Emmy Episode Analysis: Jon Hamm (‘Mad Men’) hopes latest ‘Strategy’ will do the trick

Jon Hamm is hoping to finally win that elusive Emmy for playing Don Draper on AMC’s “Mad Men” with the episode “The Strategy.” He’s been nominated for Best Drama Actor every year since the show first competed in 2008. As a producer, he has also received three straight nominations for Best Drama since 2012, and he’s a three-time Comedy Guest Actor contender for “30 Rock” (2009, 2010 and 2012).

Hamm submitted an episode titled “The Strategy” to Emmy judges as an example of his best work this past TV season. See full of list Emmy episode entries here.

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SYNOPSIS: Don goes to the office to continue work on the proposal for the Burger Chef account. Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) asks Don to sit in on the run-through of the Burger Chef pitch. Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) becomes apprehensive when Don arrives, but still manages to deliver the presentation to everyone’s satisfaction. Pete, however, wants Don to make the actual pitch instead of Peggy, which makes her second-guess her idea. Those feelings are reinforced when Don suggests a change to the ad’s point of view.

Meanwhile, Don’s wife, Megan (Jessica Pare), visits from California to spend time with her husband. But while at home with Megan, Don receives a call from Peggy, who accuses him of undermining her work. As his time with Megan is wrapping up, she says that they should see each other outside of New York or Los Angeles, and Don agrees, but Don can see that his second marriage is coming apart.

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Don visits Peggy in the office over the weekend. With Peggy now completely doubting her original pitch, she demands that Don walk her through his creative process. Don obliges and they start the pitch again from the beginning. As they work through the ideas of a family experience at Burger Chef, Peggy laments that she is not where she thought she would be at the age of 30. Don reassures her that she’s doing well in life, and suddenly Peggy locks in on a better pitch for Burger Chef. Don then overhears “My Way” by Frank Sinatra on the radio and invites Peggy to dance with him as the song plays.

At the end of the episode, Pete joins Don and Peggy at a Burger Chef to discuss the new strategy. Pete questions the idea, but Don gives Peggy his complete support and trust, and the three enjoy a meal at the restaurant their firm hopes to acquire as a client.

Can this episode finally win Jon Hamm an Emmy? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons:


Don is very likeable in this episode. Previous submissions have shown Don as arrogant at times, but that side of him doesn’t present itself in this episode.

Don also shows a more vulnerable side with Peggy when he confesses that he’s worried about what he has to show for his life. For a character that was shrouded in mystery when we first met him, it’s always interesting to see the real person that lies beneath Draper’s polished exterior.

Hamm is incredibly overdue. With 13 nominations to his name (including his two this year for acting and producing), it’s shocking to consider that he has never won, and voters may wish to finally rectify that.


The episode lacks the kind of emotional showcase scene that Emmy voters usually look for.

Hamm has submitted episodes in the past that had even more emotion and vulnerability like “The Suitcase” in 2011, but even that performance couldn’t land him an Emmy.

He’s a performer on “Mad Men” and, as has often been mentioned here, no performer from that show has ever won an Emmy. With 31 losses so far in the acting races, will the TV academy really start to reward them now?

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Hamm is currently in third place in our predictions with 50/1 odds of prevailing. Do you agree with our assessment? Make your predictions below.

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