The lovers, employees, clients, neighbors, estranged relatives, and other miscellaneous characters of Mad Men. Beware of spoilers.
The Drapers' housekeeper and sort-of nanny. The show's most prominent black character in the first four seasons, not that that's saying very much.
- Kindly Housekeeper: Very kind. She takes care of what Betty needs during the divorce and whenever Betty is hungover after a party where Don humiliated her.
- Only Sane Parental Figure: Served as this to Bobby and Sally, being the only adult in their household who isn't having an affair, an alcoholic, depressed, narcissistic, childish, nor possessing any other dysfunctional behavior.
- 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. When she starts to, Betty usually changes the subject rather abruptly.
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.
- '70s Hair: Has curly Greg Brady hair in the last season.
- 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 he is still a little socially awkward. He still has his creepy crush on Betty, though.
- Forbidden Friendship: With Betty, and later in season 4 with Sally. Ironically, it's Betty who forbids Sally to be friends with him.
- Gorgeous Period Dress: Averted(!) in Commissions and Fees - he manages to look both awkwardly adolescent and rumpled in his prep-school uniform. Picture Ethan Morgan in one of Andy Rooney's suits.
- Though by season six, he seems to have grown a bit out of his awkward phase, and his teenage jacket covered in buttons is a pretty impressive display of "cool kid" fashion.
- In season 7B, he's 18 and has hair and wears clothes that make him resemble Greg Brady. Betty doesn't even recognize him at first.
- He Is All Grown Up: He returns in Season 7 all slimmed down and Greg Brady-esque, Betty couldn't recognize him.
- Intergenerational Friendship
- Just Friends: He seemed to have a bit of a crush on Sally, and in season five tells guys in school he's dating her. But he claims it's just so they won't bully him more than they already do for being friends with a girl, and Sally says she doesn't see him that way.
- Like Brother and Sister: He says it himself that he considers Sally a sister to him.
- Lonely Together
- Off to Boarding School: His fate in Season 5. He and Sally maintain a long-distance relationship via secret phone calls late at night.
- Put on a Bus: In "The Forecast", we learn that he has enlisted in the army and is about to be sent to Vietnam.
- Precocious Crush: On Betty. He tries to act on it once he turns 18, but Betty turns him down.
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.
- Back for the Dead: She appears as an illusion to Don in the premiere of Season 7B. We then find out that she passed away shortly before the events of the episode. Given how this was the first time she was seen since the very beginning of Season 2, it's also an interesting case of Back for the Finale.
- Career Versus Man: When she appears again in Season Two, she is seen married to a man named Tilden Katz and after she died, it is revealed she kept leading her store even during her marriage and while she had her children, only to quit because she had gotten sick.
- Death by Childbirth: Her mother, one of the things that makes Don see her as a kindred spirit.
- Lonely Together: With Don.
- 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 if she's the only Jew he knows in New York. (She is.)
- Missing Mom: She grew up without a mother. She is revealed to have died of leukemia in "Severence" and left behind a few young children.
- 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.)
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: She wants love, especially with a man that appreciates her as a person, and seems to get that with Tilden Katz.
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.
- Beatnik: She lives in Greenwich Village and is of that set, and dresses unconventionally for a woman of her age and generation.
- The Bus Came Back: She's another character who reappears in season four, now a heroin addict.
- Drugs Are Bad: Well, heroin is, anyway.
- Starving Artist: By 1965, she is a lot scrawnier and strung out on heroin, far from the more comfortable artist she was in 1960.
- Too Much Alike: Aside from her disregard for him and their differences (he an Ad Man and her a bohemian artist), she and Don are both self-centered (she doesn't care to hear about his wife because it makes her feel bad)in contrast to the other women who cared for him.
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.
- Good Ol' Boy
- Jerkass: Oh, yes. It eventually becomes clear that Roger's chief contribution to Sterling Cooper and SCDP is the ability to put up with Lee's abuse.
- Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense
Real Life hotelier who befriends Don in Season 3.
- 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.
Archibald "Archie" Whitman
Don Draper's father.
