"I have been watching my life. It's right there. I keep scratching at it, trying to get into it. I can't."
The most prominent member of the series' Ensemble Cast, Draper starts Season 1 as the head of Creative at Sterling Cooper, rises to junior partner, and flees the company to start Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce when Sterling Cooper is sold to McCann Erickson. Has a Secret Past (two of them, in a way).
The Barnum: Don is willing to make an ad for just about anything, if the price is right, though he treats consumers with somewhat more respect than normal for this trope.
Broken Ace: Top of the line in his profession, handsome, charismatic, a keen business acumen, combines a beautiful family with the life of a ladies man, apparently a real winner. Underneath it all, he suffers from some serious Parental Issues and other mental problems which make him get no satisfaction.
Brutal Honesty/Consummate Liar: He mostly bullshits his way through (a dual) life, and part of his executive / creative job consists on it in order to keep clients happy but oddly enough, he manages to combine both; at work, he prefers not to sugarcoat the truth and likes to be as direct or blunt as possible, as exemplified by his sudden lambast against tobacco and his attack of sincerity during his Hershey's pitch.
Bumbling Dad/Parental Neglect: In an odd sort of way. He gives the overall impression of being well-meaning and loving, if clueless, which stands in sharp contrast to Betty's emotional and physical abuse of Sally. However, the later seasons are taking this apart. In the fourth, following his divorce, he starts forgetting when he has to take his kids, going on a date and leaving them with a sitter, or missing his weekend with them because he was on a two-day bender. The fifth season opener shows the increasing distance with his promise to take the kids to the Statue of Liberty, to which Sally responds, "You always say that, but we never do."
Don: I don't think I ever wanted to be the man who loves children. But from the moment they're born, that baby comes out and you act proud and excited and hand out cigars but you don't feel anything. Especially if you had a difficult childhood. You want to love them, but you don't. And the fact that you're faking that feeling makes you wonder if your own father had the same problem. Then one day they get older, and you see them do something and you feel that feeling that you were pretending to have. And it feels like your heart is going to explode
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The best creative there is, he can skip important meetings or do eccentric things just because he's that good, but eventually the partners stop putting up with him.
The Casanova: Wherever Don Draper goes, beautiful women hit on him and Don is perfectly willing to take them up on it, despite being married. He becomes something more of a Casanova Wannabe in the fourth season. Now that he's available and hitting on everything that moves, he gets turned down at lot more (though his conquests are still legendary). At least until he starts getting his act together in The Summer Man.
Chivalrous Pervert: In spite of his dickish tendencies, he has a problem with the other guys at the office being overtly crude and creepy around female employees. He sort of lampshades this tendency when he tells Peggy, "I have rules" about this kind of thing (meaning, particularly, hitting on/having relationships with women at work). His drunken seduction of Allison, his secretary in Season 4, unfortunately undermined this - becoming a deliberate signal of just how out of control Don's life has become.
Control Freak: His relationship with Sylvia eventually turns into him demanding she do various demeaning things. This causes her to break up with him.
Cool Car: In order: 1959 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 sedan, 1960 Buick LeSabre convertible, 1961 Dodge Polara, 1962 Cadillac Coupe De Ville, 1965 Cadillac Coupe De Ville.
Crazy Jealous Guy: His response to Roger hitting on his wife was to then get him drunk and trick him into walking up several flights of stairs, which induced a heart attack.
Dead Person Impersonation: While serving in the Korean War, he accidentally caused a gas explosion that killed his commanding officer and wounded him. He switched their dog tags, used Don Draper's identity to desert, and pretended to be him to get away from his family and start his own life.
Domestic Abuser: While the time period prevents the show from directly acknowledging it, in the past Don has threatened to harm Betty (even implied killing her), called her a whore, gaslighted her, on top of the myriad of lies and adultery.
Has a Type: Don begins the show married to a blond Stepford Smiler, but all of his mistresses/lovers have been rather independent-minded and outspoken, and all have been brunette except for redhead Bobbie Barrett (who pursued him, rather than the other way around), and blonde Faye Miller (whom he dated after his divorce).
Hypocrite: He is a serial adulterer, but is absolutely cruel to Betty and then Meghan when he believes them to be promiscuous.
Indy Ploy: Despite demanding a solid planification from his underlings, Don relies too much on his own talent, inspiration, improvisation, audacity or plain luck, a thing that doesn't sit well with his partners.
Campbell: Don't act like you had a plan. You are Tarzan, swinging from vine to vine!
Informed Attractiveness: Women on the show frequently mention how handsome he is. In season five, when he jokes that it will look like he struck out when he leaves Joan in a bar, she scoffs at the idea that anyone would believe that.
It's All About Me: The other partners or workers call him out arguing this whenever he does something impulsive or unexpected (which happens a lot). Most of his peculiar behavior is the way he has to cope around his own issues.
Jerkass/Jerkass With A Heart Of Gold: He tends to be blunt or distant and his chronic infidelity alone makes him a dick. He can also be quite personable, charming and fair and often tries to be a decent human being and father, but his character flaws often work against his good intentions.
Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Pulls some strings to provide a deferment to the Rossen boy only to regain a place between the legs of Sylvia, the boy's mother.
Manipulative Bastard: Don's a master of office politics. To say nothing of his emotional abuse of Betty.
Meaningful Name: Among other freudian connotations explored below, "Dick" reflects his inability to keep it in his pants and his mean tendencies, while "Don" and "Draper" evoke his manly, mercantilistic, elegant and dapperish parts.
Morality Pet: Anna is his. He's not entirely a bad guy, but Anna is the only person in his life he doesn't on occasion act like a dick towards. Tellingly, she's also for a long time the only person who really knows who he is.
Mr. Fanservice: Don probably has the most shirtless scenes of the male cast.
Mysterious Past: Most of the characters, including his children, know virtually nothing about his background. Don eventually reveals he's from Hershey, Pennsylvania, which is just barely far enough into Central PA to count as sort of Midwestern. It certainly isn't within the Philadelphia sphere of influence that would render it East Coast.
Harry: Draper? Who knows anything about that guy? No one’s ever lifted that rock. He could be Batman for all we know.
Parental Abandonment: Don has abandoned his children on several occasions—his daughter Sally's birthday party where he just took off for several hours, missing the cake; his trip to California which lasted almost a month; and his blackout in Season 4, where he drank the whole weekend and forgot to come get his kids for their visit.
Rape as Backstory: As revealed in "The Crash" - a prostitute, Aimee, who had been caring for the sick adolescent Dick Whitman, molested him and took his virginity. This is implied to be a major contributing factor to his skewed perspectives on women and sex.
Rated M for Manly: The epitome of suave masculinity in and out-universe and also a deconstruction, he's a pretty damaged individual below the smooth surface.
Redemption Failure: Don reverts to his philandering ways between seasons 5 and 6, cheating on Megan with a neighbor.
Reformed, but Rejected: Don makes a sincere effort to make things right with all the people he's wronged in the season 6 finale, but he has too many pieces to pick up and everything he does to help one person ends up hurting someone else, leaving him without both Megan and his job.
Self-Made Man: A rural boy raised in a whorehouse becomes a successful executive and partner of a Midtown Manhattan company thanks to his hard work and talent after working as a salesman and atteding City College at night.
Son of a Whore: "You told me your mother died in childbirth. Mine did too. She was a prostitute. I don't know if my father paid her, but when she died, they brought me to him and his wife. And when I was ten years old, he died. He was a drunk, he got kicked in the face by a horse. She buried him and took up with some other man, and I was raised by those two sorry people."
A lighter, nobler incarnation of Tony Soprano, the protagonist of creator Matthew Weiner's previous show. Both characters are middle-aged broken aces with a dual life, are serial adulterers married to a blonde stepford smiler but fond of brunettes, endure The Chains of Commanding and have serious parental issues, among other minor common traits.
Handsome, charismatic, enigmatic, and aloof, Don Draper and Jay Gatsby are two men with a parallel and lurid past.
Standard '50s Father: Taken apart at the seams. Him being married with kids is a First Episode Spoiler after he's already established as a womanizer, and he understands clients a whole lot better than his family.
The Stoic: Displays a stern and cold demeanor, even when he's being charming.
That Man Is Dead: The only time he acknowledges having been Dick Whitman is when Adam confronts him, and even then he does not directly confirm it. He does go by Dick when with Anna. Although his second wife, Megan, also knows his real name, and refers to him as it in "A Little Kiss."
Peggy: I don't recognize that man. He's kind and he's patient...It concerns me.
The Unfavourite: To his adoptive mother (even before she had a son of her own).
Unfortunate Names: Dick isn't a terribly unfortunate name in and of itself but ad Whitman to the end and you easily come to Dick Whit. Also he got the name because his mother died in childbirth and her last words were "I'll cut his dick off".
Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Don is against the use of physical punishment in the raising of his kids, a very progressive attitude for his time. As he explains to Betty when questioned about this, his father used to beat him up all the time when he was a child, and all it lead to was him fantasizing about murdering him.
Starting as Don Draper's wide-eyed new secretary at the beginning of Season 1, she ends up senior copywriter at SCDP. Initially has trouble with men (particularly Pete) hitting on her; eventually, she starts hitting on men. Known for flirting with the counterculture, but not being radical/interested enough to commit to it (so far, anyway).
