|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 London household by a very strict and unforgiving father. He married a very proper British wife, Rebecca, with whom he had one 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 never served in combat himself, in his later years he was 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 and he 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-acquired Sterling Cooper, which Lane performed extremely well, despite turmoil at a personal level with the relocation to New York from London and his wife's unhappiness with the move. After the planned sale of Sterling Cooper and PPL to McCann Erickson, Lane learned that he would be unceremoniously transferred to India, with no attention paid to the personal inconvenience, and no recognition of the great job he had performed for the company. Resenting this treatment and not wanting to uproot his family yet again, Lane joined up with the Sterling Cooper senior partners in their scheme to form their own company rather than be absorbed into McCann Erickson. Lane hit upon the great idea of firing 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 awhile 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. He spent a wild night on the town with Don, concluding with a romp with prostitutes in Don' apartment. Later he falls in love with and dates a black woman working as a Playboy Bunny at the Playboy Club, with whom he was extremely happy. This was received poorly by his father, who beat him over the head with his walking stick and demanded he return to London and get his family in order. Lane complied, reconciled with his wife and moved his family to New York City, though his relationship with his wife was distant and formal. He did not confide in her about their financial difficulties or his inner feelings.
Lane continued to chafe at his position in life. He engaged in subterfuge when he found a wallet with a photo of an attractive young woman in it. He called and returned the wallet, but flirted with the woman and stole her photo, keeping it in his wallet until his death. He also engaged in a great deal of longing for his colleague, Joan Harris. While they never became involved romantically, he did play an important role in her life as he advised her that if she were to agree to have sex with a Jaguar representative in exchange for his vote in support of giving SCDP their advertising account, she should ask for a 5% stake in the company rather than cash. This recommendation ended up setting Joan up financially for the rest of her life.
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 an embezzlement that would last only a matter of days when he repaid the amount after receiving his bonus). However, when Don announced there would be no executive bonuses for a fourth year, Lane became financially trapped.
Draper found out about his forged signature on a check he did not write and confronted Pryce. Lane confessed to stealing the money, after which Don fired him but agreed not to turn him into the police or shame him before the rest of his colleagues, and allowed Lane to resign his position. 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 that night tried to commit suicide by gassing himself in the new Jaguar his wife, oblivious to their financial difficulties, had bought for him the same day. After this attempt failed because the Jaguar, notorious for its many mechanical problems, would not start, Lane went to the Madison Avenue office late that night and hanged himself.
The following Monday, Joan was unable to open Lane's office door as something was jamming the door. She realized something was seriously wrong and went to the office of Pete Campbell for assistance, and Pete discovered the body. Joan was greatly upset and blamed herself for not "giving him what he wanted". She and the rest of the office were oblivious about Lane's true motivation of having just been fired by Don Draper after the shame of being caught embezzling money. Don and Roger came in shortly afterwards and were met by the four who had seen Lane's corpse. They let the staff go home for the day (covering up the suicide by saying the floor had a gas leak and the SCDP employees had to evacuate). They left the corpse untouched 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 and cut him down immediately. Lane's death seemed to have emotionally attacked Don in two ways; not anticipating such an outcome and blaming himself, and touching upon his memories of his brother Adam Whitman, who also hanged himself after having been dismissively and cruelly treated by Don.
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. Lane was slated to be sent to India after the merger. 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, the SCDP executives began to collect their client portfolios to convince the clients 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 rewarded SCDP: Lane had been under a "key man" life insurance policy at SCDP. This policy stated that in the event of his death, the company would receive a substantial settlement payment to cover his loss. 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 company thus received a nice settlement after Lane's death. Don, consumed by guilt that manifests in dreams of Adam and in his reluctance to treat a painful toothache, preferring to make himself suffer, he ultimately gives $50,000 of the insurance settlement to Rebecca Pryce to cover Lane's investment in the partnership. ("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".