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Ed. note: The numbers in parentheses at the end of each synopsis denote the word count, which we used to compile the graphics in our Mad Men Episode Descriptions By the Numbers story.


SEASON 1

1. "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes"

In 1960 New York City - the high-powered and glamorous "Golden Age" of advertising - Don Draper, the biggest ad man in the business, struggles to stay a step ahead of the rapidly changing times and the young executives nipping at his heels. (41)

2. "Ladies Room"  

Don Draper is reluctant to talk about his past, or his childhood, whether with his wife Betty or his boss Roger Sterling. Joan Holloway teaches Peggy Olsen how to wrangle a free lunch out of some of the ad men. Roger Sterling raises the issue of working for the upcoming Nixon presidential campaign and while Don doesn't have much enthusiasm, senior partner Bert Cooper insists that they will go ahead and orders Don to put a team together. The creative team has to come up with an ad campaign for a new deodorant in an aerosol spray can. Sally Draper's doctor recommends that she see a psychiatrist. (107)

3. "Marriage of Figaro"

Pete Campbell returns from his honeymoon with tall tales and a big grin on his face. He does tell Peggy Olson that their fling before his marriage was for one night only. Don Draper runs into an old army buddy who knows him under the name of Dick Whitman. He also takes a tour of Rachel Menken's store but in a private moment, their mutual attraction becomes evident. The Drapers have friends over for their daughter's birthday party, including the divorcee who lives down the street. Don however is obviously unhappy with his lot in life and seems to be carrying a burden that is not apparent. (107)

4. "New Amsterdam"

Pete Campbell oversteps the mark when he pitches an idea for ad campaign to the head of Bethlehem Steel without telling Don Draper. Draper wants him fired but learns a lesson in corporate politics. Pete's wife wants to buy a Manhattan apartment but he has to approach his cold and distant parents for a loan. His in-laws are more forthcoming. Betty Draper finally meets her new divorc?e-neighbor. Don meets Rachel Menken, the head of Menken Department Stores. They don't exactly hit it off at their first meeting and has to go out of his way to mend fences. (98)

5. "5G"

Don Draper is shaken when his past life comes back to haunt him. After his picture appears in a local newspaper, Adam Whitman, a man who claims to be his younger brother, approaches him. Don, or Dick as his brother knows him, initially denies everything but in the end admits to having taken on a new name. He refuses however to have anything to do with him and tries to buy his silence. When one of the ad men gets a short story published, Pete Campbell is frustrated that his own stories have yet to see the light of day. When his wife approaches an old beau to see if he will publish the stories, he has an interesting proposition for her. (122)

6. "Babylon"

The Agency is looking to land an advertising contract to promote tourism to Israel. Don and his team try to come with a theme but know so little about the country they're stumped so Don calls Rachel Menken to see if she has any ideas. Roger Sterling is getting tired of sneaking around with Joan Holloway and suggests she should her own apartment but she knows better. Peggy comes up with an advertising concept during a testing session for a new line of lipsticks and she's subsequently asks to write copy. (91)

7. "Red in the Face"

When Don invites Roger home for dinner, too much alcohol fuels repercussions between Don and Betty and between Don and Roger. Joan puts Roger off for the weekend, spending time with her roommate Carol instead. Pete exchanges a wedding gift for a rifle, and then shares a hunting fantasy with Peggy. Bertram Cooper arranges for the Nixon campaign to meet with him, Roger, Don, and Pete. (66)

8. "The Hobo Code"

Pete Campbell and Peggy Olsen start an office romance. Peggy's copy for the lipstick account goes over well and the men in the firm congratulate her. A new telephone receptionist, Lois Saddler, takes a liking to Salvatore Romano but his own interests seem to lie elsewhere. Don Draper gets an unexpected bonus from Bert Cooper and wants to take Midge on a surprise trip to Paris. She seems too involved with her beatnik friends however. Don reflects on his unhappy childhood and in flashbacks he reveals some life lessons he learned early on when a hobo spent the day working on the family farm in exchange for a meal. (109)