Important Haircut: During season 2, her long dainty ponytail is sheared off and styled into an aggressive no-nonsense business cut to reaffirm her days as a secretary are over.
Improbable Age: She's the copy chief at one of the best ad agencies in the country and she's not even thirty.
Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Her coworkers see her as this, initially (she was at one point described as an undercover nun). This obviously isn't true.
Intergenerational Friendship: With Julio, a young boy that lives in the same apartment building as her and comes over to watch tv, as of the 7th season.
Karma Houdini: How her sister perceives her for having baby out of wedlock and giving it up for adoption, returning to her job like nothing happened, at a time when there was still a heavy stigma on unwed mothers.
Law of Inverse Fertility: While on birth control (albeit, just starting to use it), she becomes pregnant by Pete Campbell and gives birth to his child. This surfaces during the second season, at the same time that he and his wife are unsuccessfully trying to conceive.
Married to the Job: She even choose staying at work on her birthday instead of spending it with her boyfriend and family.
My Beloved Smother: Her mother is a classic example, constantly nagging her to go to church and trying to set her up with men, taking her decision to move from Brooklyn to Manhattan (where her job is) as a personal betrayal, and sowing enough Catholic guilt for Peggy to reap for a lifetime. (However, she does seem to have been touchingly supportive about the fact that Peggy got pregnant out of wedlock about five minutes into the flashy Manhattan job that worries her so much.)
One of the Boys: Once she becomes a copywriter, she spends her time with other men instead of the secretaries, and her appearance becomes more masculine. In Season 4, she accompanies Don to the men's room when he throws up, a symbolic representation of her transition to one of the guys.
After becoming a copywriter, her fashion also changes. While still wearing dresses, they are styled and cut to resemble men's suits.
Parental Substitute: To her neighbor Julio in Season 7, the boy spends time watching tv with her in her apartment and confides in her, feeling his Mother doesn't care. An acute example, due to him being around the same age as the baby Peggy gave up, something that has been torturing her.
Plucky Office Girl: She gets hired as a secretary, but her comments on a lipstick project in which the secretaries are used as guinea pigs get her noticed, and she becomes a copywriter and a rising star.
Raised Catholic: Her faith at the very least took a big dent over her pregnancy, but as there's no escaping the Church, she still goes to Mass off and on, does the posters for a CYO dance, and creates an ad for Popsicles inspired by Catholic iconography. The church's new, young priest takes an interest in her and tries to steer her back towards the religion.
She Cleans Up Nicely: Gets one of these moments at the end of a season 2 episode, and in general as she starts to dress (in Joan's words) "less like a little girl" over the season and into season 3.
Shrinking Violet: Particularly in season one, she was incredibly shy, modest, and afraid to risk losing her job by standing up for herself. But she learns to shake this off once she realizes what she could achieve in the company if she gets a tougher hide.
The Smurfette Principle: Once she's promoted from secretary, the only female copywriter at the firm. Justified in that this is the early 60's and the second wave of feminism won't really kick it into high gear for nearly a decade. Useful to the agency (in addition to her talent) in that she brings a female perspective to the boys club of advertising. Has complained about only being given the "girly" accounts (bras, lipstick, diet soda, etc).
Supporting Protagonist: While Don Draper is inarguably the main character, the series opens up on her first day at the office, and the show's longest running consistent arc seems to be her own evolution as she rises to the top.
Took a Level in Badass: Turning down Don's demand that she join SCDP in the season 3 finale, because of the simple fact he hasn't asked her. He needs her so much, he ends up begging her to join.
And another one in "The Other Woman"; when she figures out that Don and the rest of SCDP have been taking her for granted, she quits her job and takes an offer with CGC making triple what Sterling Coop was paying her.
From a family that once owned half of Upper Manhattan, now fallen on relatively hard times. Initially full of himself and rather an unlikable creep who compensates for his inferiority complex by both sexually harassing and bullying the secretarial staff. However, his experiences at work give him a sense of humility and maturity that makes him a more likable character by Season 4 (in some viewers' eyes, anyway). This takes a step back in Season 5, however.
The Barnum: Like most of the cast, Pete's willing to sell any product.
Batman Gambit: He figures out that Roger has been reading his secretary's calendar in order to poach his accounts, and so he has his secretary write in a fictional meeting with Coca Cola at 6 in the morning at the Staten Island Ferry Building. It works.
Butt Monkey: Of all the characters in the office, he tends to have the highest amount of slap-stick, being slapped, punched, tripping downstairs, and running into support beams frequently.
Did Not Think This Through: Pete doesn't realize that working to impress the executives of General Motors at Detroit is going to require some driving skills, as Ken exemplified in the past.
Disappeared Dad: Hardly around his daughter Tammy so much that when he comes to visit her in "The Strategy", the little girl doesn't recognize him.
Drives Like Crazy: Not really crazy, but very poorly, and his lack of skill as a driver repeatedly figures as a plot point.
Dude, Where's My Respect?: After Lucky Strike switched to another firm, Pete surpassed Roger in terms of contributions to SCDP's profits. Despite this, he still has the worst office in the building and is not pleased about it (he eventually gets Harry's office, but it doesn't stop him from feeling he deserves ''Roger's"). To add insult to injury, Roger then starts to poach potential customers from him and Pete can't officially do anything about it.
Go Seduce My Arch Nemesis: A painfully mundane example; he asks Trudy to somehow convince an ex-boyfriend to publish a short story of his in a reputable magazine. Trudy stopping short of actual adultery relegates the story to "Boy's Life".
Gold Digger: Surprisingly averted. He did marry into money, but was unaware of his family's drop in wealth until after he was married for over a year. Also, he if anything he resents his father-in-law for always trying to help financially. He does, however, want his business and has made no secret of it.
Henpecked Husband: Feels like this in his marriage as of Season 5. He is about as far from this as can be in the first two or three seasons, (his wife was just as - arguably more - submissive than Betty)as can be seen in "The Mountain King" and "The New Girl". However, towards the end (last two episodes) of season three and then on, Trudy becomes very nagging of the man.
Hidden Depths: Despite hailing from a privileged background and acting like a brown-nosing greenhorn in the first season, he has an eye for social change that the dinosaurs at SC sorely lack; though they scoff at him for predicting things like the trend of humorous advertising, or that Kennedy was going to beat Nixon, (He doesn't even wear a hat!) he turns out to be right. He is completely baffled as to why the senior leadership of Sterling Cooper and their clients aren't going after African-American customers, as to his eyes they are consumers who no one is trying to reach (and in the case of the clients black people seem to be buying their products anyways). He is also always disgusted when he comes across racism. This relative colorblindness is rather progressive for the time, to say the least. He's also quite the social dancer.
I Just Want to Be You: He's obsessed with living up to the ideal of the "red-blooded American male", his most obvious example being Don. By season five, his life almost exactly resembles Don's back in season one - and he still hasn't caught on that Don was as miserable then as Pete is now.
Impoverished Patrician: He comes from one of the oldest Dutch families in America, with a million connections in Manhattan, but due to a combination of being The Unfavorite and his spendthrift father having nothing to leave when he dies, he becomes beholden to his Nouveau Riche parents-in-law, which puts a strain on his marriage.
It's All About Me: Though he occasionally starts showing signs of growing out of it, this is pretty much his raison d'etre.
Older than They Look: Naturally as he is played by Vincent Kartheiser. In an attempt to mitigate this, Kartheiser shaved his hair in a way to make it look as though Pete's hairline is receding.
Pretty Boy: He's much more boy-ish and soft looking than the other more debonair men in the office. His youthful appearance may have scored him a brief fling with Peggy, but over the next few seasons his hairline starts to recede more and more, making his young face look considerably more off-putting.
The Unfavorite: In both his personal and professional life, he's generally not respected.
"Well Done, Son" Guy: He never got his father's approval before he died, which just adds more to his inferiority complex. His desire for Don's approval reflects this, but he's really bad at taking good advice.
"You want to have this conversation in front of Mr. Draper? I'm going to the break room to find your replacement."
Voluptuous and highly competent—if at times difficult—head of the Sterling Cooper secretarial pool at the beginning, with an on-again-off-again affair with Roger Sterling. By the end of Season 4, she's the office manager at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and widely recognized as the sine qua non of the whole agency. By Season 5, she's a partner.
Alpha Bitch: Sometimes acts this way toward the other women in the secretarial pool, though she is not without her sympathetic traits or humanizing moments. Helps that there are some men that don't ogle her: Don admits to being scared of her at first and Lane only develops a crush on her after knowing her.
Badass Bureaucrat: She eventually gets placed in charge of managing SCDP's finances. She's also the kind of person you do not want to get on the bad side of.
Berserk Button: When she finds out that her husband voluntarily re-upped for another tour of duty in Vietnam, she's not happy.
Break the Haughty: Initially the queen bitch of the office, much of the first three years are devoted to knocking her down a peg, in both her personal and professional lives.
Career Versus Man: Although she's peerlessly good at her job, she explicitly is in the market for a husband and only plans to work until she finds one. She's given a promotion in season four, but it comes with no acknowledged power or prestige. After she marries Greg, she's expected to leave SCDP and she's heartbroken over it. Following her divorce, she strikes a deal with Pete that nets her a non-silent partnership with 5% stake in SCDP.
Christmas Cake: She's aware of and angsted / relatively annoyed (see above) by the standards and expectations of the era.
