Elisabeth Moss and Jon Hamm, Forever Peggy and Don (PHOTOS)
Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss look completely comfortable during a Los Angeles photo shoot with photographer Jeff Lipsky. But the relationship between their Mad Men alter-egos Don Draper and Peggy Olson is far more complicated. The duo started the show as disparate as two colleagues can get – he the much-admired creative king of Sterling Cooper, she the secretary he barely notices. Over the course of seven seasons, Don battled personal demons and Peggy forged ahead with her professional ambitions, until last year's midseason finale found them in a state of – if not equality, then mutual respect and possibly equilibrium. We've watched them support and destroy each other, trade compliments and bitter barbs, and dance around the dynamics of mentorship, friendship, and family. They know each other's darkest secrets. They've been each other's emergency phone call. They've never slept together, except platonically on Don's office couch after a night of drinking and reconciliation. Peggy and Don represent something rare on television: a complex partnership between a man and a woman that isn't based on sex and isn't easily categorized.
Here, more exclusive photos from the shoot with Hamm and Moss.
Moss told TV Insider, "For me, Peggy and Don will always be my favorite relationship on the show. I used to hear for so long, "Are they going to get together romantically or is it a father–daughter thing? Is it mentor–protégée? Are they enemies? Are they friends?" It's all of those things."
On AMC's Mad Men blog, Moss explained her affection for her character: " I'm extremely proud of her. I think she's gotten super cool and a little bit badass, and I think she's really strong and smart. And I think I've always been protective of her."
In 2012, Hamm spelled out the Don/Peggy connection for Vanity Fair:
"I think the Don-Peggy relationship is more of a kindred-spirit kind of thing. I think that what both Don and Peggy have in their makeup is a raw ambition. Don's trying to escape this Depression-era life and past and move into a life of expansive cosmopolitan existence through the sweat of his own brow and, honestly, through the duplicitous nature of his existence. I think Peggy is also escaping the close-minded, parochial existence of where she comes from for what Manhattan represents—a bigger, brighter, better life. I think that Don identifies that in her and tries to help cultivate it. There is a tenuous but strong relationship there."
"You know we've been asking that question for some time on this show – who is Don Draper? He's a different person to Roger than he is to Peggy than he is to Betty than he is to Megan than he is to Pete than he is to so many other people. But I think what we've been waiting for is who is he to Don."
Series creator Matt Weiner talked to HitFix in 2010 about the growth of Peggy and Don's relationship:
"It's just a great feeling, to me, to see emotions that are earned. Peggy had gained Don's respect, but she's gained our respect. We've seen her do more. And Don has been kinder to Peggy, but it's not this magnanimous, paternalistic kindness. It's someone who says, 'I love that you know me.' "
Moss said to USA Today: "They will always be so linked, and they have this crazy, beautiful relationship that is mentor-protege, father-daughter, brother-sister, and they're getting to the point where they're almost equals, which is new for them."
Last year, Weiner told Vulture where Peggy and Don stand in Season 7:
"Part of the story of the season was them repairing their relationship. It has the structure of a romantic relationship, but to me it was about: Don cannot give Peggy confidence and Peggy cannot give Don integrity; both of them have to earn it for themselves. We wanted to bring it back to a place where Peggy did it her way and Don did something — [giving her the Burger Chef pitch] wasn't a huge sacrifice, but it certainly wasn't the old Don."