Author: Cinespotting

Peaky Blinders Season 2: London’s for the Taking

Plot: Set in 1921, The Peaky Blinders are growing their power as the leading gang controlling sports bettings, smugglings and other crimes, in Birmingham and the northern part of England. However, their tranquility is broken by an explosion in their pub (The Garrison) whilst they are attending Freddie Thorne’s funeral who has passed away due to the Spanish Flu. 

Tommy soon learns that the IRA is behind the bombing and that Campbell, his nemesis from two years ago and now a major for the British Police, is back in Birmingham more ruthless and violent than before. 

The leader of the Peaky Blinders despite their local success has had his mind set on taking over the crime business in London. After encountering some initial reluctance from some of his family members, he, along with his brothers Arthur and John, head south and strike up a bloody rivalry with the Sabinis, an italian british criminal gang.

To ensure their chances against the Sabinis, Tommy initiates an alliance with the head of the Jewish mobsters (Alfie Solommons). After an initial reluctance from Alfie, he does recognise Tommy’s valour, and intelligence and agrees to partner up together. 

When Tommy learns that his aunt Polly is desperately searching for her estranged children, he helps her find them. Sadly her daughter is dead, but her son Michael  is alive and living with a foster family. Michael later joins the Peaky Blinders gang. 

In his quest to climb the social ladder, Tommy is not only content with taking over London. He also invests in a racehorse and hires May Carleton, a high class socialite, expert in horses with whom he begins a romantic affair

Back in Birmingham, Tommy has to deal with his IRA handlers and a desperately ruthless Campbell. He soon learns that the IRA and Campbell are in fact colluding with the approval of Winston Churchill. 

Still mourning after Grace and her betrayal, he tracks her down in London and briefly rekindles their romance. They spend a night together, and she ends up pregnant with her child. 

Soon it seems Tommy’s ambition for power got the better of him and his empire starts to crumble. He is betrayed by Alfie and loses his control in London. His brother Arthur is jailed and some of his key allies are murdered. Campbell is hell-bent on having his revenge on him and openly operating outside the law. 

Winston Churchill who has been observing both Tommy and Campbell from a distance has noticed more value and vision in the Peaky gangster. Unbeknownst to the devious Campbell, Churchill is fully aware of his treachery and orders him to be killed by a mole he has in the IRA and has Tommy’s life spared.

Critique: Season 2 displays the growing power of the Shelby clan. One major theme in the show is the reluctance to accept newcomers into the circle of trust by established groups. 

May Clareton is initially doubtful of Tommy Shelby who tries to enter an elitist circle of socialites and businessmen due to his poor social skills owing to his Romani upbringing. 

Alfie is openly hostile to the idea of teaming up with the Peaky Blinders at first since in his mind, they are backwards gypsy thugs from the north. Even after partnering up with them, he briefly betrays them remorselessly. 

Michael, Polly’s long lost son is welcome to the family circle but has to work very hard to be fully accepted into the Peaky Blinders organisation. 

Another recurrent theme in Season 2 is the beginning of Tommy standing out further from his brothers and the rest of the family. Whilst the Shelbys are basking in their successes and content with their newly acquired riches, he is dissatisfied and constantly planning their next move to increase their power. 

Polly rejects Esme’s help and support when trying to track her estranged children since that will seem like a sign of weakness to the point of threatening to “cut her” if she mentioned her situation to anyone. 

Tommy keeps a close eye on his older brother Arthur and openly berates him for not having his addiction to cocaine under control fearing it could cost them dearly. Whilst being summoned after their pub is bombed by terrorists, he decides to go alone to protect his family. 

Main Characters:

Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy): Tommy is fully established and recognised as the leader of the Peaky Blinders by 1921. Whilst the rest of the family is getting used to the wealth they are acquiring, he being a nonconformist, is constantly planning two steps ahead. 

Tommy’s ambition knows no limits and to everyone’s surprise he announces his plans to expand the family business to London. Upon arrival in the capital, he openly defies the Sabinis, the Italian criminal organisation. 

He later approaches their local rivals, the Solomons, with the offer to partner up and for a lucrative contraband business of liquor to the United States, (under the Laws of Prohibition during this time).

Tommy also longs to be accepted by those in power and this includes the upper class. He purchases a race horse at an auction filled with wealthy businessmen and socialites. He invests in real estate and purchases expensive houses in exclusive neighbourhoods for his aunt Polly and sister Ada. 

His archrival from 2 years ago, Campbell is back in Birmingham. He is now a major of the British Police and hellbent on destroying Tommy. Both men are on a temporary truce whilst Tommy is being handled by the IRA to commit murders on their behalf. 

Whilst he is managing life threatening situations with the Irish terrorists and the more menacing major, Tommy’s power in London starts to grow. Yet he still mourns after the lost love of Grace. Thanks to his contacts in the alcohol smuggling business, he learns she is back in London for a visit with her recently wed husband.

Both Tommy and Grace spend the night together in London and she ends up being pregnant with his child, something which changes his view on life. Yet he still has to endure the tightening noose the IRA and a treacherous Campbell have tied around his neck and Solomon’s betrayal in London. 

Polly Gray (Helen McCrory): Polly, one of the undisputed leaders in the Shelbys clan continues to command the gang from her position as treasurer and Tommy’s confidante. Yet, not all is good for her. 

Polly is undergoing a profound crisis longing for her estranged children. Social services took them away from her years ago whilst she was a young single mother with alcohol problems. In her desperation she attends a psychic. She desperately tries to hide this episode since it can be viewed as a sign of weakness outside of their clan. 

Tommy decides to help her find her children. Sadly, her daughter died some years back,but her son Michael is alive. Frustratingly, she cannot approach him legally. Tommy however can do so and connects with Michael which reunites mother and son.

Polly takes this as a personal redemption and joyfully takes Michael back in her life. She proves to be a loving and protective mother who requests Tommy to accept him in the Shelby organisation as an accountant. She wants him to stay within the safety net of the legal side of the business, never to venture into their criminal operations. 

Polly is shocked when her beloved Michael is illegally imprisoned by Major Campbell. She urges the major to free him since he is a civilian and has not committed any crime. Campbell, in his psychotic hatred for Tommy agrees to free MIchael only if Polly agrees to have sex with him.  She is so desperate to free her son, she acquiesces and is raped by Campbell in the prison itself.

Arthur Shelby (Paul Anderson): Arthur has definitely ceded the leadership position of the Peaky Blinders to his younger brother Tommy. He has accepted his limitations as a leader and strategic thinker and has to confirm with his role as the muscle in the organisation. 

Arthur conforms to this situation fairly well most of the time, but he does harbour some resentment deep inside his psyche. One day, during a training session at a gym, he suffers a mental blackout and savagely punches his training partner to death

It is later revealed that these episodes of violence have happened before and Arthur medicates himself to keep it under control. When Tommy learns this, he believes the medication might soften Arthur too much for the vicious violence that awaits them in London and throws the medicines away. 

Arthur is sent to London by Tommy to control all operations from there. He is instantly enamoured with the gangster lifestyle in the capital and starts using cocaine heavily and hiring prostitutes regularly. Tommy notices this and begins to worry whether his older brother is mentailly fit for such an important task. 

John Shelby (Joe Cole): John is maturing as one of the Shelby brothers. He is happily married to Esme and both begin to envision a simpler life outside organised crime with a house in the country. When Tommy learns of this, he takes John down with him and Arthur to offer him a taste of a top gangster life could offer him to encourage him to be by his side when their operations start to grow.

An initially reluctant John, quickly changes his mind when he enters a swing club in London owned by the Sabinis. The loud music, alcohol, freedom, and debauchery he witnesses along with the power they can obtain piques his curiosity and stays by his brother’s side

John Shelby starts to regain his ruthlessness. He burns down a civilian pub with Arthur simply because their cousin Michael and this friend Isiah were assaulted there. He is sent to London to plant a bomb at a politician’s house (albeit to increase his security rather than kill him). 

John is instrumental in the Shelby’s revenge on the Sabinis. He joins Tommy in London whilst they free Arthur from prison and participates in their comeback and collects all the betting licenses from the Sabinis to burn them becoming the only authorised licensées for horse bettings.

Michael Gray (Finn Cole): Michael is an intelligent and well-mannered 17-year old. He is Polly’s estranged son who was taken away from her by social services when he was merely an infant. 

Michael vaguely remembers his origins. He lives a comfortable and honest life in a foster family where he is loved and taken care of. Nevertheless, when Tommy shows up at his doorstep, an inner spark ignites inside him. He loves his adoptive mother but shortly after shows up at his Polly’s doorstep.

Michael longs to be accepted by the Peaky Blinders, not just as an accountant but to his mother’s dismay, to join them in the action of their illegal activities. Slowly he earns Tommy’s respect and the approval of his cousins and moves up in the organisation. 

Alfie Solommons (Tom Hardy): Alfie Solommons is one of the most charismatic antiheroes in the story. Alfie runs a bakery which serves a front for an illegal distillery in London. He is the leader of the Jewish mob in the capital and arch-rival of the Sabinis. 

Alfie is witty, funny, ruthless and has no scruples when it comes to setting up alliances. He is initially hostile in an adamant way to partner up with Tommy Shelby , despite both regarding Sabini as an enemy, Nevertheless, he trusts him and begins to collaborate together only to betray the Shelbys after a peace offering from their joint enemy. 

Eventually Alfie sees Tommy Shelby for the unbeatable force of nature he really is in a memorable scene where the Peaky Blinders leader bluffs him into believing he has sneaked in a hand grenade into the distillery with him during a meeting. Alfie corrects his previous mistake and re-joins Tommy’s alliance.

Grace Burgess (Annabelle Wallis): Grace comes back in Tommy’s life halfway throughout the story. It is revealed she fled to New York to start her life over when she betrayed Tommy. She has met a decent wealthy man and both marry. However they are unable to conceive a child and have come to London to consult with a fertility specialist. 

Tommy learns of her temporary visit in London and both agree to meet up. Predictably, their passion resurfaces and they end up sleeping together after which she ends up pregnant with his child. 

May Carleton (Charlotte Riley): May is a well educated race horse trainer. A wealthy socialite, she belongs to the British high class in the early 1920’s. She is proficient and successful at what she does and well esteemed. 

May instantly feels a connection and attraction for Tommy’s rogue like behaviour when they meet during a horse auction. She immediately sees through him. She recognises a thug who refuses his social class and upbringing limit him in any fashion. She also sees a sensitive man with deep feelings and both begin a romantic relationship. 

Ada Shelby (Sophie Rundle): Ada is now a young widow and single mother of an infant child (named Karl). She rejects her family’s ill-earned money but nevertheless accepts living in an expensive house purchased to her by Tommy in one of London’s most exclusive neighbourhoods. 

Still a die-hard communist, she accepts lodging a homosexual socialist in her home which Tommy uses later to his advantage. Gradually, she softens up towards her brother and their relationship starts healing. 

Peaky Blinders Season 1

peaky poster

Plot: Set in 1919, in the aftermath of World War I in Birmingham, Peaky Blinders is the name of a gang of vicious street criminals. They are of Romani heritage whose families settled from Ireland in England. The gang make a fortune by fixing horse races. They are vicious, violent and merciless. Based on a real life gang in the 19th Century in the same place, they were known for wearing tailor made suits and sewing razor blades to their caps. As a testimony to their sadistic behaviour whenever confronted by a rival gang they would use these razor blades on their enemies´ eyes blinding them.

Their leader is the second brother: Thomas Shelby, a smart, cunning and ambitious man. His main support in his gang is his aunt Polly, an intelligent and bold woman who is never afraid to speak her mind.

