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Mystery Date
Season 5 Episode 4
Air date 8 April 2012
Written by Victor Levin
Matthew Weiner
Directed by Mark Shakman

Tea Leaves
Signal 30


Don runs into someone from his past. Joan makes a decision, and Roger gives Peggy extra work.


It's July of 1966. Joyce Ramsay walks into SCDP with graphic photos of the recently committed murders of eight nurses in Chicago. There were nine possible victims, with one woman hiding under the bed until the murderer left. Michael reacts in disgust to the other employees' fascination with the murder photos.

Don, on the elevator to SCDP's offices with Megan, is coughing profusely, sweaty, and feverish. A flirty old lover, Andrea Rhodes, walks into the elevator and starts to home in on Don before Don introduces Megan as his wife. Don tries to assuage a slightly perturbed Megan, who is upset over how many of Don's old flames they have been running into in Manhattan.

Don works with new Michael and Ken on the pitch to Topaz. Michael goes rogue during the presentation and ends up pitching a commercial based on Cinderella. Don is enraged and admonishes Michael for the act. Afterwards, Don returns home early to an empty house and collapses on his bed in a weakened state.

Don during a fever dream, in Mystery Date.

Don awakens to a knock on the door. It's Andrea, still in her tight yellow dress from earlier in the day. Don orders her to leave immediately and forces her to go out through the apartment's service elevator to avoid the possibility of Megan seeing her. After Don returns to bed, Andrea walks into his home again, having worked the doorman. She seduces Don and the two end up having sex in his bed. In a post-coitus moment, Andrea declares to Don that he will continue making love to her. He has no choice. Don flies off the handle and

becomes involved in a struggle with her. He chokes her until she stops breathing. He jumps off of her after her death and kicks her under the bed. He climbs back onto his bed to see her one shoe visible under the bed, recalling both the visual of Michael's Cinderella pitch and the lone survivor from the Richard Speck murders. Don awakens the next day to realize that he was having a fever dream. He says nothing of his vision to Megan.

Sally under the couch, Mystery Date.

Sally's step-grandmother, Pauline, is babysitting Sally while Betty and Henry are out of town. Sally overhears Pauline having a telephone conversation about the murders in Chicago. After stealing a newspaper out of the garbage and reading about the murder, Sally becomes frightened and unable to sleep. Pauline comforts Sally by suggesting that the nurses asked for their fate for presumed lasciviousness. Pauline takes out a butcher knife, intending to use it for protection, and shares a Seconal sleeping pill with Sally. Betty and Henry return home the next day to find Pauline knocked out while holding the butcher knife. Sally is asleep underneath the couch, once again recalling the visual of the Speck survivor.

(From upper left) Greg coming home, Greg telling Joan about the Army, Joan's revelation and Joan asking Greg to leave, in Mystery Date.

Peggy trying to overcome racial tension in the company of Dawn, in Mystery Date.

Roger gives Peggy an exorbitant amount of extra cash to devise a new Mohawk Airlines campaign over the weekend in an attempt to one-up Pete. While working later, Peggy discovers Dawn sleeping in Don's office. Peggy offers Dawn a spot on her couch, as Dawn worries about returning to her home in Harlem due to racial tension in the area. Peggy and Dawn drink beers at Peggy's apartment, while Peggy reveals insecurity over whether she "acts like a man" or not. While leaving her apartment's living room, Peggy has an awkward moment with Dawn when Peggy realizes that her purse (with all of Roger's money inside) is alone on the table next to Dawn. Peggy cleans up and leaves the purse next to Dawn. Peggy wakes up the next morning to find an apology message from Dawn for inconveniencing Peggy. Peggy sighs over her possible offense to Dawn.

Joan faced with raising Kevin alone, in Mystery Date.

Joan's husband Greg returns home from the Vietnam War after a year of service, greeting their new baby boy, and spending an afternoon with Joan in bed. Afterwards, Greg breaks bad news to Joan: he is being shipped back to Vietnam again for another year. Joan complains about the government's lies, but Greg backs up his duty to the country. During a dinner at a fancy restaurant with Joan and Greg's parents, Greg's mother reveals that he actually volunteered to go back, sending Joan into a rage. The next morning, Joan is still in absolute horror that Greg would abandon his duties as a father to head back to war where he "feels like a good man". Joan angrily tells him to leave. Through her teeth, she proclaims that he was "never a good man", remembering the time he raped her in Don's office. (The Mountain King)

Greg leaves and Joan spends the night lying awake next to her sleeping mother and child.


