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The Full History of Nellie Bertram on The Office
The would-be branch manager played by Catherine Tate joined Dunder Mifflin late in the show but left her mark.
Nellie Bertram (Catherine Tate) became a staple in the Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch in Season 8 of The Office. Her British accent and wacky sense of humor made her stand out from the rest of the crew, and her struggle to get on Andy Bernard (Ed Helms)'s good side kept her in the center of office politics.
Revisit Nellie's full storyline, including her path to adoption and complex relationships in the office.
When did Nellie first appear on The Office?
After Michael Scott (Steve Carell) left Dunder Mifflin, Jim Halpert (John Krasinski), Toby Flenderson (Paul Lieberstein), and Gabe Lewis (Zach Woods) were put in charge of finding his replacement. During the two-part Season 7 finale ("Search Committee"), they interviewed a cast of characters, including David Brent (Ricky Gervais), who starred in the original U.K. version of The Office.
Among the candidates for the role was Nellie, whose interview was nothing short of confusing and hilarious. "Everyone is somebody's boss, and that person can fire the person below them," she told the panel of interviewers, and they all shook their heads. "Zen office, thought of that?" she said, nonsensically. "Everyone takes their shoes off before they come in, there'll be no desks, you just sit on the floor."
Needless to say, she was not given the role of branch manager.
When did Nellie join Dunder Mifflin?
Luckily for fans of her brief first appearance, Nellie came back to the show midway through Season 8. In Episode 15 ("Tallahassee"), Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) revealed that Nellie was the Head of Special Projects and his new boss, and he was visiting Florida to attend a meeting with her.
Nellie began her session with the Dunder Mifflin employees with a twisted speech on feminism, then introduced the concept of the "Sabre store" and showed it to all of them. She also revealed that she was on the hunt for a Vice President who would be directly below her, but that she was "waiting for someone to wow her," prompting Dwight to ignore his appendicitis in order to get the role.
Ultimately, the Sabre stores were a massive failure and the Special Projects team was dissolved. In Episode 19 ("Get the Girl"), it was revealed that Nellie had been hired on to be at the Scranton branch.
Nellie and Andy's Rivalry on The Office
When Nellie arrived in Scranton, Toby told her to find an empty desk, so she decided to sit in the office of the branch manager: Andy. Nellie said she would be a good fit for the role instead.
The big boss, Robert California (James Spader), then came in to find Nellie at Andy's desk, prompting him to realize that his branch manager was late for work. Andy, it turned out, had driven to Florida to pursue Erin Hannon (Ellie Kemper).
"I am your new manager," Nellie announced later in the day, to everyone's surprise, and then delivered "first impression performance reviews" in which she gained the office's affection by giving them all raises. Her performance earned her the official role as branch manager, which meant Andy lost his job.
In the Season 8 finale ("Free Family Portrait Studio"), Andy called in a favor from David Wallace (Andy Buckley), convincing him to buy Dunder Mifflin and appoint Andy to be branch manager once more. With his new power, Andy immediately tried to fire Nellie, but she recited a Shakespearean monologue about mercy to him. "How dare you play the Bard card," Andy said, deciding to keep Nellie on staff as special projects manager.
In the Season 9 premiere ("New Guys"), Andy's tone shifted and he instead tried to fire Nellie. Toby pointed out that he could not fire her without a reasonable cause, so Andy instead decided to hold a more-or-less permanent grudge against her, often being hard on her for little things.
Nellie's Heartwarming Journey to Motherhood
In Season 8, Episode 20 ("Welcome Party"), Jim and Dwight helped Nellie move into her new apartment and they found old photos of her with her ex-boyfriend. She opened up to them that she had gone through a hard breakup with her ex, Henry: "He ran off with the waitress at our favorite restaurant."
Throughout Season 9, Nellie channeled her loneliness into a new mission to adopt a child. In Episode 4 ("Work Bus"), she turned to Erin for help with her adoption paperwork, and ultimately had to ask Andy for an employer recommendation letter. Andy immediately said that her dream was "impossible" and that he didn't have nice things to say about her. Andy saw that his cruel response made Erin upset, though, so he ultimately wrote Nellie a kind letter.
In the final episode ("Finale Part 1 and 2"), Nellie attended Dwight and Angela Martin (Angela Kinsey)'s wedding, where she revealed she had left Scranton and moved to Poland. Ryan Howard (BJ Novak) then ran off in the middle of the wedding to follow Kelly Kapoor (Mindy Kaling), leaving his son, Drake, abandoned.
"I can help you with that. I can find someone who will love that beautiful little boy the way he deserves," Nellie said. "If Ryan wants his baby back, please tell him where to find me. We'll be somewhere in Europe," she told the cameras.