Jared Harris Speaks on "Cowardly" Final Act of Lane Pryce on Mad Men

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SPOILER WARNING: Stop reading now if you have not yet watched last night's stunning episode of Mad Men.

Lane Pryce Pic

Jared Harris minces no words when discussing the final act of Lane Pryce, the troubled British account man of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce who took his own life this week following mounting financial troubles and the feeling he'd never rise to a prominent stature within the firm.

"It was a cowardly act," he told TV Fanatic and other outlets on a conference call today. "It was vindictive and it was a passive aggressive…

"His choice of doing it [in the office] was a f-ck you to the office and to Don. And the topper to that was the boiler plate suicide note. He's trying to dig a hole and make Don feel like he was wrong and make them feel as bad as they made him feel."

Harris, of course, has known for months about his character's fate (the actor admitted to us that he's "lying" all this time in interviews) and says the seeds of Lane's demise were planted awhile ago.

"You had a pretty strong sense of a moral code about Lane and he seems to have broken it. That goes back to last season and the night on the town with Don and the way [Matt Weiner] talked to me about that was [Lane] was being corrupted by Don. Once you've been corrupted there's no way of going back."

How did Weiner breaks the news to Harris? With "incredibly expensive brandy," the veteran actor - who was also killed off Fringe this season - said. He also joked that if was difficult to actually remain serious for the climactic scene.

"I just kept wanting to break into that Monty Python song 'Look on the Bright Side of Life' and start dancing. But that wouldn't have been fair to the other actors ... I just had to hang from the door and stick my tongue out. The other actors had to react."

How will the AMC smash follow-up Lane's hanging? Watch the official promo now for next Sunday's Mad Men season finale.

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


I must agree with d on this one. using the word "cowardly" is extremely unfair. Unless you've worn the shoes of someone who has committed suicide or had a loved one who took their life, please be very careful in judging that person.
My 24 yr old son took his life 2 years ago. I can guarantee you he was not a coward. He was suffering from deep depression. A wonderful therapist told me to imagine the very worst day or moment of your life....then think about living each and every day like that. If that's a coward then so be it but I don't think so. I cried during the episode and there's nothing funny about someone wanting to take his life. Just my humble opinion.


what exactly does 'boiler plate' mean? i read that it's a memo but why is it called a boiler plate suicide? is it just referring to a memo suicide?


Who howled with black laughter when the jaguar wouldn't start when Lane tried to use it for his suicide? Such a wry bit of humor there.
I was surprised that they had Lane remain determined and had him carry out his suicide at the office.
But now it will be interesting because Lane was the office's Jimminy Cricket -- their conscience. He was crushed over allowing Joan to compromise herself and over the firm's willingness to do about anything to get accounts. He didn't know where he fit in. And then to heap financial ruin onto his stiff upper lip was too much for the man.
And now the question -- will Don tell everyone what happened?


I believe adding the word "coward" to someone who commits suicide is unfair, even if expected. I understand the need to publicly disgrace (not to send out any positive message on the subject) but still, it feels cheap. Specially if you broadcast the details of how it can be done. Nothing new, nothing we haven't seen many and many times, but still... it looks like kicking the corpse. Sometimes people are unable to prescind themselves and if they are overwelmed and see no way out will act consequently. There are worse things you could do when desperate. About Lane, to do it in the office wasn't his first choice. Usually, you don't get a second. That said, it was expected as soon as his disgrace was discovered.

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Mad Men Quotes

It's been a pleasure working with you all. I wish you the best of luck.


Roger: How about a little dignity?
Ken: You're firing me!
Roger: Yes, but you're going to get a generous severance package if you help Pete secure all of your accounts. Including DOW.