The story begins in the dawn of the robbery of a load of machine guns for the army close to a factory in Smpeaky 1all Heath, an industrial part and impoverished burrough of Birmingham where the Peaky Blinders rule. During this time the threat of these weapons falling into the hands of communist rebels or IRA cells in the UK sets the alarm within the British Government. A young Winston Churchill, back then, Minister of Defence, sends inspector Chester Campbell from Belfast to retrieve the stolen guns. Campbell takes agent Grace Burgess who infiltrates Tommy’s gang as an undercover agent working as a barmaid at The Garrison, The Shelby’s favoured pub.

Tommy whilst having to compete with rival gangster Billy Kimber will have to start peaky 2dealing with Inspector Campbell, a ruthless law enforcer who will not rest until he recovers the stolen guns. He gradually starts to develop feelings for Grace who unbeknownst to him, continuously reports his crimes to the police but is at the same time falling in love with him too.

To make things even harder, the IRA who in those days had cells in working class neighbourhoods in England also started to circle round Tommy and try to coerce thim violently to hand over the guns.

At the same time, Freddie Thorne, one of Tommy’s oldest friends secretly marries his sister (Ada Shelby). Both Freddie and Ada are communists in a time when this ideology was persecuted by British Law under the pretext that they were instigating a rebellion in England similar to the Bolshevik Revolution.

thomas shelby 1Critique: Peaky Blinders is a bold, aesthetic and gripping TV Show.  A superb ensemble of actors is supported by an exquisite costume design, spot on haircuts from the time and exceptional soundtrack with contemporary artists like Nick Cave, Arctic Monkeys and PJ Harvey strangely fitting in amazingly in this period drama. Cillian Murphy is fantastic as Thomas Shelby, the charismatic, smart and ambitious leader of the Peaky Blinders. Elizabeth McRory is inspiring as the intelligent Aunt Polly, the gang’s treasurer and closest to Tommy. Paul Anderson is chilling as the violent Arthur, the oldest brother in the family clan who is initially believed to be the gang leader. The rest of the supporting cast members include a superb Joe Cole who plays John, the third brother, a humorous, sometimes naive  and yet vicious younger brother.

The show’s antagonists include a hair rising Sam Neil who embodies Inspector Campbell, a ruthless and violent law enforcer hell bent on defeating crime and Annabelle Wallis, playing undercover Grace Burgess.

Main Characters

Thomas shelby mainThomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy): Tommy is the leader of the Peaky Blinders, a gang of street criminals in South Heath, Birmingham. He stands out from the beginning as being the smartest of his brothers. He is reflexive, calculative and ambitious. Despite being well off and the masters of their own kingdom down in Small Heath, Tommy continually pushes for his empire to grow and goes up against rival gangsters like Billy Kimber.

Tommy was awarded honour medals in World War I for his courage fighting for England and the allied forces. Like many young men in this time, Tommy suffers PTSD (Post war trauma) and consumes opium at night to combat anxiety and stress. It is revealed that before the war, Tommy was a happy young lad who loved to laugh and imitate his family members to humour them. Since coming back he is a dark humoured man who seems to have lost his faith in humanity and therefore has no remorse for acting violently against others. It is only once he meets Grace that he starts to fall in love with her and begins to recover his hope for a better world.

polly gray season 1Polly Gray (Helen McCrory): Elizabeth Gray (known as Polly or Aunt Poll) is the Treasurer for the Shelby company and Tommy’s main advisor. She is the maternal aunt to Tommy and his siblings. Polly is well known for her strong independent character, strategic thinking and is one of the uncontested leaders of the Peaky Blinders. Like Tommy she is respected and imposes fear on those around her. What sets her apart from her nephew is her more pragmatic nature, being able to ground him when required. She is also the member of her family most in touch with their Romani heritage and uses her vision to predict the future.

grace burgess season 1Grace Burgess (Annabelle Wallis) : Grace starts working for the Garrison as a barmaid. She is reserved, smart, inquisitive and gentle. Slowly she begins to bring back some life into a gloomy environment of men traumatised by the war by requesting live music with singing to be held once a week at the pub. She also helps Arthur with ordering the pub’s finances shortly after the Peaky Blinders take over its ownership. Most importantly she brings a new light into Tommy’s life with her gentle soul. Without him realising, she is in reality an undercover agent from the police reporting on his every action. However she starts to fall in love with him when she envisions a gentle and sensitive man hiding behind the arrogant and violent gangster.

chester campbell season 1Chester Campbell (Sam Neill): Inspector Chester Campbell arrives in Birmingham from Belfast to retrieve the load of guns Tommy has stolen. His fame as a ruthless, no nonsense old fashioned law enforcer precedes him. Yet a flaw in his character also does; and that’s the fact that unlike most men, he did not serve his country in World War I. This fact does not go unnoticed by Tommy or Polly who openly taunt him for it. His subordinates whilst wary of his strong character respect him less for it. He comes across as a violent, God fearing puritain. Throughout the story his dark side is gradually revealed as a devious hypocrite who operates outside of the law whenever he feels like.

arthur shelby season 1Arthur Shelby (Paul Anderson): Arthur is the oldest of the Shelby’s siblings. He is initially thought of as the gang leader. He is a brave street criminal whose violence occasionally borders sadistic levels. He is also extremely loyal to his family and does not complain when having to gradually cede control to Tommy who is more suited to lead the family. It is later revealed that after the war he suffered a more severe case of PTSD causing him mental blackouts where he is unable to control his violence. This trauma he carries along with his lack of strategic thinking gradually makes Tommy realise he has to carry the weight of leading their family. His extreme loyalty sometimes also goes against him. When their estranged father, a selfish con artist who had abandoned the family suddenly reappears, Arthur is the only one enthusiastic about the idea. He blindly believes their father is a changed man and is sadly cheated by him.

john shelby season 1John Shelby (Joe Cole) John is the third Shelby sibling. He is more easy going and humorous than Tommy and Arthur. Yet when push comes to shove, he proves to be a vicious thug with no remorse for his rivals lives. He is the only brother with children. Unfortunately his wife had passed away shortly before and unable to raise them on his own he naively believes he can propose to Lizzie Stark, a prostitute well known in their neighbourhood to marry him. Upon realising his need for a wife, Tommy arranges a marriage with John and Esme, a wild gypsy girl who needs to settle down from a rival gang in order to reach a truce and strategic alliance between both of them against Billy Kimber.

ada shelby season 1Ada Shelby (Sophie Rundle): Ada Shelby is the fourth sibling in the Shelby clan. She is a die hard communist and in love with Freddie, one of Tommy’s childhood friends. She is intelligent, curious and independent. Having a rebellious nature, she is the only sibling who openly defies Tommy and is not afraid of him. She falls pregnant with Fredddie’s child and later marries him secretly.

Freddie Thorne season 1Freddie Thorne (Iddo Goldberg): Freddie is one of Tommy´s oldest friends. He is a hardcore communist and a union leader. Back in 1919 shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution, communism was considered a crime and raids in left wing socialists’ homes were frequent along with police brutality. He served in the same division in World War I as Tommy and over there saved his life. After coming back from the war, Tommy seems distant towards him, yet Freddie never loses hope that their closeness might rekindle again. He is also a gentle soul deeply in love with Ada Shelby with whom he has a child and marries.

Mr. Robot Season 1 (2015)

Mr. Robot Season 1 (2015)

mr robot season 1 poster

Plot: Mr. Robot takes place in present day America (2015) with the inclusion of a fictional corporation (E-Corp) omnipresent in everyone’s lives. E-Corp. Every aspect of people’s lives from where they buy their groceries, to their bank or their electricity etc depends on E-Corp. This conglomerate of industries represents abusive omnipresent corporatism in America.

We see Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) a young software engineer who by day works at AllSafe, a tech midsize security company who provide online safety to E-Corp. By night he is a hacker who enjoys breaking into security systems and hunting down criminals. After preventing a DDoS attack on his company’s client he is contacted by a mysterious hacker: Mr. Robot who approaches him on the subway and invites him to join his group of hacktivist known as robot season 1 scene 3

FSociety’s plan is to eliminate all digital debt and freeing people from their unbeknownst condition of financial slavery. The organisation includes various extravagant and talented hackers such as Darlene, and outspoken confident hacker with a bipolar – antagonistic and sometimes oddly close attitude with Elliot. They carry out several attacks on E-Corp until they finally accomplish their objective: a major hack known as the 5-9 attack.

Elliot’s only real friend is a co-worker called Angela Moss. She is a young, sweet and caring woman, Mr. Robot - Season 1whom we realise has been Elliot’s friend since they were children. Both of them lost their parents to an industrial negligence by E-Corp in the past and this binds them together. She dates another co-worker, Ollie, who proves to be quite a simpleton and whom Elliot openly dislikes. After learning that her boyfriend cheated on her, she has her revenge by planting an infected CD on his computer at work jeopardising not only his but also her future career and the entire company’s.

Throughout the story we are also introduced to another of the show’s most notable characters: Tyrell Welleck, an ultra ambitious executive from E-Corp with a skill for programming and who immediately likes Elliot and tries to convince him to join forces at the firm with him. He is desperate to become the company’s CTO and is ready to play all sorts of dirty tricks which eventually backfires on him and is fired from the company. However in Elliot he has found his true destiny and decides to join FSociety.


Critique: Mr. Robot is a masterpiece by Sam Esmail. It draws influences from some of mr robot season 1 scene 2the most iconic movies from the late 20th century and early 2000’s  such as The Matrix, Fight Club and American Psycho. Rami Malek is superb at playing Elliot Alderson, a socially awkward, insecure engineer who trusts very few people. Carly Chaikin is fantastic as the outspoken and charismatic hacker. Portia Doubleday is spot on when representing Elliot’s touch with the lighter side of society. BD Wong is superb as White Rose, one of the show’s ultimate villains just like Philip Price interpreted with mastery by Michael Cristofer whose every performance sends shivers down your spine. Martin Wallström is very relatable as one of the show’s antagonists who hides his insecurities and need to belong somewhere behind a façade of Patrick Bateman 2.0. However one of the best news from this series is the resurrection of Christian Slater who steals the show with his thorough impersonation of Mr. Robot, FSociety’s extravagant, charismatic and crazy leader.

Mr. Robot - Season 3Elliot Anderson (Rami Malek) – Elliot is a socially awkward software engineer employed at AllSafe. He outshines every other worker there and is the favourite of his boss. By night he is a hacker who takes on criminals in real life by hacking them, exposing their crimes and anonymously sending their information to the police. Whilst being brilliant at what he does and having a kind heart he also suffers from anxiety, loneliness and depression. He is addicted to morphine and spends many evenings alone in his apartment crying in a corner. One evening after preventing a major DDoS attack on E-Corp he finds an encrypted file hidden inside the attack but decides not to delete it. The file’s name is fsociety and is a test which he unknowingly has passed. He is soon approached by a mysterious stranger in the subway; Mr. Robot, who invites him to join his group of hacktivists (FSociety), thus begins Elliots destiny as a member and eventually leader of the organisation. His relation with Mr. Robot draws very much influences from iconic movies such as Neo and Morpheus in “The Matrix” and Jack and Tyler Durden in “Fight Club”. He is mesmerised by his charisma and at the same terrified by his insanity and unpredictability. Yet despite initial doubts he decides to join forces with him. He develops a romantic relationship with his drug dealer and neighbour, Shayla, a sweet and caring woman who deeply loves Elliot  and is also fond of Angela, his childhood friend for whom he has some confusing and unresolved romantic mr robot elliot season 1feelings. His relationship with Tyrell Welleck is another of the main engines of the story. In Tyrell he sees another a skilled programmer yet working for “the enemy” since being an executive at a conglomerate he is the archetype of everything he is not. Like with with Mr. Robot he is also terrified when he sees glimpses of his potential danger Tyrell is capable of. Slowly Elliot starts to get drawn into this dangerous and unpredictable world of digital wars getting in touch with cyber terrorists like the Dark Army performing hacks on major corporations. Yet in contrast with other surrounding him, his gentle heart and need to protect others weaker than him remains untouched.

