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Office Romance

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Harry: Well Dick, maybe it's the office, you know. Maybe you're destined to fall in love with whoever you share the office with.
Dick: That's ridiculous. If love worked that way, there'd be office romances all over the place. Businessmen having affairs with their secretaries, please!

Very often fiction that features characters in a work environment will have at least one instance of on the job romance. Sometimes it's within the rules, however, it may be against the policy. Characters can get called on it or even get fired. If the pairing fails, there can be a lot of awkwardness in the aftermath.

It can be Truth in Television, although the hot for supervisor version is often forbidden in job rules to avoid ethics problems. If this does occur, one character may wind up changing shifts or departments or quitting the job. Some companies allow dating between colleagues of equal standing, although Hollywood likes to push things further with jobs like police work, where a romantic pairing would likely be a problem unless one partner changes departments.

This trope may be played differently in different cultures. Sometimes it may be even expected to happen. Some companies are aware that people want to show their best and most efficient side in front of a love interest.

Compare with Forbidden Fruit. See also Inappropriately Close Comrades, for relationships where the "office" is service in the military. See Sleeping with the Boss for when the relationship involves a boss or supervisor and a lower-level employee under him/her. If it's nonsexual close friendships formed at work, that's Found Family via Work.


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    Anime & Manga 

  • Several visual cues in Edward Hopper's Office at Night imply a relationship of some sort between the man at the desk and the standing woman, including her suggestive pose, the notion that they are just about to interact, and the curtain stirring.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In the Motion Practice series, which recasts various Marvel superheroes as lawyers, this is a mainstay. As of the sixth story in the series, pretty much everyone in the DA's office is paired up with another denizen of the Suffolk County Legal Complex.
  • The School for Good and Evil (2022) fanfic Not a prince: Both Lesso and Dovey work at the School for Good and Evil, with Lesso being the Dean of the evil school and Dovey being the Dean of the good. However, this doesn't stop the two from falling in love with each other and even kissing at the end.
  • This trope figures into several Touhou Project pairings, such as Sakuya/Meiling (both servants of the Scarlet Devil Mansion) and Eiki/Komachi (judge of the underworld and her subordinate).

  • Desk Set centers around a love triangle between reference librarian Bunny Watson, her supervisor Mike Cutler, who she has been with for seven years with no sign of a wedding ring, and Richard Sumner, an efficiency expert who is brought into the company to install a supercomputer that threatens to put Bunny out of a job. As this was The '50s, nobody bats an eye at Mike being in a relationship with his inferior, but his putting work first over Bunny eventually leads to their breakup. Richard, on the other hand, promises to put Bunny first over his work.
  • In Liar Liar, a short one happens between Fletcher and Miranda. Fletcher is seduced by his law firm boss, Miranda, into sleeping with her after she had been turned on by his lying capabilities. The romance sours shortly after when Miranda questions Fletcher how good the sex was for him, which he unintentionally answers her that "I've had better."
  • My Days of Mercy: Mercy it turns out is dating her boss at the law firm. This would be forbidden by most law firms' HR rules, though it's unmentioned in the film.
  • The Soviet film, appropriately titled Office Romance: a man seduces his director to get a promotion, then it becomes real love before he even notices. Trope Codifier for Eastern European cinema.
  • The Proposal: Margaret asks her employee to marry her quite out of the blue, so that she can stay in America. After some time, he agrees.
  • Secretary:
    • Lee, a young, mentally unstable and fragile woman, is hired to work as a secretary for Edward, a successful and demanding lawyer. They slowly develop a sadomasochistic relationship. Both are somewhat uncomfortable with their sexuality, but they find a way to work things out.
    • It's implied that Edward had a similar relationship with his previous secretary who had been fired before Lee was hired. There might have been more of them.
  • In Sorcerers, the magic institute's director is in a relationship with her deputy. It often makes things awkward for them, with her uncertain to accept his proposal and him feeling she bosses him around. They manage to work it out in the end.
  • Millie's plan in Thoroughly Modern Millie is to become a secretary for a single rich man and then marry him.
  • Valentine: Kate mentions that she met her boyfriend Adam when they were working at the same newspaper firm.
  • Woman of the Year: Tess and Sam work for the same newspaper, and several scenes between them take place in one or the other's office.

