Ken Tucker
March 19, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

”I desperately wanted him on,” Alias creator J.J. Abrams says of his March 14 guest star, ”but his managers were very protective and kept me at bay.” Sean Penn? Bill Murray? No, Ricky Gervais — cult idol of BBC America’s double — Golden Globed sitcom The Office. But Abrams got his man: Gervais plays Daniel Ryan, the world’s smartest bomb maker — quite a stretch from dense Office manager David Brent. ”The Office is, actually, just as dramatic as it is comedic,” Abrams says. ”Having said that, Ricky did have a blast” — no pun intended — ”on the set. In fact, there was probably more goofing off during the filming of this episode than any other. Ricky and Victor [Garber, who plays Jennifer Garner’s CIA-agent dad] together were a particular [discipline] problem.” Sounds like Abrams needed to crack the whip around his office…

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