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In final season, ‘Mad Men’ will explore ‘consequences’

Returning for last seas“Mad Men” are (from left) John Slattery ChristinHendricks Vincent Kartheiser Elisabeth Moss January Jones JessicPare JHamm. |

Returning for the last season of “Mad Men” are (from left) John Slattery, Christina Hendricks, Vincent Kartheiser, Elisabeth Moss, January Jones, Jessica Pare and Jon Hamm. | Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

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By LORI RACKL

TV Critic

Next month marks the beginning of the end for “Mad Men.”AMC’s ’60s-set drama about the advertising world and the characters who populate it begins the first half of its seventh and final season April 13.

Showrunner and creator Matthew Weiner talked Monday about what’s in store for Don Draper and company, how he feels about entering the home stretch and more.

On the theme of the final season:

This season is about consequences in life ... and if change is possible. There’s a real growth over the course of this last season from, ‘What are the material concerns of your life?’ to ‘What are the immaterial concerns?’ That’s really what the ending of the show is about.

On the shift in focus to California:

What was interesting for me was to tell a story that started in 1960, where New York was the focus not just of the United States but of the world, and to show the rise of California over the course of the ’60s to its dominance by the end of the 20th century. The show had become bicoastal last year to some degree. It started the first time Don (Jon Hamm) went out there season two. He is a different kind of person when he’s in California.

On Don’s relationship with his wife, Megan (Jessica Pare):

He recommitted to her in the finale last year because he’d finished with his affair and he had hit bottom on his drinking. He had to renege on his ‘reproposal’ to her to go to California. He just couldn’t follow through on it. Are there repercussions for that? Yes. That is the story of the season for me.

On splitting the final season in two, with the final batch of seven episodes airing next year:

It was not my idea, but there seems to be a problem with saying that without sounding critical of it. They [AMC] had success doing this with ‘Breaking Bad.’ It was so good for the growth of the show and the way the ending was received, so I wasn’t going to argue with that.

On the transformation of Roger Sterling (John Slattery), who’s quite the free spirit in the season premiere:

He’s starting to have a bit of an existential crisis. Even Roger Sterling is starting to see a little darkness in the repetitive nature of hedonism. Everyone at the beginning of the show is like, ‘Are we going to see Don in love beads and a Nehru jacket?’ No, but Roger will probably get there. Looking at the real history, guys like him did great.

On cryptic teasers to upcoming episodes and keeping even the smallest details under wraps:

Part of it was being on ‘The Sopranos’ — how much fun it was before this whole machinery of spoilers was even in operation — to say you’re going to sit down and have no idea what’s going to happen. You can create tension. I love to be surprised. I love that we have a unique position commercially as being something that you just don’t know what is going to happen … For our show, the plots are not told in extremes. They’re happening on a very human scale. Don forgetting to pick Sally (Kiernan Shipka) up at school is a big story point. If you tell these things, I worry that it will be boring.

Email: lrackl@suntimes.com

Twitter: @lorirackl



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