9. "Shoot"

Don is courted by Jim Hobarth, head of a larger ad firm who offers him more money and more creative resources to join them. Betty Draper rekindles her interest in modeling after Hobarth suggests she should try it. She doesn't realize it's all part of the strategy to get Don on board. Peggy Olsen is fretting over her weight gain but doesn't appreciate Joan's advice about getting ahead in the office. The ad team tries to counter the advertising coming out of the Kennedy campaign. Pete Campbell comes up with an idea to keep Kennedy's image off TV in key States. (101)

10. "Long Weekend"

It's Labor Day weekend and most of the men are sending their wives away for a few days. Don Draper's wife Betty is dreading the thought, as her father and his new girlfriend, whom she detests, will be staying with them. With the election approaching, the team at Sterling Cooper is gloomy since the Nixon campaign has not been following their advice. Roger Sterling was hoping to spend Friday night with Joan Holloway but having just seen the movie The Apartment (1960), she is feeling a bit used. She plans a night on the town with her old college friend who has some surprising information for her. Don and Roger invite twin sisters from a casting call to join them for a drink but things go badly for Roger who suffers a serious heart attack. After the incident Don ends up spending the night with Rachel Menken where reveals a lot of his inner self. (155)

11. "Indian Summer"

Peggy is given the opportunity to write copy for a new weight loss device that everyone knows is useless. She finds an interesting use for it, however. Afraid of losing the Lucky Strike cigarette account, Bert Cooper gets Roger Sterling to come in for a one-hour meeting but he has another attack. Don Draper becomes a partner and takes over from his friend Roger, but some of the ad men are sharpening their resumes nonetheless. Pete Campbell wants a promotion but Draper doesn't seem too interested. Pete keeps a parcel addressed to Don that contains some very interested information. (99)

12. "Nixon Vs. Kennedy"

Election night arrives and the staff of Sterling Cooper has a party while watching the returns. The election is close and it's obviously going to be a long night. Now a senior partner in the firm, Don Draper must hire a new head of account services, a post that Pete Campbell yearns for. Aware of Draper's secret past, he tries to strong-arm him into giving him the job. With his secret out, Don panics and he asks Rachel Menken to run away with him. Regaining his composure, Don calls Pete's bluff leading to a confrontation with Bert Cooper. (98)

13. "The Wheel"

Don and Betty Draper have an argument when it becomes apparent that he doesn't want to spend Thanksgiving with her family and she plans on going only with the children. He also learns some information about his brother Adam. Pete Campbell confirms that he has landed an account from his father-in-law for a new skin care product called Clearasil. He objects however when Don gives the account to Peggy Olson, who he has just been promoted to junior copywriter. Peggy proves her mettle in auditions for the weight loss device but later is feeling unwell and goes to the hospital where she is given some shocking news. Don comes up with a brilliant presentation for Kodak on a new wheel-like storage device for a slide projector that he dubs a carousel. (131)


SEASON 2

1. "For Those Who Think Young"

It’s Valentine’s Day, and the Sterling Cooper advertising agency is hustling to stay on top of its game and buzzing over the newest office equipment. Don and Duck find themselves at odds over an account. Betty reconnects with an old friend and once again finds herself struggling with car trouble. (50)

2. "Flight 1"

Paul hosts a party at his apartment and introduces someone special to his Sterling Cooper colleagues. Peggy visits her family for dinner. Despite a conflict of interest, the Sterling Cooper agency aggressively pursues an airline account and Duck attempts to appeal to the client using an unorthodox approach. (48)

3. "The Benefactor"

Trouble arises on the set of a commercial while Don plays hooky from the office. Meanwhile, Harry, determined to make improvements in his career, tries to gather support around a controversial sponsorship. Betty joins Don when he attempts to appease his clients with a friendly dinner. (46)

4. "Three Sundays"

Peggy’s family hosts lunch for a new priest in their church. Don and Betty enjoy a family weekend together. Freddy and Ken take a client out to lunch who spurs Roger Sterling’s heart. Sterling Cooper staffers work double time to prepare for a last minute pitch meeting. (47)

