Bryan Batt, <i>Mad Men</i> Bryan Batt, Mad Men

It's been a long eight months since we last glimpsed the goings-on inside Mad Men's Sterling Cooper, but Bryan Batt promises that rabid "Maddicts" will be rewarded for their patience.

"I haven't seen [the finished product] yet, but just based on the script, it's really an exciting first episode," Batt tells "It doesn't lull you back into the period. Really, a lot happens, and I just can't wait to see what people think because it's one of the best. It's interesting, it's smart... It's just more great Mad Men coming your way."

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Batt says his character, closeted art director Salvatore Romano, is pretty much in the same place he was last season. Of course, those 13 episodes were a roller coaster for Sal, who, despite being married, actively crushed on coworker/fellow artist Ken Cosgrove. Batt, however, points to the scene in which Sterling Cooper's European up-and-comer, Kurt, shamelessly comes out to his colleagues as one of the toughest he filmed."There were so many emotions going on in that one scene," Batt says. "There was a combination of, "Can I ever do this?" and some, "Look at the young kid who has the balls to do it." Then, you put on the nice coat of self-loathing and you've got it."We took many takes of that scene," he says, "and our editors are so brilliant in really picking up our performances. I owe them a lot for that, because the take I thought they should have used ended up on the cutting room floor."

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So, everyone wants to know: Is a Sal-Kurt hookup on the horizon? Don't bet on it, now or maybe ever."People come up to me and ask when Sal is coming out. And I say to them, "To what?" Batt says. "In 1960 and 1962, what was there for him to come out to? There was no gay movement, and he's so closeted he got married. This is not a guy who's going to be running down Fifth Avenue with a rainbow flag anytime soon."Like most of the

Mad Men camp, Batt keeps details closely guarded. But he did reveal that one of the first storylines series creator Matt Weiner ever discussed with him during preparation for the pilot comes to fruition this year. "It's interesting that it didn't pan out until now, even though it's the first thing he ever told me about."

Video: Batt discusses playing a closeted character

What can Batt tell us about his character's trajectory this season? "I think it's all new for Sal," he says. "In the first six episodes, I have two with really good storylines, and I think people who follow Sal are going to be very excited. It's fun."We all live in that world where everyone's got a secret," he adds. "And this year the audience finds out a little more about everybody. It's typical Mad Men — what you expect to happen doesn't happen. But what does is pretty damn exciting."Mad Men returns Aug. 16 at 10/9c  on AMC. Season 2 is now available on DVD.