stole clients. Michael eventually got his revenge when Dunder Mifflin’s CFO David Wallace (Andy Buckley) offered to buy out his company while also giving Michael his manager position back and offering sales jobs to Ryan and Pam. He had the last word by having Charles escorted out of the office.
Elba reprised his role one more time in The Office in the season 5 episode “Company Picnic.” Charles was still employed and attended the annual picnic with the rest of the corporate employees. At one point, the corporate group played the Scranton branch in volleyball where Charles continuously berated Jim (John Krasinski). The two never got along in the office and it seemed like Charles still held on to his sour feelings towards his one-time employee.
Charles’ fate at Dunder Mifflin was revealed the following season during the Christmas episode “Secret Santa.” The future of Dunder Mifflin was up in the air until Michael learned that the paper company was being bought out. He ruined the Christmas party by telling his employees that they are probably losing their jobs. Michael called David to get clarification and the office learned that only corporate employees were getting laid off, including Charles. This marked the beginning of a major change for the Scranton employees as Sabre took over Dunder Mifflin.
Elba’s time on The Office was always meant to be short. The actor agreed to make a small guest appearance at the request of the sitcom’s creators. Joining a comedy series was nevertheless a big jump for Elba, who up to that point was best known for playing a drug dealer on HBO’s The Wire. Even though Elba played a no-nonsense man in both shows, playing a VP at a paper company was most likely a change of pace compared to being a drug kingpin’s second-in-command.
Next: The Office: The Dark Reason Why Dunder Mifflin Was Being Filmed