MrRobot season 1Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) – An electric character, from the very first scene with Mr. Robot we see an extravagant, comic yet charismatic man. Mr. Robot personifies the freedom from rules, from social norms, from the law and even from reality that Elliot needs in order to become the leader of a movement that liberates society. Mr. Robot is a strange character who oddly does not seem to interact with other people in the room if Elliot is present. He proves to highly unstable and dangerous bordering on terrorist tendencies where he feels no remorse in killing people in some of his attacks. Elliot manages to talk some sense into him and they carry on their attacks whilst not endangering other people’s lives.  

With regards to Elliot, Mr. Robot has a disturbingly contradicting relationship, he pushes him off a pier hurting him and some weeks later helps him overcome cold turkey before going to hack Steel Mountain, one of E-Corps main bases. He is always guiding Elliot, sometimes to his disgust, encouraging him to let go off some people in order to be free.

Elliot never really suspects who Mr. Robot really is since one of traumas is that he suffers from short term memory loss. Slowly and gradually Mr. Robot’s true identity is revealed to the audience and to him much to his shock.


mr robot tyrell season 1Tyrell Welleck (Martin Wallström) – Tyrell is introduced to us as the archetypal young ultra ambitious executive working for a giant corporation in New York. He is skilled as a software engineer and one day aspires to be E-Corp’s youngest CTO. His character is clearly inspired by Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. He is obsessed with always dressing in expensive suits, hair perfectly combed, body muscles always tense and worked out. One of the main forces behind him is his manipulative wife Joanna (Stephanie Corneliussen) an insane woman with a thirst for power that knows no limits.

Tyrell is also clinically insane and so servile to his wife who pushes him to do what’s necessary to become CTO that he has sex with a male secretary just to gain access to his emails, or play mind games with the other candidate’s wife.

When he finds out he is not going to be CTO he pays his frustration by paying a homeless man to allow him to beat him up. This indicates how distorted his perception of reality is where his sense of entitlement is above any ability to accept criticism and his sense of superiority over others leads him to believe the life of other inferior beings has no real value.

He is enthralled by Elliot and after offering him a position which he turns down begins to observe him and finds out that he is moving towards behind something bigger and more exciting E-Corp can ever offer him. After getting fired from his job he joins forces with Elliot to destroy the establishment.


mr robot darlene season 1Darlene (Carly Chaikin) – Darlene is one of the members of FSociety. As a hacker she is immensely talented and courageous never hesitating to do what’s necessary to accomplish the organisation’s goals. When Elliot is introduced to her by Mr. Robot she is oddly very forward with him. One day Elliott even finds her in his apartment which completely baffles him. She is dating a freelance hacker who also works for The Dark Army in a somewhat dysfunctional, sometimes tender relationship. She is also seen as a leader within the organisation, especially by Trenton, the other female hacker in the group.Slowly and gradually Darlene’s true identity revealed to Elliott sending him to a state of complete shock.


Angela Moss (Portia Doubleday) – Angela is a marketing manager working at AllSafe. She is a kind, trusting and considerate woman who cares for the wellbeing of others. She is Elliott’s oldest friend and bridges him towards having a normal life for a twenty year old living in Manhattan. She likes to come by his apartment to make sure he is ok, she invites him to go out to have some drinks and socialises with him at work. She is dating mr robot angela season 1Ollie, a simpleton who cheats on her with other women he flirts with online. When she finds out she has her revenge by installing an infected CD on his work computer knowing full well that this will not only destroy his career but the future of the entire company. She decides to take E-Corp to court for their negligence in her mother’s death. However her father is heavily in debt with the corporation and accepts an extremely well paid job with them in exchange for dropping the suit.


White Rose (BD Wong) although only partially we are treated to one of the show’s main White_Rose season 1villians. White Rose is the transgender leader of The Dark Army, a Chinese cyber terrorist group with no code of conduct They are mercenaries who will hack anyone, including Russia, Iran or North Korea. White Rose is a strong leader, with a complete knowledge of everything that goes in her surrounding with an obsessive need to control time. She poses as Minister Zhang in public leaving a double life.


Fernando Vera (Elliot Villar) – Vera is one of Mr. Robots most menacing villains. He is a drugs and guns dealer and Shayla’s only supplier of drugs. Vera has one of the darkest and unnerving personalities on Mr. Robot. He openly confesses to Elliot about having Mr. Robot - Season 1battled the desire to commit suicide and hating himself in his past. He drugs Shayla and rapes her to have her under his control. Elliot hacks him and sends his file to the police who arrest him but even behind bars he is able to order his brother and business partner to kidnap Shayla and have Elliot hack the prison so that he can escape.

mr robot shayla season 1Shayla Nico (Frankie Shaw) – Shayla is Elliot’s neighbour and eventually his girlfriend. She also supplies him with drugs. Yet despite being a drug dealer there is a tender and gentle side to Shayla. A side hidden away from social media and digital records and therefore hidden from society that Elliot himself was not able to see until he saw it with his own eyes. He is fascinated and touched by the fact that he is actually getting to know Shayla in person and real life without having to hack her. After Vera’s arrest she realises she has no supply of drugs and therefore no future income and leaves the crime world to start a more law abiding citizen working as a waitress and longing for a happier life with Elliot by her side.

Mad Men Season 6

Mad Men Season 6

Timeline: December 1967 – November 1968

season 6 poster

Plot: The story picks up some months after the ambiguous conclusion of Season 5. As we all remember the fifth season ends with a stylish and cool tribute to James Bond with Don Draper walking into a bar and ordering an old fashioned to the tune of “You only live twice” by Nancy Sinatra where a woman asks him if he is single to which he respondswith a noncommittal gesture.

Several months later it’s December 1967 and Don and Megan are sat at a paradisiacal beach in Hawaii. They seem to be having a great time although Don is surprisingly silent for a long time. We then learn that they are staying at the Sheraton Hotel invited by the management since SCDP is pitching them a campaign within a few weeks. Much to the shock of the partner once the meeting is held, the pitch Don delivers is a complete failure and the clients leave disappointed.


mad men season 6 scene.jpgWe are later introduced to two new characters Dr. Arnold Rosenthal and his wife Sylvia who live in the same building and have become good friends with Don and Megan whom they adore. We are soon to find out that Don is back to his infidelities and is having an extra marital affair with Sylvia. This affair will be one of the key engines to the season dragging Don to his lowest levels ever.

Just like the tumultuous 1968, SCDP suffers from the erratic behaviour of some of its leading forces. The agency is divided into two or even three sides depending on the occasion, with the irresponsible and juvenile Don and Roger on one side playing at being the “cool kids” and the more level headed Bert and Joan along with Pete playing a more pragmatic role. At a less senior role, the underappreciated Harry Crane continues to bring in success to the company yet feels irritated at not being recognised for his value. Ken struggles to find the right balance between being a good husband and father and a successful professional without giving up on his dream of one day becoming a writer. He also has a new and interesting character in his team, a young and earnest account executive, Bob Benson with a over the top friendly attitude and a devious past.


mad men scene 4Don whilst at a meeting, impetuously fires Jaguar as a client since he can not be in the same room as Herb, the head of the dealers association who in Season 5 coerced the agency in organising a night to have sex with Joan in exchange for his vote. Roger on the other hand now more conscious than ever that he has to deliver some new business goes behind everyone’s backs and gets a meeting with Chevrolet. Unbeknownst to both of them the other three partners organised a confidential meeting to make SCDP a publicly traded company which is then obviously called off since the contract with Jaguar was quintessential for the deal to go through.

If that did not suffice, Don in a highly irresponsible and selfish way convinces Ted Chaough from the rival ad agency CGC and Peggy’s new boss, to merge both agencies without consulting the other partners for one second.

The merger is completed with Peggy, now a highly successful and reputed advertising executive back at her previous office and struggling to hide her disappointment. The mad men scene 5merger proves to be a success for its initial purpose which was to win the Chevrolet account but a complete disaster on all other fronts. Considerable frictions arise from both agencies struggling to cope with each other and form a successful new company. They go ahead for months without even a new name and constantly clash over what communication channels to use, accounts duplicity and priorities. Above all, Don’s highly erratic, selfish and unprofessional behaviour is a major source of tension between both sides until the more level headed Bert and Joan acquiesce with their new partners at the firm and agree to fire him after a major faux pas with another client. In order for Don to keep his dignity they communicate to him that it’s a leave of absence where he can take time to recoup but without a guaranteed return date.


Critique: Season 6 like 1968 is clearly a dark, disturbing time in the lives of our protagonists.

The whole ambience of Season 6 is a violent and unstable period in American history in the 20th Century. Gone are the days of the optimistic beat generation making their way at the beginning of Mad Men or the liberal hippies who followed later. 1968 was the year of Martin Luther King’s assassination which was followed by some of the most violent street riots ever seen in America. mad men season 6 scene 3The viewer is constantly treated to background noises of sirens (police, firefighters or ambulances) in the background of many scenes. This is followed by the numerous and violent protests by young people openly against the War on Vietnam which they saw as an extension of America’s abusive Imperialism. Robert Kennedy’s assassination brings another blow to American society which seems lost amidst all of this turmoil.


Don Draper season 6Don Draper (Jon Hamm) –  Don is clearly now on the downslide. Gone are the days where he was the source of admiration of clients and envy of competitors in Madison Avenue. Season 6 aims to display many parallels with the first one and now and how low has our protagonist fallen since then. Whereas before Don could improvise in the blink of a second an impressive advertising pitch to Lucky Strike, he now fails miserably with Sheraton Hotels. He callously makes important decisions on behalf of the other partners like firing Jaguar or forming the merger with CGC only to win the Chevrolet account. He is late for meetings or skips presentations to clients altogether whilst having and affair with Sylvia.

The discreet Don when cheating on Betty is replaced by a drunk and clumsy 40ish year old who has a tormented affair with his friend’s wife. The relationship he has with Sylvia is highly disturbing. Not only is it so because of the obvious “cheating on his wife Don” is back. He clearly respects and likes his friend Arnold and yet suffers no remorse whilst sleeping with his wife. On a couple of flashbacks further details of Don’s impoverished and miserable adolescence are revealed.  We learn more of the brothel where he grew up under his abusive aunt Abigail and stupid pimp, Uncle Mac. He loses his virginity to a prostitute and is beaten by his aunt when she finds out. This shapes his future misogynistic attitude towards women where he is unable to truly love and remain faithful. He plays numerous mind games with Sylvia sometimes giving her money after having sex or making her stay at a hotel room for hours waiting for him at his complete servility.

On an occasion whilst many of the creatives are forced to work during the whole weekend to come up with creative work for Chevrolet he along with many others takes Amphetamines, produces terrible work and whilst stalking Sylvia who wants to stop their affair, carelessly leaves his flat’s back door open. His children who are staying at his flat during the weekend and are left out alone at the time, are burgled in part obviously, due to his neglect of his parental duties but also because of his secretive nature with his children about his past. It is surprising how Sally, an intelligent and inquisitive young girl partially doubts her reasoning when the burglar (not very convincingly) tried to convince her that she she brought Don up in his childhood as his grandma.

