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It's a Whole Different Office! Mindy Kaling Previews the New Season

The Office, James Spader Chris Haston/NBC

There's a new sheriff in town, which means it's a whole new Dunder Mifflin Sabre. And that means that the gang over at The Office will not let the loss of Steve Carell bring them down.

Mindy Kaling, who plays Kelly Kapoor and is a frequent writer/director on The Office, thinks fans should feel anything but fear going into season eight. She chatted with us about "scary" James Spader taking over, and how Dwight (Rainn Wilson) is handling the new regimen. Spoiler alert: He handles it in true Schrute fashion…

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...and that means handling it in the least normal way possible. "We made Rainn do some very interesting stuff so far this season," Mindy tells us at the Kendra Scott Jewelry event. "He does a lot and he's as militaristic as he's ever been. I love Dwight when he has a lot of strict rules and stuff like that. I hope you like it; I think it's really good."

Strict rules? Please bring back Dwight's dress code!  

Dwight's "militaristic" attitude comes when Robert California (Spader), comes in as Michael Scott's replacement. "Michael Scott, as played by Steve Carell, was a very specific kind of boss that was always in your face and always wanted to hear about your life almost to an unprofessional degree," says Kaling. "[Robert] is like the boss that's scary. And you're never sure on where you stand with him and you're kind of obsessed with impressing him, [which is] a totally different dynamic. So I think it will be cool."

But don't think for a moment that Kaling has forgotten about the rest of the ensemble. "We miss Steve so much, but it's also kind of energizing the show in a way," she tells us. "Steve used to have 40 percent of the lines, so when you take that out there's someone who has to have those lines, and so we see a lot more from Kevin, who's a big favorite of mine, or Angela. I love writing for her. So all these other characters get to have bigger parts and so that's been kind of nice. Because if anything, I hear all the time how much people like the side characters in the office. That's been kind of fun to do."

Speaking of Angela, we also got to chat with the woman behind her, Angela Kinsey, at the NBC TCA party, and she painted Spader in a less threatening way. "I want to go on the record and say that he is lovely. He is so nice and he is crushing it. He is amazing," she gushed to us. "Our first table read with him I was crying because I was laughing so hard. You have someone like James Spader turn that intensity on to Kevin Malone (Brian Baumgartner) and it's like the two worlds colliding. It's so awesome."

And what is to come for TV's oddest on-again/off-again couple, Dwight and Angela? "I always hold out hope. I really do," she says. Clearly, they belong together, so we're going to keep holding out hope for as long as the show is on the air. Probably after it ends, too.

Are you excited for the new season of The Office? Or will you never go back after Steve Carell's exit?

Reporting by Meagan Medick

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