Mad Men's Kevin Rahm Talks Ted Vs. Don, the Peggy Kiss and a Satisfying Bob Benson Reveal

Mad Men Season 6 PreviewCan one ad agency handle two Don Drapers? AMC’s Mad Men (Sundays, 10/9c) raised that question this season when SCDP impulsively merged with Cutler Gleason and Chaough, putting first-class creatives Don and Ted Chaough under the same roof. And as a result, Kevin Rahm finds himself more than ever a wonderfully long way from Wisteria Lane. TVLine invited the Desperate Housewives alum to reflect on his frontburner status with the acclaimed cable drama, size up Ted-versus-Don and tease (best he is able!) what’s to come in Season 6’s final three episodes — including the answer to the Bob Benson mystery.

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TVLINE | Could you have imagined, when you first appeared on the show some three years ago, it would lead to this?
Hell no. Absolutely not. When I got the job, it was supposed to be two or three episodes, and I felt lucky enough to do four that year, and two last year. But when they told me they wanted me to be more a part of it, I was very happy.

TVLINE | When did [series creator] Matt Weiner first give you an idea that the merger was coming?
When I read the episode. [Laughs] He told me during [Episode] 13 last year that he had big plans, but he gave no inking of what that meant. The first five episodes [of this season] were great, then I went, “Oh, OK, there it is!”

TVLINE | As you first started reading that Detroit bar scene, did a light bulb go off for you as it did for some viewers, “These guys are going to align”?
I didn’t get it until Don said, “Do you want to get in some trouble?” — quoting the kid from the bar in [the premiere]. I was like, “Holy cow,” yet when you look back on it, it made perfect sense.

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TVLINE | Until this past Sunday, things were in flux with the new firm’s name. Were there any side bets on set as to what it would be?
I was pitching Chaough & Co…. Chaoughville…. No, everyone was joking about all the letters, how we were going to need a bigger wall to fit everyone. I was pleased with [Sterling Cooper & Partners]. It’s a nod to the old school. Obviously, Cutler and Chaough decided to do that to save face, because they lost Manischewitz. It was almost an “out” for them.

TVLINE | Being as objective as you can, how do you think Ted measures up to Don as a creative force? Is he every bit his equal or mayyybe a half-rung below?
I would argue that he’s just as good. The information we had until this year had only been from Don’s point of view — Don is the one who said Chaough’s in his “rear view mirror.” Now, we see that Chaough works better with people than Don does, and that will be something we learn more about as we go,.

TVLINE | When they shared their Chevy pitches, Don wasn’t the least bit dismissive.
One of the things Matt said as we were rehearsing that scene is, “You both have to like the other person’s pitch — but you can’t show them too much.”

Mad Men Season 6 PreviewTVLINE | Cutler (played by Harry Hamlin) has tried to lead Chaough to “the dark side,” pitting their people against Don’s. How tempted might Ted be?
I found that scene interesting, when Cutler goes to Chaough to say, “Let’s clean house. Let’s get rid of them.” This goes to who Chaough is as a businessman, when he says, “You need to stop thinking of ‘us versus them.'” Chaough was under the impression, “Now we are on the same team. Now we work together,” so he was surprised and dismayed. I feel like he’s the only one, other than Peggy, who is like, “Why are we fighting?” I don’t feel like he is tempted at all to get rid of people, and this goes back to the difference between Ted and Don. Ted is all about, “The best idea wins.” He turns to Pete and says, “All new business is your business. Who cares who got it?” We’re not putting stars on everyone’s name.

TVLINE | Right — and if Joan stumbles onto the Avon account….
That’s awesome. We should embrace that. It’s money for all of us. We all win.

TVLINE | In an online featurette, Elisabeth Moss says Ted is just “a good guy.” Is that how Matt positioned him to you?
He never put it that way. He was kind of seen as a d–k the first couple of seasons, because again you’re seeing him from Don’s point of view. But as we see him more, in the office, he gives his chair to a secretary, he’s telling Pete, “All business is good business”…. Matt actually had to pull me away from “good guy” and “be a boss” a couple times this year. Like in the scene with Peggy and Joan, “Did you do this?” We’ve seen the good side of Ted, now we have to see him take charge.