5. "The New Girl"

Don once again finds himself having to deal with issues between TV comedian Jimmy and his wife, Bobbie. Joan finally finds Don the perfect secretary. (25)

6. "Maidenform"

Don and Duck take a stab at making peace. Peggy tries to insinuate herself into the execs’ after-hours meetings.  Duck deals with a family visit at the office. (28)

7. "The Gold Violin"

Don buys a brand new car which befits his image as an executive who has “arrived.” Don’s secretary makes a grave error, which could spell trouble for Joan. Cooper has a new piece of art in his office that attracts the interest of the workers at Sterling Cooper. (48)

8. "A Night to Remember"

Father Gill convinces Peggy to contribute on a pro-bono church project. To win the business of a foreign beer brand, Duck and Don try to create market appeal to a new demographic. Harry is overwhelmed with the workload in his department and recruits assistance from an unlikely source. (48)

9. "Six Month Leave"

Freddy Rumsen disappoints his team during a pitch. Pete finds an opportunity at the office to exploit while Don proves his loyalty to an old friend. Betty finds a welcome distraction in Sara Beth. (34)

10. "The Inheritance"

Betty visits her ailing father. Paul's girlfriend Sheila tries to convince him to prioritize his civic duties. Pete's mother disapproves of an idea that Pete and Trudy are considering. (29)

11. "The Jet Set"

On a business trip to Los Angeles, Don becomes acquainted with some exciting new friends. Peggy looks for romance at work. Duck starts thinking about the future of Sterling Cooper. (30)

12. "The Mountain King"

Don meets with an old friend. An account hangs in the balance when Pete's personal life presents problems.  Joan brings her boyfriend to the office. (25)

13. "Meditations in an Emergency"

Sterling Cooper is in play and the office scrambles without Don. Betty learns some disconcerting news. (16)


SEASON 3

1. "Out of Town"
Changes at Sterling Cooper affect Pete and Ken. Don and Sal go on a business trip. (16)

2. "Love Among the Ruins"

Betty gets a visit from her father. Sterling Cooper grapples with a very specific client request.  Roger makes arrangements for a wedding.  Peggy becomes personally affected by a campaign. (29)

3. "My Old Kentucky Home"

The writers fight off boredom when they are forced to work after hours.  Roger hosts a party while Joan and Greg host a party of their own.  Sally has a run in with Grandpa. (34)

4. "The Arrangements"

Gene and Don cross paths.  Peggy is looking for a roommate.  A wealthy new client has very high hopes. (19)

5. "The Fog"

Betty and Don deal with Sally.  Pete pursues a new angle in business.  Betty has a strange dream. (18)

6. "Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency"

Sterling Cooper receives a surprise visit.  Something is spooking Sally.  Joan gets some unexpected news. (15)

7. "Seven Twenty Three"

Betty tries her hand at local politics. Don is forced into thinking about the future. Peggy receives a luxurious gift. (20)

8. "Souvenir"

Don takes Betty on a business trip.  Pete helps a neighbor in his building. (14)

9. "Wee Small Hours"

Don and Sal both have difficultly giving the clients what they want.  Betty hosts a fundraiser. (16)

10. "The Color Blue"

The firm celebrates a milestone.  Peggy and Paul compete on an account. (12)

11. "The Gypsy and the Hobo"

A former client returns to Sterling Cooper.  Betty takes the kids on a trip.  Joan and Greg plan for their future. (21)

12. "The Grown-Ups"

Don meets with an impressive candidate. Peggy second gueses her taste in men. Pete makes big career decisions. (18)

13. "Shut the Door. Have a Seat"

Don has an important meeting with Connie. Betty receives some advice. Pete talks to his clients. (16)


SEASON 4

1 "Public Relations"

Don makes a mistake that jeopardizes the new agency. (9)

2. "Christmas Comes But Once a Year"

The agency gets a new account and adds staff.  Sally runs into an old friend.  The agency throws a party. (20)

