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TV Fanatic Talks to Mad Men Star Rich Sommer

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Mad Men fans are already familiar with Rich Sommer. The actor plays Harry Crane on that AMC hit.

But Burn Notice viewers will also meet Sommer this week, as he guest stars on the fourth season premiere of that USA smash.

Late last week, we spoke to Sommer, who called the TV Fanatic offices and shed light on both shows, along with his burgeoning career. Excerpts are below and we thank the actor for his time...

TV Fanatic: Tell us about your Burn Notice character: His name is Winston.
Sommer: He's a lawyer being chased by a motorcycle gang because he tried to help the wrong girl.

TVF: What drew you to the role?
Sommer: It's unlike anything I've done. We don't do a lot of car chases, explosions and stuff on Mad Men.

TVF: Had you seen Burn Notice prior to landing this gig?
Sommer: A few times. I'm quite the Bruce Campbell fans. I had a great time on the show and would love to do it again.

As Harry Crane

TVF: Can you tell us anything about season four of Mad Men?
Sommer: There's almost nothing I can reveal. We're about halfway through with shooting and I'm delighted with the scripts so far. Episode four was directed by [co-star] John Slattery, who did a fantastic job.

TVF: Did you have any idea the show would become so acclaimed and successful?
Sommer: None of us did. It was a pilot, which has a coin flip's chance of getting picked up to begin with. To have it be what it's become has been shocking for all involved.

TVF: When did you realize it was such a hit?
Sommer: After season one probably, when we won the Golden Globe. That was the year the ceremony wasn't televised [due to the writer's strike]. We were on the rooftop of the Chateau Marmont when we got the news and we just lost our minds.

TVF: Jon Hamm has proven to have quite the comedic timing on Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock? Is there room for laughter on such a serious series?
Sommer: Absolutely. It's rare that the script affects the attitude around the set. Even in the darkest scenes, people find ways to keep it lively. We're surrounded by real comedic folks: Hamm, Slattery, Elisabeth Moss.

TVF: You also guest-starred on Ugly Betty. I know many of our readers were crushed when it was canceled...
Sommer: I was actually on the set the day they got the news. It was fun otherwise, I had a ball. But that wasn't a fun day to be there. It was a bit of a bummer because they had such a tight crew and fun cast.

TVF: You've had so much success early in your career. Was this always your goal, to star on a TV show?
Sommer: I just want to earn a living from acting, whether I'm starring in stage shows in Minnesota or doing what I'm doing now. I don't assume this will last forever. I'll be happy as long as I can keep doing the thing I love and put food on my family's plate.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Rich, I think you are great! I love Harry Crane and you make him seem so real.