Emmy Episode Analysis: Robert Morse (‘Mad Men’) goes from ad man to song and dance man

Veteran actor Robert Morse has earned his fifth Drama Guest Actor nomination for playing Bertram Cooper, founding partner of Sterling Cooper, on “Mad Men.” Prior to that, he won an Emmy for Movie/Mini Actor as Truman Capote in the one-man show “Tru.”

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SYNOPSIS: In Morse’s submitted episode, “Waterloo,” Jim Cutler (Harry Hamlin) attempts to force Don (Jon Hamm) out of the company. This irritates Bertram and leads to a board vote that fails to oust Don. Roger Sterling (John Slattery) asks Bertram privately what they are going to do about Jim’s attempted coup. In response, Bertram tells Roger about the leadership abilities that both Don and Roger lack, even though they bring other important qualities to the table.

Later, Bertram watches the moon-landing and says “Bravo” to Neil Armstrong‘s historic achievement. But shortly thereafter, Roger gets a phone call informing him that Bertram has died. At the end of the episode, as the senior partners are about to announce the passing of Bertram, Don hears his voice. He turns around to see Bertram performing the song “The Best Things in Life are Free,” and Don (as well as the audience) bid farewell to Bertram Cooper.

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Can Morse finally pick up an Emmy to bookend his 1993 prize? Here are the pros and cons:


This is his fifth nomination for this role, and with the absence of a clear frontrunner and Morse’s status as a veteran of film, TV, and stage, the opportunity to reward him may prove irresistible this time.

Morse gets to display his full array of talent in the end as he sings and dances in Don’s final vision of him.

Morse portrays Cooper’s eccentricities and his skills as a leader and manager almost flawlessly.


Morse’s screen time is limited, adding up to only around five minutes. Even with other characters reacting to his death, rewarding such a brief performance might seem like a stretch for some Emmy voters.

While “Mad Men” has won four trophies for Best Drama, none of its actors have won an Emmy, despite 31 past nominations. Should the show lose out again this year, that total will go up to 34.

Overall, “Mad Men” has not done well at the Emmys in recent years. In 2012 and 2013, the show was completely shut out – a combined 29 losses and no wins – and its year-to-year nomination count is down, from 12 to eight.

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Morse is currently in second place in our predictions with combined odds of 21/10. Do you think he can pull it off? Make your predictions below.

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