  • In The Alice Network, Eve Gardiner has to sleep with her employer to keep her job and is slut-shamed by the other waitresses for it.
  • Far from the Madding Crowd is about a shepherd in 1800s England named Gabriel Oak who ends up working for Bathsheba Everdene, the woman he once asked to marry him, which leads to such scenes as her threatening to fire him for annoying her and him not taking said threat seriously because they both know he does too good a job for her farm to function without him. When he ultimately quits, she (correctly) takes it as him dumping her and goes after him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On Selfie, main character Eliza has slept with at least two of her co-workers, one of whom was married, and then another one the next episode (though its implied some time has passed). Henry frowns on this, and worries her coworkers will think Eliza is a slut.
  • CSI:
    • Sara and Grissom. Sara changed shifts after their romance became known to Ecklie. It was a bit more complicated relationship since Gil was Sara's supervisor and that's what necessitated the changing of shifts. Evolved into a Long-Distance Relationship, then ran into problems, so its future is uncertain.
    • Catherine and Vartaan. He was a cop and she was a CSI fall into a rather uncomplicated category, and their relationship did not last forever.
    • Wendy and Hodges were going back and forth for a while, but Wendy left.
    • Hodges was kind of dancing around Morgan too, but he later gets engaged to an Italian girl. That got called off and by the time of the reboot, he’s got a pregnant wife who’s not part of the lab.
  • CSI: NY:
  • CSI: Miami:
    • Delko and Calleigh. They have a lots of Will They or Won't They? dynamics, it's not fully resolved and unclear whether romance will ensue.
    • Natalia Boa Vista dated one of the CSIs guys for a while.
  • Bones:
    • Brennan and Hacker. Technically, they aren't in the same agency. He's FBI and she's a scientist with the Jeffersonian, but it was established once that agents and consultants couldn't date.
    • Booth and Brennan. Booth is an FBI agent and Brennan his consultant. They worked a lot of cases together, Brennan got pregnant and after that they started living together. They married in season 9. Interestingly the early seasons had several discussions about not crossing the line, but fans knew it wouldn’t last.
    • Hodgins and Angela. They both work in the Jeffersonian scientific institute, so their relationship might be less (or more) complicated than the FBI/consultant cases.
    • Cam and Arastoo, she's the supervisor and he's one of the interns. It’s technically Sleeping with the Boss, but Brennan is Arastoo’s direct supervisor. Somehow, it’s not complicated at all by regulations onscreen.
  • Angel had two pairs who worked together at Angel Investigations, though Angel probably did not mind anyone getting together romantically.
    • Fred and Gunn, who dated for most of season 3 and then broke up in season 4 when Fred killed her former professor for sending her to Pylea.
    • Fred and Wes. Wes wanted her from the start, but lost out to Gunn after his exile from the group, but later, in season 5, they got close again, and started dating only to have Fred die just a day later from Illyria.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer had Giles and Jenny, who both worked at Sunnydale High as a librarian and as a teacher, and they were both involved in the supernatural stuff as well. Buffy once caught them kissing in the library. The relationship ended when Jenny died.
  • Highlander had a backstory variant with Joe and another Watcher; it was a brief fling, and though she got pregnant, he didn't want to ruin her marriage, so he let her and her husband think they were the parents, only telling the girl, Amy, when she was an adult.
  • The American version of The Office.
    • Jim and Pam are frequently ship-teased, hinting at mutual attraction and interest. They end up getting married.
    • Jim dated Karen from the office before he got involved with Pam.
    • Before Pam got together with Jim, she was paired with Roy who works there as well.
    • Michael and Jan. She was his boss and they have sparks between them before becoming a couple. Their relationship was a source of conflicts inside the company.
    • Dwight and Angela. They're in a secret romance at the beginning.They had some intercourse inside the workplace.
    • Ryan and Kelly as well. They're in th on-again and off-again relationship. Their desk were even side by side for a while.
  • The Mentalist:
    • Van Pelt and Rigsby. Forbidden inter-office romance gets mentioned and lends most of the drama. After two seasons of Will They or Won't They?, and the occasional bit of meddling from a Shipper on Deck Jane, fellow officers Rigsby and Grace finally decided to go for it and made it official. They eventually get marry and leave law enforcement.
    • Jane and Lisbon too, which causes Jane to often break the rules —nothing new— but this time to save her if she's in danger. It was kept after the series is rebooted and they start working for the FBI.
  • Ally McBeal:
    • Ally once said she'd never date a fellow lawyer, but she was not completely over her colleague Billy, her ex-boyfriend and high-school/collage sweetheart. Billy and Ally have a lot of sexual chemistry and love tension between them.
    • Billy and his wife Georgia both work for the same law firm Cage&Fish.
    • Ling dates Richard Fish, one of the two bosses. She was at first their regular client and later got hired to work with them as a lawyer. It has the implied power tension, but there was never serious ethical drama explored. Ling however makes it clear several times that she would like to be treated as the queen of the office because she dates the company's king.
    • John Cage is one of the two senior partners and he has a relationship with their newly-hired litigator Nelle Porter. They lasted quite long but ultimately they broke up. It was a case of Pitbull Dates Puppy, Nelle being a tough, icy woman and John a dorky, sweet man.
  • Newsradio, news director Dave and reporter Lisa. They tell their boss Jimmy, who says he is happy for them - and asks them which one is quitting. Office Romances aren't allowed. Jimmy then gives them a chance to take back telling him about it.
  • Cheers: Bar owner Sam dates his employee, a waitress named Diane.
  • NYPD Blue:
    • Detective John Kelly starts secretly dating officer Janice Licalsi. She is secretly working for the Big Bad, who is Blackmailing her because of her father, and wants her to kill Kelly. She kills the Big Bad instead.
    • Bobby Simone and Diane Russel are both detectives in the squad, but they aren't partners. They go out together and eventually get married.
    • Detective Andy Sipowitz starts out with an antagonistic relationship with ADA Sylvia Costas, but they eventually fall in love and get married. She bears him a son, and then gets caught in the crossfire when a man tries to kill his daughter's murderer.
    • Andy later falls in love with Connie McDowell, a female detective, after she starts babysitting his son by Syliva. They get married, and shortly after that she gets written out of the show.
    • Detective Greg Medevoy has an affair with Donna Abandando, a civilian aide at the squad, which ruins his marriage (but it was on the rocks to begin with).
    • After Abandando leaves, her replacement and Medavoy's partner James Martinez go out a few times; he knocks her up and then marries her.
    • Detective Baldwin Jones has an on-and-off relationship with ADA Valerie Heywood. He gets quite upset when, during the course of an investigation into an abortion clinic bombing, he discovers that she was a client there while they were going out.
  • Parks and Recreation:
    • April and Andy go through their entire Will They or Won't They? / Ship Tease at City Hall.
    • Leslie and Ben engage in a Secret Relationship, which needs to be kept on the down-low because of City Manager Chris Traeger's policy against superiors dating subordinates.
    • During the Valentine Day episode, Leslie finds out that that Anne might be on a date with Chris. Considering how much grief Chris gave Leslie and Ben over their Secret Relationship, Leslie is furious over the hypocrisy. It turns out that Anne is on a date with Tom
