Gervais-Penned 'Office' Ready to Go

"The Office" will go back to its British roots, at least behind the camera, with an episode set for the end of November.

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, who created the BBC series on which the NBC Emmy winner is based, wrote the episode scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 30. It's their first original script for the series, although the pilot was based on the first episode of the British version.

The episode, titled "The Convict," has Michael (Steve Carell) trying to be supportive when he finds out one of his new employees -- presumably someone from the Stamford branch -- has a prison record. Given the way Michael's attempts at empathy usually work out, we're guessing the results are less than ideal.

The newly returned Jim (John Krasinski) also gives Andy (Ed Helms) some dubious coaching when Andy decides to make a move on Pam (Jenna Fischer).

NBC announced early this year that Gervais and Merchant, who are also behind the BBC/HBO series "Extras," would be writing an episode of "The Office." Speaking to reporters in late February, Gervais said he and his partner were nearly finished with the script.

"It was remarkably fast," he said then. "I suppose that's because we'd been away from those characters for two or three years. It's one of our favorite shows, the American 'Office.'"

The Gervais and Merchant episode of "The Office" will be the show's 38th -- which is nearly three times as many as the duo produced for the Beeb. The British "Office" ran for two six-episode seasons and wrapped things up with a two-part Christmas special in December 2003.