The accumulation of one failure to another finally ends up with Don making a major blunder at an advertising presentation to Hersheys where he breaks down and reveals details of his miserable past. This final straw pushes the remaining partners from CGC to convince Bert and Joan along with a reluctant Roger to fire him.

Yet the lowest he reaches is with his daughter Sally when she accidentally witnesses him having sex with Sylvia. She is so disgusted with his cheating and subsequent lies to cover it up that their relationship will hereafter jarred forever.


Peggy olson season 6Peggy Olson (Elizabeth Moss) – Peggy who has been Copy Chief at CGC for some months now is finally getting the professional recognition she always longed for at SCDP. At her new company she is able to flourish creatively, lead a team of her own, receives public recognition from her boss and packs an enviable salary. She is widely recognised in her industry as a successful and creative executive and wins a Clio award for her advertising projects.

She is thinking of buying her own flat in a posh area in Manhattan but her boyfriend Abe convinces her of investing in a more upcoming multicultural area in New York City with lower prices and more interesting people. Her relationship with Abe is seems to be going well, yet deep inside there will always be points of conflict. Abe, a liberal leftist journalist who abhors capitalism doesn’t always understand Peggy’s drive and energy to produce adverts whose aim is to promote mass consumerism. They choose to avoid touching these matters until tensions start running high between the couple when they realise that the neighbourhood he has convinced her to move in may be multicultural and diverse but in those days highly unsafe too. Peggy also starts to harbour romantic feelings for Ted, her boss and somewhat suspects he might feel something similar for her. Eventually after a freak accident at home. Abe breaks up with Peggy.

Professionally life also begins to turn sour following the merger with SCDP. Having to come back to her previous office and work with part of the same team as before seems to her like a step back. She has grown from being the eager junior copywriter who full of enthusiasm to impress Don with her ideas and zest and is now a self respecting professional with years of experience and success in the industry who will not hesitate to stand up to anyone.

She no longer feels a massive need to impress Don and boldly tells him off on a couple of occasions where his behaviour crossed several lines. She does maintain a solid friendship with Stan Rizzo and Michael Ginsberg. The constant frictions between both agencies bring Peggy and Ted closer together and the pair begin flirting and sleeping together, with him promising her that he would divorce his wife and start a new life with her. Later she is shocked when he regrets his actions and moves to California to the company’s new branch to give his family life a second chance.


Pete Campbell season 6Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) – Peter like Don is sliding downwards. Slowly the young account executive with the aristocratic family, lovely wife, hunger for success and vision for business starts to fade away. His deplorable actions from the past slowly begin to catch up with him. At the beginning of the season he cheats on his wife once again with a mutual friend from Cos Cob and when she finds out, kicks him out of their home.  

He runs into his father in law of all in places, in a brothel and subsequently the agency lose Vicks Chemicals as an important client. He moves into the city living in a miserable apartment. His own parental family life does not get any better, his mother, an elderly widow suffering from dementia shows up at his office and he is forced to take care of her distracting him from attending several key meetings.

This does not go unnoticed to other partners who begin to question if after the merge exactly how essential is Pete. The only person who looks up to him is Bob Benson, the new account executive with an easygoing and (slightly over the top) friendly attitude with everyone. He convinces Pete to hire Manolo, a male nurse who can take care of his mother. He is later surprised to realise that Bob harbours romantic feelings for him and Manolo is fooling his demented mother. After investigating Bob he finds out that (like Don), Bob is a fraud, no one checked his background before hiring him. He is also shocked when Manolo has manipulated his mother into marrying him and then allegedly pushing her off a cruise inheriting her money.

He replaces Ken the manager in charge of Chevrolet although following a blunder with them is relegated behind Bob in the pecking order and consequently sent off to the new  satellite office in Los Angeles as a demotion.


megan draper season 6Megan Draper (Jessica Calvé) – Megan is finally having a successful career as an actress on a TV show but is unhappy in her personal life. She has a regular role in a hit TV show and gets recognised in public. We still find the optimistic and upbeat young woman with dreams and aspirations who is able to convince Don to step out of his comfort zone on more than an occasion. Yet whilst at home, her insecurities start to pop up, she believes that she is unable to make her marriage work and feels guilty about it. She understands something is obviously going wrong yet, cannot put her finger on the “why”. She suffers a miscarriage and is reluctant to tell Don about it. She is very fond of Sylvia and Arnold and get along fabulously with them. Like most youngsters she is in shock with the atrocities and constant violence America had to endure in 1968, she suffers with the assassination of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy and is aghast at the police violence against a public protest.

She longs for the romantic flame in their relationship to come back and just when she feels she has had enough of Don being a terrible husband, she is taken back by Don’s proposal of starting all over for both of them in Los Angeles where they can both be happy. She is so hopeful that this could recover their breaking marriage that she accepts. The next day when Don tells her that unfortunately their plans have changed she is disgusted once more at his selfish and unreliable behaviour and storms off, maybe forever from his life.


Roger Sterling Season 6Roger Sterling (John Slattery) – The beloved Roger is going through an existential crisis at the beginning of Season 6. We see Roger undergo psychotherapy. After having failed at two marriages he begins to question what will his legacy be. He suffers two immediate blows with the deaths of his beloved mother and curiously his shoe shiner for whom he felt very affectionate. His spoilt daughter gives him more than a headache when she demands that he give financial support to her husband on his (not very convincing) business projects.

Single once more, he embarks on affairs with attractive younger women. One of them happens to be an air stewardess who also supplies him with vital information about executives from potential clients so that he can “spontaneously” be on the same flight as them and thus begin to court them to sign an advertising agreement with SCDP. This is how he befriends an executive from Chevrolet whom he wins over.

His frivolous and nonchalance nature remain intact as do his personal charm and legendary quotes. Loyal to Don till the end, he is the most difficult partner to convince that Draper be fired from the agency and only acquiesces when the option of a leave of absence is approved.


Ted Chaough season 6Ted Chaough (Kevin Rahm) – Ted Chaough, until now, a minor character in the show and mainly known for being Don’s nemesis on Madison Avenue acquires a more central role on Mad Men in this season. Creative Director at CGC, a medium size like SDCP they tend to compete for most of the same accounts. Ted who initially seemed like an arrogant and self centered ad man surprisingly turns out to be a well mannered and respectful manager. He is supportive of Peggy and recognises her value and drive. He likes to get along with his team and unlike Don enjoys taking an active role in their creative process when coming up with campaign ideas and tags.

He respects Don from a distance whilst being rivals and is then taken aback with his unpredictable and confusing behaviour once they join forces. Slowly his romantic feelings for Peggy start to flourish and the two begin to openly flirt with each other much to the embarrassment of the rest of the staff something This does not go unnoticed for Don who exploits this weakness in Ted to subtly expose him in the middle of a meeting with a client. This does not stop Peggy and Ted who end up sleeping together. The day after, a broken Ted who strongly resents his actions and having cheated on his wife convinces Don to cede him his spot in the LA office where he goes to start over with his family leaving a broken hearted and hurt Peggy behind.


betty season 6Betty Francis (January Jones) – Betty a more secondary role is struggling to fit into her family life with Henry Francis. She clearly harbours feelings for Don yet. She is openly resentful of Megan In an effort to regain her beauty she dyes her hair black, openly signalling her jealousy of Megan and then manages to lose some weight recovering her previous looks.

During a weekend where she takes Bobby to Summer Camp and is joined there by Don, the two end up sleeping together where she proves she really does know Don when she tells him that the “worst way to get to him is by loving him”.


Sally Draper (Kiernan Shipka) – Sally’s character takes another huge leap in developing her personality in Season 6. She is turning out to be one the most interesting personalities in the show. Poor Sally has to endure constant shocks and

sally draper season 6disappointments. Her close friend runs away from home. Whenever she visits her dad he is pretty much absent emotionally and has to do with Megan who tries to make up for him.

She suffers the shock of a burglary with her father drugged on amphetamines and Megan out on auditioning for a role. Yet no one could have prepared our beloved Sally for the trauma of catching Don having sex with their neighbour. She is devastated to see her beloved former role model so openly cheating on his wife who has never harmed anyone. She is disgusted by his lies and how he tries to manipulate her after some hours so that she won’t tell on him. The relationship after that will never be the same between both.

She is accepted at a boarding school where we see she has rekindled her friendship with Glenn, their neighbour in previous seasons, and tries smoking and drinking.


Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks) – Joan, who has being a junior partner at the firm having improved her monetary status is evolving into a more determined and driven professional. In a way similar to Peggy she starts to see a career change more ambitious than being a secretary or executive assistant as she one day labels herself. A dinner with an executive from Ponds Cream which she initially took for a blind date ends up being a professional meeting where she is pleasantly surprised to notice how well she can present SCDP to a potential client.

Joan Harris Season 6Ignoring the company’s rules and policy she decides to leave Pete out of the nexMad Men Season 6t meeting with Peggy representing the creative department and the client. This infuriates Pete and Ted who shout at her, yet it paves the way for her future as an account executive at the company which is finally called SC & Partners. Her relationship with Don takes an unexpected and sour turn. Up until now she always admired and respected him. She valued that he was the only partner who really tried for her not to sleep with Herb from Jaguar. However his impetuous and selfish attitude starts to gnaw at Joan who openly resents him for having clumsily sabotaged the company going public and is easily convinced when the question to fire him comes up.

Mad Men Season 5

Mad men season 5 posterTime Line: May 1966 -February 1967

Plot:   After the painful layoffs and cost cuts SCDP had to go through some months back, results are finally beginning to show. The agency has managed to win Heinz, and successfully re-sign Mohawk Airlines as well as sign Jaguar Automobiles. Signing an automobile account is a key and defining moment for any advertising agency in Madison Avenue and after years of struggle and hard work they have finally made it. Don, now a happily re-married man is going through a new lease on life. Blindly in love he begins to neglect his duties as Creative Director. He has just turned forty and has started to become careless at work.

Betty who seems discontent with her life with Henry has gained weight. She goes through the shock of a possible tumour, which after some tests turns out to be negative. Yet she does not seem joyous after hearing this for some reason. Openly jealous of Megan’s youth and beauty she starts to meddle in between her, Don and Sally.

Don_Megan_Season_5The new important clients which undoubtly bring in extra cash to the firm ultimately cost them their values and dignity. Mohawk Airlines run by ex-army men more from Roger’s generation would feel uncomfortable with a female copywriter so the senior managers are obliged to push Peggy aside to write for minor accounts and sign a new young male copywriter, Michael Ginsberg (Ben Feldman) who turns out to be an eccentric genius. Peggy ultimately frustrated with her limited prospects at SCDP and yet once again, been treated poorly by Don quits and joins CCG, a rival agency as Copy Chief for a much better salary and future.

Michael proves his value to the agency and soon takes over a lot of Peggy’s work even posing a threat to Don’s charisma for his creative genius and humour to produce unique artwork.

Mad_Men_PartyPete and his relentless appetite continue to bring in important accounts for the company. It is he who brings in Mohawk Airlines back and ultimately signs Jaguar. He oversees the correct attending to important clients like Heinz and also represents the company at award ceremonies. Yet on a personal level we see him hit new lows. He has a major fallout with Lane who beats him up in a memorable episode. He also manipulates Joan to sleep with one of the Jaguar board members to win the account.