3. "The Good News"

Don takes a trip. Joan has scheduling problems.  Don and Lane get to know each other a little better. (19)

4. "The Rejected"

An edict from Roger and Lane puts Pete in a personal dilemma. (12)

5. "The Chrysanthemum and The Sword"

Don and Pete go against Roger in efforts to win a new account. (13)

6. "Waldorf Stories"

Peggy clashes with her new creative partner and Don pitches under unusual circumstances. (13)

7. "The Suitcase"

A deadline disrupts Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. (7)

8. "The Summer Man"

Joan and Peggy deal with hijinx in the office. (9)

9. "The Beautiful Girls"

Peggy receives a romantic gift that could compromise her career. (10)

10. "Hands and Knees" 

An unannounced visitor at the Francis home rattles Betty. (9)

11. "Chinese Wall" 

Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce employees resort to scuttlebutt after an agency wide meeting is called. (15)

12. "Blowing Smoke" 

In the midst of a crisis, Don runs into an old friend. (12)

13. "Tomorrowland" 

Opportunity arises for Don and Peggy. (6)


SEASON 5

1/2. "A Little Kiss" (2-hour premiere)

In the season five opener, we’re welcomed back with a surprise for Don as Pete and Roger butt heads, and Joan clashes with a houseguest. (25)

3. "Tea Leaves"

As Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce tries to build upon its current business, Peggy is given new responsibility. Don and Harry indulge a client. (23)

4. "Mystery Date"

Don runs into someone from his past.  Joan makes a decision, and Roger gives Peggy extra work. (17)

5. "Signal 30"

Lane strikes up an interesting friendship. Pete entertains guests. (9)

6. "Far Away Places"

Peggy is rattled by a pitch while Don visits a potential client. (12)

7. "At the Codfish Ball"

Don receives an award while Sally comes to the aid of a relative. (13)

8. "Lady Lazarus" 

Peggy has to keep a secret while Pete covers for a friend. (12)

9. "Dark Shadows" 

Sally faces a challenge. Roger seeks new business. (8)

10. "Christmas Waltz"

Christmas wishes come true as everyone gets a gift; Harry helps out a friend. (14)

11. "The Other Woman"

Don's challenged by a pitch, Peggy contemplates a trip, and Joan entertains an idea. (14)

12. "Commissions and Fees"

Don follows a surprising lead while Sally goes out. (9)

13. "The Phantom"

In the Season 5 finale, opportunity is in the air for everyone while Pete meets a stranger on the train. (20)


SEASON 6

  • 1/2 "The Doorway"

    In the Season premiere, Don spearheads a new campaign, Roger gets some unsettling news, and Betty takes in a houseguest. (20)

  • 3. "The Collaborators" 
  • Don clashes with a client. Pete entertains a guest. Peggy struggles to motivate the staff. (15)

  • 4. "To Have and To Hold" 

    The partners work to keep the wraps on a secret campaign. Joan is visited by an old friend. (18)

  • 5. "The Flood"

    Peggy plans for the future. Roger courts a potential client. (10)

  • 6. "For Immediate Release"

    Roger changes tack to make new business. Pete has an awkward run-in with a client. (15)

  • 7. "Man with a Plan" 

    SCDP tries to placate competing clients. Pete is blindsided by an unexpected guest. (13)

  • 8. "The Crash" 

    Don is disrupted by a surprise visitor. Peggy looks for inspiration. (11)

  • 9. "The Better Half" 

    Roger is plagued by a recurring dream. Joan goes to the beach. (12)

  • 10. "A Tale of Two Cities" 

    The agency works to hold onto a client. Joan is caught off guard. (13)

  • 11. "Favors" 

    Betty plans for Sally's future. Peggy encounters trouble at home. (10)

  • 12. "The Quality of Mercy" 

    The partners disagree on a new campaign. Don takes a day off. (12)

  • 13. "In Care Of" 

    Don has a problem. (4)


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 5/25/2014

Season 7 : Episode 7

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