Consummate Professional: Possibly the most professional of all the people in the office. She will NOT put up with shenanigans if she has anything to say about it.
Family Versus Career: She's gotten what she's always wanted, a doctor husband, a baby, a nice little apartment in the city... and the fifth season opener shows her impatient to come back to work because she values it and because she's valued. Roger's joke advertisement of SCDP as an equal opportunity employer inspires her to walk back into the office and start demonstrating her competence in a bid to save her job.
Fiery Redhead: Averted. She loses her temper exactly twice, once each in the third and fifth seasons, and otherwise keeps her emotions tightly (maybe too tightly) controlled.
Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Nope. Joan has had at least one abortion in the past, and considers having another when she becomes pregnant with Roger's child in season 4. Then again, it's debatable whether she counts as a "good girl" by the social standards of either the setting or of contemporary audiences.
Hello, Nurse!: Most of the male cast can't stop staring at her boobs and ass.
Hidden Depths: Plays the accordion, and with her stint working for Harry proves herself to have a great deal of business acumen. Also, through most of the first three seasons almost no one seems to realize that she's running the office.
Hypercompetent Sidekick: She starts off relatively low ranking, but it eventually becomes clear that she's the one holding the agency together.
Informed Attractiveness: As with Don, it is simply understood by all characters on the show that she is the hottest person in any room she's in.
Iron Lady: Always a zero-nonsense boss, her commanding style doesn't get softer when she's promoted.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She can be very cold and intimidating, and lack of professionalism and respect can make her downright scary, but the moments when she consoles or advices someone make it shine through that, underneath the icy exterior, she's actually a very nice person. Specifically, her relationships with Lane and Peggy (even if it didn't start out that way) bring out the best in her.
"Don't fool yourself. This is some very dirty business."
Played By: John Slattery
Don : Why do we do this?
Roger: For the sex, but it's always disappointing.
Partner at Sterling Cooper and then Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. A chronic drinker and womanizer, he's a bit older than Don (having served in the Pacific Theater of World War II), but is arguably his closest friend (or, along with Peggy, perhaps the closest thing he has to a friend). He inherited his partnership from his father, a friend of Bert Cooper's.
You (Don) don't know how to drink. Your whole generation, you drink for the wrong reasons. My generation, we drink because it's good, because it feels better than unbuttoning your collar, because we deserve it. We drink because it's what men do.
The Artifact: In Universe, Season 5 drives the point home that Roger is getting overshadowed by both Don (who is the true brains behind the agency) and Pete (who does all the leg work in getting new accounts). Roger meanwhile is revealed to be coasting on his family name (he inherited his position in the company).
The Barnum: Like the rest of the cast, Roger is willing to sell just about anything.
Break the Haughty: Roger's fast-living, hard drinking, womanizing lifestyle has been shown to have consequences. He's survived a heart attack - not that it really slowed him down too much - and he's confronting the reality that in this new agency, he might be superfluous.
Butt Monkey: Despite his vivacious façade, he's unable to stay happy for too long. He eventually loses the Lucky Strike account, inherited from his father, and his decay is more evident and pathetic in Season 5 when he becomes a joke who stays afloat thanks to his pocket money, which he has to hand away. In Season 6 his mother passes away and he becomes estranged to his daughter.
Cool Old Guy: The first cast member to try LSD. Later in the series, he relates more to the hippies than to the establishment.
Lack of Empathy: Played with, it seems to be a coping mechanism. When his mother dies, he not only appears callously unaffected, he's also annoyed by his secretary genuinely mourning over his loss, but eventually Roger breaks down in tears.
Meaningful Name: "Sterling" is another word for money, and Roger is quite well-off. It's also a synonym for "silver", and he wears a lot of the color—and is noted for his gray (i.e. silver) hair, to boot.
Ironically, it also refers to being a person of the highest quality, and Roger isn't a very good person much of the time.
Most Writers Are Writers: Spent a lot of his time offscreen during the seasons working on an autobiography, or rather, making lots and lots of drunken tape recordings and having someone else write it down for him. Upon hearing that Ken is secretly a successful published author, he becomes jealous because of the lack of sales on his autobiography.
Pet the Dog: Roger is extremely passionate in arguing for Don's case against the rest of the firm's partners.
Stepford Snarker: Roger uses humor to deflect or cope with many unpleasant aspects of his unbalanced life.
Took a Level in Badass: Early in "Waterloo," Cooper says that Roger has many talents, but isn't really a leader. After Cooper dies later in the episode, Roger realizes that Cutler will now be able to easily get rid of Don (and in the longer run, will probably force him and Pete out too for being Don's main allies), he sets up a deal to partly sell the agency to McCann Ericsson, which both secures Don's job and makes Roger the president of SC&P.
Tragic Bigot: His hostility towards the Japanese is implied to be due to the traumatic things he saw in the Pacific Theater.
True Companions: By Season 7, we find out that he truly is this to Don. While they fought on several occasions beforehand and Roger signed off on Don's leave of absence at the end of Season 6, the events of "Field Trip" show him bringing Don back to the firm and arguing his case vehemently against Cutler and Joan. In "Waterloo", after Bert's death, Roger bemoans that Cutler has enough power to force Don from the firm, and opines to his friend that "I'm losing you, too".
The events of "Waterloo" show that Roger and Bert were these, too.
Unconfessed Unemployment: Sort of, when Lucky Strike drops SCDP (which may as well mean the death of the firm), he keeps it a secret trying to somehow control the disaster. When the truth gets out, he puts up a shameful charade trying to keep face.
What Did I Do Last Night?: After several rejections, he ends up hiring Don after the two share plenty of drinks one night. When Don shows up the next day, Roger doesn't remember anything of it.
Your Cheating Heart: Roger seems to be incapable of monogamy, cheating on Mona with Joan and then Jane, later marrying Jane and cheating on her with Joan again.
Played By: Rich Sommer
"Oooh, a Negro homosexual, Canadian sexpot, and unaccompanied redhead. This may be my key demographic."
A media buyer at Sterling Cooper notable chiefly because everyone tends to overlook his existence, he eventually gets the agency into the television game, becoming Head of Television. He skips to SCDP to do the same job, where he finally has the resources to be effective...and somehow manages to end up even more of a schlemiel and a milquetoast (despite his good work).
Ambiguously Bi: Harry Crane gives off vibes of this. On at least two separate occasions he's talked about how a different character is "queer". His crass jokes about what he'd do to Megan reek of Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today? and in "Tea Leaves" he talks about how good Charlton Heston looks naked. On the other hand, he's definitely had drunken one-night stands with women (his wife exiles him to the couch for it), so it's fairly likely he has some natural inclination towards women.
And then there's Joey's reaction to Harry's attempts to befriend him by telling him he could get him on Peyton Place:
Joey: "Everyplace I've worked, there's always some old fairy who comes on to me, but that was the weirdest by far."
Bowties Are Cool: He always wears one at work, while everyone else wears neckties (with the sole exception of Cooper, who's about eighty years old). It's pretty depressing.
Subverted after SCDP's founding. He ditches the bowties in favor of neckties.
Casanova Wannabe: SO hard. In a series where Everybody Has Lots of Sex, he's the guy who never, ever, manages it on his own merits. The only time we see him get any, it was being used on him as a bargaining chip by Lakshmi to get him to back off from helping Paul.
Characterization Marches On: In the first two seasons he was completely devoted to his wife, being legitimately repentant that he had a drunken one-night stand and cheated on her. In the more recent seasons he Took a Level in Jerkass and is an outright braggart over how often he cheats on his wife.
The Chew Toy: To the point where Harry missing his chance at becoming a partner at the moment where being one would have made him a millionaire is played for laughs.
And then in the following episode, he loses even more money in a messy divorce.
Dude, Where's My Respect?: Harry constantly complains that he's passed over for a partnership, despite being indispensable to the firm. Heavily Lampshaded in the episode A Tale of Two Cities, where he understands exactly how Hollywood works while Don and Roger are fish out of water - but Don and Roger are convinced that all their errors are the fault of the people in California, not their unwillingness to listen to Harry.
By season seven he has given up on trying to earn respect and becomes a Deadpan Snarker who has no problem in calling out his bosses for ignoring the media department until it bites them in the behind.
Happily Married: For the longest time, he fits this trope best out of the married men in the office — he did cheat on his wife once, but it was a drunken one-night stand, he clearly regretted it immediately, and he must have told her, because it's doubtful she could have found out any other way. He was temporarily Exiled to the Couch for it and then forgiven (between seasons). She also has a job of her own and he often takes her advice on work matters. Subverted in Season 4, where he is seen flirting with a model, and in Season 5 it is revealed that he has become unhappy with his marriage and cheats on his wife once more. In "Waterloo", he mentions that his wife is considering divorcing him.
Hidden Depths: He's clearly succeeded despite having fewer advantages than Pete or Ken - he didn't go to an Ivy League school, for instance, and doesn't seem to have their connections. He is ahead of his time on the importance of television. He was also a photographer in college.
Nerd Glasses: Transitions in style from rounded browlines in the first half of the 1960s to a black and angular thick-framed variety post-Season 4.
Skewed Priorities: He is upset at learning of Martin Luther King Jr.'s death not because a great man who brought hope to millions died, but because the media coverage of his death is preempting programs in which SCDP's commercials were supposed to air, costing the agency money. Pete, of all people, calls Harry out on his insensitive behavior.
