Mark Moses, <I>Mad Men</i> Mark Moses, Mad Men

As Desperate Housewives'Paul Young, Mark Moses played Wisteria Lane's man of many secrets. On Mad Men, Moses' Duck Phillips has his own spotty past and the same conniving ambition to get what he wants at all costs. In the Oct. 12 episode, says Moses, Duck will take his ambition to the next level, making a major power play. He chatted with us about Duck's teetotaler status, why he and Don Draper just can't get along and why he had to let his poor dog go wandering down Madison Avenue. How do you feel about playing one of the few characters who doesn't imbibe on show notorious for its drinking?
Moses: Even today, when people are being social and having drinks, you usually notice if someone is not drinking. But you don't think as much about it as you might've in the '60s. I think it was even harder to be a teetotaler back then, especially when business and social situations constantly involved alcohol. So it's awkward for Duck. Do the other characters think less of him as a businessman because he doesn't drink?
Moses: It's hard to exist in the advertising business for more than 10 years. People burn out or change industries, and Duck ran into some tough issues with alcohol. I think part of Duck Phillips' issues is that he has been a part of this world for a while and was a big player in it. Somewhere in the past it all fell apart. Well, things aren't going much better for him at Sterling Cooper, or at least not with Don.
Moses: Duck has his issues with Don. He's been asked to make this agency a bigger player than it already is, and in doing so, he's also finding that his hands are tied. He's never been in a situation where the head of accounts is not calling the shots. In this group, since Roger's in and out and Bertram is hardly there, Don calls more of the shots. So Duck feels boxed in because every time he wants to progress with the next sale, he has to go in and ask Don's permission. He disagrees with the way the agency is being run, and that really starts to get to Duck. Is he ever going to take action about any of these issues?
Moses: Oh, yeah. I think you will find the rest of the season pretty darn interesting. By the end of the next episode, this is a man who finds himself in pretty desperate position. His world is defined by his work. His marriage is all screwed up and his wife's getting married again, and he was even so sad he let go of his dog. So all he has is this business, and he does some pretty desperate things that make for an exciting conclusion. You mentioned Duck's dog, Chauncey. You should know that our readers were outraged when you let him go.
Moses: When I read [the scene] I knew that dog lovers were going to go crazy. I knew that none of what was written about Duck was going to matter once that dog goes out the door. No matter what's happened on Mad Men, whether someone dumps their wife, gets in a barroom brawl or even commits murder, nothing is going to be worse than getting rid of that dog. [Laughs] But don't worry dog lovers, an Irish setter would be gobbled up on the streets in New York in a matter of hours. So did Duck go back up for that drink after sending Chauncey on his way?
Moses: As far as I know, he did not drink. He was going to, but then he saw the dog and was reminded of everything in his life and all the reasons he was drinking before. So he just got rid of the dog. He was truly upset that he left this one part of himself with his kids, and now the new husband is throwing the dog back at him. It's a complicated scene and there may not be a right answer, but I think it had to do with Duck's conscience. Either that or the dog was an alcoholic. [Laughs] Other than the obvious thematic differences, how is working on Mad Men different from Desperate Housewives?
Moses: Well, before Desperate Housewives, I did not play bad guys all the time. [Laughs] I played some nice guys and some funny guys, but Desperate Housewives was such a huge hit. I thought I had one of the best male roles on that show, because I always had my own storyline and it was always very interesting. But with Duck Phillips, I get to play so many more notes. There's far more dimensions with Duck than there was with Paul Young. With all the time jumping going on, could we see more of Paul?
Moses: I could get out on parole or good behavior, since I'm off in prison. But that's totally up to Marc Cherry. And they've got so many characters on there now, I'm not sure there's room for anymore. What can you say about the rest of Mad Men's season?
Moses: Like a lot of the storylines this season, the conclusion really brings a lot to a head. But [creator] Matt [Weiner]'s intelligent enough not to bring everybody's story to some sort of nice, tidy bow. Some wrap up, some do not. The second season has been a little darker than the first, but I think you're going to find the last three shows are terrific.