Lane Pryce who initially seems more settled in New York and at the agency comes to realise he will inevitably and always be different from the rest of the partners, besides his fallout with Pete, we see a man undergo huge financial stress and burden with devastating results. Roger, now more frivolous than ever, takes LSD and comes to realise a lot from his past and present and divorces Jane. Megan who has been promoted to copywriter does well but somehow feels empty at her achievements and quits advertising to pursue her dream of becoming an actress.

The agency also starts to open up to a more diverse workforce. They hire Dawn Chambers, their first black worker to be Don’s secretary besides the aforementioned Jewish copywriter, Michael Ginsberg .

Critique One could argue that Season 5 is aesthetically the coolest of all of the Mad Men Seasons. And after all, isn’t aesthetics an important part of Mad Men? The beatnik attitude is definitely making way for the Hippie movement in young America. This is seen in a more colourful and bold dress attire the main characters start to don. But moreover, Season 5 is one of the rollercoaster’s of the series beginning on a high and ending on a brutal low (spoilersCod_fish_ball alert – but admit it, this season is from 2012, if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s your own responsibility.)

One of the key episodes in Season 5 (The Codfish Ball) we see how the protagonist have their hopes built up only to be miserably shot down at the end. Don, bursting with pride for receiving an award for his creativity is devastated when he hears the main industry players will reward him but will not do business with him due to “The Letter”. Megan, whose parents are visiting, is disillusioned when her father, an intellectual and leftist scholar disapproves of her empty profession in advertising and materialistic lifestyle. Sally is traumatised when she accidentally walks on Marie (Megan’s Mother) giving felatio to Roger whom up until then she was slightly infatuated with.


Don Draper Season 5Don Draper (John Hamm) – Season 5 begins with Don who is about to turn 40. His life finally seems perfect. He is married to a young, attractive and optimistic woman. Being a newlywed, he and Megan can’t keep their hands to themselves and lead a vivacious sexual life. He lives in a stylish penthouse overlooking Central Park. He spends some quality time with his children on weekends. He is still a powerhouse at the firm but suddenly a bit less, he is so happy in his personal life that he begins to pay less attention to work. Season 5 is all about how appearances are deceiving: slowly we start to realise that his relationship with Megan is not that perfect either, her open spirit sometimes clashes with his old fashioned ways and the couple argue often.

As mentioned previously, for the first time since we know Don, he begins to pay less attention to work. This frustrates Peggy who being an ambitious workaholic suddenly struggles to lead the creative team with his constant absentism.

Season 5 also sees Don at his noblest, trying to convince Joan not to give up her dignity for an account and defending her in front of the other partners, he is also Don Season 5 kidsa loving and caring father to his children when they come to visit him. He is shocked and angry when he finds out Lane has stolen money from him because of his debts but instead of publicly humiliating him by having everyone know, encourages him to resign and keep his dignity. For the first time we also see Don being loyal to his spouse (Megan) throughout the storyline. He is also warm and welcoming to her parents despite some perceived antipathy from his new father in law.

Yet Don is set in his own ways and likes having everything and everyone under control. He is taken back when Megan quits advertising because she sees it as a shallow industry and pursues her dream of acting. This puts a huge strain on their marriage.

mad-men-jaguar-don-draperHe is even more shaken when his protegee and favourite Peggy quits SCDP to join their rivals CCG. He is angry that she choses to work with Ted Chaough, the creative director at CCG who is known as his main rival in Madison Avenue. This pushes him to aggressively pursue for new business relentlessly.

He is devastated at Lane’s suicide since deep inside was quite fond of him and is the only person in the office who knew his secret with his financial troubles. His guilt at inviting him to resign makes him believe he also pushed him to take his own life and suffers for it. At one point he begins to get visions of his dead half brother who also hung himself after being pushed away by Don who points to his “rotten soul” as the source of his pain.

Peggy Olsen (Elizabeth Moss) – Whilst still excelling creatively Peggy still has to endure sexist attitudes at work where important clients do not want female copyPeggy season 5writers pitching ideas to them and has to train a new male copywriter (Michael Ginsberg).

She fails to pitch a brilliant idea to Raymond from Heinz for an advert, which was exactly what the client was looking for because the client trusts Don and openly dismisses her for being a “young girl”.

Don’s constant absentism at work gnaws at her; she struggles to lead the team with him on a never-ending honeymoon and ends up working late almost every night. She interviews and trains Michael who turns out to be a creative yet excentric genius who takes up most of the projects for important clients ushing her to the sidelines. She is also responsible for training Megan, yet when she is constantly leaving early sometimes against her will, by Don she has to cover up for her.

This takes a toll on her personal life. Despite being in a happy relationship with Abe, the idealistic and political journalist, her workload makes her stay late most evenings. When he proposes her to move in together she happily accepts yet tries to hide hermad-men-peggy-resigns-don-hand-kiss disapppointment since she was expecting a marriage proposal.

After months of approval and recognition, Don’s rudeness towards Peggy resurfaces with the toll of having to pitch to Jaguar and after humiliating her yet again, she realises she has had enough and quits SCDP to join a rival advertising agency, CCG as their new Copy Chief for a better career and salary. Much to Don’s disgust, one of the founding partners, Ted Chaough, the agency’s Creative Director is considered his nemesis within Madison Avenue. By the end of Season 5 Peggy finally seems content and motivated at her new job


Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) – Pete now miserably living in the suburbs continues to excel at work being the main source of business for the firm. Yet still feeling unappreciated he now faces competition not just from rival agencies but rather from within SCDP itself, namely a jealous and petty Roger. He convinces Mohwak Airlines to come back to the agency and signs Jaguar Automobiles after an intial faux pas with them.

Pete Campbell season 5Yet on a personal level we see him being a leech at almost every level. When he finds out that Ken is a successful writer besides his work, he tells on him to Roger Sterling. He insults Lane crudely and receives a much deserved beating up at the office by the English financial manager. Discontent with his marital life and resentful for giving up Manhattan for the suburbs he continues to be a terrible husband. He sleeps with a prostitute whilst taking a client out for dinner (and later whoring). He clumsily flirts with a high school student whilst attending driving lessons. He has another extramarital affair with Beth Dawes, the wife of a fellow comuter who himself cheats on her with younger women in Manhattan. He actually develops a deep connection with Beth and is devastated to know that she regularly undergoes electroshock therapies to have memories erased from her brain whenever she becomes depressed at her own husband’s own infedilities.

Yet we see him at a new low whilst pitching to Jaguar to win their business. The new Head of the Dealers associations, a disgusting pervert makes it crudely clear that if Joan would sleep with him he would vote in their favour. He then slimily manipulates Joan and the partners to make it happen. Pete lets others know of his terribly low self esteem which could point to his questionable behaviour. At one point with Don and Ken who have come over for a friendly dinner to his home, the guests look at his daughter in admiration, he lets go a “I take no credit for her whatsover”. This phrase could point to a man with huge inferiority complex and why he feels his actions are somewhat justified.

Megan Season 5Megan Calvé/Draper (Jessica Paré) – Megan now happily married to Don has been promoted to a junior copywriter. She enjoys working with Peggy, Stan and later Michael but sometimes feels she doesn’t fit in due to the predominant smugness in the group. She works hard at creating commercial taglines for clients, does well but is sometimes frustrated at Don whisking her off at his own will from the office. She is aware that this makes her look unprofessional and obviously shows how she got her new job and does not like it.

Her youthfullness and optimism contrast with the cynism of most of her peers when she prepares a surprise birthday party for Don. She expects a great party with fun, sex and groovy music but was not counting on some unwelcome reactions by some of the people she works with. Peggy who has a bit too much to drink has a go at Don for having to do extra work during the weekend since he is not taking care of his duties. She prepares a dance and song for Don as a present but being Canadian wasn’t counting on the prudeness of most of the American guests. What’s worse, some days later at work she accidentally walks into Harry making lewd and sexist comments about her in the office kitchen. What hurts her most is Don’s insensitive behaviour with her once all the guest have left. He tells her off for embarrasing him with a clear indication that for people of that social circle and age group a simple dance like the one she performs can shock them.

At work she does well, she proves to have a good insight, imagination and creativity and Megan-sally-draper-mad-men-season-5one of her ideas convinces Heinz to stay with the agency when they were tired of Peggy’s ideas and were scouting the competion. It is quite revealing that with this client she manages to do something that neither Peggy nor even Don could manage.

We also get an insight into her origins when her family comes to vist. Her family, highly disfunctional prove to be a constant challenge to her emotional balance. Her father a leftist scholar finds it hard to accept her materialistic lifestyle and empty profession in advertising. He is not going through a good time and fails to get his works published. His wife Marie cruelly emasculates him in public. Marie has an antagonistic relationship with Megan. She loves her daughther yet does not know how to express this properly and more often than not comes out as cruelly discouraging and negative.

Much to Don’s surprise Megan one day gathers the courage to give up advertising and pursue a future in acting. Her teammates intially do not understand her decision but finally accept that it is her choice and wish her luck for being brave enough to take this bold step. Megan however deals very poorly with the inevitable frustrations a performer always has to face when they begin and one day breaks down infront of Don. She aks him to use his position as partner to get her a job for an advert for one of the agency’s clients. Don who adheres to a strict code of ethics at his work initially rejects her plea but finally gives in which begins to chave his relationship with her.

Betty Francis/Draper (January Jones) – Betty is finding it hard to cope with her new married life with Henry. She has become a bored housewife who no longer wants to be paraded as a trophy wife clinging to some man’s arm at any social gathering, beit a successful advertising executive from Madison Avenue or an ambitious politician from the Republican Party. She spends most days with little to do at home and has visibly gained weight. From earlier epBetty Season 5isodes we learn that Betty used to be a chubby girl and pressures Sally not to be one. Henry and her argue often now. When she goes to the doctor for a diet pills prescription she is shocked to learn that she might have cancer and chooses to call Don to tell him about it. He comforts her on the phone with the simplicity and warmth she often lacks from Henry.

Yet, openly jealous of Megan’s youth and beauty she hates the fact the children also bond with her and begins to meddle between her, Don and Sally. She ackwardly dyes her hair black in a failed attempt to be more accepted by her children.

Roger Sterling (John Slattery) – Roger has become even more frivilous at work. Now that Lucky Strike is definetely out of the picture he starts to scavenge from Pete’s accounts to see what he can find. His competition with Pete becomes really ugly. At one point he noses over his agenda and appears unannounced at a meetinRoger Sterling Season 5g with Mohawk Airlines. Pete is furious and pranks him to attend a fake meeting with an important client at 6 am. Yet knowing Pete he goes one step too far and publicly humiliates Roger infront of the whole staff when signing of Mohawk is announced making it look that Roger is his junior.

When Pete, who knows he is more important as far revenues go, asks to have Roger’s bigger and more stylish office, Roger reacts challenging him to a fistfight knowing too well that like him, Pete is a rich kid from a very priveldged background but unlike him, has never been tested in armed combat. This points out to a desperate Roger clinging to his status as an important partner with whatever means necessary no matter how unprofessional he chooses to be.

On a personal level Roger becomes one of the higher-class vivants who tries LSD in the 60’s and finds out a lot from his past and frustrating present. Whilst still high he has a deep and meaningful chat with Jane and divorces her. Once again, a rich middle-aged divorcee he embarks on a new spree of one night stands and shallow hookups plus a colourful and insane affair with Marie, Megan’s arrogant and insensitive mother.

Joan Holloway/Harris (Christina Hendricks) – Joan’s character evolves to new depths in Season 5. She has decided to keep her baby, a boy named Kevin whom she had out of wedlock with a one-night stand with Roger. With her husband away in Vietnam her mother has moved in to help her, something she finds difficult to deal with. When she goes back to work after her maternity leave she becomes one of the few people besides Don who understands Lane who becomes iJoan season 5infatuated with her.