It's hinted that he had this as early as Season 3. Following JFK's death, Pete notes to Trudy that Harry was, of all things, checking his data to see what programs wouldn't be aired as a result.
Took a Level in Jerkass: After his Television department takes off at SCDP, he starts to suffer from a massively inflated ego. He also becomes more sexist.
What You Are in the Dark: Helped Kinsey out even though no one, not even Kinsey, would ever know the full extent of the help.
Columbia-educated WASP from Vermont and a major rival of Pete's, coming in as an account executive at about the same time as him. They eventually come to a truce.
The Ace: He can dance and write, in addition to being a good salesman.
Actually Pretty Funny: In response to Roger's pirate crack when wearing the eye patch after being accidentally shot by a couple of GM executives, he says he'd laugh if he didn't hurt so much.
Almighty Janitor: Roger offers to promote Ken to partner in exchange for Ken getting his father-in-law to sign on as an account. Ken turns him down because he does not want to get involved with any of the office politics.
Break the Cutie: The Chevy execs drive him crazy, involving him in a car crash and later shooting him on a hunting trip—enough to make him give the Chevy account to Pete.
Butt Monkey: In Season 6, courtesy of some rowdy executives of General Motors. A car accident leaves him walking with a cane and shortly after he needs an eyepatch thanks to a hunting accident. Then he calls it quits and hands the account to Pete.
Character Development: Actually done rather subtlety, but Ken's has steadily changed over the course of the series. In the early series he was a bit of a Jerkass Womanizer who had no problem taking advantage of the office politics. After settling down and getting married, Ken mellowed out, becoming faithful to his wife and transitioned to being an all around nice guy. By latter seasons, Ken is the only member of the office able to balance his work and personal life.
Chivalrous Pervert: Early seasons he's every bit the womanizer that his peers are, but unlike them, Ken is never shown to be manipulative or condescending towards the females he's hitting on. He treats Peggy with respect and tries (unsuccessfully) to court Jane before he finally gets engaged and remains faithful to his wife.
Eye Scream: He gets a rather nasty eye wound in a hunting accident in Season 6. He's still wearing an eyepatch in Season 7.
The Generic Guy/Satellite Character: Ken seems to exist primarily to act as a foil for other characters. Paul Kinsey and Pete Campbell are jealous of Ken's literary ability, Sal Romano is attracted to him, and Ken's refusal to mix SCDP business with his personal life in Season 4 serves to contrast with most of the other account men at SCDP. Early in season 1, Ken was also a Charismatic Womanizer while Harry was a stiff who cowtowed to his wife. Later seasons, Ken is now Happily Married while Harry callously cheats on his wife.
Hidden Depths: For all his bluster and inappropriate behavior, he respects Peggy and treats her relatively equally much faster than any of the other characters in his generation.
It was already known that Ken had written and published one story, but Season 5 reveals he's published over 20 science fiction and fantasy stories under a pseudonym, something he's mildly embarrassed about but that both his wife and Peggy seem genuinely impressed by. When Roger finds out, he's less impressed, giving Ken a tongue lashing for dividing his focus.
Most Writers Are Writers: During season one he fiddled around with getting some of his writings published, much to the jealous fury of Pete. When it turns out he's succeeding, it's Roger's turn to be jealous.
Nice Guy: Ken has a few obnoxious moments, but is generally the most decent, likable, and honest person in the office.
Only Sane Employee: So far, Ken seems to be the only character whose work has never been affected by a secret personal life, blatant narcissism, excessive drinking, the inability to keep his pants on, spinelessness, or any of the other deep character flaws everyone else seems to have.
Took a Level in Jerkass: In "Time Zones", the stress from managing virtually every account in SC&P's New York office has done a number on Ken's temper.
Though these are mostly restricted to times when he is under extreme duress. He seems more apologetic to Joan for his irritability later, and he's genuinely pleased to see Don in "Field Trips". He specifically notes how much the carousel in Central Park reminds him of Don, serving as a heartwarming Call Back to Don's speech way back in Season 1's "The Wheel" (which would've occurred almost a decade a go, in-universe).
Played By: Robert Morse
Senior partner in Sterling Cooper and Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, known for his fondness for Japonica, the Republican Party, Ayn Rand, and other eccentricities. Has known Roger Sterling from childhood.
The Cast Showoff: Bert gets a musical number in "Waterloo", giving Robert Morse a chance to show off his pipes.
Cloudcuckoolander: He certainly acts like one, although he has demonstrated an uncanny talent for being cleverer than his fellows give him credit for.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: As shown with his verbal smackdown of Pete in the season 1 finale, as well as Roger's theory that Bert had a doctor who gave him an unnecessary orchiectomy killed. He is also the only character to have gotten away with blackmailing Don, and Don never even tries to retaliate.
Dirty Old Man: He has a copy of the woodcut The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife on the wall of his office.
Foreign Culture Fetish/Occidental Otaku: As mentioned above, he has a fondness for Japonica. His office at SC was done at least partially in tatami and had shoji partitions. Also, the office is decked out in ukiyo-e prints, and he demanded that everyone who entered said office take off their shoes.
The Man: Until they sell the firm. As the last living founder of Sterling Coopernote The "Sterling" in the agency name is Roger's late father, Bert has the final say.
Obfuscating Senility: It's been pointed out in the commentaries that his bizarre insistence that everyone take off their shoes before entering his office is actually a power move.
Out of Focus: In Season 4. He had already entered a state of semi-retirement at the end of Season 2 and he doesn't even have an office in SCDP's building (he hangs out in the lobby instead). His role in Season 4 mostly consists of making snarky comments to passersby. Lampshaded and subverted in Season 5's "Far Away Places", where Don is stunned when he learns that Bert has become involved in SCDP business once more.
Pet the Dog: As amoral as he is, he still is outraged when he learns that Pete tried to get Joan to engage in prostitution. Even after he and the other partners vote that its okay if Joan's okay with it, he tells Pete that if Joan changes her mind, he can't force her to do it.
Satanic Archetype: Bert isn't literally the Devil, but his Satanic appearance isn't by accident. Nor is it by accident that it is Cooper who blackmails Don into signing his contract.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Don denounces tobacco in a full page ad, an outraged Bert leaves the company. He comes back almost immediately though.
"Well, gentlemen, I suppose you're fired."
Played By: Jared Harris
"My entire life - every time someone's asked me what I wanted, I've never told them the truth."
Introduced in Season 3, when the British firm Putnam, Powell, & Lowe buys out Sterling Cooper. Initially presented as the unwelcome representative of the foreign overlords, it proves that PPL isn't exactly treating him well, either. In exchange for "firing" Sterling, Cooper, and Draper, he is invited to become a named partner and the chief money man at their new firm.
Abusive Parents: His father STILL hits him. That is to say, clubs him to the ground and then tortures him for supposedly "abandoning" his family.
Bait-and-Switch Tyrant: Initially comes off as a humorless buzzkill who PPL sent to babysit the managing partners of Sterling Cooper. He actually turns out to be a pretty good guy, until he embezzles funds from SCDP to fix his tax problems.
Berserk Button: When he finds out the the guys' visit to a brothel scuttles a deal with Jaguar he helped negotiate, Lane goes ballistic, leading to...
Beware the Nice Ones: In "Signal 30", he responds to Pete's mockery by challenging him to a fist fight. Lane kicks his ass.
Honour Before Reason: Lane's pride is his fatal flaw. He finds asking for financial help unbecoming as it would speak badly of his managerial skills.
Immigrant Patriotism: Lane loves living in America and being a New Yorker. He makes an effort to pick up some American habits and decks out his office in New York-related tchotchkes—including a Mets pennant (the Mets, like Lane, were new in the Big Apple, having been established in 1962). That said, he's still a proud Brit, defending Jaguar and cheering England in the 1966 World Cup.
Intimidating Revenue Service: He owes the British government a large amount of money in back taxes and he is so scared of Inland Revenue that he embezzles from the company to pay them back. According to his lawyer, the British tax authorities are going after him so harshly because he paid his US taxes before he paid his UK taxes.
Mistaken for Gay: The reason the Jaguar executive doesn't invite him along with Roger, Pete and Don to the brothel.
Reasonable Authority Figure: He seems to have a more even temper than the rest of the partners. When Joan is in tears, thinking they're going to replace her at the opening of season five, he comforts her and tells her that they're barely holding together without her and can't wait for her to return. Don would have been stiff and uncomfortable in the presence of a crying woman and Roger would have tried to have sex with her.
Stiff Upper Lip: A prime example, even in his suicide note: it's just a boilerplate resignation letter.
Took a Level in Badass: At the end of season 3. Goes from being PPL's little snitch/bitch to standing up to them and basically hijacking SCDP from under their noses and again in "Signal 30" when he beats down Pete for insulting him.
Unconfessed Unemployment: Lane doesn't tell his wife that he's been forced to resign from SCDP after Don catches him embezzling.
Hidden Depths: Was a talented a capella singer at Princeton, and sung in their choir.
Hipster: Of the period's definition of the word, although to be frank he'd fit right in with today's hipsters, too.
Humiliation Conga: After he is not invited to join SCDP, he works for McCann Erickson but is fired. He then goes through a series of jobs at other agencies until he is reduced to work as an in-house copywriter for A&P. Then he loses that job as well.
Joisey: He apparently had a really thick accent before he went to Princeton. He still lives in New Jersey through the early seasons (Season 2 opens at a party at his apartment in Montclair).
