There’s been the build-up of a suicide in the air the entire fifth season of AMC’s hit drama “Mad Men”. Some thought it would be Pete Campbell taking his own life, but now that we know it was Lane Pryce, it all seems so obvious and fitting. In case you’ve missed the penultimate episode of the show, we have recapped it at this link for your perusal.
At the beginning of the episode, Lane was offered a chairmanship at the American Association of Advertising Agencies, of which he humbly accepts. Later, Don Draper is confronted by Bert Cooper with the forged check for $7,500. Bert thought they had already agreed not to pass out Christmas bonuses and Don promises to take care of it.
Don calls Lane into his office and confronts him with the forged check, claiming that Bert was unaware of it, as was anyone else. Lane calls it a 13-day loan, which was based on his Christmas bonus. He admits to Don that he owes taxes on his portfolio — which he liquidated in order to fund his partnership in the agency. He said, “I have never been compensated for my contributions to this company, including my role in its very existence.”
Obviously, Don could have had Lane arrested and jailed for forgery and embezzlement, but opts to let Lane leave the company with his dignity intact. At this point, Don isn’t aware of how bad things are for Lane. Lane is fired, meaning that he will have to give up his Visa and thus, return to England — unsuccessful.
He returns home to his wife Rebecca who is all dressed up and smiling. She presents Lane with a Jaguar to recognize his successes. She wants to go out for a drive and he vomits. Later that evening, while Rebecca is sleeping, he goes out to the car with a hose and a handkerchief. He runs the hose from the tailpipe to the window and breaks his glasses in half. He’s done.
As he pushes the button to start the car, it won’t turn over. It’s been a running gag with the higher-ups at SCDP that the car wasn’t that great, so we weren’t surprised that he couldn’t kill himself that way. Besides, how could the agency recover from losing a founding member of their company to a suicide in a Jaguar?
With his failed suicide attempt under his belt, Lane heads to the offices to type out his resignation. He then hangs himself, which is discovered when Joan Harris tries to gain access to his office, but is unable to. Pete looks over the dividing wall and Lane’s fate is sealed once we see Pete cover his mouth in horror.
Don, Roger and Pete cut him down from the door and lay him on the couch. Everyone is looking for an explanation as to why Lane would commit suicide as he had only left a boilerplate resignation letter. Don knows, but will he divulge the information to the other partners?
Below, you can see an inside look at Jared Harris’ final moments on “Mad Men”:
When the show’s creator Matthew Weiner informed Jared of Lane’s departure, Jared revealed, “I was sad. I’ve grown very fond of Lane, and I love working there. It’s the best show on television, and my ride was over. I shed a little tear in the car on the way home.”
When asked if he tried to talk Matthew out of Lane’s suicide, he said, “There was no way to talk him out of it. The season had been structured for this. They had been building this since the beginning. I tried to persuade him that Lane had a brother, Blaine Pryce.”
The scene of Lane’s suicide was filmed in the summer of 2011 and thus, was kept a secret for all of this time. Jared said, “I couldn’t tell my agent, I couldn’t tell my manager, I couldn’t take part in TV pilot season this year because I knew that if I had signed on to a new show, people would know something had happened and it was in my interest to keep it as big a surprise as possible.”
Also, when Don, Roger and Pete arrived in Lane’s office to find him hanging from the door, it was the first time they had seen him in his death makeup. The show did that for authenticity — to get the actors’ natural reactions to the shot of Lane dead.
We will miss his character, rest in peace Lane Pryce. The season finale of “Mad Men” airs on Sunday on AMC at 10PM EST. To see the promo video, click here.