  • Firefly:
    • In "War Stories", it's revealed Mal was very much against Zoe marrying Wash, for the possibility of after-breakup awkwardness. Frankly, on-the-job romance is the only kind of romance available aboard Serenity.
    • Simon and Kaylee finally get it going in The Movie.
  • House:
    • Doctors Cameron and Chase, members of House's team. They slept together once when Cameron was high on drugs, and later decided to start a Friends with Benefits relationship. Chase later fell in love with her and wanted to go steady which she refused and ended their casual relationship. When they left House's team, they got serious though, and later even got married, still both working at Plainsborough Hospital. However, they did not last and Cameron filed for divorce.
    • Thirteen and Foreman were two members of House's team involved romantically. Their on the job romance later came into direct conflict.
    • House himself and Cuddy, his boss, started a relationship. She's a director at Plainsborough Hospital and House's direct superior.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • In season one, Robin refuses to date Sandy, stating that it's because he's a co-worker. Sandy actually tenders his resignation as part of an attempt to convince Robin to date him.
    • Robin ended up in a relationship with Don for a while, despite him being a co-worker. There was never a problem with it. She was crushed when he was offered a better job and decided to relocate. She was offered the job before him, but refused because of him.
    • When Ted romantically pursues Stella, his dermatologist, his friends try to convince him that it is a bad idea to date somebody who you see all the time, because it makes things awkward when it doesn't work out. Barney refers to this as the Platinum Rule. He winds up not dating her while a patient, though it is because of the American Medical Association's rule and not the Platinum Rule.
    • Robin, an anchor, describes her affair with their TV station's sports guy. She enjoyed her dates with him but was casual about it. However, he was very clingy and perceived them as a super serious couple.
  • Dexter:
    • It's revealed in season 2 that Lieutenant Maria LaGuerta had an affair with Sergeant Doakes when they used to be partners and a pair of detectives, sleeping together while on stings etc. They broke up but stayed close friends.
    • Angel Batista from Homicide dates a detective from Vice. That's OK because they're allowed to see people from other departments. When they broke up, a colleague says to Angel that office romances never work out, but asks whether he can ask her out.
    • Deb Morgan and Detective Quinn. They started as Friends with Benefits, but later became a regular couple. Debra's promotion to Lieutenant and the new head of Homicide of Miami Metro PD essentially ends their relationship, although Debra never saw them as something super serious in the first place.
    • There is a very brief romantic flirting between Masuka, a forensics expert, and Ryan, his sexy blonde intern. They also had the forbidden teacher/student dynamics. She screwed him over, stealing The Ice Truck Killer's prosthetic hand from the evidence room. He ended their relationship and he fired her as well.
    • Notably, Angel and La Guerta get together, get married, and divorce in three separate off-screen incidents. This is a squicky example due to La Guerta being his direct superior, but she doesn't really flex it much in the relationship...though much of their on-screen development consists of the two bickering. This is a weird example of the trope as you could realistically remove the entire relationship from the show and nothing would change for better or worse.
  • Scrubs: Sacred Heart Hospital apparently has no policy whatsoever on this matter. Several people from their medical staff date each other and have steady relationships.
  • Dick and Mary on 3rd Rock from the Sun. When a three-episode arc had a character played by Laurie Metcalf take Mary's place in the office, Dick started to fall for her.
    Harry: Well Dick, maybe it's the office, you know. Maybe you're destined to fall in love with whoever you share the office with.
    Dick: That's ridiculous. If love worked that way, there'd be office romances all over the place. Businessmen having affairs with their secretaries, please!
  • Friends:
    • Ross dates an extremely hot woman who is pursuing a doctorate at Ross' department in the museum. The relationship doesn't work out because she is a disgustingly dirty hoarder and her apartment is one big pile of garbage.
    • When Rachel starts working in the fashion industry, her boyfriend Ross is extremely and unreasonably jealous of Mark, her colleague who got Rachel the position. Ross does all he can to defy Office Romance. It's later revealed that Mark indeed does find Rachel attractive and they have a date, but Mark already started to work elsewhere.
    • When Ross starts teaching at the university, he once asked a linguist to be his plus one at a wedding. He's a palaeontologist so they work at different departments and there wouldn't be any tension. However, this relationship never went anywhere beyond that asking her out.
    • Zig-Zagged. When Rachel works for Ralph Lauren, she starts a rumour that a woman was kissing with Ralph, the big man himself. It was her friend Phoebe (not working there, just using a xerox machine) and she actually kissed a copy guy who had lied to her. Rachel's boss is interested in the gossip but concludes that the kisser must have been Rachel herself and that she tries to advance her career, and hisses at Rachel that she better not try to steal her job. They then encounter Lauren in the elevator: twice. Lauren never speaks besides greeting them, and Rachel's boss interprets the silence first as sexual tension and then, luckily for Rachel, as lack of interest. Rachel's boss later admits she herself had an office romance that ended badly — with the copy guy.
    • Zig-Zagged with Rachel and Tag's relationship. Rachel was promoted and supposed to hire an assistant. She chose Tag who wasn't very suitable for the job but Rachel saw it as opportunity to spend time with him. She fretted because she couldn't date him, being his superior, but did all she could to prevent him from dating anybody else. For instance, she told him that all the women he had flirted with were gay. She invited him as a friend for their Thanksgiving dinner and blabbed that she liked him, but tried to take it back and say that it's just physical and doesn't want to pursue it. Tag, however, liked her too, and they started a secret office romance. They broke up when Rachel realized he's not mature enough and too young for her.
    • Joey, a soap opera star playing Dr Drake Remoray, who Really Gets Around, sleeps with all the attractive extras of his show. When they all reveal it one by one when shooting one scene, he sheepishly suggests they need to hire new actresses.
    • When Rachel returns to her job after her maternity leave, her new colleague Gavin constantly teases and mocks her. It's because he kind of likes her, but Rachel and Ross' on again off again thing prevents them dating or starting a relationship.
    • In last seasons, Ross has a crush on his gorgeous colleague Charlie who is also a paleontologist and works at the same department. She first dated his friend Joey which also complicated things.
    • Ross and Charlie's relationship is ultimately ended when she returns to her ex who is suddenly the head of their department. He was evaluating applications for grants and Ross was seriously mistreated. The boss says he will get the grant if he lets Charlie go. Charlie somehow finds it romantic and decides to dump Ross and take her ex back.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
    • Detectives Jake Peralta and Amy Santiago both work at Precinct 99 of NYPD. It starts with Jake teasing Amy constantly and Amy being either annoyed or amused. Later Jake realizes he likes her for real; they have the classic will-they-won't-they tension, and both date other people. They later get together, agree to take it slowly and casually, but it's not working out — both want a serious relationship. The Vulture (their captain) tries to break them up (and he actually abuses his power of a superior because they are not breaking any rule). Once they screw up a case because they argue during a stakeout and blow up their cover. They date, then start living together, then Jake proposes, Amy says yes and they get married in season 5 finale. Amy is the more ambitious one and she becomes a sergeant and gets to be in charge of uniform police officers of 99.
