Christina Hendricks: Mad Men Heartbreaker Had Been in the Works 'For Quite Some Time'

When it comes to the heartbreaking twist served up by AMC’s Mad Men this past Sunday night, it was not a matter of if but when Joan would take one for the team at SCPD.

“[Series creator] Matt [Weiner] had told me about that storyline… either last season or the season before,” Christina Hendricks reveals in a GQ.com Q&A. “[He] was planning on using it before, but the development of the characters just didn’t get to that point. So I’d had some knowledge of it for quite some time.”

RECAP | Mad Men Season 5, Episode 11: A Woman’s Worth

Hendricks, who is always a part of the Emmy season conversation, admits to being nervous about the storyline, in which Joan beds auto dealership bigwig Herb in trade for his support of SCDP landing the Jaguar business. (“It’s a terrible price to pay,” she notes.) But at the end of the day, she says the material was “beautifully written.”

As for how Sterling Cooper’s male partners fell on the sticky issue, Hendricks reckons that Joan is disappointed that Roger, the father of her child, didn’t put his foot down. Instead, Don was the one to make sure Joan knew that such drastic and unseemly action was not necessary. “So at least one person… cared,” the actress says.

RELATED | Mad Men Emmy Shocker: Jessica Pare to Vie With Elisabeth Moss for Lead Actress Nod

Alas, Don’s sentiment — unbeknownst to him — was delivered too late, as Joan had already had her assignation with Herb. And the look she gave Don during the congregation of the now six agency partners was a combination of “‘Don’t judge me,’ ‘What’s done is done’ and ‘Thank you,’ all at once,” says Hendricks. “[It was her] really owning it, and yet we’re not gonna discuss it.”