Mad Men (2007–2015)
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Nixon vs. Kennedy 

Election night arrives and the staff of Sterling Cooper has a party while watching the returns. The election is close and it's obviously going to be a long night. Now a senior partner in ... See full summary »

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Lieutenant Donald Draper
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Storyline

Election night arrives and the staff of Sterling Cooper has a party while watching the returns. The election is close and it's obviously going to be a long night. Now a senior partner in the firm, Don Draper must hire a new head of account services, a post that Pete Campbell yearns for. Aware of Draper's secret past, he tries to strong-arm him into giving him the job. With his secret out, Don panics and he asks Rachel Menken to run away with him. Regaining his composure, Don calls Pete's bluff leading to a confrontation with Bert Cooper. Written by garykmcd

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Drama

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TV-14 | See all certifications »
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11 October 2007 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

Ranked #8 in TV Guide's 100 Greatest Epsiodes of All-Time list (2009 update). See more »

Goofs

A song titled "Hot Dog! Here He Comes!" is played during the office party. It is the B-side to a record released by The Tri-Lites in 1963, three years after the time this story takes place. See more »

Connections

References Can-Can (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

Metro Polka
(uncredited)
Written by Vaughn Horton
Performed by Frankie Laine
Played during office party
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User Reviews

 
The truth about Don Draper
28 August 2010 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

Over the course of one season, Mad Men has proved to be particularly good at mixing bits of American history with the characters' private tragedies. This aspect comes to head in the penultimate episode, Nixon vs. Kennedy, which trumps The Hobo Code as the essential chapter of the season for the importance of the major revelation it contains.

As the title suggests, the big event of the episode is Election Night, which the men at Sterling Cooper are watching in the office while throwing a party. Don, now a senior partner, also has to worry about finding a new head of the accounts department, and chooses his old acquaintance Herman "Duck" Phillips (former Desperate Housewives regular Mark Moses) for the job, which Pete Campbell is after as well. Using information he has gathered thanks to a letter he stole from the office, he confronts Don and threatens to blackmail him with a piece of information that is shown to the viewer through flashbacks: a battle in the Korean war which killed one Donald Draper, whose identity was then taken over by one of his soldiers, Dick Whitman.

The Korea flashback is one of the episode's strongest points, using the show's trademark visual flair to frame a couple of scenes that are brutally intense, deliberately clashing with the superficial cool of the '60s. On a narrative level, praise is due for the long awaited final reveal concerning the Dick/Don mystery, the answer proving to be as riveting and thoughtful as all the clues seemed to indicate.

Back in the present, the Nixon/Kennedy "war" is a great way to ground the plot in historic reality, providing ample ground for another conflict, that between Don and Pete, acted out with gusto by Hamm and Kartheiser. Also noteworthy is the addition of Moses to the cast, a cool and charismatic contrast to his creepy Desperate Housewives character. In short, a great foreshadowing of the season finale.


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