    • Detective Charles Boyle has a huge crush on detective Rosa Diaz with "badass bitch" attitude. He keeps asking her out nervously. She doesn't reciprocate, but they eventually become close friends instead.
    • Gina (an assistant responsible for administrative stuff) and Boyle start having casual sex for awhile. They break it off with no hard feelings, but Gina is embarrassed when their colleagues find out about them.
    • In Seasons 3-5, Rosa had this with Adrian Pimento, a detective who recently returned to the precinct after years undercover working for a violent New York mob boss. In contrast to Jake and Amy, they had a running gag of intense office PDA, managing to make signing paperwork look steamy. After a forced separation and an attempted and then postponed wedding, Rosa eventually breaks up with him.
  • Barney Miller: Wojohowicz and recurring female detective Wentworth realize they are attracted to each other. Barney is OK with it, but just as long as it doesn't show up on the job nor affect their work. It gets "resolved" by Wentworth's character being dropped for no in-universe reason.
  • JAG:
    • Bud Roberts falls in love with co-worker Harriet Sims, gets married, and are allowed to work in the same office because Harriet is, courtesy of Admiral Chegwidden, "temporarily assigned" to the office for several years...
    • The Will They or Won't They? arc for nine seasons between Harm and Mac who are a pair of legal investigators of the US Navy.
  • Monday Mornings is a medical drama created by David E. Kelley, and medical issues are brilliantly combined with legal matters. Chelsea General saw some relationships among the doctors, and one is potentially very dangerous for the hospital.
    • Dr. Sydney Napur starts dating Dr. John Lieberman in the very first episode. They are from different departments, so there should be no conflict. It causes some tension between them because they see each other all the time, and Dr. Napur never stops working or thinking about medicine, and she meddles in Dr Lieberman's cases.
    • Two brilliant and cocky neurosurgeons, Drs. Tina Ridgeway and Tyler Wilson, have a connection and lots of UST. She's married, though not very happily. Their supervisor often asks them about their personal lives, especially Dr. Ridgeway. He's worried that her almost-romance and marriage problems will affect her professional performance. She breaks up with her husband and the doctors later sleep together. Mark Ridgeway sues Dr. Wilson for breaking up his marriage. During their legal meeting, Dr. Wilson says that many doctors have love affairs and close relationships. The lawyer pricks up his ears and wants to hear more. Dr. Wilson's lawyer who also represents Chelsea General quickly ends up the meeting because he realizes that this could mean a major law suit and could harm the hospital.
  • The X-Files:
    • Mulder and Scully, the legendary pair of insanely attractive FBI agents. Their relationship was purely platonic for a long time, but in season 7, they started an intimate relationship. Technically, Mulder lead the X-Files division, and was Scully's superior, but they were more or less equals. In the series finale, one jerk tells Scully that she was basically whoring around with her partner in an attempt to ruin her credibility. What an insult to their deep relationship.
      Kallenbrunner: Well, what I mean is, you have no proof to back up one word you just told us. Agent Scully, isn't it true that you and Mulder were lovers, and you got pregnant and had his love child?
    • Agents Doggett and Reyes were a new pair at the bureau who investigated paranormal cases. The show was cancelled before we got to see the completion of their romance arc. They were definitely more proactive about their relationship than Mulder and Scully were.
    • In "Aubrey", a female Detective has an affair with her Lieutenant who is married. She gets pregnant with him, but these are only minor problems. She starts channeling her grandfather who is a Serial Killer. She ended up suicidal and tried to abort her son. Lieutenant Tillman has petitioned to adopt the child (it's unknown whether his wife knew about the affair or if they even stayed together).
  • On Peep Show, this is present from the pilot episode when Mark is pining after his coworker Sophie. They later date, get married (until she leaves him right after the wedding), and have a child together. It becomes more awkward when he is promoted to supervisor and is told to fire her on the day she told him she was pregnant.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • Kevin and Garcia work together and are the only ones who form a couple for many seasons (until they break up), but it's implied that it gets around the fraternization rules because while they both work for the FBI, they aren't on the same team and rarely need to work together on the same case.
    • In the last season, it's revealed that Rossi and Strauss were having an office romance.
  • Subverted on NCIS: there are no fraternization rules for NCIS agents, they can even be married. But it is against Gibb's rules, which he also expects his agents to follow. And rule 12 is "never date a co-worker." So while Kensi and Deeks got married years ago, couples on Gibb's team tend to just have a lot of UST that only gets resolved when one of them is written off the show.
  • Madam Secretary:
    • At the start of the series Matt and Daisy are Friends with Benefits, despite Daisy dating another man. She and her fiancé break up after he learns about Matt, and they start dating full-time. They try to keep it on the down-low but Elizabeth, being former CIA, figures it out anyway and doesn't care.
    • In "Whisper of the Ax", Stevie, the McCords' eldest, starts volunteering at a microloan program her mother administers, and in "The Time Is At Hand", Henry and Liz discover she's started dating her boss... who happens to be nineteen years older than her. Yeah, that went over well.
  • Suits:
    • Mike and Rachel, an associate and a paralegal (later both associates).
    • Jessica and Jeff Malone, who genuinely believes he can make this arrangement work. He finds out she lied to him about how Louis got his name on the letterhead and leaves both her and the firm.
    • Harvey and Scottie, although that doesn't last, which Jessica has predicted from the get-go.
    • Harvey, a lawyer and Donna, a secretary. Flashbacks reveal that the two had sexual and romantic feelings for each other when Harvey was working for the D.A. But they decided to put their feelings on the back burner for the sake of having a professional relationship at the firm.
  • General Hospital pretty much runs on this trope, or at least it did when its title wasn't just an Artifact Title.
  • On Good Girls Revolt this is common between reporters and researchers at News of the Week. Patti and Doug are together from the start, but the later problems in their relationship affect their working together. There's also Cindy and Ned, who have an affair that ends rather badly, and Sam and Naomi - though that's more of an office one-night stand.
  • No Tomorrow: Deirdre and Hank, to the point that they start having sex in closets etc. around the office.
  • The Defenders (2017):
    • In Daredevil (2015), Nelson & Murdock is a three person firm (two lawyers, one secretary). Given the close quarters and small office space, that Karen Page gets involved with the partners is inevitable. In the first part of season 1, Foggy takes some level of interest in Karen, taking her out barhopping in "Cut Man", though their sole date in "World in Fire" is interrupted by Wilson Fisk blowing up a Russian mob hideout across the street. Towards the end of season 1, Foggy gets back together with his ex-girlfriend Marci Stahl after persuading her to help Nelson & Murdock bring down Fisk. Subsequently, Karen moves on to Matt Murdock. Throughout the first part of season 2, Karen regularly flirts with Matt whenever they're by themselves. She even dates him briefly, until the strain of his double-life as Daredevil causes him to falter in contributing to Frank Castle's trial and Karen stumbles upon Elektra in Matt's apartment and thinks he's cheating on her. While this drives them apart for most of the third act of the season (both because of that and their individual pursuits of the Hand and Frank Castle), in the final scene of season 2, Matt privately meets with Karen to reveal his secret identity, with the intent of reconciling.