- Abusive Parent: Don tells Betty his father beat the hell out of him as a child.
- The Alcoholic: Archie loved himself some moonshine.
- Posthumous Character: He died when Don was only ten years old, way before the series begins. He only shows up via flashbacks to Don's youth, and in one occasion as a hallucination of sorts to Don when he's under the influence of drugs.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Violet flavored chewing gum, according to Don in Three Sundays. This is later touched on as him having gifted Peggy a pack of them for a good luck charm.
- Undignified Death: Peggy assumes Don was joking when he says his father was kicked to death by a horse while drunk. Nope.
- Abusive Parent: She was heavily emotionally abusive to Don, calling him a "whorechild". It's to the point Don altogether refuses to acknowledge her as being any sort of mother to him.
- Double Standard: She beat young Dick with a spoon when she learned that he was molested by a prostitute, blaming him for it.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: Only took Don in because she wanted a child and her own had all been stillbirths.
- Posthumous Character: Adam reveals that she died some years before the series began. Don is untroubled by this news.
- Wicked Stepmother: Though it's debatable whether she was any more evil than Don's actual father.
- 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.
- Nice Guy: He is only ever shown to interact much with Don, but he's portrayed as a very warm, friendly if somewhat awkward guy who really did care for his half-brother, and probably the only member of the family that ever truly loved him. Unfortunately, Don was never able to really love him back due to his resentment of the family as a whole.
The head of McCann Erickson.
- Ascended Extra: He first appears in Season 1, trying to convince Don to join McCann by offering Betty a modelling job with Coca-Cola, as well as offering Don large accounts such as Pan Am and Esso. He doesn't appear again until the final season, where McCann plays a much larger role.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Initially appears to be very congenial when dealing with Don and the partners of SC&P, but he ultimately reveals himself as quite sexist and petty when dealing with Joan's frustrations.
- Chekhov's Gunman: He appears once in season one, then disappears from the show entirely for six seasons only to play a major role in season 7.
- Determinator: Tries to get Don Draper to work in McCann over the course of a decade. He succeeds, but is frustrated with Don's tendency to leave the office without word. When he complains to Roger about it, Roger only shrugs and says "he does that".
- Karma Houdini: He never gets his comeuppance for his sexism. But then, McCann is a firm stuck in old attitudes at that point — who knows what The '70s hold?
A foul-mouthed (by 1960s standards) comedian, who frequently appears in Sterling Cooper's TV adverts.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: He's very good at pulling off the Jerk with a Heart of Gold act whenever the need arises, but privately confides to Betty that he can't recall ever giving an apology and actually meaning it.
- Motor Mouth: Seeing how he's a comedian, and an acerbic one at that, this is to be expected. It also gets him into trouble, and nearly costs Sterling Cooper an account.
- Small Role, Big Impact: While he has less screentime than his wife does, he winds up being the person who tells Betty that Don is cheating on her. Previously they had been entirely Happily Married, but Don's and Betty's relationship never really recovers from this revelation, and it leads to their eventual divorce.
- Your Cheating Heart: Downplayed; he's certainly not above actively flirting with other women, even in the presence of his wife, but he has more class than to actually cheat on her. However, she doesn't have any such quandaries, and he knows it, much to his annoyance.
The real Don Draper, a soldier who served in the Korean War with Dick Whitman, until being killed in a bombing raid. Following a chance misunderstanding, Dick assumes his identity.
- Body Horror: His body is absolutely mutilated by the blast that kills him. It's no wonder that his corpse was mistaken for Dick's.
- Identical Stranger: Downplayed; he and Dick don't really look all that much alike, but their height, build and hair color are all similar enough that his body is mistaken for Dick's after his face gets blown off.
- Posthumous Character: Is killed a decade or so before the series gets underway.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Despite clearly being peeved at only being assigned one soldier instead of an entire unit, he doesn't take it out on Dick, and shows himself to be a reasonable man.
- With This Herring: He and Dick are assigned to set up a field hospital with just a few tents and shovels.