|Portrayed by||Jared Harris|
|First appearance||Out of Town|
|Final appearance||Commissions and Fees|
|Employer|| Puttnam, Powell, and Lowe (former) |
Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency (former)
|Occupation|| Founding and Senior Partner and Financial Chief of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (former) |
Financial Chief of Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency for Puttnam, Powell, and Lowe (former)
New York City
Lane was raised in a strict London household (mostly under his father). In his adult years, he met the girl of his dreams, named Rebecca, and eventually married her. She later gave birth to their son. During World War 2, Lane joined the British Army, where he was given a job as a supply officer, and was responsible for ensuring rapid resupply of deployed forces. Although Lane was never deployed himself, in his later years he would be thanked when meeting a fellow Englishman who was a combat veteran, remarking to Lane that his work helped ensured British victory in that war and that no matter which job a soldier had; "England expects every man to do his duty".
After World War 2, Lane's military career ended, he then went to accounting school. He later landed a job at Puttnam, Powell, and Lowe, where he eventually became their go-to man for handling recent mergers and takeovers. PPL later assigned him to the United States to oversee financial operations at the newly-aquired Sterling Cooper. After the planned sale of Sterling Cooper and PPL to McCann Ericson, Lane learned that he would be reassigned to India. Not wanting to uproot his family yet again, Lane offered to fire Bert Cooper, Don Draper, and Roger Sterling in exchange for a partnership in their new firm; this would release them to form a new firm without breaching their respective PPL contracts. This act subsequently led to him being fired by Saint John Powell (which he cheerfully accepted). The four men struggled for a while afterwards to make their new firm, Sterling Cooper Draper & Pryce, successful. Lane invested in SCDP heavily and was a partner.
Although Lane was more disciplined than his SCDP partners and less inclined to the "fast life"; he did succumb to temptation. During a point when his marriage was rocky, Lane separated from his wife and started dating a black woman who worked as a "bunny waitress" at the Playboy Club. This went poorly with his father, who demanded he man up by returning to London and getting his family in order. After Lane complied, he eventually returned to New York City; with his family life back in joint, he could get his business affairs back on track.
Although Lane was a good partner in SCDP, his financial status did not reflect his success: he eventually amassed a large amount of debt due to the combination of no bonuses for 3 years, steep living expenses, and England's high tax rates. A better fiscal year for SCDP showed promise of a long awaited bonus, so Lane tried to repay his debts and make ends meet by forging Don's signature on a business check (hoping to cover his embezzlement when he received his bonus). However, when Don announced there would be no executive bonuses for a fourth year, Lane was stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Draper found out about his forged signature mysteriously appearing on checks he did not remember cutting and asked Pryce about it. Lane said many checks were cut in the course of the business, and Don cut to the chase, saying "I am giving you a chance to come clean". When Lane confessed to stealing the money, Don fired him. However, Don sought to steer clear of the publicity of an outright termination of employment and the ruckus that was sure to come with an embezzlement, and said this could be handled without getting law enforcement involved. Don assured Lane he could make a fresh start in England, and said that Lane would have until next Monday to make "an elegant exit".
Lane took the confrontation badly and shortly thereafter tried to commit suicide by gassing himself in the new Jaguar his wife had bought for him the same day. After this attempt failed because the "lemon" Jaguar wouldn't start, Lane went to the Madison Avenue office at night and hanged himself.
The following Monday, Joan assumed her duties by delivering the mail, but could not get into Lane's office as something was jamming the door. When she noticed a yellowish gunk on the floor shown by the small part of the ajar door, she went to the office of Pete Campbell and suggested something was wrong. Pete, who had been chitchatting with two other men prior to this, stood atop the furniture to peep into the window of Lane's office, which was adjacent to his. They immediately realized what had happened, and Joan was beside herself with grief. Don and Roger came in shortly afterwards, and were met by the four who had seen Lane's corpse and cancelled work (covering up the suicide by saying the floor had a gas leak and the SCDP employees had to evacuate). They left the corpse as is as the police said not to touch anything in the office as it was a crime scene. Don, visibly upset that the others had left Lane's corpse hanging, insisted that they cut him down immediately. Lane's death seemed to have emotionally attacked in two ways; not anticipating such an outcome and refreshing memories of his brother Adam Whitman, who also ended his life in that manner.
The only message that Lane left behind was a boilerplate letter of resignation. No one other than Don knew what had happened and Don didn't tell anyone about the words that he'd had with Lane before his suicide.
When Puttnam, Powell, and Lowe purchased Sterling Cooper, Lane was sent to be PPL's financial officer in New York City.
A New Company
Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce was formed in December 1963 when it became clear that McCann Erickson was going to purchase Puttnam, Powell, and Lowe. After the merger would occur, Lane was slated to be sent to India. Lane was convinced to free Don Draper, Bertram Cooper, and Roger Sterling from their employment contracts to start a new advertising agency after being promised a partnership in the new firm.
After being fired, they began to collect their client portfolios to convince the companies to move to their new firm. They were able to convince Pete Campbell, Peggy Olson, Harry Crane, and Joan Holloway to join the new firm. ("Shut the Door. Have a Seat")
After Don discovered that Lane had been both embezzling from the company and forging Don's signature, Lane was forced to resign. With no idea what to tell his family or what he would do afterward, Lane hanged himself in his office and left a boilerplate letter of resignation for some of the senior staff to find.
Ironically, Lane's death cost SCDP far more than the embezzled money: besides the loss of a skilled partner, Lane had been under a "key man" life insurance policy at SCDP. This policy stated that in the event of his death, his next of kin would receive a substantial settlement payment to cover his lost wages. The policy did not stipulate that certain causes of death (e.g., suicide) would void coverage. As Lane was declared legally dead prior to Don's Monday deadline to resign, it meant he died while technically employed at SCDP. The firm had seven years to make annuity payments before it would result in legal action. Rather than face legal battles on an already questionable issue, Don elected to make full payment to Rebecca Pryce. ("Commissions and Fees")
Joan Holloway: "Were you celebrating with Don?"
Lane Pryce: "Celebrating?"
Joan: "Scarlett told me about your four a's chairmanship. Congratulations."
Lane: "Are you busy?"
Joan: "I'm thinking about taking a vacation this Easter."
Lane: "Oh. Where are we going?"
Joan: "Do you think there's a difference between Bermuda and Hawaii?"
Lane: "Well, neither are suitable for commemorating the death and resurrection of Our Lord."
Joan: "Can you imagine me, locked in a hotel room with a baby and my mother?"
Lane: "I suppose you'd rather I imagined you bouncing in the sand in some obscene bikini."
Joan: "I think you should take your party elsewhere."
--An inappropriate comment lands Lane Pryce in hot water with Joan Holloway in "Commissions and Fees".
"Hayo wacha kaza waka.... monstaaaaa!!"
--A drunk Lane taunting an irritated fellow cinema patron while watching "Gamera".