  • This episode takes place in late July of 1966, featuring the Richard Speck murders that took place in Chicago.
  • Jack Benny was a then famous comedian, who had a running joke about always being the same age, 40 years old minus 1.
  • The "brownie" Greg tells Gail to get in the scene with them and Joan refers to the Brownie, which is a Kodak camera.
  • Don drinking brown water from the faucet is a nod to the 60s to the mid-90s, where the New York City water had a strange color/odor because it came through old pipes.
  • While Jay R. Ferguson was shooting the scene with Roger, Stan, and Peggy, the production crew played a prank on him. Instead of having John Slattery say the first line in the scene, they had John Travolta say it, since he was shooting something on a stage nearby. In the season 5 commentary track, Jay R. Ferguson says he was "ready to do the whole scene with him, but he only knew the first line."
  • Ruth Harris's story about being kicked by her father for no reason originates from Frank Pierson, a writer who worked on the show. His mother used to tell this story to him about her father. After Frank told the writers the story, Matthew Weiner was, in his own words, "blown away by the sheer agony of it". He asked Frank if he could have the story for the show, and Frank said: "make it yours, I don't want it anymore."
  • The accordionist that comes in at the end of the dinner scene with Joan and Greg is actually friends with Christina Hendricks's accordion teacher in real life.
  • The Lincoln Center gets mentioned in Don's dream. The last of its buildings, the Metropolitan House Opera, was about to open in September 1966.
  • Maybe helped by alcohol and her higher status in the company than Dawn's, Peggy Olson distances herself from her self-effacing ways, and likens herself to the North Dakota girl become Hollywood star in the 1937 movie "A Star Is Born".
  • The footage of Don returning to bed after kicking Andrea out of the apartment was actually reverse footage of Don getting out of bed only minutes before.


Main Star

Guest Star


  • Stephanie Drake as Meredith
  • S.E. Perry as Poul Harris
  • Matt Biedel as Lewis Porter
  • Zac Goodspeed as Soldier
  • Nicholas Cutro as Waiter


Joan: "I've been thinking about it and, I want you to go."
Gail: "I'll put this away."
Greg: "I'm glad you came around, it's only a year."
Joan: "No, I want you to go and never come back."
Greg: "Damn it Joanie. They need me."
Joan: "Well then it works out, because we don't."
Greg: "I'm very important there. I have twenty docs and medics who rely on me. They look to me for my skill and leadership."
Joan: "I'm glad the Army makes you feel like a man, because I'm sick of trying to do it."
Greg: "The Army makes me feel like a good man."
Joan: "You're not a good man. You never were; even before we were married and you know what I'm talking about."
Greg: "If I walk out that door, that's it."
Joan: "That's it."
--Greg choosing Army duty over family in "Mystery Date".

Seasons of Mad Men
Season 1 • "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" • "Ladies Room" • "Marriage of Figaro" • "New Amsterdam" • "5G" • "Babylon" • "Red in the Face" • "The Hobo Code" • "Shoot" • "Long Weekend" • "Indian Summer" • "Nixon vs. Kennedy" • "The Wheel" •
Season 2 • "For Those Who Think Young" • "Flight 1" • "The Benefactor" • "Three Sundays" • "The New Girl" • "Maidenform" • "The Gold Violin" • "A Night to Remember" • "Six Month Leave" • "The Inheritance" • "The Jet Set" • "The Mountain King" • "Meditations in an Emergency" •
Season 3 • "Out of Town" • "Love Among the Ruins" • "My Old Kentucky Home" • "The Arrangements" • "The Fog" • "Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency" • "Seven Twenty Three" • "Souvenir" • "Wee Small Hours" • "The Color Blue" • "The Gypsy and the Hobo" • "The Grown-Ups" • "Shut the Door. Have a Seat" •
Season 4 • "Public Relations" • "Christmas Comes But Once a Year" • "The Good News" • "The Rejected" • "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword" • "Waldorf Stories" • "The Suitcase" • "The Summer Man" • "The Beautiful Girls" • "Hands and Knees" • "Chinese Wall" • "Blowing Smoke" • "Tomorrowland" •
Season 5 • "A Little Kiss, Part 1" • "A Little Kiss, Part 2" • "Tea Leaves" • "Mystery Date" • "Signal 30" • "Far Away Places" • "At the Codfish Ball" • "Lady Lazarus" • "Dark Shadows" • "Christmas Waltz" • "The Other Woman" • "Commissions and Fees" • "The Phantom" •
Season 6 • "The Doorway, Part 1" • "The Doorway, Part 2" • "The Collaborators" • "To Have and To Hold" • "The Flood" • "For Immediate Release" • "Man With a Plan" • "The Crash" • "The Better Half" • "A Tale of Two Cities" • "Favors" • "The Quality of Mercy" • "In Care Of" •
Season 7 • "Time Zones" • "A Day's Work" • "Field Trip" • "The Monolith" • "The Runaways" • "The Strategy" • "Waterloo" • "Severance" • "New Business" • "The Forecast" • "Time & Life" • "Lost Horizon" • "The Milk and Honey Route" • "Person to Person" •