Know-Nothing Know-It-All: He's very pretentious and arrogant, though it's repeatedly made clear that he's something of a dunce and everyone eventually comes to see that Peggy and Smitty are more talented copywriters.
Old Shame: It's revealed that he went to Princeton on a scholarship in season 3, implying he's from lower-class roots and he doesn't want anyone else to know.
Pride: His inflated, sensitive ego makes him hard to get along with and contributes to his Butt Monkey status, but the really fatal example of this can be inferred from offscreen. When Crane asks Peggy why Kinsey was never brought on at SCDP, she responds that he never applied, suggesting that his pride was too bruised to consider that they might have given him a second shot. Contrast to Cosgrove, who was also left behind initially but made his way back to SCDP in short order.
Put on a Bus: He isn't hired by SCDP and thus leaves the cast after Season 3.
The Bus Came Back: After being absent for the entirety of Season 4, he shows up once more in Season 5's "Christmas Waltz," where it is revealed that he has joined the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. At the end of that episode he is put more literally and permanently on a bus, to Hollywood by Harry Crane.
Shock Value Relationship: He dates a black woman to show how "progressive" he is. It doesn't take her long to figure it out.
But Not Too Gay: Justified given the time period, and the fact that Sal is extremely careful and conscientious. He's had his opportunities, but has turned (most of) them down.
Fire Your Gays: He's not fired directly for being gay—actually, Don realizes Sal's sexuality in the season 3 premiere, and Don tacitly communicates that he's not going to treat it as a big deal—but woe to Sal for attracting and rebuffing Lee Garner, Jr.'s attentions.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: In a rare case of it, he's not killed off, but once Sal is outed, he gets sent his walking papers, and haven't returned since.
Latin Lover: His Italian heritage makes him automatically attractive to at least one doe-eyed secretary that we know of, and he plays this trope up for maximum cover. It probably also provides an explanation in the minds of his WASPy colleagues for his slight flamboyance.
Brought into Sterling Cooper after his Dark and Troubled Past at the London office of Young & Rubicamnote A real firm, by the way.. His decisions result in frequent clashes with others (especially Don), but he gets the job done. Gets a job with agency Greynote Also real. after PPL sells Sterling Cooper to McCann Ericksonnote Real again. How did you guess?.
I Know Kung-Fu: He can handle himself in a fight, as Don learns in "The Suitcase".
Jerkass: Probably the most ruthless in office politics while at Sterling Cooper, though he tries to camouflage it with a fatherly demeanour. It doesn't fool anybody.
Kick the Dog: When he lets his dog Chauncey go on the streets of New York because he's bothered by it looking at him while drinking. After the conversation with Pete earlier in the episode (where Pete says he loves having Chauncey around and wants a dog "for the office"), it's clearly done to show that Duck is not a nice person.
Villainous Breakdown: Gradually becomes more stressed out over his time at Sterling Cooper. It gets even worse when he falls off the wagon. This culminates in his ragequitting Sterling Cooper after Don effortlessly foils his plan to use the merger to become company president. It reaches its climax in Season 4, when he drunkenly disrupts the Clio award ceremony, then breaks into the SCDP office to take a crap on Don's chair (where Peggy finds him after he almost does it in Roger's office by mistake). He seems to have got his act together again by Season 6's "The Better Half".
Played By: Joel Murray
An avuncular copywriter who, despite being a little old and behind the times, is generally open and fun-loving. He's a big supporter of Peggy, though they have their disagreements. Has had problems with alcohol, but is presently on the up-and-up.
Chew Toy: Pretty much exists to be the butt of Roger's (and Don, to a lesser extent) jokes.
The Obi-Wan: He's the one who discovers Peggy's talent as a copy writer. One season later, his alcoholism gets him fired. By the time The Bus Comes Back Peggy has become experienced enough that she no longer needs him as a mentor. However, he reprises this role to Peggy in season five, as he is the one who convinces her to leave SCDP and move on to another firm.
He surprisingly becomes one to Don in Season 7. After Don gets fired and then rehired by the agency and the restrictions they place on him causes him to fall off the wagon. Freddy gives him a combination of What the Hell, Hero? and Rousing Speech that gets Don to sober up and go to work the next day. As someone on Twitter asked "When did Freddy Rumsen become the Yoda of Mad Men?"
Playing Cyrano: In the Season 7 premiere we find out during his "leave of absence" Don gets Freddy to go into SC&P as a front to give pitches Don wrote so he can still work. Freddy Lamp Shades this to Don later by calling it "This Cyrano routine".
SCDP New Additions
Played By: Jay Ferguson
The new artistic director at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Seen at first as a Replacement Scrappy for Sal Romano, his cocky mannerisms and political grandstanding dies down as the firm nears disaster. Much of his obnoxious behavior is tolerated because he's quite good at his job.
A marketing researcher hired by SCDP, and probably the healthiest of Don's post-divorce relationships, until he screws it up.
Career Versus Man: She is strictly a business woman. She has no real interest in raising a family, and is absolutely terrible at understanding and talking to children, which, given her career, is something that she's deeply self conscious about.
Conflicting Loyalty: She has to build the proverbial Chinese wall to insulate her clients and remain professional, but Don's irresistible charms manage to tear it down.
Dropped A Bridge On Her: Don dumps her over the phone, because she refuses his invitation to discuss bad news face to face.
I hope she knows you only like the beginning of things.
Megan Calvet Draper
Played By: (Jessica Paré)
Don's latest secretary, to whom he takes a shine quite suddenly. He cheats on Faye with her, he asks her to accompany him to California to help watch his kids... AND THEN HE PROPOSES TO HER. She later joins the SCDP Creative team as a copywriter...only to leave to pursue her dream of becoming an actress.
Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Her father is a Marxist university professor who disapproves of capitalism in general and the advertising industry in particular. Her Maman seems much nicer and more supportive, but after overhearing her husband having a suspicious phone conversation with one of his students, she accuses him of cheating on her in front of Don and at the American Cancer Society reception, she cheats on him with Roger.
Ambiguously Bi: She's definitely attracted to men and it's been implied that she's attracted to women as well. When her female boss propositions her, Megan's only objection appears to be that she does not want to cheat on Don. In Season 7, she has a threesome with Don and a female friend while high.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She has a tendency to turn into this when she's upset, which became very clear in "The Phantom:" After rudely dismissing her mother's advice, she pretends to help a friend and fellow actress get a part in a commercial by one of Don's clients but goes to him wanting the job for herself.
Brainy Brunette: Don thinks so at least, as he said that she reminds him of Peggy, the resident Brainy Brunette in-chief. How true this is remains to be seen, although her idea for Heinz does seem to have worked out quite well.
Canada, Eh?: She's French-Canadian from Montreal. Her nationality is alluded to/joked about a few times, though language lessons have hidden her accent.
Chekhov's Gunman: She's introduced early in season 4 and although she doesn't play any important role in the plot is repeatedly included in scenes and mentioned by name. Viewers may wonder why this is, right up to the point that Don falls in love with her and asks her to marry him.
Fourth Date Marriage: And four is pushing it. The defining moment happens during a trip to California when Sally drops a milkshake and Megan is incredibly nice and cool about it, instead of being a Drama Queen as the Drapers had come to expect after being accostumed to Betty. Deconstructed in that it gradually becomes evident that she's not really compatible with Don, but then again who is.
Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Reinvigorates Don for a while, but it doesn't last too long as he only likes beginnings.
Mistaken for Gay: Megan invites one of her (female) bosses over to her apartment for dinner while Don is away and discusses the problems she and Don are having with their marriage. Her boss takes this as a cue to kiss her on the lips. Megan takes it in stride after her boss assures her that turning her down won't get her fired.
Ms. Fanservice: She shows the most flesh of any of the female cast, frequently wearing miniskirt outfits to just about any occasion, including the workplace.
Nepotism: Several of her coworkers are convinced that the only reason that she was made a copywriter was as a reward for marrying Don. She subverts this by actually being competent. In "The Phantom" this is played straight, when Don uses his influence to get her cast in a commercial.
The Pollyanna: She doesn't seem to understand that she can't do everything she wants to do.
Secret Keeper: In between seasons Don told her he's really Dick Whitman.
Trophy Wife: A borderline example. The age difference between her and Don, while referenced in the show, is only 14 years, and Megan wants to work with Don in advertising rather than merely look pretty on his arm. When she decides she wants to go back to acting rather than continue as a copywriter, Don is upset—not just because he likes having his wife at work with him (though he does, and he also thinks that having her around all the time will help him keep his impulses under control), but because he thinks she has a better future in advertising than acting.
Cloudcuckoolander: Although he can turn it off. He ultimately turns out to be a deconstruction when he cuts off his nipple to prove his love for Peggy and gets carted off, most likely to an institution.
An African-American secretary hired in Season 5. So far seems to be doing just fine in the world of SCDP. Works for Don, which for awhile led to some jokes.
Kicked Upstairs: While Dawn is competent enough, the real reason why she is promoted to office manager is because Joan has nowhere else to put her and will not fire Dawn for something that is other people's fault. The promotion is also Joan's way of getting back at Avery and Cooper for making her job difficult for petty reasons. Dawn does not mind.
Name's the Same: Dawn and Don, her boss. The running gag about their names gets old really fast to Don.
