Mad Men: The Pauses That Refresh

Back for its third season, the sexy, smart Mad Men is still working its silences

Checkered past Betty (Jones) and Don (Hamm) are divided by his secrets.

Before the drama Mad Men could return for its third season, AMC and creator Matthew Weiner had to resolve a conflict over — fittingly for a series set on Madison Avenue — advertising. The network wanted to add two minutes of ads; Weiner didn't want to cut the show. The eventual compromise — each episode will run an hour and two minutes — preserves the show's generous run time, 48 minutes or so sans commercials, compared with 42-ish for most network dramas. And what does Mad Men need the extra time for?

Nothing.

I don't mean that as an...

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