5 Questions with 'Mad Men' Star Kevin Rahm

By JARETT WIESELMAN

May 10, 2013

For Immediate Release, last week's episode of Mad Men, saw Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce join forces with CGC, which not only brought Peggy back into Don's world, but means Ted Chaough is the latest recurring Mad man to get called up to the big leagues after kicking around for multiple seasons.

And while actor Kevin Rahm has been thrilled to simply get an at-bat every so often, finding out his character would become a full-fledged team member for the remainder of season six is a dream come true, he tells me. Although since this is spoiler-phobic Mad Men we're talking about, that's pretty much all he could tell me.

ETonline: What was your reaction to finding out Ted would be joining forces with Don?
Kevin Rahm: I did a little dance. When they had me join the show on a more regular basis this year, Matt told me there were great things coming. I mean, I was just happy to be a part of the show and if you talk to a lot of actors in town, they would do anything just to be someone on the show because the work is so good. But in the first four or five episodes, it wasn't exactly what I thought he meant. Then I read [last week's episode] and, as a fan, just kept thinking, "Holy sh*t, this is awesome." Then I was even more excited for what it meant for my character. I mean, I had more to do in this episode than the previous four: I found out my partner had cancer, made a move on Peggy, went toe-to-toe with Don and decided to merge. I was just giddy.

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ETonline: Yes, let's talk about that kiss. From your perspective, what made Ted do that?
Rahm: He was in a dark place. The company was in trouble, his best friend/partner/confidant is going to die of cancer. I mean, in the 60s the prognosis was never good. And then here was someone he assumed understood him. I mean, people see Ted as nice, which I relate to on a personal level because I was always the nice guy. But when people call you that, especially in a business-context, it's almost a put-down. It's like pandering or being condescending. But just because I treat people with respect, it doesn't mean I'm a pushover. So when Peggy calls him strong, there's such a thankfulness because she sees him in a way so few do. I think the kiss almost came out of that gratitude.

ETonline: It was interesting that although she was thrown at first, by the end of the episode, Peggy was kind of embracing the idea of being with Ted.
Rahm: I would hope so. As a fan of the show, I think that Peggy is someone who hasn't been appreciated by her boss. But it's a little bit like the drunk dad syndrome -- he smacks you around a bit, but then gives you some candy and says I love you. Then he smacks you around again. To have a boss that's kind and gives her the respect she deserves, I think she's drawn to that. Interestingly I don't remember Peggy checking her makeup before coming into the office when I read the original script. I could be wrong, but I think [Elisabeth Moss] found that moment in shooting.

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ETonline: What's interesting though is that by teaming up with Don, Ted is actually bringing that very person back into Peggy's life and potentially shooting himself in the foot when it comes to her affections.
Rahm: Absolutely. Obviously Ted had no idea to the depths which their relationship goes. Their relationship is complicated. One of my favorite scenes last year was when he wouldn't let go of her hand when she was leaving. Such a beautiful moment. Their relationship is complicated, so it could shoot Ted in the foot -- or, being in that proximity could make him shine even brighter.

ETonline: I know this can be tough with Mad Men, but what can you tease about Sunday's episode? How does everyone take to the merger news?
Rahm: Everyone's excited. You don't make that decision and immediately start to fret about it. And they got Chevy! That's huge, a game changer -- so everyone has to start with optimism. I mean, this is the best news any of them have had in a while and it's financially good for both companies. Obviously they needed to do this in order to stop bigger companies from railroading them, but these guys have a hard time just working with each other! So, it's going to be rough. That transition won't be easy. It's just not possible.

Mad Men airs Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC.



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