Jared Harris has been keeping a big secret for the past few months. SPOILER ALERT ahead!!
His character of Lane Pryce on “Mad Men” committed suicide on this week’s penultimate episode (“Commissions and Fees”) of the fifth season by hanging himself in his own office.
In an exclusive video chat with Gold Derby, Harris admitted, “I was not surprised, but I was disappointed. You know, I was sad to not be working with all these guys. That was going to be coming to an end… I shed a little tear in the car on the way home.”
The character of Lane Pryce joined Sterling Cooper at the beginning of the third season when his British company took over the New York advertising firm. He became the financial chief of the office and then helped them break off from his bosses and became a partner in the new firm of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.
However, during this season, he started to spiral out of control by kissing and flirting with office manager Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks), having a fist fight with junior partner Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser), and ultimately embezzling funds by forging the signature of partner Don Draper (Jon Hamm).
Series creator Matt Weiner decided to kill off the character and told Harris after the table reading for the tenth episode, two episodes before the event actually happened. Harris recalls, “After everyone leaves, he says ‘Let’s go up to my office.’ You know that’s a bad sign … We were sort of hanging around waiting for the lift and some sort of chit chat or small talk, which seemed a bit odd. We get to his office, and he offers me a glass of really, really expensive brandy. OK, that’s clue number two that this is not going to go well. Then he says, ‘I’ve got something I need to talk to you about,’ and I went ‘Uh oh, that doesn’t sound good,’ and he went ‘Awww, it’s not. I’m really sorry.'”
Harris will be on the Emmy Awards ballot this summer contending as Best Drama Supporting Actor. Co-star John Slattery has been nominated all four previous seasons, but no other “Mad Men” actors have competed in this category.
In summing up his role as Lane Pryce, Harris said that he was “somebody who had the courage to try and break free from his personal glass ceiling if you like, the company that he was with, and start working for other people and own a piece of the rock himself. In that sense, he embraces the American dream. The hardest thing to do is change yourself, and in the end, that’s what pulls him up short.”
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