Mad Men (season 5)

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Mad Men (season 5)
Season 5 promotional poster
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 13
Original network AMC
Original release March 25, 2012 (2012-03-25) – June 10, 2012 (2012-06-10)
Season chronology
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Season 4
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Season 6
List of Mad Men episodes

The fifth season of the American television drama series Mad Men premiered on March 25, 2012, with a two-episode premiere,[1][2] and concluded on June 10, 2012. It consisted of thirteen episodes, each running approximately 47 minutes in length. AMC broadcast the fifth season on Sundays at 10:00 pm in the United States. The fifth season was released on DVD and Blu-ray in region 1 on October 16, 2012.[3]

Season 5 takes place between Memorial Day (May 30) 1966 and spring 1967. The season explores Don Draper's new marriage to Megan, which leads him to ignore his work at the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce advertising agency. Meanwhile, Lane, Pete, Roger, Joan, and Peggy learn that it is "every man for himself" in their personal and professional lives, as they each face painful new beginnings.


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Main cast

Recurring cast

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Don Draper has married his secretary Megan Calvet, who throws a surprise birthday party for Don and their co-workers. Don is embarrassed by the party and Megan serenading him in front of his co-workers. Megan (who has been promoted to copywriter) meanwhile struggles with Don's growing detachment with work, as he is constantly having Megan come in late and leave early to the agency, and her own unfulfilled dream of being an actress. Don's detachment alienates Peggy, who is being made to train Megan, and Bert, who feels that Don has gone "on love leave", not caring about his job or turning in quality work.

Feeling her chances at work have been undercut by Don's detachment, the couple have a fight while touring a Howard Johnson's hotel. Don leaves Megan behind in a huff when she tells him that she's come to find the advertising industry hollow and superficial. Megan manages to hitch a ride back to their new apartment, where they fight and ultimately reconcile.

Don's slacking at work coincides with the arrival of a new hire, in the form of young advertising phenom Michael Ginsberg. Young, aggressive, and anti-social, Ginsberg proves to be a rival for Don and Peggy. When the two are made to pitch advertisements for a snow cone company, Don purposely leaves behind Ginsberg's child-friendly campaign material in order to pitch his own darker, devil-themed campaign instead, which is ultimately chosen. Meanwhile, Peggy finds herself reaching a glass ceiling with regards to Ginsberg being able to rise faster within the company. However, one evening Ginsberg confides his dark secret to Peggy: that he was born in a Nazi concentration camp for Jews, where his mother died and that he spent his first five years in an orphanage before his father found him and took him to America to live. By the end, Peggy decides to leave the agency for another firm in order to fulfill her full potential. Don attempts to keep her by offering her a raise but ultimately concedes that Peggy has to leave him to continue out of his shadow. Before she leaves the office forever, Don kisses her hand, finally realizing how important she was to him. Peggy also makes a new change at home: she accepts her boyfriend's proposal to live together, to her mother's disapproval.

Elsewhere, Roger struggles to remain relevant in the company as Pete Campbell schemes to steal his plush office for himself. Roger begins to secretly pay Peggy and Ginsberg to produce material for him to pitch to clients. He also experiments with LSD, which has a profound impact on him and his own marriage to Jane; under the influence of the drug the two confess that their marriage has failed and they divorce. Roger meanwhile begins pursuing an affair with Megan's mother, culminating in Don's daughter Sally catching her step-grandmother performing oral sex on Roger.

Pete Campbell, having moved to the suburbs, begins to become more and more detached from his life and starts missing the big city. His relationship with Lane Pryce collapses and the two fight, with Lane beating Pete up in front of the other partners. He also begins a relationship with Beth Dawes, the wife of a fellow train commuter, who later breaks off the affair out of guilt even though she and Pete know that her husband is unrepentant in his own adultery. She later tells Pete that her husband is forcing her to undergo electroshock therapy because of her manic depression. Pete visits his mistress one last time in the hospital, whose memories of the affair have been destroyed. He confronts Beth's husband later on the train, revealing the affair and culminating in a fist fight. Returning home defeated and alone, his wife Trudy agrees to allow Pete to rent an apartment in the city for overnight stays.