    • Foggy and Marci are in this position by the end of season 2 of Daredevil (2015), due to Jeri Hogarth hiring both of them on at Hogarth Chao & Benowitz after their previous firms disbanded (Marci had left Landman & Zack after turning in her partners for aiding Wilson Fisk; Foggy had parted ways with Matt due to the strain of Matt's double life, and Jeri had been quite impressed by his opening statements in the Frank Castle trial). By season 3, they're living together again in a Williamsburg condo.
    • On the subject of Jeri Hogarth, she has an office romance that ends in a worse fate. In Jessica Jones (2015), she has an affair with her secretary Pam. This happens in the midst of a nasty divorce with her legal spouse Wendy. After unsuccessfully trying to use Jessica to dig up dirty information on Wendy to blackmail her, Jeri tries to have Kilgrave make Wendy agree to lesser terms. Unfortunately, Kilgrave is so disgusted by Jeri's actions as a lawyer and towards Wendy that he instead orders Wendy to kill Jeri with "Death by a Thousand Cuts". Wendy begins slicing at Jeri, but only makes it to 30 cuts when Pam comes in and fatally strikes Wendy over the head. Pam gets arrested and breaks up with Jeri, now seeing what type of person she truly is.
  • French Police Procedural P.J. has a lesbian interracial romance developing between two police officers.
  • In season 3 of The Wire, after getting separated from his wife, Cedric Daniels begins to have a romantic affair with assistant state's attorney Rhonda Pearlman. There's one problem with this: Cedric is skeptical about making their relationship public as he is still appearing as Marla's husband at official events in order to help promote her bid for the Baltimore city council. He believes that it will look bad for Marla's political career for him to be seen separated from her with a white woman.
  • Mad Men:
    • In the first episode, Peggy gets hired as Don's new secretary and tries to impress him and sleep with him, but he has none of it. (He is married and sleeps around the town, but not with office ladies.)
    • Peggy, a single gal, sleeps with Pete who is a newly-wed. They don't last long as a couple. Pete later goes Oh, Crap! when he sees Peggy talking to his wife Trudy.
    • Don Draper has a seemingly meaningful relationship with Rachel Menken, a Jewish client of Sterling Cooper.
    • Joan Holloway and Roger Sterling have a long and passionate love affair. He is one of the bosses in their ad agency and married with a teen daughter while she is a single secretary (who more or less runs the office as an unofficial office manager). Some people know, Roger's older business partner Mr. Cooper, but most are oblivious to the relationship. They break up when Joan gets engaged. Roger continues to have a soft spot for Joan.
    • Roger starts a romance with Jane, Don's new hot secretary. Roger gets divorced and marrries Jane very soon after. It was a great surprise for everyone in the office. Don gives Roger shit for it and mocks his sickly sweet happiness.
    • Lois keeps looking for a guy to marry at Sterling Cooper, but she is looking at the wrong place. Most men are married and she could be just a mistress, and she soon zooms in on Sal Romano who is gay.
    • Don sleeps with his secretary Allison when he's wasted and she helped him to get home. She feels exploited by him because he pretended like nothing happened.
    • Don starts sleeping with Faye Miller. She is a marketing researcher hired by SCDP, and probably the healthiest of Don's post-divorce relationships, until he screws it up. They kept it secret from all people in the office.
    • Megan starts at RSDP as Don's new secretary, they sleep together and quickly Don decides to marry her, as he was infatuated with her model looks, magical nanny abilities and desire to work in advertising as a copy writer.
    • Ted Chaough has an affair with Peggy, his head writer. He wants to leave his wife for her, but breaks it off very soon and leaves Mannhatten. He insists he loves her and Penny is very hurt by his treatment of her.
  • Parodied on Adam Ruins Everything, with two doctors at the hospital the hypochondriac guest of the week visits.
  • 7 Yüz: The episode "Prosedür" features several office romances. Rıdvan previously dated Banu and İrem, two of his colleagues. After the procedure, Banu begins a relationship with another one of their co-workers, to Rıdvan's distaste.
  • Star Trek: Picard: Narek initiates a casual sexual relationship with Soji, although he tells her that they have to keep their dalliance a secret from their coworkers and their employers.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Whenever Leslie Winkle dated one of the main guys (first Leonard in Season 1, then Howard in Season 2), it became this. However in both cases, Leslie isn't so much into the romance as the sex, so she dumps each guy as soon as they satisfy her needs.
    • While Sheldon and Amy were already together, when Amy starts working at Caltech in "The Workplace Proximity", they end up having to deal with workplace romance issues on and off. While they work in different departments, Sheldon's occasional lack of boundaries and lack of respect for Amy's work sometimes caused conflict. This turned more positive in Season 12, when they worked together on their super asymmetry research, eventually winning the Nobel Prize.
    • The threat of this ended up causing an issue between Leonard and Penny at the start of Season 9. After a Shotgun Wedding in Las Vegas, Leonard reveals he kissed a coworker, Mandy Chow, during the North Sea expedition he took a few years back. While Penny and Leonard weren't engaged at time, she later finds she can't stop thinking about it. He makes it worse when he lets slip that Mandy works at Caltech, making Penny uncomfortable. Subverted, since it becomes clear that Leonard never had real feelings for Mandy, and Mandy doesn't even think about Leonard (as She Gets Around) - Leonard only really brought up the incident to sabotage himself.
  • Ginny and Georgia: Georgia is assistant to Mayor Paul Randolph, whom she gets involved with.
  • In the backstory for Quantum Leap (2022), Ben Song and Addison Augustine meet while working on Project Quantum Leap, fall in love, and get engaged.
  • You Me Her: Nina dates her boss Shaun starting in Season 4. This however avoids issues with his authority over her as Nina is far more domineering.
  • Sex/Life: Brad starts dating Francesca, his boss, in Season 2 after he and Billie are separated. When they get caught together in the office, Francesca's fired and he quits in protest.
  • The Brittas Empire:
    • Leisure Centre Manager Brittas and his Deputy Manager Laura are shown to have romantic feelings for each other between Series 3 and 5, although neither is able to admit it to the other. It ends in whatever case when Laura gets back together with her ex-husband and they leave for America to start a family.
    • "Biggles Tells a Lie" reveals that Colin once engaged in a brief romantic relationship with a co-worker at a previous leisure centre that he worked in, leading to him fathering a child.
    • "Temple of the Body" is about Brittas worrying that an office romance is occurring in his centre and segregating the sexes as a result, with a particular room being marked as a potential "love nest". It's actually a chain of coincidences stemming from an affair that his wife had behind his back and the fact that the alleged "love nest" was really Carole's room after she had been made homeless.
    • Tim and Gavin are already a couple when they start working at the centre, although they don't tell Brittas at least partially because of his vaguely homophobic views. There's also Brittas' wife Helen once she becomes part of the staff in Series 7.
  • Hightown: In the second season, Jackie gets involved with Leslie, her police partner. Leslie previously dated her male partner before Jackie.

