One aspect that certainly helped make Mad Men such a popular show was its characters. The individuals who made up this world were complex people who defied clichés and made interesting decisions. And while fans followed characters like Don Draper and Peggy Olsen from the beginning, there were some great characters who didn’t come until later.
It can sometimes be difficult for new characters to make an impression on an established show, but these later arrivals to Mad Men found their place in the story. Whether they remained until the end or had briefer times on the series, they were welcome additions.
10 Miss Blankenship
Usually, Mad Men attempts to give even the smaller recurring characters enough details to make them seem real. In the case of Miss Blankenship, she was pure comedic relief, lightening the otherwise serious tone of the show, which was all that was really needed from her character.
Rarely seen away from her desk as Don’s elderly secretary in season 4, Miss Blankenship was slow-moving and unfiltered in the position. She had so many biting remarks and hilariously cranky one-liners; even her death was a comedic highlight on the show.
9 Megan Calvet
There are plenty of fans who would argue that Megan is not one of the best characters on the show. However, she was stepping into a very tricky role yet managed to establish herself as her own character, right from her introduction as season 4.
Megan started out as Don’s dedicated and caring secretary before the two developed a romantic relationship. Making a new character such an important part of Don’s story was risky, but Megan was not a Betty Draper clone. She was a young and passionate woman with her own flaws. She also exposed new sides of Don that were fascinating to see.
8 Beth Dawes
Beth Dawes provided an interesting and short storyline in season 5 while also becoming one of the most tragic characters on the show. Her affair with Pete Campbell was just a jumping-off point to explore how she was a woman who felt trapped in her role as a housewife.
While her sad point of view was probably something silently felt by many women at the time, her outcome was shocking and deeply disturbing. It was also quite surprising to see Pete’s reaction to it, showing that he did develop something for Beth despite their limited time together.
7 Michael Ginsberg
At times it can feel like the offices of Sterling Cooper automatically transform its men into hard-drinking and sexist clones of each other. That’s why Michael Ginsberg was a refreshing change in season 5 as he went against that pattern of men.
Ginsberg could be blunt and even rude at times, but not in the crude way the other men were. He was as creative and as brilliant at his job as Don, though didn’t get the same respect. Ginsberg’s exit was incredibly disturbing, but he was such a refreshing personality during his time on the show.
6 Faye Miller
Faye Miller could very well have been yet another one of Don’s romantic interests who comes and goes very quickly, but she managed to be more than that. Right away, she proved herself to be a match for Don in season 4; she was someone who would challenge him.
Looking at who Don really is, Faye seems like she might have been the most compatible of his many partners. She was inspiring in her time on the show, standing firm by her decision to choose her career over being a wife and mother as everyone expected from her.
5 Bob Benson
The fact that Don Draper is not the man he says he is and is actually hiding a mysterious past was a big part of the show. However, it turns out there was someone else in the series with a similar story.
Introduced in season 6, Bob Benson also operated under a fake name and had a lot of question marks in his backstory. However, he took a very different approach than Don, attempting to please everyone and be overly friendly. It’s a shame there was not more done to explore Bob as a character, but he did make for a funny and intriguing addition.
4 Dawn Chambers
Diversity was sorely lacking in Mad Men, and though it wasn’t enough, it was a welcomed change of pace when Dawn was introduced in season 5. At first, Dawn seemed like she was added as a joke as she was Don’s secretary which caused confusion because of their similar-sounding names.
Thankfully, the show began to explore her character in more in-depth ways over time. She was aware there were different expectations for her in the office but was not afraid to stand up for herself. It was also interesting to see Dawn’s view of the show’s main characters and reveal their own ugly prejudices.
3 Stan Rizzo
It was very easy to dislike Stan Rizzo when viewers first met him in season 4. Like many of the other men in the office, he was rude, obnoxious, and crass, especially to Peggy. But there was also something entertaining about Stan’s buffoonish persona and his funny one-liners.
Though she hated him at first, Peggy’s opinion changed over the course of Mad Men and she developed a bond with Stan. They share long phone conversations and talk about personal struggles. In these moments, Stan becomes more than comic relief and becomes charming. By the time he admitted his love to Peggy in the finale, he was actually a likable character.
2 Anna Draper
When Anna Draper joined the story in season 2, she was immediately compelling because of how much she helped reveal about Don Draper. Don’s darkest secret about his past was something he didn’t have to hide from Anna and that allowed for an intimacy in their relationship.
Anna was one of the few people on the show who was a genuinely good person. She was kind and open, allowing Don to show vulnerability he never showed anyone else. Though she only appeared in a handful of episodes, her impact was certainly felt.
1 Lane Pryce
When Lane Pryce was first introduced in season 3, there wasn’t a lot to get excited about. He seemed like a by-the-book professional who wouldn’t really fit into this more relaxed world. But over time he found himself finding purpose in this new position.
Lane had a number of standout moments, such as helping Don and the others start a new firm and, of course, when he punched Pete in the face. But it was his downfall that made for one of the most heartbreaking storylines on the show and the end to a great character.