Harry Crane: I don't know how I'll be able to tell you apart.
Dawn: Everybody keeps saying that, but it really hasn't been a problem.
Non-Promotion: After reluctantly helping to instigate some office drama in "To Have and to Hold", Dawn is nominally punished by Joan with some new responsibilities: Joan places her in charge of the stockroom and time cards. Dawn, however, seems to take this in a more positive light. In season seven this comes back to help her as it gives her the qualifications to be promoted to office manager.
Only Sane Employee: Notes in "Mystery Date" that everyone at SCDP drinks a lot. Later in "To Have and to Hold" she tells a friend:
"Everyone's scared there. Women crying in the ladies’ room. Men crying in the elevator. It’s like New Year’s Eve when they empty the garbage there. There’s so many bottles!"
Plucky Office Girl: Peggy was thrown off guard upon hearing that Dawn has no intention of trying to become a copy writer, and is happy with being a secretary.
That might change as of "To Have and To Hold" when she is put in charge of the keys.
Token Minority: One of four African-Americans to even have a speaking role on the show.
Discussed in an episode which pointed a bit of spotlight onto her, where she tells her other black friends that she is terrified of taking any sort of risks at the office because she is the only black person there, and feels like she is at risk of being fired any moment.
Played By: James Wolk
An accounts man hired in season 6, and the show's biggest brown-noser since Pete in the first season.
The Bus Came Back: He returns from Detroit in "The Strategy" and leaves the agency the same episode.
In the office he seems totally indiscriminate (and pretty obvious) about currying favor with the higher-ups, but during the hospital scene in "Man with a Plan", Bob shows he can actually put his self-effacing charms to good use, tactfully maneuvering the nurse into sending in an agonized Joan right away.
"The Quality of Mercy" reveals that he can speak Spanish.
He seems to be genuinely horrified to learn that Manolo killed Pete's mother. Not that it stops him from taking petty revenge against Pete for accusing him of being an accomplice to murder.
In "The Quality of Mercy", Pete learns that Benson's references are all lies. He relies on his charm to deter anyone from investigating his past so he can have jobs he is completely unqualified for. In other words, he's a younger Don Draper.
In "The Strategy" it's implied that the reason he's always been so friendly with Joan — though he genuinely does like her as a person — is because he was setting her up to eventually become The Beard for him. Unfortunately for him she immediately sees through this when he tries to propose, and becomes extremely pissed off when it turns out that the reason he made his move when he did was to help him secure an exec's job at General Motors.
Nice Guy: To all appearances. Subverted when it turns out he's a conman.
Professional Butt-Kisser: Good lord, he even offered to pay for Pete's visit to a brothel. Subverted, since it's strongly implied in "Favors" that he is in love with Pete.
Put on a Bus: He moves to Detroit to handle SC&P's accounts there in between Seasons 6 and 7.
Straight Gay: Like Sal before him, Bob avoids gay stereotypes at all costs because of the institutionalized homophobia of the 60s.
Played By: Allan Havey
The new head of Creative in season 7, replacing Don after his suspension.
Boring, but Practical: Why he got hired, more or less. His entire philosophy is basically "does it make the client happy? Good, then we're done," which is death to most of the other creatives at SC&P but to business-oriented people like Cutler and Bert makes him the perfect hire.
Foil: He's the anti-Don Draper in quite a few ways; Lou is uncreative, completely straightforward and guileless at nearly all times and a teetotaler. He's a hack and a jerk, but he's not prone to the drama and implosions of someone like Don.
It's All About Me: He refuses to nominate anyone else's work for the CLIO awards. Also insists that Dawn be reassigned because he wants one that he's not "sharing" due to her still taking messages for Don, though that's a reasonable complaint.
Kick the Dog: After Sally Draper appears in his office looking for her father, he condescendingly shoos her away and blames Dawn (because she wasn't there; he'd sent her to do a personal errand for him) and demands that Joan move her to another desk. Joan ends up appointing Dawn as the new office manager out of spite.
Lou finally manages to become a legitimate threat to Don when Lou starts to pursue Phillip Morris as a client. Since Phillip Morris is still upset about Don's anti-cigarette editorial, the only way the company will agree to hire SC&P is if they fire Don. The plan only fails because Harry accidentally tips off Don.
He also very, very nearly gets Don to implode and lose his job immediately after his return by forcing him to work on Burger Chef with Peggy Olson as his superior, after having given Peggy a raise in order to get her on his side instead of Don's.
The receptionist at SCDP, temporarily Lou Avery's secretary until replaced by Shirley. Seems sweet and a bit clumsy at her job.
The Ditz: Pretty much everything she says comes out sounding like she heard it somewhere else and is hoping it fits the situation she's in at that moment.
Dumb Blonde: She has blond hair and is not very bright.
Dumbass Has a Point: In "The Christmas Waltz", she may have needed to pick up the pace, but as she points out, Joan can't just throw a model airplane at her.
Eating The Eyecandy: She develops a crush on Don in Season 7 and spends most of their scenes together staring at him lecherously.
Idiot Houdini: Somehow, even after several mistakes, she never got fired.
What's more, in season 7, she becomes Lou Avery's secretary temporarily after he decides that Dawn needs to be punished for her loyalty to Don Draper. The next episode she's Peggy's secretary and when Don returns to SC&P becomes his secretary.
Girl Friday: Goes beyond the calling of being a secretary due to her interest in the well-being of Roger and his family. She even wept when Roger's mother died and played around with Roger's grandson along with informing Joan that she's afraid Roger will have a very lonely Thanksgiving.
A secretary hired sometime around Season 4, who works for Pete.
The Cutie: Despite taking some of the most hostile venting of all the secretaries, she still seems to maintain a rather positive tune.
Hidden Depths: Apparently knows more about guns than Pete does, and points out to him that his little hunting rifle he's had since Season 1 is a squirrel-shooter at best.
In "A Day's Work", Joan comments that Scarlett and Harry might as well be married.
Zettai Ryouiki: She rather sticks out in the office during Season 6, as she goes to work in gogo boots and miniskirts.
Cutler Gleason Chaough
Played By: Kevin Rahm
"Teddy Chaough! Thanks for sticking my name in there with the big boys. A full-page ad in The Times. What did that run you?"
Partner at Cutler, Gleason and Chaough, one of SCDP's competitors.
The Ace: A very talented creative who even pilots planes.
Benevolent Boss: He treats Peggy with far more respect than Don ever did. When one of his partners reveals that he has cancer, Chaough is genuinely concerned and is irritated that the ill partner thought that Chaough would be more concerned with the loss of revenue for the agency than for his health. He also apologizes to Peggy when he kisses her after she cheers him up.
Nice Guy: Probably second only to Ken Cosgrove in this trait among the cast. Despite being a workaholic and getting annoyed with people, Ted genuinely tries to be as nice and fair with people as possible and tries his best to mend bridges with people when they butt heads.
Promotion to Opening Titles: Ted appearing on recurring basis since season 4; Peggy's move to CGC and later the merger in season 6 brought him into the main cast.
Your Cheating Heart: He's infatuated with Peggy and plans to leave his wife, but he eventually cuts the affair short, for the sake of his family.
Played by: Harry Hamlin
Another partner at CGC.
Big Bad: He more or less evolves into this over the course of Season 7's first half, albeit with his fair share of Jerkass Has a Point moments concerning Don's bad behavior. Roger's proposal to McCann seemed to spell Cutler's end, but as of the mid-season finale, it appears he's decided to cooperate with the regime change.
Foil: To Roger Sterling. He was CGC's equivalent, and unlike the constantly-distracted, increasingly out-of-the-loop Roger, Cutler has a single-minded dedication to gaining power that gives him an upper hand on Roger after the agencies merge.
Hanging Separately: He still views SC&P as being divided into "our guys" and "their guys". He's been doing everything in his power to undermine "their guys", even though this is harming the agency.
Hypocrite: Listening to the Democratic National Convention when you are supposed to be working is bad. Getting the entire office high thus preventing anyone from getting anything done is good.
Meet the New Boss: Shares a lot of Duck Phillips' philosophies about the ad business, in particular that good creative isn't nearly as important as strong media presence. He's a lot more cunning (and less of an alcoholic) than Duck, though.
Played by: Craig Anton
The third partner at CGC. He dies from cancer shortly after being introduced.
We Hardly Knew Ye: He only appeared in two episodes and died an episode after his second appearance.
"I know people say life goes on, and it does but no one tells you that's not a good thing."
Played By: January Jones
Betty Francis: I wanted a fresh start, OK? I'm entitled to that! Henry Francis: There is no fresh start! Lives carry on. Betty: Jesus, Henry, just once could you take my side? Henry: No one's ever on your side, Betty.
Wife of Don until the end of Season 3. Wealthy and educated, and bourgeois and clueless. When we first meet her she's The Woobie, an outwardly perfect, inwardly depressed housewife who can't even go to her old-school Freudian psychiatry sessions without her husband calling her doctor behind her back to find out what she's saying. Over the first three seasons she finds out a lot about Don than she didn't want to know and confronts him several times to varying effect, eventually having an affair of her own and divorcing Don for her lover. Since this, the main focus for her has been what an awful ex-wife and mother she is. Opinions vary as to whether the character has crashed or is making a controlled descent.