  • Aerosmith opens "Love in an Elevator" with a verse about how the narrator is "Workin' like a dog for the boss man" but "I'm gonna have a fantasy", with many other lines ("I'll show you how to fax in the mailroom, honey\And have you home by five!") implying the Elevator Going Down and other sexual antics are at work.
  • The music video for "All to Myself" by Marianas Trench features one, much to the director's chagrin.
  • Country singer Doug Stone's song "In A Different Light" is about an office worker who has a crush on the schoolmarm-esque co-worker who sits "three desks down", and how he sees beyond the uptight clothes, hair and glasses. After they finally go out on a date and sleep together, the office worker reflects the next day on how he sees her "in a different light, with [her] hair falling down and love in [her] eyes" — and how he's just as glad no one else at the office sees that side of her.

  • Max from New Dynamic English was a businessman. He said that he met his wife Karen, a computer programmer, at his workplace.

  • Annie teases one between Oliver Warbucks and his secretary Grace Farrell, who become surrogate parental figures to Annie.
  • Bye Bye Birdie has talent agent Albert Peterson and his secretary and significant other, Rosie Alvarez, who struggle against the machinations of Albert's mother trying to break them apart as well as the pressure of the pulling off the publicity stunt central to the plot.
  • How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, as it is a musical comedy set in an office, involves a few, mainly between up and comer J. Pierrepont Finch and Rosemary Pilkington, who wishes to be wed in order to quit working.
  • Little Shop of Horrors briefly has one between Seymour and Audrey, who work together in a flower shop on Skid Row. Seymour's desire to be good enough for Audrey is a main part of what drives him to feed the man-eating Audrey II. When they finally get together, their boss doesn't react well only because he connects the dots that Seymour was likely involved in Audrey's boyfriend's "disappearance". Tragically, the Audrey II kills first Audrey and then Seymour at the end of the play. The film adaptation, however, shows them defeating Audrey II and moving to the suburbs.
  • She Loves Me:
    • Amalia and Georg may butt heads as co-workers at a parfumerie, but they love each other as pen pals. When Georg discovers Amalia is his "Dear Friend", while he reacts poorly at first, he realizes he does love Amalia and spends the entire second act trying to get Amalia to love him as Georg. They later reveal they were secretly attracted to each other from their first meeting.
    • Co-workers Ilona and Kodaly begin the show in an on-again off-again relationship, but Ilona becomes fed up with Kodaly sleeping around.

