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'Mad Men' boss and cast dish on season six: Is Don alone?

April 4, 2013 at 12:09 PM ET

Brian Sanders / AMC /

"Mad Men" finally returns Sunday with a special two-hour premiere, and although creator Matthew Weiner is notoriously secretive about his acclaimed AMC drama, he and the cast did share a few tidbits with TODAY.com about season six.

For some clues, Weiner and star Jon Hamm recommend a careful study of the promo poster by famed '60s advertising illustrator Brian Sanders.

"The central motif of it obviously is these two versions of this one man crossing," mused Hamm. "Which one are we supposed to be following? One of them is with somebody, and one of them is not. I think that shouldn't be lost on people. One of them has a briefcase in his hand, one of them doesn't. It's a very rich image.

"This is chaotic and different and in many ways suggests the world we're moving into," the star teased about the era the season takes place in. "Bright colors and crazy tones and a lot going on."

Much of season six centers around "the anxiety that is created by, in all of these characters, wondering why they are the way they are," said Weiner. "When someone says, 'People will do anything to alleviate their anxiety,' that's what this season is about."

One of the major questions viewers have is whether Don will continue to be faithful to his latest wife, Megan.

"Don's asked, 'Are you alone?' at the end of the season last year and he doesn't answer it," said Weiner. "Don's fidelity isn't a great issue in the show -- it's an event. We watched last season that he was faithful and that it was confusing to people that he had almost this schoolgirl perception of what that relationship was going to be.

Michael Yarish / AMC /
Jon Hamm says we find out more about why Don Draper "does what he does."

"His infidelity is a symptom -- it's not a disease," he continued. "The disease is the aloneness and the belief that you're alone. ... What are the fruits of that, what is the answer to that question? How do I change that?"

Hamm says his character's life has been "out of balance for quite some time. We find out more in season six about why Don is how he is. And why Don does what he does. His house is built on a weak foundation. He's a fundamentally damaged and broken guy."

Things will be even tougher for Don now that one of his greatest allies, Peggy, has left Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. But that doesn't mean audiences will see any less of his ambitious former secretary.

"I was actually pleasantly surprised by how much I had to do in this season," Elisabeth Moss said about her character's arc. "I was kind of expecting not to be in it so much because I thought, well, I'm at a different agency. And I'm pleasantly surprised. I'm very happy with where it's gone -- I'm very happy with what's happened."

Also making a career leap is Joan, now a partner after her controversial decision to sleep with a client to land an important account last season.

Michael Yarish / AMC /
Christina Hendricks' character Joan Harris takes on a new role as partner.

"We definitely are exploring the fact that we have seen her all of a sudden become partner and what that means," Christina Hendricks confirmed. "Are people going to just all of a sudden turn around and (say), 'Oh, Joan's a partner -- let's treat her like a partner'? Or is how she got there going to affect (her colleagues' reactions)?"

Viewers won't see much of Joan in the premiere -- partly because Roger takes center stage.

"Just when you think that Roger's just a (expletive) who doesn't care about anybody, he cares about somebody," raved John Slattery about his unpredictable character. "Or is just a misogynistic drunk, he's better at business than you think he is. ... It's just so unexpected. The storytelling is so good."

"He's so funny -- it really is great," Slattery said about the comic relief Roger brings to "Mad Men."

"Hamm and I sit next to each other at these read-throughs and we're just cackling because it's so funny. And then he'll point out how many jokes I have, and I'm like, 'Yeah, but look at the women sitting across the table who are playing the women that you're going to be in bed with.'"

Who will be sharing Don's bed this season? Find out when "Mad Men" premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC.

What are you expecting -- or hoping -- to see this season? Tell us on our Facebook page!

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