Jan Levinson

NBC Greg Daniels Paul Lieberstein
Jan Levinson
The Office character
Melora Hardin as Jan Levinson.png
First appearance"Pilot"
Last appearance
Created byGreg Daniels
Portrayed byMelora Hardin
In-universe information
  • CEO of Scranton White Pages
  • Former Vice President of Sales, Dunder Mifflin
  • Hospital Supplies Director
  • CEO and Founder of Serenity by Jan
FamilyUnnamed sister
SpouseMr. Gould (Divorced)
Significant otherHunter (implied ex-lover)
Michael Scott (ex-boyfriend)
Clark Green (ex-lover)
ChildrenAstrid Levinson (daughter)
Based onJennifer Taylor-Clarke

Janet Levinson (formerly Levinson-Gould) is a recurring fictional character from the US television series The Office. Her counterpart in the UK version is Jennifer Taylor-Clarke. She is portrayed by Melora Hardin. She is the Vice President of Northeast Sales at the paper distribution company Dunder Mifflin, directly supervising central character and Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin's Scranton branch, Michael Scott. Her character is notable for the dysfunctional relationship she enters with Michael following the second-season episode, "The Client", until the fourth-season episode "Dinner Party". Michael and Jan's personas contrast to much humor in the series, particularly in their professional attitudes and social interactions, although Jan's erratic and sexually-domineering state of mind leads to her firing.


Jan Levinson-Gould, as Vice President of Sales at Dunder Mifflin, has a no-nonsense management style that is at odds with Michael's more casual approach. Since her office is in New York, Jan's contact with the Scranton branch is largely by telephone, although she will make the two-and-a-half-hour drive to Scranton if necessary. She usually asks if she's on camera when talking to Michael on the speaker phone, and Michael often lies and tells her she is not, before admitting that they are—at which point she hangs up on him. While initially based on Jennifer Taylor-Clarke from the UK version, her character develops in a different direction.

In a deleted scene from "Dinner Party", it is implied that Jan grew up in West Virginia. The "Serenity by Jan" website indicates that she had an unhappy childhood and ran away from home, and she once said that her family refused to speak to her anymore "on advice of counsel".

She initially drives a Volvo S80 and Volvo S60, and trades it in with Michael's Sebring for a shared Porsche Boxster. However, she is seen in season five with a Toyota Highlander. She smokes in stressful situations and indulges in self-destructive tendencies with poor judgment in spite of her inherent competence and professional attitude. She demonstrates a strong and often fetishist sexuality which sometimes intimidates Michael, such as when he revealed in "Women's Appreciation" that Jan did not always abide by their safety word "foliage". It is implied that she may have taken the virginity of her assistant, Hunter, of whom Michael is jealous.

Jan has also been shown to be rather vain, creating musical media to supposedly express love for Astrid but rather seems an attempt to flaunt her performance skills, whilst also acting smug about her parenting in Pam's presence.

Character history

Season 1–2

Jan is introduced in the pilot episode of the series. As Vice President, her authority leads her to inform Michael (Steve Carell) of the impending downsizing or closure Scranton's branch faces.[1] She continually reappears both over phone and in person over each season to assert corporate policy on Michael, specifically with health care plans,[2] sexual harassment concerns,[3] and downsizing.[4]

Her character is expanded upon, and changes in tone during "The Client", when Michael and Jan attend a business meeting at a Chili's with a highly-valuable potential client. References to her seeing a psychiatrist following a difficult divorce after her ex-husband did not want to have children and a case of identity theft are made. The end of the episode portrays her having an intimate moment with Michael.[5] Michael's attempts at a meaningful relationship stemming from that night are rejected, however Jan open-endedly says that she is not ready for a relationship.[6] Her appearances in the second season during a 'women in the workplace' seminar[7] and a financial presentation with CFO David Wallace (Andy Buckley)[8] continue this rejection, despite Michael's advances. However, upon being invited by Michael to the company casino night, she is emotionally hurt by the presence of his other date, Carol Stills (Nancy Carell), and hastily leaves. With an overnight bag in her Volvo shown to the audience, it is strongly implied Jan has developed feelings for Michael.[9]

Season 3

In the third-season premiere, Jan becomes responsible for the transfer of Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) to the Stamford branch, interviewing him in an earlier episode of the second season.[10] She also negotiated a paid three-month vacation and Lexus company car to accountant Oscar Martinez (Oscar Nunez) when Michael ignorantly outs him.[11] Her next encounter with Michael is at a Philadelphia-held convention, although she plays a more pivotal role when Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) contacts her in an attempt to be promoted to branch manager at Michael's expense, to which Jan refuses.[12] She has a speaking role in a following episode when Michael faces grief over the death of the branch manager he replaced,[13] and instructs Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) to keep note of Michael's activities.[14]

After several episodes referring to downsizing, it ultimately leads to Jan planning to merge Scranton into Stamford, with some employees being laid off and the rest transferred - her plans are frustrated when Josh Porter (Charles Esten), whom she planned on becoming the manager of the merged branches, leverages the position with Staples into a senior management position there. This development influences Jan into merging Stamford in with Scranton instead.[15][16] She has a speaking role when Martin Nash, (Wayne Wilderson)[17] a Stamford employee, is identified as a reformed criminal.