In the past Joan has always been objectified by most men in her life because of her physique. Greg, Her own husband, a failed surgeon with little character and no morale raped her some years back. Now we see Joan step by step take more control of her life. When Greg comes back after a year in Vietnam and then announces her to her that he has signed up for another year, she furiously breaks off the relationship with him reminding him of the ugly act he did.

When Pete manipulates her to sleep with one of the directors at Jaguar so that they could win the account she is disgusted but when falsely believes that the rest of the partners agree with the idea she decides she will not be a simple pawn in this ugly game but rather negotiates to her favour, first asking for a big fee and then later agreeing to a partnership securing her future and her son’s. Her connection and fondness for Don evolves further when he consoles her after she receives a letter of divorce from Greg and when he tells her that she should not go ahead with the Jaguar deal; that no one should have to do business with people like that. She respects him even more when she finds out that he did not partake in the agreement the other partners did come to.

Lane Pryce (Jared Harris) – Lane becomes the sad personification of tragedy within Season 5. (Big spoiler alert). What initially seemed to be an English expat finally settling in New York after years of complaints from his wife and meddling from his intrusive and abusive father, he seems happy and content. He has Lane Season 5always made a huge effort to fit in America, but was never quite accepted by his peers because of his social ackwardness at times and their own narrowmindedess. When he makes a business connection with an executive at Jaguar he tries to manage the account but fails leaving the more apt Roger, Don and Pete to meet with him. When it all goes wrong, Pete insults him crudely and to his shock Lane challenges to him to a fistfight in the office and beats him up.

Despite we see his wife finally making an effort to settle in New York he fantasises with other women, including Joan but never does anything. Yet the depths of his personal failure become highlighted with his huge financial troubles.

Some months back when all of the partners had to supply with thousands of dollars each to save the company from bankrupcy, Lane moved money from his UK accounts to pay his share. The English Government claims back a penalisation for doing so and fines him for it. It is then revealed that whilst forming SCDP Lane settles for a much lower salary than the other partners and does not have enough money and time to pay this fine. Fearing being jailed for not paying on time in desperation he forges Don’s signature and hands himself a cheque to pay this amount promising himself to pay back that amount once the dust settles down.

Bert notices this and berates Don for what he thinks is Don handing out an unauthorised bonus to Lane. When Don angrily asks Lane about this, he ends up confessing. Don who has lost all trust in him aks him to resign, he offers him the chance to think up of a dignified excuse over the weekend and offer his resignation. Lane unable to face the humiliation of losing his job and petrified of having to go back to go back to England as a failure hangs himself in his office.

Sally Draper (Kieran Shipka) – Sally now more mature shows her aspirations to be seen as sally-draper-season-5a young adult rather than a little girl. At home she asks to have dinner and have more grown up food with Betty and Henry rather than with ther little brothers. She constantly challenges her overbearing and old-fashioned step grandmother to have more freedom. When she has a domestic accident Sally takes good care of her earning the praise of Don. In fact Sally becomes somewhat of a bridge between the kids (her younger brothers) and the grown ups in her life.

She bonds with Megan and enjoys going out with her and her liberal friend, also an actress. Her closeness with Megan irks Betty who starts to meddle between both of them and Don. She tells Sally of Don’s previous marriage with Anna conveniently leaving out the details of how both of them supported each other. Sally who feels betrayed by Megan briefly becomes hostile with other until Don fills in the gaps of the story. Her relationship with her father continues being of admiration and emotional dependancy. She beams with pride when Don praises her for taking care of her step-grandmother.

She asks to go his awards ceremony and is joyous at his success. Yet this awards ceremony turns out to be an eye opener of the lack of morale also present in the grown up world. Roger who has been amusing her all evening briefly disappears during dinner and when she gets up looking for the washroom she accidentally sees him with Megan’s mother giving him fellatio. The crudeness of the scene shocks her since Marie is a married woman with her husband sat down at their table only a few feet away. When her friend Glenn asks her what she thinks of New York she calls the city “dirty” in a clear reference to this incident.

Michael Ginsberg (Ben Feldman) – Michael is one of the fresh new faces at SCDP. He represents change. A Jewish copywriter for the first time ever in the agency, he clearly stands out not only for this reason but also his wit, creative genius and eccentricity. He is hired at the signing of Mohawk Airlines who would reject Peggy as copywriter being a woman. During this time it was also fashionable in Madison Avenue to hire Jewish copywriters and therefore Michael is brought in. Despite seeming to be insane to Peggy when she interviews him he manages to appear witty, confident and charmingmichael-ginsberg-mad-men-season5 in his second interview with Don and is hired much to Peggy’s surprise.

Michael soon becomes one of the major creative forces at SCDP. He creates ads of immense quality and soon starts taking over Peggy as the main copywriter for most clients. He even poses a threat to Don at one point when both of them compete for artwork for an ice cream advert. Don aware that Michael’s idea is definetely better sabotages Michael’s work and presents only his to the client. Michael’s excentricity is further explained in a conversation he has with Peggy with both of them working late one evening. He reveals to her that he is an orphan who grew up in a concentration camp in Sweden and was adopted by his foster dad when he was five and came to New York. He also believes to be an alien from another planet, which throws Peggy back, who does not know how to react to this akward conversation.

Mad Men Season 4

Time Line: November 1964-October 1965

mad men season 4 posterPlot:   Almost a year has gone since the dismantlement of Sterling Cooper and formation of the new Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce agency.   Times are rapidly changing in the US and this is clearly reflected in the story line and behaviour by the main protagonists as well as their surroundings with the new more modern office in the Time Life Building.


Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (SCDP) now a start-up has to compete with major and mid size agencies whilst beginning almost from scratch. This leads to constant frictions between the over prudent and frequently misunderstood Lane Pryce and some of the old timer executives more accustomed to a lavish lifestyle, namely Roger Sterling. SCDP still relies heavily on Lucky Strike as their main source of income to survive and to attract new business. This creates even further friction since Rogmad men christman partyer who without paying too much attention to his duties remains indispensable due to his tight personal relation with the tobacco giant’s president. The agency aims at internationalising its business and pitches to Honda to advertise their motorbikes much to Roger’s disapproval who doesn’t want to do business with Japanese companies after Pearl Harbour.   Don continues to be the main power horse at the firm and its main attraction for potential customers. On a personal side he is paying his previous excesses dearly and despite still excelling creatively, his personal life is a mess and is incredibly unhappy outside of work.

After almost two years of having agreed to join them in the newly found SCDP Roger has to bear the unbearable news that Lucky Strike are definitely breaking their business relationship with them, which puts the entire company on the brink of foreclosure. The founding partners have to undergo considerable financialmad men the beautiful girls sacrifices where they have to put thousands of dollars each to save the company whilst massive layoffs occur. This leads to Don taking one his defining moments with a bold move publishing an ad in the New York Times called “The Letter” where he openly criticises the tobacco industry thus closing the doors to any possibility of any other tobacco company doing business with them in the future. Despite risking the company’s future this bold move puts their name further on the map and may be the one thing that saves them on the long run.

Don Draper Season 4Don Draper (John Hamm) – Don, now one of the founding partners at SCDP continues to be one the most respected figures in the advertising industry. He continues to be a leading figure at his firm, revered by his clients for his creative genius and envied by his competitors. Yet his divorce gets the better off him personally. He doesn’t know how to cope with his new life outside of work, living in a small, dull apartment in the Village and decides to either stay late at work or go through alcohol binges. He also begins to sleep with prostitutes and dating shallow younger women. During his Christmas vacation he decides to visit his dear friend Anna in Los Don and Anna DraperAngeles on his way to Acapulco but when he learns she has cancer (unbeknownst to her) decides to stay with her and help her out at home.  After some months, when she passes away, he is visibly affected breaking down in tears in front of Peggy.

His relationship with Peggy continues to be a contradictory balance between a mentor and an abusive superior. It is only after she openly confronts him about his overbearing nature that he decides to back off a bit with her.

Neither he nor Betty know how to properly cope with their divorce and are openly hostile with each other, which obviously has a negative effect on their children. Sally, who suffers more than the rest escapes her home and ends up in Manhattan at Don’s office and pleads to stay with him, something which he has to turn down. After realising his binge drinking has gone omad men season 4 sceneut of control, he decides to take a grip on his life and takes up swimming, drinking less and begins to date Dr. Faye Miller, a psychologist who works for a market research consultancy which collaborates with the firm. Faye, despite being physically very similar to Betty (blonde, attractive) represents the embodiment of the emancipated professional woman. She is intelligent, independent and emotionally mature. For a while it seems she and Don make the perfect couple. Yet, on a late night at work, he sleeps with his newly appointed secretary Megan Calvé and a on personal trip to Los Angeles with his children he realises he has fallen in love with her and proposes her to marry him.


Peggy Season 4Peggy Olsen (Elizabeth Moss) – Despite her initial aversion to join Don at the newly found SCDP, Peggy finally acquiesces, aware of the pulling power his creative genius has. She is now one of the senior members of the creative department and is given more freedom and independence to do her work. Yet she still does not get the recognition she craves for, even when her ideas lead to award winning adverts. This lack of open appraisal from Don continues to gnaw at her. She has to endure working with the newly appointed Art Director, an unbearable and arrogant “jug head”, Stan Rizzo.

Like Don, she struggles to find happiness outside of work despite dating a new man, Mark, a well-meaning yet old fashioned and overbearing boyfriend. Being at the centre of a cultural change with more women gaining personal independence and professional influence she is seen admiring Faye Miller. She befriends Joyce, a photo editor and Abe, a liberal journalist working at the same building. She attends a clandestine beatnik party where she kisses Abe and slowly after begins to date him. Abe openly questions her profession in perpetuating mass consumerism which leads to an uncomfortable argument and the two stop dating for a while. Yet Peggy respects that he challenges her and admires his independent thinking.  One Summer day at a group outing at the beach, both of them rekindle their relationship.

Don and Peggy Season 4Her relationship with Don continues to have the antagonistic nature it had previously. Despite Don’s promise to treat her more fairly when trying to convince her to join them at their new project, he still mixes displays of approval with hostile rudeness. One evening, (unbeknownst to Don) on her birthday she is forced to work late with him and after a tense series of arguments between both of them, she ends up breaking up with Mark and lashing out at Don for treating her poorly. This changes Don who begins to treat her more as an equal.


Pete Campbell Season 4Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) – Pete with an admirable work ethic continues to be the sole source of new business. He is also one of the founding partners (albeit a junior one) of the new firm. With Roger Sterling’s careless management of their only account Lucky Strike, Pete fights on to bring new accounts like Honda or Sugarberry Ham. Yet despite all of his efforts, he is still not regarded on equal terms by the other partners. He is the only partner without his name on the wall. Some major decisions like bringing Ken Cosgrove (Pete’s nemesis) to work for the agency were made behind his back. His lack of personal charm obviously accounts for this, since despite all of his achievements like Don had predicted years back, no one really likes him.

Outside of the office, his wife, Trudy is finally pregnant and besides his initial disenchantment he seems content with the idea of having a child. His relationship with his in-laws is still awkward at times. He openly uses them to gain more business at the company and Tom who has sussed him out openly resents him when the two are alone.