Abusive Parents: We learn through her therapy sessions that her mom was somewhat emotionally abusive and highly critical (for example, Betty was chubby as a child and her mother told her that because of this she wouldn't be able to find a husband) - she becomes defensive when her doctor points out that she has a lot of anger towards her mother. Later, feeling beleaguered by her own children, she displays abusive tendencies herself, especially in the immediate wake of the divorce.
Amicable Exes: Makes great strides towards this with Don by the end of the sixth season. This leads to them having a one night stand that neither seems to regret very much.
Big Beautiful Woman: In Season 5, she has gained a significant amount of weight. This is alluded to when Henry tells her he doesn't care about if she's big or not, she snaps that it's because his mother is obese.
By Season 6, she has lost most of the weight, along with letting go of her bitterness towards Don.
(after a minor car accident) I'm just saying, if it had happened to Bobby it'd be ok because a boy with a scar is nothing, but a girl, it's so much worse. [...] I keep thinking... not that I could have killed the kids, but... worse, Sally could have survived, and gone on living with this horrible scar on her face, and some long, lonely, miserable life...
Break the Cutie: Seasons 1 and 2 showed her absolutely miserable and crawling up the walls living with Don and his pile of lies, secrets, and infidelities.
Broken Bird: The mean variety after his marriage to Don crumbles.
This is in fact an Invoked Trope: The show's stylists intentionally modeled Betty's general look on Kelly.
Cool Car: Starts off with a buttercup-yellow-and-white '57 Ford wagon, graduating to a black/fake wood '60 Mercury wagon before inheriting her father's '61 Lincoln Continental which is a Cool Car for a suburban mother of three in the context of the '60s, not just something that has more style than, say, a Honda CR-V but had the same image as one in its' day.
Housewife: The show spends three seasons deconstructing this trope, as we see seemingly stereotypical 50s housewife Betty dealing with sexual frustration, her husband's infidelity, and boredom
Ice Queen: And she's not defrosting any time soon. Sometimes combined with Drama Queen. She's that insecure and voluble.
It's All About Me: Betty's greatest flaw: she's a narcissist and a control freak, and her sense of self-worth revolves around having total control of everyone around her and having her life follow her definition of perfection. When she has an opinion, she expects people to agree with her, and when anything goes against the way she wants it, she snaps. Henry calls her out on it and it deeply affects her near the end of Season 4.
She's so much a narcissist that she is visibly distraught when Don tells her he's engaged, since she thought he wasn't getting over her and, apparently, she hadn't gotten over him, contrary to what all the grief she throws on him after the divorce might indicate.
Joisey: Born in Cape May. Later moved to Lower Merion Township in PA. You can hear it in her father's accent.
Law of Inverse Fertility: Discovers she's pregnant at the end of Season 2 right when she and her husband are on the verge of becoming permanently estranged. (It's also in contrast to Pete and Trudy, who really want a baby and aren't conceiving, while Betty is so desperate she's even considering abortion.)
Mama Bear: After her neighbor threatens to kill Sally's dog, she takes pot-shots at his pigeons.
My Beloved Smother: Betty's mom seems to be mostly responsible for Betty's huge complex about physical appearances.
Princess in Rags: This is pretty much how she reacts when, after divorcing Don and marrying Henry Francis, she finds she's not suddenly in paradise with all her problems solved.
Model Couple: Makes one with Don, her dark haired, equally gorgeous (ex)husband. It has been commented on in show just how picture perfect a couple they are.
Roger: I remember Mona said they looked like they were on our wedding cake.
Nightmare Fetishist: Partially a sign of the times, partially a sign of how she's messed up, but she has a wildly inappropriate sense of flirtatious humor, where she casually jokes about helping her husband rape a teenage girl in the other room.
Stepford Smiler: While married to Don, who was manipulative and completely emotionally shut off from her. After remarrying, she thought she'd escape this, but found herself just as unhappy about her life only now she doesn't have Don to blame for it, and spends most of season 5 passing the day eating in her mausoleum of a home to ignore her disappointment.
This starts to change in late season 5 when Betty realizes that Sally will still run to her in a crisis. By season 6 she seems to be letting go of her anger and has made peace with Don.
Took a Level in Badass: The first three seasons were Betty trying to find the courage to stand her ground against Don. The fourth and fifth are her being essentially driven over the edge from this. The sixth is Betty beginning to reign the anger in.
Took a Level in Jerkass: At the start of the series, her frustration and loneliness from her marriage to Don is easily sympathetic, but after her divorce and getting seemingly everything she has ever wanted, she goes on a pretty ugly downward spiral. Her anger at Don grows into spiteful bitterness, which she lashes out on Sally and anyone else in the house siding against her. Eventually this takes a physical toll on her appearance in the fifth season.
Took a Level in Kindness: By the sixth season, she starts letting go of her anger (and the excess weight) and becomes happier than she has been in years.
Weight Woe: Gained a significant amount of weight in Season 5. Don't expect breakfast-skipping, former model Betty to be taking it well. By late season 6, with the announcement that Henry is running for state senate, she gets herself back to her Draper level weight.
Woman Child: Highly immature, as her daughter's shrink politely lampshades.
As much as she'd like to think she's been around the block, she has some very naive and childlike qualities, which make her a victim initially (she has to have it spelled out for her before she realizes that Don cheats on her and constantly lies, and she forms a weird friendship with a ten-year-old boy to cope with her loneliness) and eventually a victimizer (manifesting most significantly in the petty, spiteful way she acts with Sally). Her comments about her own childhood reveal that her mother raised her pretty much how she raises Sally, and her father's comparison of her to a housecat ("You're very important and you have little to do") sums up the kind of adult life she expected and was expected to have.
After divorcing Don (and the recent death of her father), she marries a man a generation older than she is.
Woman Scorned: After her divorce from Don and remarrying to Henry, Betty's bitterness makes her go way out of her way to make Don's life miserable, including still living in the house Don pays for and using their kids against him. However, this actually makes HER more miserable than Don: Sally rebels against her and challenges her authority, and the feeling of lacking control over her supposed idyllic life starts breaking her emotionally and psychologically.
Women Are Wiser: Played with when she was married to Don, where she was the child and he was the adult, but he'd cheat on her; averted in her marriage to Henry.
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Played By: Kiernan Shipka
"My father's never given me anything."
Don and Betty's eldest child and only daughter. Very intelligent and precocious, she seems to take after her father. Betty takes primary custody after the divorce, which causes Sally to resent her even more.
Armor-Piercing Question: Basically everything she says has varying overtones of this. Arguably, she also has Armor Piercing Eyes.
Sally: (to Betty) Did you make him leave?
Black Sheep: In Betty's eyes, Sally is a nightmarish brat, but only because she's the only child currently old enough to have her own thoughts. While Don is too detached and tired to deal with her youth.
Bratty Teenage Daughter: Played with in Season 5 as she becomes more aware of the lies and hypocrisy of the adults around her.
Fully becomes this by the time of Season 6.
(to her mother about a friend)"She acts like she's 25 just because she uses tampons."
Break the Cutie: Her parents divorce, and being raised with a bitter Betty had a very negative impact on her.
Daddy's Girl: To adorable and beyond. At least at first. Season 4 sees the beginning of the end of this in "The Beautiful Girls." Completely over in season 6 after she catches Don with his latest mistress and Don tries to tell her she didn't see what she saw.
Parent with New Paramour: Doesn't seem to mind Henry Francis all that much, but has hated every single one of Don's girlfriends (and friends who happen to be girls) except for Megan, who she was introduced to and befriended before informed about their relationship.
Stepford Smiler: Learns that's better to say what her mother expects her to say or nothing at all rather than express her actual opinions or feelings. This is actually encouraged by her shrink.
The Unfavourite: She's old enough to hold her own opinions, and Betty openly can't stand her rebelliousness, at least in the first years after the divorce. The relationship seems to have cooled to standard mother teenage sniping.
Bobby Draper and Gene Draper
Played By: Maxwell Huckabee, Aaron Hart, Jared Gilmore, and Mason Vale Cotton
Don and Betty's sons. Much more in the background than Sally.
A Day in the Limelight: For Bobby in "The Flood" and "Field Trip"; both dealing with his relationship with his parents.
The Klutz: As a young child Bobby accidentally hurts himself and breaks a lot of things around the house. It's not that unusual, but Betty comes down on him hard over it.
Parental Favoritism: While Sally is more of a frustrating mystery to him, the few times we see him interact alone with Bobby have always been rather emotionally significant to Don, as his own baggage related to his father causes him to see a certain connection to him.
Gene is the one child Betty constantly holds next to her and treats tenderly.
Living Prop: Well, Gene is still a baby, but Bobby has been able to talk since we've known him and rarely avails himself of this ability.
This looks like it could change for Bobby as of the Season 6 episode, "The Flood."
A Republican political operative in New York State, first for Governor Nelson Rockefeller, then for New York Mayor John Lindsay,note Both Rockefeller and Lindsay were noted liberal Republicans, and Francis is no different whom Betty meets a party. After her marriage to Don starts to founder (though admittedly during a good period), she begins an affair with him and eventually divorces Don to marry him. He himself is already divorced, with a daughter.
Henry tries to reason with Betty to try to get along better with Don for the kids sake, yet is hostile and petty to Don every time they communicate.