    Video Games 
  • In Alpha Protocol, it's possible to romance Mina Tang, one of the handlers and an analyst at Alpha Protocol. The perk you get for completing her Romance Sidequest is even called "Office Romance".
  • Another Code: This is how Richard and Sayoko ended up together. The two eventually wound up in JC Valley together where Richard helped break Sayoko out of her workaholic attitude and it went from there.
  • Idol Manager: This can happen either via two of the idols dating each other or the Player Character dating an idol. If two dating idols happen to both be idle, they can sometimes be seen Holding Hands face to face in the break room.
  • In the backstory of X: Beyond the Frontier, Player Character Maj. Kyle Brennan and supporting character Maj. Elena Kho had a brief love affair during their eight years working together in the United Space Command. At the game and novelization's present day, they're Platonic Life-Partners who occasionally flirt to troll people who ship them.
  • In Zampanio Sim we see this blossoming between the Player and Naga.

    Visual Novels 
  • On the her romantic path in Melody, the protagonist and title character become this when they sign a contract with Sharp Records. They don’t let Hank in on it due to potential complications, but Hank knows anyway that they’re a couple.
  • Office romance is the whole point of Office Secrets. The protagonist works for a high-end clothing manufacturer and is promoted into a newly-established department along with an assortment of attractive men, any one of whom she can end up in a relationship with. As workplace romances are against company policy, the couple is obligated to keep their relationship a secret once they get together, although in some cases it's implied that Everyone Can See It and they've simply chosen to turn a blind eye.
  • Almost all of the romances in In Your Arms Tonight begin through the protagonist's work as an interior designer: her potential love interests are her immediate supervisor, a co-worker, several clients, and a supplier of ceramic artwork. Aside from a couple of instances of petty breakroom gossip, nobody really seems to consider it an issue - should the protagonist fall for her co-worker Shohei Aiba, their mutual supervisor encourages the relationship on the basis that it inspires Aiba to do better work.
  • In Our Two Bedroom Story, circumstances lead the protagonist to begin sharing a house with one of her co-workers, leading to an office romance when they inevitably start to fall for each other.