Betty Draper Season 4Betty Draper (January Jones) – Betty, like Don is not aware of how to properly manage their divorce. This generation of parents seem to be the first one were divorces started to happen regularly and do not have an older reference to look upto. Much to Don and their children’s discomfort she continues to live in the same house she had with Don, this time with Henry. She is openly hostile with Don and pays her frustrations mostly with Sally whom she clearly sees as resembling Don in character. She is excessively domineering and asphyxiating towards her daughter, which leads her to escape her home and try and live in Manhattan with Don.

Roger Sterling (John Slattery) –
Roger who grudgingly joins Don and Bert to form their new start-up a year back hasn’t given up on his careless lifestyle at the new firm. He shows a somewhat petty side to his personality with his jealousy of other prestigious names in the industry like Roger sterling Season 4Ogilvy and attempts to write his memoirs much to Don’s humour when he finds out.

In one of the season’s most revealing episodes “The Waldorf Stories”, the viewer learns of how Don starts working at Sterling Cooper. In a series of flashbacks, we see a younger Don attending Roger whilst working as a sales attendant at a fur shop. Don is impressed with Roger’s status as “an important man in an important company” and relentlessly tries to get an interview with him. One morning he tracks him down whilst going into work and convinces him to go for a drink, Roger ends up drunk and Don arrives the next morning to work for Sterling Cooper claiming that whilst inebriated Roger offers him a job as a copywriter. It is unclear whether this is true or whether Don made the offer up.

Being an old timer in the industry, Roger openly feels threatened by the young and relentless Pete and sabotages his meeting with Honda, which could have brought international business and prestige to the firm. His professional duties are sometimes left as simply getting drunk with clients during working hours. This careless attitude eventually lead to Lucky Strike to breaking off their professional relationship with SCDP leaving Roger in a very vulnerable position.


Joan Holloway/Harris (Christina Hendricks) – Joan is trying to form a family with her Joan Holloway season 4husband Greg. Being an instrumental part of the firm she acts as one Lane’s main supports managing the company’s finances. Like Pryce ,she is also pragmatic and helps to keep a tight control of the company’s numbers even in dire situations with the departure of Lucky Strike.

Unfortunately she has to endure the impertinence of one of the junior copywriters and the sexist workplace that looks the other way with his crude and vulgar jokes about her making it openly clear how some things have not changed.

She still harbours feelings for Roger and on a drunken night out, they have sex, which leads to an unplanned pregnancy. Despite him offering to pay for an abortion she ends up having the baby and vows not to reveal this secret to her husband who has left for Vietnam.

Lane Pryce Season 4Lane Pryce (Jared Harris) – Now one of the founding partners at the firm, Lane continues to manage the finances with rigour and attention. He frowns upon any frivolous expenditure and is openly uncomfortable when they are forced to raise the budget for the office Christmas party. Outside of work he is having serious problems. His wife, who never found it easy to settle in New York has temporarily left him and gone back to London. He begins to date a black waitress much to his father shock, who savagely attacks him and coerces him to break it off and get back with his wife.

Sally Draper (Kieran Shipka) – Sally who is growing up as an independent young girl is going through a rough time dealing with her parents divorce. She misses her dear father and hates the idea of living in the same home with a different paternal figure. About to enter teenage she begins to feel curious about the female body and physical pleasure. Her mother instead of treating this as a natural change in her daughter chastises her and Sally Season 4absurdly takes her to therapy.

When it comes to her visits to her father, she continues to champion for him, her admiration for her “daddy” has not waned one bit and is overly critical of the women he dates, like Faye Miller. For some reason she instantly trusts Megan more which moves Don to visualise Megan more than Faye as a possible life partner.


Mad Men Season 3

Mad men season 3

Time Line: April 1963-December 1963

Plot:   It has been six months since the Cuban Missile Crisis, which coincided with the purchase of Sterling Cooper by the British Agency PPL. Lane Pryce has been sent in from London to act as CFO. In a plan to cut costs, the agency is letting go of various members of the senior staff with tensions running high. Don is back with Betty but has not taken long in resuming his old habits and is once again cheating on her, firstly with an airhostess and later with Suzanne, his daughter’s teacher. At work, he is conscious of his growing importance. He came out better from the ultimatum he laid to PPL some months back and they ended up firing Duck Philips giving him more power within the organisation. He is mad men season 3 scenetrusted to visit clients without having to go with an account manager. He knows that clients sign with the agency and PPL’ s decision to buy them was directly linked to his creative genius. Meanwhile the agency continue to grow financially and successfully with the signing of major accounts like Jai Lai, John Deere and pitch to Hilton Hotels.

Yet the success of Sterling Cooper is not enough to bring the partners personal satisfaction.   Their new parent company treat them as their property “subtly” planning a business trip on the 4th of July making them work on their National Holiday. They also learn disappointed that the main promotions will be Hilton Mad Menreserved for their own top British executives. Towards the end of 1963 they learn that PPL is planning to sell them to McCann Erikson much to their shock and disapproval. Don who adamantly refuses to work for a huge corporation of their size comes up with a plan for him and the main employees of getting fired on purpose and so leave the agency freely to start over forming a new company.


Don Draper Season 3Don Draper (Jon Hamm) – After considering quitting the agency, Don is now an even more quintessential part of Sterling Cooper. Professionally he continues to grow and at a party hosted by Roger Sterling and Jane Siegel, meets a mysterious stranger with whom he connects over a brief but friendly conversation at an unattended bar. Unbeknownst to Don, the stranger happens to be Conrad Hilton who will play a very important part in his life. Impressed by Don’s personal charm and self-confidence, he offers Don the chance to pitch to advertise some of his international hotels. Don puts his creative genius to work but more so over they connect on a personal level. Like Don, Conrad is a self made man from an impoverished past and instantly takes a liking to him filling in the role of a mentor and a father figure.

His personal life however continues to slide downhill, despite having promised Betty they would start over again with the pregnancy of their third child, he continues to cheat on her. He develops a strong attraction for Suzanne Farrell, Sally’s teacher at school and both begin a secret affair.   Much to his shock, Betty finds out about his secret identity as Dick Whitman and to avoid things from getting worse he breaks off the affair with Suzanne. His apologies and explanations towards Betty aren’t enough for his wife who finally divorces him.

peggy olson season 3Peggy Olsen (Elizabeth Moss) – Peggy continues to grow at Sterling Cooper as now one of the key creative writers at the firm. She has surpassed other male colleagues who have been at the company longer than she has like Paul who openly resent her. It is now quite clear that she has become Don’s favourite, yet his way of displaying his respect for her work is to ride her harder than the rest sometimes bordering on openly hostile. Outside of work she begins to have an affair with the ex- accounts director Duck Philips who besides his personal interest in her also attempts to woo her from Sterling Cooper and to work with him at Grey as a revenge from his ex-employers. The fact that she feels more appreciated by an outsider like Duck than her own boss leaves her frustrated and toys with the idea of leaving the agency.

pete campbell season 3Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) – Pete continues to excel at work at Sterling Cooper. His energy and enthusiasm bring in new accounts to the firm. Being a younger and more forward thinking man compared to most of his peers, including Don, he pushes to market a certain client’s TV brand within the black market, much to their shock and the telling off by his bosses. His rivalry with Ken Cosgrove continues to develop and PPL who become aware of this, promote both of them to Head of Accounts Services to see how they compete against each other. Whilst Ken sees it as an opportunity, Pete is dismayed and feels betrayed by the company. This was a position he has been coveting for years now and when he finally gets it, he is shocked to learn that he has to share it with his rival within the agency. Like Peggy he also begins to flirt with the idea of leaving the agency and begins to set interviews with other agencies.

Betty Draper Season 3Betty Draper (January Jones) – Betty pregnant with her third child has decided to start over again with Don. Yet it is clear that her devotion for him is gradually slipping away. She spends more time connecting with her father, a retired widower with Alzheimer who moves in with them. After some months living with the Drapers and shortly before her baby is born, her father passes away. Much to Don’s disgust she names their third child Eugene in her dad’s memory. On a business trip to Rome where she accompanies Don, the passion between the couple seems to rekindle only to fade back away upon their return to their dull daily life.

Feeling unappreciated by Don she develops an attraction towards a politician Henry Francis. After befriending each other and following the birth of Eugene, they begin a love affair, after finding out about Don’s secret identity she realises she doesn’t love him anymore and ends their marriage and beginning a new life with the more mature and attentive Henry.


Roger Sterling season 3Roger Sterling (John Slattery) – Roger who has begun a new life with Jane Siegel is increasingly seen as a frivolous man with little interest in his company and more drawn towards enjoying life. Don with whom he has always had a friendly relationship now sees him as foolish and slowly begins to distance himself from him. They soon begin to clash over Don seeing clients without consulting or involving the accounts team and his reticence to sign a contract upon Conrad Hilton’s request. Roger further angers Don by going behind his back to ask Betty to convince him to sign. PPL themselves have a (deliberate?) oversight by not including Roger in the company’s new organisational chart despite knowing full well he is one of the senior partners at the firm. In the end, in the wake of the decision whether to accept being absorbed by McCann or breaking free and starting afresh, Don realises Roger’s connection with Lucky Strike makes him indispensable and so both of them make peace to start afresh.


Joan Harris Season 3Joan Holloway/Harris (Christina Hendricks) – Joan now a married woman is spending her final weeks at Sterling Cooper. Her dream to start a family are getting closer yet shortly before leaving the agency she and her husband Greg are dismayed to learn that he has been denied the coveted surgeon position he has been training for. This leaves the couple in a difficult situation with her unemployed and he having to apply for a different field in medicine. She reaches out to Roger who helps her get a job at a department store. Unsurprisingly when Roger, Bert and Don make plans to start their own agency she is offered to re-join them.


Lane Pryce Season 3Lane Pryce (Jared Harris) – Lane is a brilliant financial manager sent in by PPL to manage the finances and accounts of Sterling Cooper. He soon begins to cut costs wherever possible much to the disapproval of Don and other executives. The agency also fires old-timer employees like the senior Head of Accounts, Bert Peterson. Personally he finds it very hard to be accepted by the other employees. Even though he develops a strong interest in American culture and literature he is always perceived as a hostile outsider by the rest. His wife finds it very difficult to settle in New York missing her life in London, which makes his initial days tougher. Yet despite his efforts and achievements he finds himself unappreciated by his seniors at the London Headquarters who openly regard him as a pawn and decide to move him to Bombay once he is finally beginning to settle in.  This transfer is put on hold to his relief, following the freak accident of a top executive from PPL (Guy Mackendrick) on a business trip to their New York office. Upon knowing of PPL’s intentions to sell them to McCann Erickson and fully aware that his role is also on the line he accepts Don’s scheme to fire them, getting himself fired as well from head office and joins Don, Roger and Bert as one of the founding partners of their new agency (Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce).


Sally Draper Season 3Sally Draper (Kieran Shipka) – Sally begins to mature as an intelligent and inquisitive child. She shows her admiration for her teacher at school, Suzanne and woes to win her approval. She soon begins to bond with other grownups developing a very close relationship with her grandfather. She is shocked upon his death and finds it hard to accept the relative ease with which she perceives Don and Betty dealing with his death. Like her father she disapproves of her baby brother being named Gene and rejects him, imagining him to be the spirit of her grandfather. She also suffers greatly upon learning of her parents’ decision to get divorced.


Mad Men Season 1

Time Line: April 1960-October 1960

mad men season 1Plot: The plot revolves around a fictional advertising agency in Manhattan in the 60’s, Sterling Cooper During this time, the viewer is taken back to a somewhat simpler time and yet sometimes cruder time with family birthdays with the neighbours, mother days outings, houses with white picket fences.  Politically the race to the US Presidency between the conservative Nixon and the young Kennedy plays an important role in the story with the agency competing to promote Nixon.  On a darker side we also see a conservative and narrow minded society frowning and shunning off a recently divorced woman who moves into their neighbourhood, wondering how “that would affect the property value” with heavy drinking and smoking and an extremely sexist and racist work environment with white wealthy men being the salt of the earth.

