Was The Office really just a workplace sitcom, or was it secretly a true crime mystery all along? Although the series ended in 2013, diehard fans are still debating what was really going on with some of the show's more enigmatic characters, including the nonsensical Creed Bratton and the mysterious Scranton Strangler. Well now, a new theory is connecting the two characters, and making fans wonder: was Creed the Scranton Strangler all along?
Creed Bratton was one of the Dunder-Miflin workers in The Office, but was usually more on the sidelines to the rest of the main cast. Throughout the nine seasons of the show, Creed mostly just spouted sketchy, hilarious nonsense, and never really let others in on his personal life. The mystery of the Scranton Strangler surfaced in Season 6, when Toby is summoned for jury duty for a case accusing a man of serial strangulations around Scranton. In the next season, it's mentioned that a man named George Howard Skub was found guilty of being the Scranton Strangler, but many fans still think that there might be more to the story.
The new The Office fan theory comes from BuzzFeed, and it asserts that Creed Bratton is not actually the real Creed Bratton. The brunt of the theory comes from two of Creed's talking head interviews during Season 4 and Season 5. In one episode, Creed declares that whenever he faces financial crises, he transfers his debt over to a man named William Charles Schneider, and holds up a passport that closely resembles him.
At the time that scene aired, it seemed like The Office was just making a winky little meta joke — since the character of Creed Bratton is played by an actor also named Creed Bratton, and the actor's birth name was actually William Charles Schneider. But when paired with another of Creed's confessions in the following season, it starts to sound like there is something more going on with Creed's backstory.
In the next season, Creed says that nobody steals from him and gets away with it, revealing that the last man to steal from him disappeared. His name, Creed dramatically reveals, was Creed Bratton.
Putting those two little tidbits together, the theory states that the man we all think is Creed Bratton is actually an imposter name William Charles Schneider. Schneider killed the real Creed Bratton and took over his identity. And perhaps Schneider's form of murder happens to be strangulation?
It certainly sounds wild, but when you think back on all the crazy stuff Creed has said throughout The Office, it might just make sense that he's actually an identity-stealing murderer.
Coincidentally enough, this Creed theory is not the first time that the case of the Scranton Strangler has resurfaced recently. A couple of weeks ago, The Office's official YouTube channel uploaded a 10-minute Making A Murderer parody video called "Making A Stranger," which seems to frame Dunder-Miflin's resident pariah Toby Flenderson. Check out the mini documentary below:
Of course, the Toby and Creed theories are only two among the several of Scranton Strangler theories that The Office fans have cooked up over the years. One popular theory also alleges that Jim Halpert was the strangler all along, and theories about Robert California and Gabe Lewis have also gained some traction among the fanbase.
I guess the only way that we are going to know for sure who the Scranton Strangler is would be if The Office came back for a revival... and luckily, that is something that's being talked about right now. Let's hope this reboot really does happen and we find out the truth about the strangler once and for all.