AMC’s Mad Men returns tomorrow night to the UK with its season six premiere (Sky Atlantic 10pm). In an effort to help everyone catch up with Don Draper’s life of ads, women, and booze, we’ve compiled a list of everything you need to know to ease back into the cacophonous concrete jungle that is 1960s New York.
• Don Draper isn’t the real Don Draper. His real name is Dick Whitman and he stole the real Don’s identity after he died in the Korean War. He is the reason most everybody watches the show.
• Founded by Don Draper and company in season three, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is our home on Mad Men, the agency that serves as a backdrop to all the drama.
• Roger Sterling is a senior partner and an infantile, spoiled man whose one redeeming quality is that he is the most quotable character on any TV drama.
• Jon Hamm knows how to wear a suit.
• Betty Francis is Don’s ex-wife and quite possibly AMC’s attempt to create the single most aggravating character on television (although I have been informed that opinions of her do vary). She is married to Republican political advisor Henry Francis.
• In a time before the invention of political correctness, Peggy Olson is the one pillar of common sense and hard work, demanding—and earning—the respect of her male colleagues. At the end of season five, she leaves her job as a junior copywriter at SCDP to work for Cutler, Gleason and Chaough, a rival agency.
• Zena Jarjis would like to reiterate that Jon Hamm looks really good in a suit.
• Megan Draper is Don’s second wife who is trying, and failing, to establish herself as an actress.
• Possibly the most tragic character on the show, Lane Pryce spent three seasons in utter misery, struggling with his finances, his dysfunctional family, and his merciless father. He hangs himself at the end of season five.
• Season five ends with Don alone at a bar.
• And Jon Hamm looks really, really good in a suit, according to Zena. I wouldn’t know. I was too busy watching the show to notice.
There you have it. You should be all set for tomorrow’s two-hour premiere, which, judging from the last five seasons, will be another impeccably nuanced and thoughtful exploration of a bygone era.