Joan struggles with single motherhood while her husband is overseas, with help from her mother. However, when she discovers that Greg has signed up for another tour of duty in the Army Medical Corps without consulting her, Joan confronts Greg and in the process denounces him for his earlier rape of her and orders him out of her and their son's life. Greg reluctantly agrees but then files for divorce, which upsets Joan as she fears that Greg will paint her as the villain in their divorce case. Further complicating things is the firm's pursuit of Jaguar as a client, as Pete is able to get a promise that the agency will get the account if Joan sleeps with the head of the Jaguar dealers' association. Pete arranges a vote behind Don's back, and the other partners reluctantly agree to pay Joan to have sex with the executive to secure the account for them. However, Lane convinces Joan to take an ownership percentage of the company instead as Don tries (and fails) to stop Joan from doing the deed. The firm wins the account, but alienates Joan and Don from the rest of the partners and from each other.

Lane Pryce struggles with his own demons as he is revealed to be greatly in debt and owing a good amount of taxes from when he moved his money to the US last season to help keep the firm afloat. When his scheme to use his Christmas bonus to pay off his tax debt fails, Lane is forced to steal from the company to pay his debt. Bert and Don discover this and Don fires Lane, who then kills himself rather than face the disgrace of resigning and returning to England. He hangs himself in his office, leaving Roger, Pete, and Don to cut him down. Nobody but Don knows the reason behind his suicide.

Megan (who has returned to acting) seeks Don's help to secure a commercial role for her. Megan's visiting mother cruelly denounces Megan's ambitions and tells Don that he should not help Megan, as she believes that Megan's dream of acting must be crushed and that she should behave like the proper wife of a wealthy man. While Don is at the dentist, Megan's mother reduces her daughter to a quivering wreck, resulting in Don agreeing to help Megan get the role in order to secure her the happiness she needs to function. Eventually, she gets the role, and after dropping her off at the studio, Don leaves to a bar where he sits by himself and orders a drink.

The season ends with a montage of all the main characters having realizations about themselves. Pete, in the aftermath of his affair with Beth, is seen sitting alone on his couch with his headphones on and eyes closed. Peggy, having quickly risen through the ranks in her new career, is shown toasting a single glass of champagne to herself with a smile on her face. A naked Roger looks out the window of his hotel room at the city, in the throes of an LSD trip, and raises both of his arms into the air. And lastly, Don is seen at the bar, where a woman begins to flirt with him and asks if he is alone. He turns and looks at her ambiguously.