Don DraperDonald Draper (John Hamm) is the Creative Director of Sterling Cooper, a fictional mid size advertising agency in Manhattan New York. Revered by most of his peers and envied by a few, he leads the perfect life. He is highly successful and is the powerhouse of the agency. Clients are mostly in awe of his creative genius and are thrilled with his ideas. Outside of the office he is married to a beautiful wife: Betty Draper and has two children and a picturesque home in the suburbs in Ossining. Yet despite all of this relative success and accomplishments Don displays a quite often gruff and secretive attitude choosing to avoid talking about his past.   mad men season 1 sceneHe over drinks and cheats on his wife. He has an affair with a freelance artist Midge and begins seeing Rachel Menken, one of the clients of the agency.

One day he receives an unexpected visit from his half brother, whom he has not seen in years and nobody in his circle knows about and the secrets from his past are finally laid mad men season 1 5Gbare. His real name is Dick Whitman and he stole the identity of Lt. Donald Draper a higher-ranking official who dies in front of him in a freak accident in the Korean War where he was posted. Panicking that his secret may be disclosed he shuns his brother and offers him money never to contact him again and to start his own life, a decision he later deeply regrets. Professionally we see Don being coveted by Advertising giants, McCann Erickson but eventually chooses to remain at the firm and is offered a partnership.

peggy season 1Peggy Olsen (Elizabeth Moss) – Peggy, a naïve girl from Brooklyn is appointed as Don’s secretary who turns out to have an unexpected skill for analysis and copywriting. She has to endure the petty jealousies of other secretaries and the sometimes abusive nature of her superior, Joan.   What’s worse, she unwisely sleeps with Pete on her first day and harbours secret feelings from him and has to endure him getting married to his fiancée. She also has to endure an extremely sexist work environment where different executives constantly and brusquely hit on her simply to sleep with her. After completing a successful project for cosmetics and later for a healthcare client she is promoted by Don as a junior copywriter.

pete season 1Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) – Peter is young and ambitious account executive at Sterling Cooper. He is of aristocratic upbringing, something that weighs down on him personally but ironically this is what helps him secure his job at the agency. He is engaged to a lively young woman: Trudi Vogel and after his stag night cheats on her with Peggy. Shortly after marrying Trudi he displays an impetuous and over ambitious behaviour at the agency wanting to always been noticed and promoted. His zeal drives him to step over Don on a presentation which has him almost fired (his family name saved him) and to later blackmail him when he finds out his secret identity.

betty season 1Betty Draper (January Jones) – Betty has what some would say, the perfect life, during this time; married to a successful advertising executive and with a lovely home in the suburbs and two children she seems to lead a fairy tale life. She is young and attractive and is popular amongst her friends’ circle in her neighbourhood. Yet she harbours deep insecurities and frustrations. She does not feel accomplished and is sometimes treated by others like a child. She attends psychotherapy where she tries to explore deeper into her feelings but these amount to little. A big part of her frustrations lie deep in the fact that she does know about her husband’s infidelities and suppresses this. Her sense of loneliness lead her to connect more with the neighbours son, Glenn a young child who seems to understand her more than a any adult.

roger season 1Roger Sterling (John Slattery) – Roger is one of the senior partners of the agency, a title he inherited from his father (one of the founding partners of the firm). He is of an extremely privileged and wealthy background and often displays a callous and arrogant attitude at work. Yet he is very skilled at key account management due to his excellent interpersonal skills. He is in charge of the agency’s main client, Lucky Strike. Despite being sometimes short and rude with some of his employees he respects Don deeply and is fond of him to the point of going out together with their families or going the extra mile with him to convince him to stay at the agency when he fears he might be lured by more tempting offers. Like many executives during this time, he is a heavy drinker and chain smoker and cheats on his wife. One evening messing around with a young model he suffers a heart attack followed by another one in front of their most important client and is allowed to take some time to recover.

joan season 1Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks) – Joan is the supervisor of the secretaries at Sterling Cooper. She is extremely professional and dedicated but can sometimes be overbearing to her fellow female co-workers. Her dedication to the establishment is such that she never questions the lack of professionalism or personal decor by the executives (men) but rather confronts the secretaries who are not able to deal with their shortcomings. She has an on and off affair with Roger for whom she harbours feelings of attraction and almost maternal affection despite being younger than him and is visibly distraught upon knowing of his heart attack.

Tyrant – (2014)

tyrant-posterCreated by Gideon Raff

Starring: Adam Rayner, Ashraf Barhom, Jennifer Finnigan, Moran Atias, Raad Rawi, Alexander Kerim, Noah Silver

Plot: Set in fictional Abu-Din, a fictional country in the Middle East, ruled by a cruel and ruthless dictator, Khaled Al Fayed who took possession of the country through a coup supported (albeit in a discreet way by the US government with whom his family has friendly ties) some decades back. The regime imposed upon the people is pro-western and Islam is somewhat suppressed, though obviously not forbidden. Khaled’s younger son, Bassar (Adam Rayner) who lives in exile in the US as a doctor is preparing his first trip to Abu-Din in twenty years to attend to his nephew’s wedding.

Shortly upon coming back he instantly regrets witnessing how his family, now with his brother Jamal (Ashraf Barhom) as a leader rules with endless violence and brutality. The regime is threatened by constant insurgency, mostly led by the charismatic rebel Ihab Rashib (Alexander Karim). Khaled’s brother, General Tariq Al Fayed (Raad Rawi), a despicable and heartless army senior who is the Minister of Defence and Khaled’s trusted advisor, is the key person in charge of the Al Fayeds’ protection constnaltly vouches for violent control over the population.

During the wedding, Barry’s father dies and upon trying to get out of the country is restrained by the regime. Knowing that his older brother who has taken charge is not fit mentally or morally to run the country, Barry decides to stay in Abu-Din to protect his family and country from the wrong doings of his brother’s lack of foresight and strategic thinking along with General Tariq’s brutality. This puts a huge strain on his family, especially in his wife Molly (Jennifer Finnigan), a qualified surgeon who supports him no matter what but further with his older son, Samuel (Noah Silver).tyrant-poster2

Whilst witnessing how his brother with his lack of intelligence and morals will definitely lead the country to finally revolt Barry also starts to align secretly with the insurgents to and begins to flirt with the idea to betray his own brother if that’s what it takes to keep his family safe.


Tyrant is a daring and entertaining series. For diplomatic reasons they have decided to create a fictional country (Abu-Din) for their story setting and several key elements are touched such as politics, international affairs, the hypocrisy of US influencers (namely their embassies) outside of their borders, religious differences, war, terrorism but also closer and more human subjects such as family, unrequited love, abusive patriarchal figures, fraternal rivalry and complexes. Though interesting and with a well elaborate plot the viewer is sometimes hinted of the deep realities governing international politics, insurgencies and terrorism, one feels like the story could dwell a bit deeper into these areas without necessarly becoming “political”. The performances by Adam Rayner as the conflicted Barry, constantly wrestling mixed emotions, Jennifer Finnigan as the balanced and supportive wife are noteworthy, not to mention the armchair gripping performance by Ashraf Barhom displaying the violent ruler Jamal with his mixture of stupidity, violence, cruelty, and vulnerability at the same time.

Main Characters:

adam-raynerBassar /Barry Al Fayed (Adam Rayner) – Barry is a doctor or Arab descent living a tranquil and blissful life in America with his beautiful wife and two children. Twenty years before, he escaped from his native land of Abu-Din, fleeing from the violence and cruelty his family ruled the country. Shortly upon arriving to America and ashamed of his origins he changes his name to the Western “Barry” from Bassar. Jumping to present day, he is invited to attend his nephew’s wedding in Abu-Din and despite initial doubts agrees to attend and see his family and native land for the first time in twenty years. He travels with his family and upon returning wrestles with the conflicting nature of the man he has re-invented himself as and the person he was when he lived there. He soon realizes that his brother is unfit to run the country and his incompetence will ultimately generate sectarian violence from the country’s insurgents and decides to stay in Abu-Din to become his advisor succeeding several times to guide him to pragmatic and balanced decisions. However in time his frustration at his brother and his own ambitions start to take over and he begins to plan to take over and grab more power for himself.

ashraf-barhomJamal Al Fayed (Ashraf Barhom ) – Jamal is the oldest son of dictator Khaled Al Fayed and his successor. Upon his fathers death he takes over the country as self-appointed president. Quite often Jamal displays the worst type of behavior a human being can offer; he is a sadist, a rapist, a murderer, liar bordering on the behavioral patterns of a true psychopath. He believes in ruling by any means necessary and has little remorse for human life. Yet through time, the viewer witnesses episodes of Jamal displaying his weaknesses and vulnerability. He has an earnest affection for his brother Barry despite the jealousy he has about being less intelligent and charismatic than him, he is also more innocent when confiding of his true dreams of living a simple and carefree life to a lover he secretly visits.

jennifer-finniganMolly Al Fayed (Jennifer Finnigan) – Molly is a qualified surgeon who accompanies her husband and family to Abu-Din to a wedding where she is aware of the conflict and unease this causes on her husband. She is a balanced and intelligent woman who acts a solid rock for her husband supporting him on his worst days whilst he decides to stay in Abu-Din and at the same time becomes a nurturing and positive influence on her children who go through rough experiences whilst being forced to stay in this strange land.

Leyla Al Fayed (Moran Atias) Leyla is the first lady of Abu-Din and acts every bit of it. She had a past relationship with Barry before he fled and still secretly harbors feelings for him despite now being married to his brother. She hides this sadness behind a façade of a cold hearted and manipulative matriarch, pointing her husband in the right direction whenever she feels he is off track and secretly scheming with General Tariq when she realizes that drastic actions are to be taken.

General Tariq Al Fayed (Raad Rawi) – General Tariq is the personification of the very own devil if he were really to come to life. Tariq is a violent, bloodthirsty coward who has no remorse to plan false flags attacks and carries them out by bombing or gassing his own people to persevere his family’s rule over the country. From the beginning he clashes with the pragmatic and reasonable Barry who convinces his brother to deal with the country’s conflicts with diplomacy and negotiation rather than violence and oppression. He is later found out to be the main culprit of the country’s most atrocious crimes and yet still remains as a key part of the country’s government.

Ihab Rashid (Alexander Kerim) – Ihab Rashid is the Al Fayed’s most dangerous enemy. He is the son of the deposed monarch who is exiled and has sworn to fight back to recover his country. He leads a group of rebellious insurgents who organizes acts of peaceful protestations in the town square moving on later to acts of violence. He is a charismatic leader followed and admired by many, a quality Barry recognizes immediately. His thirst for vengeance and self righteous indignity at the Al –Fayed’s abusive dictatorship moves him to further violent acts and later to join a terrorist group.

Samuel Al Fayed (Noah Silver) – Samuel is Barry’s oldest son and from the beginning it is made clear of a certain distance between father and son. Being a closeted homosexual he never feels truly accepted or even liked by his father. Their natures are also quite different which lead to some inevitable conflicts. His obsession for money and luxury contrast with the austere mentality of his father who consistently declines his family’s fortune knowing that it comes from his own people’s blood.  Yet Sammy unaware of the depth of the hideous crimes that have provided fortune to his family has no remorse to year and enjoy the lavish lifestyle it can provide.