  • Daily JoJo:
    • Eunjo gets with her former mentor Seonkyu for some time, but they break up after they leave Ku Woong Games. Wan realizes his feelings for Eunjo after she leaves, and they get together after meeting up a year later, once Eunjo gets over her obliviousness. Eunjo then returns to the company, and they try to hide their relationship while subtly hinting at it. Everyone already knows.
    • Season 2 sets up the romance between Team Leader Josh and A-yeong. Josh is petty and tries to "execute" (embarrass) people who insult him, leading him to do things for A-yeong that are easily Mistaken for Flirting. A-yeong is smitten with Josh from the start. On top of the main romance arc, CEO Ku is aware of the numerous hidden couples in his office and wants them to thrive so they won't quit his company.
  • Yumi's Cells:
    • When Yumi switches departments and starts working with Babi, he seems to be interested in her and pursues her a while after she has a break-up. Yumi eventually comes to terms with her feelings (and her best friend's unrequited feelings for Babi) and starts dating him, but they eventually quit the office.
    • Soonrok Shin has a strict internal rule to not date coworkers, but he is willing to break it if his feelings are genuine. He initially draws a line with Yumi when she shows interest in him because he is her publisher, but he lets his guard down when she shows him platonic compassion. After they spend time together during the weekend, Soonrok confesses his feelings and they start dating. Their boss is too much of a romantic to stop them from working together..

    Web Videos 
  • Emma Approved: As a modern adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma set in an office, a number of the novel's relationships become this:
    • Emma Woodhouse is a lifestyle coach and head of the Emma Approved company, while Knightley is her business partner and friend who does all the "boring stuff". As in the novel, they get a Childhood Friend Romance Relationship Upgrade near the end, and continue to work together (though Emma does express concern that this will impact their business).
    • Harriet Smith becomes Emma's assistant, who develops feelings for Bobby Martin, the company's IT guy. Emma doesn't approve mostly because she thinks Harriet can do better rather than having an issue with them being co-workers.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Wife:
    • There's some mutual attraction between Chance and his new boss Serenity who both work in IT. Serenity is a cool, funny woman who acts like a grown-up in stark contrast to Chance's wife Simone who is the titular manic-pixie. Chance and Serenity never go beyond casual flirting and ultimately remain only friends because Chance truly does love Simone.
    • When Simone starts working as a secretary at Miller & Associates, her boss Vincent warns her that new office girls always fall in love with him, but he doesn't want any of that because he's married. She assures him she's happily married herself, but Vincent insists she's gonna feel at least tempted.
  • The "Full Benefits" series on CollegeHumor is a series on staff writers Sarah Schneider and David Young working through an office romance.
    • Emily Axford and Brian K. Murphy developed an office romance and eventually married.

    Western Animation 
  • In Futurama, the Official Couple Fry and Leela are coworkers. Their relationship began as a one-sided crush on Fry's part before Leela began to return his feelings at the end of the fourth movie. They have a Relationship Revolving Door for a season before settling into a more stable couple in the final season. Fry also dated Amy for an episode before he broke up with her. Amy also dated Bender in a later episode before he broke up with her. Leela apparently had asked her boss from her previous job out on a date but he refused since he was married (he never wore his ring so Leela didn't know.) He apparently met his own wife this way as well.
  • In Justice League, one of the reasons Batman brings up for not dating Wonder Woman is that "dating within the team always leads to disaster."


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Workplace Romance


The Harsh Truth

MatPat lays it out on the table of how a workplace romance would realistically be a lot more disastrous than it is cute.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / OfficeRomance

Media sources: