As lead protagonist in AMC television series Mad Men, Don Draper has managed to captivate audiences over seven seasons, and though that is in part down to the wonderful acting from Jon Hamm in the role, it’s also because of the show’s writing that makes him such a fascinating character.
Never has anyone been more mysterious. Just what is Don Draper’s truth? It’s not something you immediately find out and that’s just one of the many reasons behind the magic of Mad Men. “He could be Batman for all we know” says Harry Crane in the third episode of the series.
We don’t even know Don’s real birthday. Showing discrepancies throughout the different episodes of each season, we realise that he’s a man of many days of birth. It’s not a major detail to pick up on but it just adds that element of intrigue if you’re truly into your character development and exploration.
Another thing that’s not to be expected from the arrogant Draper is his strict personal ethics code, insisting that his subordinates hold themselves with honesty and chivalry despite not always possessing these traits himself.
One time he does allow his affectionate side to take over however is when his father-in-law Eugene, who he seems to dislike immensely, becomes unable to live on his own. Don takes him into his own home and in some occasions shows him more patience than those we thought were closest to him.
Then comes the alcoholism that becomes more and more apparant as the series goes by. Alcohol dependency is always a tricky subject to tackle but it’s done brilliantly here, and by the end of the sixth season Don’s forced to take a leave of absence after secrets about his upbringing are exposed and put under the spotlight.
And it’s not just us an audience who can’t get enough of Don. The women in the show adore him too. Despite his romantic involvement with Betty, he cheats on her repeatedly in the earlier episodes and even has a long-lasting affair in the third season with his daughter’s schoolteacher. This is something that continues throughout the series as he seemingly cannot help himself and allows his ego to be complemented in the bedroom.
When it all comes down to intrigue, Don Draper has everything locked down, bolt and key. Nobody can hold a flame to this fella, and he’s certainly going to go down in television history.