In the cold open from part one of The Office’s two-part finale episode, Dwight (Rainn Wilson) delivers Kevin (Brian Baumgartner) a chocolate cake iced with the words Get Out, which he describes as “a colloquial way of saying ‘You’re fired.’” It’s a tragic but not altogether surprising end for an accountant who was equally good at cooking chili and the books.
Of course, it’s not really the end for Kevin; later in the episode, we find out that he’s now the proud owner of a local bar—causing Office fans to wonder how such a feckless character was able to come by enough cash to buy a business. Some have used Kevin’s newfound career to bolster a popular fan theory: that Kevin Malone was secretly a genius, and simply played dumb to conceal the fact that he was embezzling from Dunder Mifflin. Presumably, he turned around and used those stolen funds to purchase the bar.
But in a 2021 interview on the Pardon My Take podcast, Baumgartner shared where his character actually got the money—and as Looper reports, it didn’t involve any skimming off the top. Originally, the series finale was supposed to include a storyline in which Kevin becomes extremely popular once the Dunder Mifflin documentary airs, and people start buying him drinks every time he goes to a bar. This, according to Baumgartner, was partly inspired by his own real-life experience as his character amassed fans. “I can’t go into a bar and not be offered a drink,” he explained on a recent podcast.
“So the storyline is—shot, but not aired—that Kevin Malone goes into bars; everybody wants to buy him a drink; there’s a particular bar in Scranton, Pennsylvania, that he goes in all the time, and he has accumulated such a credit at that bar from people buying him drinks that he uses that as leverage to own the bar,” Baumgartner said.
While it’s a pretty savvy idea, it doesn’t exactly support the theory that Kevin is a genius-level financial scammer. But Baumgartner did reveal that the show’s writers intentionally imbued Kevin with musical genius by making him both the lead singer and drummer—notoriously difficult roles to perform simultaneously—of The Police cover band Scrantonicity. And at other moments in the show, Kevin demonstrates some impressive basketball and gambling skills. So maybe he’s not a “secret” genius, but he’s definitely smarter and more talented than people typically give him credit for.