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Everything to Know About Rashida Jones's Character Karen Filippelli on The Office

The Season 3 addition certainly rocked Dunder Mifflin. 

By Megan Lasher

Karen Filippelli (Rashida Jones) joined The Office in Season 3, and she quickly rocked the boat between the fan-favorite couple, Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) and Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer). But that didn't stop her from bonding with fellow Dunder Mifflin-ites throughout the season (and her subsequent appearances). 

How to Watch

Watch every episode of The Office on Peacock.

Relive Karen's character arc that solidified Jones as an NBC comedy staple before she joined the cast of Parks and Recreation

Karen Filippelli in a promo photo.

When Did Karen Join The Office?

Karen's first episode was Season 3, Episode 1 ("Gay Witch Hunt"). She was working at the Dunder Mifflin Stamford branch, alongside Andy Bernard (Ed Helms), when Jim transferred over to get out of Pennsylvania.

In Season 3, Episode 3 ("The Coup"), Jim was looped into the branch-wide Call of Duty game and received flack from Andy for not knowing how to play, prompting him to bond with Karen. In the next episode ("Grief Counseling"), Karen's favorite chips were sold out in the office vending machine and Jim spent hours trying to find a bag for her, further bringing them together. 

Karen Filippelli and Jim Halpert in a scene from The Office.

When Did Karen and Jim Start Dating?

Much like Jim and Pam's slow burn relationship, it took a little while for Jim and Karen to go from office flirtation to actually dating. In Season 3, Episode 7 ("Branch Closing"), it was announced that the Stamford branch would merge into the Scranton branch, forcing Jim back to Pennsylvania. Karen also considered taking a job in Scranton, and Jim told her she should consider it. 

"I'm happy he said that," Karen said afterward in a talking head. "I don't think he's into me or anything, but I'm kind of into him."

In the next episode ("The Merger"), though, there were a few hints that Jim and Karen had officially started dating, like when Jim told Pam, "I've started seeing someone." 

Their relationship was finally confirmed in the following episode.

"I've started to see Karen. It's very new, and I'm not really ready to talk about it just yet, because once the word gets out there, it might affect the way people behave around us," Jim said at the beginning of Season 3, Episode 9 ("The Convict"). 

Karen and Pam's Friendship

Karen Filippelli and Pam Beesly in a scene from The Office.

When Karen first entered the Dunder Mifflin Scranton office, she complimented Pam's sweater, sparking a sweet friend moment for the two of them that continued in later episodes, despite the tension around what became their love triangle. 

In Season 3, Episodes 10-11 ("A Benihana Christmas," Parts 1 and 2), Angela Martin (Angela Kinsey) was dismissive and rude to Karen during the Party Planning Committee's Christmas meeting before ultimately kicking Karen off the committee entirely. Pam approached Karen afterward to apologize for Angela, and they decided to make their own group, called "The Committee to Plan Parties", which held a rival Christmas event. 

Eventually, though, as Jim and Pam's connection became more evident, things grew more awkward between Pam and Karen. During "Beach Games" (Episode 23), Pam ran across fiery coals and, with newfound confidence, said, "I called off my wedding for you, Jim, and now you're with someone else." 

She told Karen bluntly in the next episode ("The Job"), "I'm glad I said it, I just am sorry if it made you feel weird." 

What Happened to Karen on The Office?

Karen Filippelli and Jim Halpert in a scene from The Office.

In the Season 3 finale (Episodes 24-25, "The Job"), Karen and Jim both interviewed for roles in the corporate office, which would require them to transfer to New York City if they got the jobs. They traveled to the city together, enjoying a night out in Manhattan before their formal meetings, and Karen told Jim that she would move with him if he got the job. 

Karen's comment led Jim to ponder their relationship and, as he went in for his interview, he found a note that Pam had written him that said, "Don't forget us when you're famous!" Jim left the interview and drove straight home to Scranton, where he asked Pam on a date. 

In Season 4's premiere ("Fun Run"), Jim confirmed, "I broke up with Karen after the job interview," and audiences saw a flashback to their fight in the break room. According to Jim, Karen had originally planned to stay in her job, but then "the next day, her desk was empty."

Karen's Reappearances After Her Departure

In Season 4 Episode 10 ("Branch Wars"), it was revealed that Karen had transferred to the Utica branch and was working as a regional manager. "Turns out it's a pretty easy gig when your boss isn't an idiot and your boyfriend's not in love with somebody else," she told the cameras. 

In that episode, Stanley Hudson (Leslie David Baker) announced that he was planning to transfer to the Utica branch, prompting Michael Scott (Steve Carell) to launch a "branch war" against them in order to keep Stanley. He recruited Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) and Jim to join him, saying "clearly Karen is trying to get back at us because Jim dumped her." 

Dwight and Michael infiltrated the building and left Jim in the car with a walkie-talkie as they failed to steal a copy machine. Jim spotted Karen nearby and attempted to hide, but she knocked on the car window and asked, "What are you doing here?" She confronted all three of the Scranton employees, and then held Jim back and got upset when he said he didn't want to see her because things were going well with Pam. 

In Season 5 Episode 16 ("Lecture Circuit Part 1"), Pam and Michael toured other Dunder Mifflin branches and ran into a very pregnant Karen. She showed Pam and Michael pictures of her husband, and Pam revealed that she and Jim were engaged. The two women then hugged and said they were happy for each other, giving Pam a sense of closure. 

Watch all of Karen's storyline by streaming every episode of The Office on Peacock