Mad Men


Mad Men, a Drama that takes place in the 1950’s and 1960’s, depicts the lives of several prominent Madison Avenue Advertising Executives which people refer to as “Mad Men.”  The protagonist, Donald Draper, often finds himself in the middle of moral and ethical controversies and dilemmas.  Throughout the show, the audience follows Draper’s life through a war, a divorce, and a major career change.

In a recent episode of Mad Men, Draper discovers that one his colleagues, and friends, has been stealing money from the company and from himself specifically.  Although Draper is extremely wealthy, he feels he can no longer trust the man and makes the decision to fire him.  When the man apologized profusely and explains that he was having legal troubles and was to embarrassed to ask to borrow the money, Draper acted as his character often does, and fired the man irregardless.  Later in the Episode, the man that Draper fired commits suicide.  This act plagues Draper’s conscious for the rest of the season as he searches himself to see if his actions were morally correct.

In the Business world, more often than not, second chances are a thing of mythical legend.  When an employee, even if it is a friend, commits a criminal act against the firm, the employee should be gracious that they are just being fired and not arrested.  For Draper, however, with such serious consequences entailing the situation, he can not determine if his actions were right or wrong.
What duty do you owe a friend who betrays you?  Can Draper blame himself for the outcome?

You can watch the Trailer for the newest Season Below…

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4 thoughts on “Mad Men

  1. Although it’s interesting that the season goes on to follow the effect that the suicide has on Don, I still think that Don had a responsibility to fire the dishonest employee. I think we can relate this situation to a wide range of accounting/corporate fraud that happens today. Fraud like this has a way of snowballing and ultimately leading to huge problems for the business in question. I’m aware that I sound a bit cold by saying that the health of the business is more important than the life of Don’s coworker that was lost, but I believe that there was no one else to blame for the suicide but the guy who committed it.

    On another note – thanks, you’ve inspired me to start watching the show again!

  2. Hands down one of my favorite shows. As you mentioned in your post, Don did the right thing in firing his friend and Lane was lucky he did. Consequences could have been far more severe, whether it would be Lane going to prison or the company facing major penalties. In terms of Don’s ethical dilema, I agree with Valerie one hundred percent. Don had an obligation to his firm. Had he let the situation snowball, more people’s careers would be at stake.

    I don’t think much of the blame can be put on Don, but perhaps some of it can be? If Don was a more vocal and caring friend, he could have told Lane after firing him that he would make some calls and help get him back on his feet. If Don provided Lane with any sense of hope, maybe Lane would have not carried out his suicide. However, those of us who watch the show know that Don isn’t the warm and fuzzy type, so a theoretical move to comfort Lane might have been unrealistic.

  3. Another awesome show I haven’t had the chance to delve into yet. I think the episode you referenced in particular highlights the deontological way of ethical thinking. To whom does Draper owe a duty? Does his duty to his friend disappear when he is wronged? Draper clearly could not have predicted the actions of his friend, but I would be interested to see how he handled a similar situation if it were to arise again later in the show.

  4. Pingback: First Annual BGS Blog Olympics | Business, Society, and Government 4

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