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No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date U.S. viewers
53–54 1–2 "A Little Kiss" Jennifer Getzinger Matthew Weiner March 25, 2012 (2012-03-25) 3.54[4]
It's Memorial Day weekend, 1966, and Don's children are spending the holiday with him and his new wife, Megan, at the Drapers' new and stylish Manhattan apartment. Pete struggles at SCDP due to Roger's constant attempts to undermine him through his, Pete's, accounts. Joan, on maternity leave after giving birth to her son, Kevin, has a helping houseguest in her mother. Megan throws a surprise birthday party for Don at their apartment with all of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce in attendance, except for Joan.
55 3 "Tea Leaves" Jon Hamm Erin Levy and Matthew Weiner April 1, 2012 (2012-04-01) 2.94[5]
When Betty sees a doctor to try to get a prescription for diet pills, the doctor discovers a nodule on her thyroid. Although the nodule is later discovered to be benign, in the meantime Betty dwells on her mortality. Harry and Don go backstage at a Rolling Stones concert after a Heinz executive suggests trying to get the band to record a jingle for their ad campaign. Pete signs Mohawk Airlines as a client and gives the account to Roger. Roger asks Peggy to hire a new copywriter for Mohawk, so she interviews Michael Ginsberg. Don gives his OK.
56 4 "Mystery Date" Matt Shakman Victor Levin and Matthew Weiner April 8, 2012 (2012-04-08) 2.75[6]
Don runs into an ex-lover, and can't seem to escape her presence. Joan's husband, Greg, returns from his tour of duty in Vietnam only to reveal that he is being sent back for another year of service. Sally becomes frightened after reading stories on the Richard Speck murders, leading her step-grandmother to educate her on the concepts of fear and defense. Dawn spends the night at Peggy's apartment after becoming too afraid to return home because of racial violence near Harlem.
57 5 "Signal 30" John Slattery Frank Pierson and Matthew Weiner April 15, 2012 (2012-04-15) 2.69[7]
The episode occurs roughly two weeks after the previous one–around the time of Charles Whitman's shooting rampage at the University of Texas at Austin. Pete and Trudy host a dinner party in the suburbs, attended by Don, Megan, Ken, and his wife. Pete also attends driver's education classes where he views the film Signal 30 and flirts with a young woman. After watching England win the 1966 FIFA World Cup Final with expatriate Brits, Lane attempts to land an account with Jaguar Cars, leading to a physical altercation with Pete.
58 6 "Far Away Places" Scott Hornbacher Semi Chellas and Matthew Weiner April 22, 2012 (2012-04-22) 2.66[8]
Peggy becomes alienated both at work and in her personal life. Roger and Jane take LSD with a group of intellectuals, altering how they see the world, and allowing them to speak honestly about their marriage. Don and Megan take an impromptu road trip to Plattsburgh, New York to visit the Howard Johnson's flagship hotel and restaurant, which turns into a disaster after Megan informs Don that she dislikes orange sherbet. Bert Cooper reprimands Don for being on "love leave" after Peggy's failure with Heinz.
59 7 "At the Codfish Ball" Michael Uppendahl Jonathan Igla April 29, 2012 (2012-04-29) 2.31[9]
Don is honored at a banquet for the American Cancer Society, but finds his professional reputation has been damaged. Megan comes up with a last-minute pitch to save the Heinz account. Peggy thinks Abe is going to propose to her, but he instead suggests they move in together, a decision that doesn't go over well with her or her mother. When Henry's mother breaks her ankle while babysitting at the Francis house, Sally takes charge, then comes to stay with Don and Megan, who are already hosting the latter's parents.
60 8 "Lady Lazarus" Phil Abraham Matthew Weiner May 6, 2012 (2012-05-06) 2.29[10]
Megan has second thoughts about her career path after the success with Heinz but finds it difficult to tell Don. Peggy, unwittingly caught between the two when Megan's lie comes to light, finally lets her frustrations be known to both Megan and Don. Pete finds that his increasing success at the firm does not fill the emptiness of his life. After a chance encounter one evening with a neighbor, he becomes obsessed with wanting to repeat the experience. Don returns to creative work full throttle, only to find the cultural changes of the 1960s have left him behind.
61 9 "Dark Shadows" Scott Hornbacher Erin Levy May 13, 2012 (2012-05-13) 2.13[12]
As a toxic smog cloud hangs over New York City during Thanksgiving 1966,[11] Betty's jealousy of Don and Megan leads her to tell Sally about Anna Draper. Don and Peggy are both irritated by Michael Ginsberg's rising star, and Don takes a devious approach to clip the wings of the young copywriter. Roger gets handed a new client (Manischewitz) by Bert Cooper, but Roger's decision that he needs more Jewish input to help him involves estranged wife Jane, with unfortunate results. Pete continues to resent that his brief affair has ended with Beth, the wife of commuter-acquaintance Howard.
62 10 "Christmas Waltz" Michael Uppendahl Victor Levin and Matthew Weiner May 20, 2012 (2012-05-20) 1.92[13]
Around Christmas, Lane is instructed by his London attorney to wire $8,000 to England within two days for back taxes, or else he risks being arrested. Lane, in fear, forges a check from Don. Harry meets with Paul Kinsey, who has joined the Hare Krishnas and has written a terrible spec script for the series Star Trek. Harry later pays for a trip for Paul to Los Angeles so Paul can try to break into scriptwriting. Joan is served divorce papers, and after an outburst to the office receptionist, she and Don go to a bar for a drink and have an intimate chat. Meanwhile, Pete reveals that Jaguar is again looking for an advertising firm, and that presentations will start in mid-January.
63 11 "The Other Woman" Phil Abraham Semi Chellas and Matthew Weiner May 27, 2012 (2012-05-27) 2.07[14]
Pete asks Joan to sleep with a client to secure the Jaguar account. Meanwhile, the creatives work long nights to come up with the perfect pitch for the presentation. Don becomes furious after learning Megan could take a role in Boston. Feeling unappreciated, Peggy attends lunch with Freddy Rumsen, who encourages her to make a move. Later, Peggy meets with Ted Chaough, from rival firm CGC, and is offered chief copywriter position.
64 12 "Commissions and Fees" Christopher Manley Andre Jacquemetton & Maria Jacquemetton June 3, 2012 (2012-06-03) 2.41[15]
Don discovers that Lane stole money from the company and fires him. Sally has a rendezvous with former neighbor Glen Bishop, which ends abruptly. After Don expresses a yearning for more, Roger gets him a meeting with Dow Chemical, a client that could shape the future of the company. Lane falls into a melancholic depression and commits suicide.
65 13 "The Phantom" Matthew Weiner Jonathan Igla and Matthew Weiner June 10, 2012 (2012-06-10) 2.70[16]
Don has a toothache that brings up painful memories of his brother as the firm looks to expand after a profitable quarter with Joan running the books. Roger seeks to expand the affair with Megan's mother and asks her to join him on a second LSD trip. Pete has a "last" encounter with Beth and finds she is receiving shock treatment. Megan struggles to find acting work and asks for Don's help getting an audition for a commercial at the agency to jump-start her career. Peggy is adjusting to her new agency and enjoying the challenge of an upcoming campaign bid for Philip Morris' "top secret ladies cigarette", but still seeks Don's approval.



