[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers from Sunday's Mad Men. Read at your own risk.]
Jared Harris is having a tough year.
Earlier this season, his Fringe character, who was previously chopped in half, was killed. On Sunday's Mad Men, Harris' Lane Pryce took his own life after Don (Jon Hamm) discovered that Lane had embezzled funds from Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Don asked Lane to resign and encouraged him to start a new life for himself.
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What did he say about reaching that decision?
Harris: Matt's always looking for ways to surprise his audience. I think that he felt like the character had built a great rapport with the fans of the show. It was dramatically useful. In terms of the character, I think [Lane's] become marginalized in the office. His main political alliance in the office is with Joan. We can only know from the episode before what they think of her. He genuinely tried to build a rapport with Pete and that hadn't happened. He doesn't respect Roger Sterling at all; he thinks he's an idiot. And Don Draper is completely unknowable. He's marginalized at the office. It felt right in terms of the trajectory of the character. He'd sort of been denied everything else. [So], he would be denied the opportunity to be a success in America as well.
What was your reaction to the news personally?
Harris: It was tough. I shed a tear in the car on the way home, I have to say. It was bad. It's been a great experience. I've loved working there. It's been one of the easiest jobs I've ever had in the sense that you don't need to worry about anything other than your performance. They look after you incredibly well.
You said Matt wanted to surprise the audience, but there have been a lot of hints throughout the season. Did you pick up on those?
Harris: I had little inclinations earlier. I went to the costume fitting and there were stains on some of his clothes. I would say, "This isn't clean. They'd go, "That's on purpose." [I saw] he's not taking as much care of himself, and that means something pretty significant. So yeah, there are little things like that. We didn't really know who it would be, if it was going to be anybody. Peggy leaves, so you think maybe that's it. But Matt's a good writer. Foreshadowing is a good technique to use. I don't feel like it was overdone in any way. I don't think we knew who it was going to be. I think a lot of people thought it might be Pete. [Matt] managed to fake people out.
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What will you miss most about working the show?
Harris: I'll miss working with all my colleagues there. I really, really enjoyed their company. ... I was very lucky to join the show after it was already a success. I know that it's going to just get bigger and bigger as it gets toward [Season 6] and Season 7. And I won't be part of that. That makes me sad.
Mad Men's Season 5 finale airs Sunday at 10/9c on AMC.