While simmering from an earlier arguement with Betty about Don, he passive aggressively nudged his car forward into boxes of Don's stuff. Then later on he proceeded to call him at work demanding he remove the items from the garage. He twists the knife by requesting he not come on Sunday because that is the day of Don's son Gene's birthday party (which Don is not invited to). He shows up anyway and Betty lets him because he'd not risk losing contact with the kids for the sake of the fight.
Again, as the marriage settled after those emotional early days, Henry has gotten a lot less jerkass towards Don.
Nice Guy: Betty seems to consider him this, in contrast to Don. He may not be so much of one.
Calling the Old Man Out: After being asked how she could live with abandoning her family by her father, she brutally points out the hypocrisy in that, considering how he was a distant, incapable, apathetic parent who abandoned his wife and kids to marry his secretary, so why can't she do the same as him.
Like Father, Like Daughter: Lampshaded in the first season when Roger complains about how bratty she is with Joan pointing out that she's only taking after Roger; she also turns out to be as self-centered as him.
Missing Mom: Becomes this to her son when she runs off to a commune.
Played By: Melinda Page Hamilton
The wife of the real Don Draper, who lives in California. Through flashbacks we find out that she tracked "Don" down after he came back from the war and demanded an explanation, but was very forgiving when she got one. She and this Don never had a romantic relationship; instead she was, as they both said at different times, the only person who knew all about him. She dies of cancer in season four.
Pete Campbell's wife, from a Nouveau Riche family. They had a rocky start, but have grown into one of the most stable and loving couples on the show for a brief period of time.
The Dog Bites Back: Having had enough of Peter's lies and adultery, Trudy unleashes a "The Reason You Suck" Speech before kicking him out of the house in season 6. A completely unintimidated Pete then bites back himself, stating "You're going to sleep alone tonight. And you will realize you don't know anything for sure.". In this show, he's right.
Pete and Trudy's marriage takes work (and isn't always so happy), but as pointed out above, it's on much solider ground than most of the other SCDP marriages. However, she eventually becomes quite naggy (see entry on her husband.)
They're in the process of divorcing by Season 7.
Hidden Depths: Trudy can dance a mean Charleston and apparently really loves watching boxing.
It was also shown that she is known among the office as a notoriously adamant party host, who won't take no for an answer when inviting people. She was even able to force Don to attend a party he wanted out of, and Betty couldn't even get the guy to show up to his kid's birthday party.
Law of Inverse Fertility: Gets pregnant just as she and Pete decide to adopt, after trying for three years with no luck she gives birth to their daughter. In Season 2, her inability to conceive is also framed in contrast to Peggy's unwanted pregnancy in Season 1 (by Pete, no less) and Betty's at the end of season 2.
Stepford Smiler: Had a bit of this in the first two seasons, but has loosened up quite a bit.
Women Are Wiser: She is sometimes more adult than Pete. Other times she can be naive or overly optimistic, and Pete needs to tell her what's what.
Emile and Marie Calvet
Played By: Ronald Guttman and Julia Ormond
Megan's French-Canadian parents, whose marriage is decaying from the inside out.
Christmas Cake: Marie is married, but flirts with most every man she comes across, including her son-in-law Don, who makes nothing of it, assuming it's just a "French thing". It works on Sterling, however.
Evil Parents Want Good Kids: Not "evil", per se, but both Emile and Marie are both very spiteful and unhappy people, who nonetheless have raised a happy and functional daughter.
Freudian Slip: After seeing Sally dressed up for dinner in a very Megan-esque outfit...
Emile: There is nothing you can do, Don. One day your daughter will spread her legs and fly away.
Megan: Wings, Daddy. You mean wings.
Jerkass Has a Point: They each have their moments, in "At the Codfish Ball" and "The Phantom", respectively. In the former, Emile convinces Megan to quit her unsatisfying job at SCDP and follow her dream. In the latter, when Megan has hit a wall in her efforts to pursue an acting career, Marie convinces her to use Don's influence to get work through nepotism. Thanks to this advice, she is a famous soap opera star by the beginning of Season 6.
Pet the Dog: Emile, who has spent the entirety of the episode "At the Codfish Ball" wallowing pathetically in self-pity and resentment for all those around him, finally has a one-on-one conversation with his daughter in the final sequence, convincing her to follow her dreams.
Your Cheating Heart: Emile was caught crying to a female college student on the phone, though it's never made explicit the exact nature of their relationship. Marie sleeps with Roger.
Played By: Samuel Page
Joan's fiancé and then husband, a doctor. In the first episode in which he is featured (he is seen before briefly), he rapes her on the floor of Don's office, which she keeps a secret and hasn't mentioned since. He fails to get his residency when they planned, then joins the Army instead. In Season Five, he and Joan have a huge fight and he files for divorce.
Ambiguously Jewish: Harris-like Miller and Siegel-is sometimes but not always a Jewish name; Joan says he's not Jewish, but Roger thinks he "used to be."
Jerkass: He seldom thinks about anyone other than himself.
Happily Married: The scene that's hardest to watch may not be the one in which he sexually assaults Joan and then acts like nothing happened, but rather the ones later on where they have every appearance of a normal loving relationship. The marriage does have more mundane low points. Joan's contempt for him for sucking at his job and wangsting about it, a huge contrast to the professional life she's giving up to marry him — which he doesn't even seem to realize. In Season 5, this is finally subverted when Joan kicks him out of her apartment for good after he volunteers for a second tour of duty in Vietnam without her approval. While doing this, she also calls him out on raping her.
Parental Substitute: To Sally and Bobby, often. Especially during Betty's brief collapse during season 2, where Carla would take virtually complete care of the kids with Betty only bothering to say goodbye to them on their way to school. And during season 3 when she is shown to take care of the kids for 6 weeks while both parents are away.
Put on a Bus: Betty fired her at the end of the fourth season for letting Glen come to see Sally, though it's strongly implied that Betty just used it as a convenient excuse to get rid of what she saw as both a challenge to her authority as a mother, and one of the last major remnants of her marriage to Don.
Satellite Character: We never see any of her life outside the Draper household, and she rarely discusses it.
Played By: Marten Weiner
The son of Helen Bishop, a divorced woman who moves into the Drapers' neighborhood in season one. Betty develops a rapport with him due to their mutual loneliness. We don't see him again until after Betty has divorced and remarried; he befriends Sally and shows his affection by breaking into and vandalizing her house (every room but hers).
Creepy Child: He purposely walks in on Betty in the bathroom when she's babysitting him. After she gets him to apologize, he asks for a lock of her hair, and it's a mark of how twisted the basis of their friendship is that she agrees to it. By the time of Season 5 he has a much more normal personality, though is still a little socially awkward.
Forbidden Friendship: With Betty, and later in season 4 with Sally. Ironically it's Betty who forbids Sally to be friends with him.
Just Friends: He seemed to have a bit of a crush on her, and in season five tells guys in school he's dating her. But he claims it's just so they wont bully him more than they already do for being friends with a girl, and Sally says she doesn't see him that way.
The daughter of a Jewish department-store owner and heir to the business, who comes to Sterling Cooper in the first episode. She and Don have an affair, which she ends when she realizes he keeps coming to her when he's in trouble and wants to run away. Smart and self-possessed, making her one of his more interesting relationships.
Matzo Fever: Lampshaded. Particularly in the first season, Mad Men acted like Jews were a distant and exotic tribe to the main cast of the show, who, while mostly conservative WASPs, were after all New Yorkers in the advertising business and probably wouldn't have been that befuddled and bedazzled by them. When SC does business with Israel's ministry of tourism, Don arranges lunch with Rachel to pick her brain, and she asks is she's the only Jew he knows in New York. (She is.)
Put on a Bus: She resurfaces in season two just long enough to let us know that she's married some guy named Tilden Katz, i.e. that we won't be seeing her anymore. Many fans were disappointed. (In a Brick Joke on the night of Freddy Rumsen's firing, Don uses "Tilden Katz" as his alias when the guys are trying to get into a seedy club.)
Spoiled Sensible: She knows exactly how much hard work and pain her father put into his store and giving her the life she's had. And she's more aggressive about preserving his legacy than he is.
Played By: Rosemarie DeWitt
The very first woman we see Don sleep with, a commercial artist with a circle of racially mixed, pot-smoking, counterculture friends. Don stops seeing her when he comes to believe that she's in love with one of them.
The boisterous and possibly insane member of the family that owns North American Tobacco, which owns Sterling Cooper's most lucrative account, Lucky Strike. At first seemingly a friend of Roger's—they're certainly rather similar—he proves to be too much for everyone.
Corrupt Corporate Executive: Though moreso in his private life than in his professional capacity; the former bleeds over into the latter however so it counts.
Depraved Bisexual: His demand that Sal sleep with him leads to Sal's departure the next morning.
Cloudcuckoolander: He calls Don up at odd hours and is genuinely upset to learn that Sterling Cooper can't literally put an ad on the moon.
Cool Old Guy: Despite being a client from hell, Connie has Don's back, and he alerts Don to the upcoming sell-off of Sterling Cooper early enough that Don and the others are able to strip-mine the agency and set up SCDP.
Mistaken for Servant: The first time we see him is during a wedding, where he is standing behind a counter at the bar. It wasn't until later that Don realized the old man he was chatting up with who he thought was the bartender was actually one of the wealthiest potential clients they've had.
Driven to Suicide: A combination of his desire to keep his past a secret, and his contempt for his old family led to Don turning him away after everyone Adam knew was now dead. He didn't handle it well.