Series creator Matthew Weiner also served as showrunner and executive producer, and is credited as a writer on 10 of the 13 episodes of the season, often co-writing the episodes with another writer. Erin Levy was promoted to co-producer and wrote two episodes. Victor Levin joined as co-executive producer and wrote two episodes. Frank Pierson joined as consulting producer and wrote one episode. Semi Chellas was promoted to co-producer and wrote two episodes. Jonathan Igla wrote two episodes. Writing team Andre Jacquemetton and Maria Jacquemetton were promoted to executive producers and co-wrote one episode together. Other producers included Blake McCormick and executive producer Scott Hornbacher.

Jennifer Getzinger, Scott Hornbacher, Michael Uppendahl, and Phil Abraham each directed two episodes for the season. The remaining episodes were directed by Matt Shakman, cast member John Slattery, Matthew Weiner, who directs each season finale; with cast member Jon Hamm and cinematographer Christopher Manley each making their directorial debuts.


The fifth season of Mad Men has received critical acclaim. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 97% of 34 critics have given the season a positive review. The site's consensus is: "With its brilliantly crafted characters, razor-sharp writing, and ambitious sweep, Mad Men continues to surprise and unsettle."[17] On Metacritic, the fifth season has scored an 89 out of 100 based on 24 reviews, indicating universal acclaim.[18]


The fifth season received three nominations from the Television Critics Association Awards for Program of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in Drama, while Jon Hamm was nominated for Individual Achievement in Drama.[19]

64th Primetime Emmy Awards

Season five received 17 nominations for the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards, although it did not win any.[20]


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External links