Donald Draper, the main character in the award-winning AMC television drama Mad Men, will almost certainly be diagnosed with lung cancer before the end of the sixth season, the vast majority of the show’s over three million member audience speculated today.
Draper, the mercurial creative director and partner at fictitious Madison Avenue advertising agency Sterling, Cooper & Partners in the late 1960’s, is a heavy cigarette smoker who has recently been shown exhibiting an unhealthy cough in several recent episodes.
Although a small minority of viewers have cited the respiratory distress as classic “Mad Men-style” misdirection, most fans familiar with the show’s narrative voice indicated that the coughing behavior, in each instance plausibly explained by illness, coincidence, or last night’s drug-fueled near-drowning, foreshadows a final, agonizing storyline for Draper to be played out over the show’s seventh and final season.
Mad Men aficionados further surmised that the often-tormented character, faced with his own impending mortality, will at last come to grips with his all-consuming personal demons. He is expected to spend his remaining days or years in the fictional world mending his wounded relationships with family, colleagues, friends, ex-mistresses, casual acquaintances and strangers, in a long-awaited redemptive arc for the often unlikable non-person, who is portrayed by actor Jon Hamm.
At press time, the program’s millions of devotees wanted to reassure Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, formerly a writer and executive producer of the Sopranos, that their speculations were simply personal theories and not based on any insider information regarding the show’s production, so there was no need for trouble and certainly no need for anyone to be “whacked”.