Following a Christmas party, Michael calls an unknown woman to invite her to Sandals Resorts Jamaica.[18] The fact that that woman was Jan is exposed to the rest of the office when Michael accidentally forwards a risqué photo of her tanning to the packaging department who then forwards the email to others. She herself does not have the email forwarded to her.[19] The relationship between Jan and Michael becomes official when David Wallace hosts a cocktail party. The duo attend as a couple after disclosing their relationship to HR; Michael immediately declaring loudly "I love this woman!" shortly after. Jan demonstrates a sexually aggressive attitude and indifference toward the party itself during the course of the episode.[20] Michael references their relationship when he negotiates with Jan for a 12% raise.[21]

When Michael has a "women's appreciation day", his conversations with the office women lead him to discuss Jan's radical sexual preferences, including recording their intimacy and playing it with a therapist to improve "his form". He realizes his unhappiness with her and breaks up.[22] In the season finale, during which Michael interviews for a corporate position, Jan attempts a reunion. Michael, despite urgings from all women in the Scranton office (except Meredith, from whom Michael declined to seek advice) to the contrary, and in his amazement at Jan's breast augmentation, agrees to get back together with Jan. Unfortunately, the corporate position for which Michael, Jim, and Karen are interviewing is Jan's; after being absent from work, abusing corporate policies, and being in Scranton far too often, Jan is fired and escorted from the building in New York, and is replaced by Ryan Howard (B.J. Novak)[23]

Seasons 4–5

Season four has Jan moving into Michael's condo and starting a scented candle business. Her heedless spending combined with his own poor financial sense rapidly drain Michael's resources, leading to a brief scheme in which Michael attempts to escape his troubles by leaving town but is stopped by Jan who (in a very rare warm and positive moment in their relationship) tells Michael that she stands by him despite her earlier treatment of Michael and that she has come to see him as "someone worth standing by". She also sues Dunder Mifflin, claiming wrongful dismissal, largely over her breast implants, although Michael is betrayed by Jan, who uses his private diary as evidence that the company mistreats its employees, and also learning that she gave him a scathing performance review while they were dating. In response, Michael torpedoes her lawsuit by refusing to confirm her negative views of the company, badly damaging their relationship.[24] Following this, during a dinner party, the two fight over each other's eccentricities and Jan throws a Dundie Award at his cheap plasma television before breaking down and nearly being arrested on a destruction of property charge. The two split up, with Michael staying at Schrute Farms a few weeks until Jan packed up her things (mostly Michael's, it turns out) and moves away for good.[25]

Jan is seen again in the fourth-season finale, in which she is revealed to be pregnant via artificial insemination.[26] Michael goes to her Lamaze classes when Jan asks him to (where he apparently annoyed the teacher) and is incredibly excited to be there for the birth of "their" child. However, he is utterly deflated when Jan gives birth to her daughter Astrid without him there, and when Jan reluctantly lets Michael spend time around her, Michael sadly recognizes that he feels no connection at all to Astrid and that he is no longer holding onto feelings for Jan. Jan also insists Michael not go out with Holly, leading Michael to promptly and successfully ask Holly out on a date.

Seasons 7–9

Jan is not seen again until the seventh season, by which time she is employed as a hospital administrator, raises Astrid as a single mother and has recorded a Doris Day cover album. She tells Michael at great length that they were never a good couple and she was slumming by ever dating him; an angry Michael shocks her by saying (wrongly as it turned out) that he has herpes, and later expresses disbelief that he thought she could have been "the one". She reappeared on the show in a cameo scene in Michael's self-produced movie "Threat Level Midnight", playing a covert agent jazz singer named Jasmine Windsong who slips key information to Agent Michael Scarn and gets killed by an assassin. When the documentary crew approaches Jan about the movie, she pretends to be proud of Michael's finished film, and looks disgusted as she makes a hasty attempt to get her dry cleaning into her car and get away from both the cameras and any mention of Michael. Jan did not appear in the eighth season.

In the ninth-season episode "The Whale", Jan is now back in Scranton, working as an executive at the White Pages phone book company. Dwight and Pam make the sales call in her office, initially unaware that she is the contact. Jan had no intention of giving Dunder Mifflin her business, and had intended to refuse David Wallace (now the owner and CEO of Dunder Mifflin) personally in retaliation for firing her several years before, and was dismayed when Dwight and Pam arrived instead.

Nevertheless, Dwight keeps her from refusing by assigning Customer Service representative Clark Green (Clark Duke) as her personal liaison. The two hit it off and travel abroad for several weeks. In "Suit Warehouse", Clark returns to the office, having gotten Jan to sign on as a client after spending several weeks in Europe as her lover. He compared sex with Jan to sex with "a swarm of bees... bees that just find something wrong with every hotel room." Jan also sent an expensive Italian-made espresso machine back with Clark as a gift to the staff.

