The framed letter from President Obama hangs in the hallway outside Matt Weiner's office. "He wrote to say he enjoyed Season 3," the Mad Men creator says, giggling in disbelief. "He was congratulating me on my and the show's success, and I wanted to say, 'But wait, you're the successful person.'"
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The president was merely speaking for the quality-TV nation. In three seasons, Mad Men has gone from being a cool retro diversion to one of the most stylish, seductive shows in TV history. Last season ended in a mushroom cloud of hope and despair. Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and his most trusted companions in advertising walked away from the Sterling Cooper agency to launch a risky start-up. But Don's personal life imploded as his wife, Betty (January Jones), slapped down divorce papers and flew off to Reno with political aide Henry Francis (Christopher Stanley). Last we saw, Don was moving to Greenwich Village to start over.
The Mad Men crowd is notoriously tight-lipped, but Weiner and several cast members agreed to tease what's ahead for Season 4.
"It might have been impulsive, but making this break from Don made Betty feel stronger and more powerful than she ever has," Weiner says. That doesn't mean she's any closer to asking "Who am I?," the theme that dominates the new season. As the show moves into the more turbulent part of the '60s, "all the characters are seeing consequences to their [past] actions," says Hamm, though not everybody's ready for the era's consciousness raising. Says Weiner, "There's a feeling on the writing team, about Betty, that she's a woman who will learn as little about herself as possible."
For more Mad Men Season 4 scoop, as well as an exclusive photo album featuring your favorite cast members, pick up this week's issue of TV Guide Magazine, on newsstands Thursday, July 15!
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