TVLINE | Did you lament that Chaough didn’t get hopped up in the “speed” episode?
[Laughs] That was a Catch-22. As an actor, I would have loved to have been in those scenes with those guys. But I would not want to have to play that; playing drunk is hard enough. Those are those things that can go south real quick. But all those actors did an amazing job.MadMen_Season6_Peggy_Tedb

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TVLINE | Lastly, I have two burning questions: Have we seen the end of Ted/Peggy? And what is up with this Bob Benson guy?
I can say nothing on either. But I can say, as a fan of the show, I think everyone will be pleased when they find out what happens with Peggy and Chaough and who the hell is Bob Benson.

TVLINE | In your mind, was that kiss a rare moment of weakness?
I think so. It also was gratitude. It comes out of a moment where he thinks she’s going to call him “nice” again and she calls him “strong.” It was gratitude more than anything else.

TVLINE | And on the Bob Benson issue, did the cast bat around any theories?
Oh yeah, we had bets on that. But I can’t say what those were — it may give away too much!

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  1. lola butters says:


  2. This is the reason why I love Mad Men, because there are no happy endings. No one will be riding off into the sunset together. I hope the Bob mystery will be taunting us til the last episode of the show when he calls Don a Dick, literally and figuratively.

    • AstaIsaacs says:

      When I worked in advertising around the same time (Grey, Benton&Bowles) creative looked like Ted and account people looked like Don. NO ONE in creative wore a suit.

  3. Belle says:

    Desperate Housewives is where I’ve seen this actor before. Of course! I’ve been trying to place him since he showed up on Mad Men. Thanks for solving this mystery!

    • dinosaur! says:

      What is the running total of Mad Men people who have also been on Desperate Housewives? Off the top of my head I have:
      current Bobby
      Joan’s mother
      Joan’s ex-husband

      I can’t believe this season’s almost over already.

      • Holly says:

        Interesting. Never realized how many actors from Desperate Housewives are or have been on Mad Men. Duck, Joan’s mother and current Bobby ( MJ certainly has grown) are the 3 that always come to mind when I see them on MM. I’d forgotten that Roger was on DH but now I remember him with Gabby and Carlos. I always think of him as one of Carrie’s many lovers on Sex and the City.

        • Cynthia says:

          The golden shower !

        • Mary says:

          I always think of him on Senfeld. I don’t remember Roger on DH.

          • TD says:

            He was married to Gaby on Desperate Housewives when she divorced Carlos! He was the mayor of the town or something. He got killed in the tornado–didn’t he get impaled by a picket from a fence or something?

          • Holly says:

            I thought he was dating Gaby when she and Carlos were divorced/separated. He was a politician, I think, like on SATC. He wasn’t the one impaled on the fence. He went for a boat ride with Carlos and Gaby and I’ll leave it there.

          • TD says:

            Checking Wikipedia…”During a tornado, Victor [John Slattery’s character–Victor Lang] finds Carlos in his house. Carlos tells Victor that he and Gabrielle never meant to hurt him, and Victor answers by shooting at him. Carlos escapes and Victor tracks him down. Victor and Carlos fight it out. During the fight, just as Victor is about to kill Carlos with a leadpipe, a flying fencepost impales Victor in the chest, killing him instantly.” He did get knocked off a boat but didn’t die then–“In “You Can’t Judge a Book By Its Cover”, Victor takes Gabrielle out for a boat ride and tells her that he knows everything. Gabrielle knocks Victor off the boat twice (first by herself and then with Carlos help), fearing for her safety. Victor is taken to the hospital, and humiliates Gabrielle by saying, “I remember everything. I think I will rest now. I’m gonna need all my strength.””

  4. ZZZoey says:

    I can’t wait to find out about Bob Benson now!