In Jan's final appearance on the show (over the phone) "Couples Discount", Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) (now the Scranton regional manager), points out that Dwight had offered a discounted price without getting Andy's approval (something that would've been impossible for Dwight to do, as Andy himself was abroad at the time), and attempted to renegotiate Dunder Mifflin's contract with the White Pages. Infuriated, Jan proceeds to terminate her contract with Dunder Mifflin altogether.

In "Finale", it is mentioned that Dwight (who succeeded Andy as regional manager) managed to reacquire the White Pages' business by again offering the discounted price. Jan is not referenced over the course of the documentary's TV release and is not invited to any of the events connected to it.


  1. ^ Gervais, Ricky and Merchant, Stephen. (writers) & Kwapis, Ken (director), "Pilot". The Office, NBC. Aired on March 24, 2005.
  2. ^ Lieberstein, Paul (writer) & Whittingham, Ken. (director), "Health Care". The Office, NBC. Aired on April 5, 2005.
  3. ^ Novak, B.J. (writer) & Kwapis, Ken. (director), "Sexual Harassment". The Office, NBC. Aired on September 27, 2005.
  4. ^ Daniels, Greg (writer) & Feig, Paul. (director), "Halloween". The Office, NBC. Aired on October 18, 2005.
  5. ^ Lieberstein, Paul (writer) & Daniels, Greg. (director), "The Client". The Office, NBC. Aired on November 8, 2005.
  6. ^ Wilmore, Larry. (writer) & Feig, Paul. (director), "Performance Review". The Office, NBC. Aired on November 15, 2005.
  7. ^ Novak, B.J. (writer) & Gordon, Dennie. (director), "Boys and Girls". The Office, NBC. Aired on April 5, 2005.
  8. ^ Schur, Michael (writer) & Daniels, Greg (director), "Valentine's Day". The Office, NBC. Aired on October 18, 2005.
  9. ^ Carell, Steve (writer) & Kwapis, Ken. (director), "Casino Night". The Office, NBC. Aired on May 11, 2006.
  10. ^ Daniels, Greg (writer) & McDougall, Charles. (director), "Conflict Resolution". The Office, NBC. Aired on May 4, 2006.
  11. ^ Daniels, Greg (writer) & Kwapis, Ken. (director), "Gay Witch Hunt". The Office, NBC. Aired on September 21, 2006.
  12. ^ Lieberstein, Paul (writer) & Daniels, Greg. (director), "The Coup". The Office, NBC. Aired on October 5, 2006.
  13. ^ Celotta, Jennifer (writer) & Nygard, Roger. (director), "Grief Counseling". The Office, NBC. Aired on October 12, 2006.
  14. ^ Novak, B.J. (writer) & Einhorn, Randall. (director), "Initiation". The Office, NBC. Aired on October 19, 2006.
  15. ^ Schur, Michael (writer) & Gates, Tucker. (director), "Branch Closing". The Office, NBC. Aired on November 9, 2006.
  16. ^ Forrester, Brent (writer) & Whittingham, Ken. (director), "The Merger". The Office, NBC. Aired on November 16, 2006.
  17. ^ Gervais, Ricky and Merchant, Stephen (writers) & Blitz, Jeffrey. (director), "The Convict". The Office, NBC. Aired on November 30, 2006.
  18. ^ Celotta, Jennifer (writer) & Ramis, Harold. (director), "A Benihana Christmas". The Office, NBC. Aired on December 14, 2006.
  19. ^ Spitzer, Justin (writer) & Farino, Julian. (director), "Back from Vacation". The Office, NBC. Aired on January 4, 2007.
  20. ^ Lieberstein, Paul (writer) & Abrams, J.J.. (director), "Cocktails". The Office, NBC. Aired on February 22, 2007.
  21. ^ Schur, Michael (writer) & Blitz, Jeffrey. (director), "The Negotiation". The Office, NBC. Aired on April 5, 2007.
  22. ^ Stupnitsky, Gene and Eisenberg, Lee (writers) & Gates, Tucker. (director), "Women's Appreciation". The Office, NBC. Aired on May 3, 2007.
  23. ^ Lieberstein, Paul and Schur, Michael (writers) & Kwapis, Ken. (director), "The Job". The Office, NBC. Aired on May 17, 2007.
  24. ^ Lewis, Lester (writer) & Farino, Julian. (director), "The Deposition". The Office, NBC. Aired on November 15, 2007.
  25. ^ Stupnitsky, Gene and Eisenberg, Lee (writers) & Feig, Paul. (director), "Dinner Party". The Office, NBC. Aired on April 10, 2008.
  26. ^ Celotta, Jennifer and Lieberstein, Paul (writers) & Feig, Paul. (director), "Goodbye, Toby". The Office, NBC. Aired on May 15, 2008.