The characters of 'Mad Men' | EW.com

TV | Mad Men

The characters of 'Mad Men'

Don Draper, Peggy Olson, and the show's other leads in profile

DON DRAPER
Jon Hamm

WHERE HE LEFT OFF
Spiritually lost, the adulterous Don (né Dick Whitman) recommitted to his newly pregnant wife, Betty, after a surreal Southern California idyll featuring delusional hedonists and the wise widow of the real Don Draper. At work, Don thwarted Duck Phillips’ power play for control after the agency’s sale to the British firm Putnam, Powell, and Lowe.

WHAT’S IN STORE
”He’s trying to be a better husband and father,” says Hamm. ”People say having a baby solves a lot of problems. Well, it creates a lot of problems, too.” A business trip in the first episode to visit a client, London Fog raincoats, will test his moral mettle. ”The first image of the season is Don’s bare feet,” says executive producer Matthew Weiner. ”This year is about stripping Don down. Who’s the man under that suit?” Weiner sums up Don’s arc with one unexpected and cryptic word: ”Liberation. It’s a big theme of the season in general.”

BETTY DRAPER
January Jones

WHERE SHE LEFT OFF
Furious over Don’s betrayals and profoundly rattled by her unintentional pregnancy, the model housewife tossed propriety aside for drunken revenge sex with a total stranger. ”She’s slowly turning into Don,” quips Jones, who was shocked by Betty’s dalliance and tickled by fan feedback. ”It’s the old double standard. Men were really disturbed, but women were like, ‘Finally! Betty gets hers!”’

WHAT’S IN STORE
A baby — and perhaps more marital problems. ”I think Betty is in love with Don, but Don loves the idea of Betty,” says Jones. ”Their marriage is a constant struggle. We’re halfway through shooting the season, and I still don’t know what’s going to happen with them.” Weiner warns that Betty’s infidelity ”did change her,” and while it’s not immediately addressed, ”I have not forgotten about it…. The real question for this couple is, Can these people really be in love with each other anymore?”

PEGGY OLSON
Elisabeth Moss

WHERE SHE LEFT OFF
The ambitious copywriter continued her rise at Sterling Cooper, scoring a new account and a new office. Spurred by priestly counsel, Peggy confessed to Pete that she had given up their baby — and in doing so, she dealt with her guilt.

WHAT’S IN STORE
”She’s ready to move into the next stage in her life,” says Weiner, adding that Peggy will re-embrace her femininity — and risk mixing business with pleasure, as her male superiors do. ”She has to deal with the same work world that Don does, and possibly in the same way.” Moss says that as Mad Men moves deeper into the ’60s, Peggy will reflect the culture shift: ”There’s change bubbling under the surface.” There’s also a fashion upgrade. ”She’s not making her own clothes anymore,” says Moss with a laugh. ”And she gets to keep her haircut. It’s a whole new world of headbands.”