  5. Mary says:

    I can’t believe I didn’t realize Ted was on Desperate Housewives!

  6. it's only me says:

    One of my favorite moments in S6 is when Ted gives his chair in the overcrowded conference room to his secretary, and he moves back from the table and sits up atop the credenza. Very cool. Ted is the ‘new age’ thinker of SD&P – he’s the first “1970’s” man of the firm, the enlightened thinker of the team. As the women of the firm (Peggy, Joan, etc) rise to prominence, which man of that firm would they want to work with? That makes Ted a very important, and potentially powerful, ad man going forward.

  7. TV Gord says:

    This is the best conversation with a Mad Men cast member I’ve read yet!

    Ted has been my favorite character all season, and I hope he can keep that balance of doing the right thing and being a leader. I doubt Weiner will make things that simple, but that’s also what I love about this show!

    I’m interested in whether anything’s up with Bob Benson, too (I enjoy that we all call him by his full name, as though he’s Charlie Brown or something), but I’m getting more of a hoot out of the wild speculation about secret agendas and conspiracy theories. I know anything is possible from Matthew Weiner, but some of the ideas I’ve read are far too soapy for what I would expect him to do. i guess we’ll all know in a few weeks.

    I hope Rahm is still a part of Mad Men for the final season, and I’m looking forward to seeing the evolution of all of these great, meaty characters as we reach the end of the 60s.

    By the way, I’m not above wild theories myself. It has always been my opinion that “the sixties” didn’t really end at the end of 1969. A lot of that hippie/counter-culture spirit seamlessly moved into the early seventies. My feeling is that “the sixties” ended in late 1971, when Don McLean’s American Pie came out.

    (Comparitively, I remember that the seventies ended precisely on New Year’s Eve 1979. I was watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, and The Village People were on to perform their “new hit”, called Ready For The Eighties! I watched them and thought, yeah, the 70s are over, and they are NOT ready for the 80s. That turned out to be true, because that clunker of a song may have been new, but in no way was it a “hit”! ;-)

    • zigzagzoey says:

      I really like Ted too, and yes ~ Let’s hope they don’t turn him into a jerk! Have a great weekend Gord! ♥

    • it's only me says:

      I agree with your theory – I’m not a big believer that a ‘theme’ or way of life of a decade ends as one decade ends (1959, 1979, etc.) and another (1960, 1970, etc.) begins. I think Mad Men has helped illuminate that theory. The 1950’s really wrapped up in 1963 +/-, and by 1964, there are significant social, political, arts and economic changes that guide the second half of the 1960’s. I lived through the last half that decade [that I can remember] and the first part of the 1970’s as a young boy, and I’ve always felt the impact/culture of the 1960’s ended around the end of 1972. By 1973, the oil embargo, inflation, Watergate, end of the Vietnam draft, end of the Apollo NASA space program, changes in automobile styles/safety, fashion, had really started to ‘pivot’ the nation towards ‘the 1970’s.

      Hence, in my mind, the mod, hip, counterculture, social revolutionary times of the 1960’s that we think of now as the ‘1960’s, ran from around late 1963 to around end of 1972 – about nine years +/-.

    • Grace says:

      I think most people believe the “sixties” started at the JFK assassination and ended with the end of the Vietnam War.

    • Patrick Brooks says:

      Curious..are you TV Gord from Canada?

  8. John says:

    What was the “Satisfying Bob Benson Reveal”? The title of this article is very misleading because we got nothing about Bob Benson.

  9. WHO THE HELL IS BOB BENSON?! Knowing Weiner, he’s just going to be a tamer Pete– ambitious but a nice, normal guy lol. He’s just trying to make us go crazy & spin theories where there are none because we’re not used to someone being a good guy on the show.

  10. JJ says:

    The guy who plays Ted was also on an episode of Friends–he played Monica’s sous chef and dated Phoebe for about a minute. Just happened upon that episode the other day.

    John Slattery also had a big part on a show that I loved called “Homeland” about life after WWII. Great show that ABC cancelled waaayyy before its time.