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Mad Men: 10 Low-Key Villains On The Show

With plenty of flawed characters, including Don Draper, Mad Men was never really a show about heroes and villains. There were times when Don would do something terrible but was also capable of good deeds, and many of the characters were similar in that way. However, some immoral characters on Mad Men seem to get a pass.

RELATED: 10 Low-Key Heroes On Mad Men

These characters might have had smaller roles in the series but did terrible things in their limited time. Others might have seemed like good people only for their true colors to show in dark moments. Though overlooked, they represent clear villains in Mad Men.

10 Ken Cosgrove

Ken Cosgrove seemed like a decent man in comparison to the other young executives. He was talented, professional, and avoided the drama of the office for the most part. In fact, it seemed like Ken was destined for better things outside of the office.

However, just when he seemed poised to leave the advertising business to become a writer, Ken became consumed with revenge when he was fired. He put aside his own happiness to make life harder for Don and the others and ended the show as a petty nuisance rather than the likable guy who was first introduced.

9 Dr. Arnold Wayne

Dr. Arnold Wayne talking on the phone in Mad Men

Mad Men often showed the gender disparity at the time, especially within the marriage of Don and Betty. When Betty began experiencing personal issues, she started seeing a psychiatrist named Dr. Arnold Wayne.

As Betty told Dr. Wayne her intimate secrets and what she was struggling with, he was feeding that information to Don without Betty knowing. While it was not surprising for Don to keep such a vile secret, it was a disgusting betrayal of his client by Dr. Wayne and incredibly unprofessional behavior.

8 Saint John Powell

Saint John Powell talking in a restaurant in Mad Men

Saint John Powell was the kind of person who clearly saw himself as sophisticated while doing sleazy things. He was part of the British company that bought Sterling Cooper at the suggestion of Duck Philips. Regardless of that, Powell swiftly fired Phillips when they take over which was an early sign of his lack of loyalty.

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After Powell sent Lane Pryce to get the company in order, he informed him they were stripping the firm in order to sell it and that, despite Lane’s hard work, he would be sent to India for his next assignment. When the firm’s executives double-crossed him and start a rival firm, Powell received no sympathy.

7 Lee Garner Jr.

Lee Garner Jr. with Pete Campbell in the office in Mad Men

Lucky Strike, the cigarette company, was the firm’s biggest client and thus they all had to put up with the obnoxious Lee Garner Jr. He was a brash and controlling person who seemed to think he was owed whatever he wanted.

Along with disgustingly hitting on all the women at the firm’s Christmas party, Lee also made unwelcome advances on Sal Romano who rejected Lee. Out of embarrassment, Lee demanded Sal be fired and the firm agreed to please their top client. Lee clearly felt no guilt about what damage his selfishness caused.

6 Robert Pryce

Robert, Lane Pryce's father, visits the office in Mad Men

Lane Pryce was introduced in season 3 of Mad Men and quickly became one of its best characters. And as his character was explored further, some very sad aspects became clear, especially with his abusive and controlling father.

Robert Pryce came to visit his son in New York and Lane was very proud to show off his success. However, Robert was only interested in forcing Lane to return to England, beating and humiliating him until he agreed to do so.

5 Harry Crane

Like Ken Cosgrove, Harry Crane began the series as a seemingly good person. He joked around with the others and could be rude, but he showed that he was faithful to his wife which is more than the others could say.

But it seems like Harry’s good behavior was only the result of his insecurities. Once he gained confidence at work, he became the grossest one in the office. From propositioning Megan to acting like he was the office bigshot, Harry Crane was another character corrupted by the business.

4 Abe Drexler

Peggy Olson and Abe Drexler looking surprise in Mad Men

Though Peggy Olson’s transformation on Mad Men was very significant, she continued to choose poorly in her relationships with men. While Abe Drexler was one of her longest relationships, he may have also been the worst.

Though he claimed to really like her, he started out their flirtation by criticizing her work and continued to do so throughout their relationship. He seemed to see himself as superior to her because of his political beliefs and degraded her at every opportunity.

3 Howard Dawes

Pete and Howard smiling together in his house in Mad Men

Given the terrible things Pete Campbell did on Mad Men, it takes a really vile character to make him look good in comparison. Peter met Howard Dawes on the train home from work and the man quickly started bragging about having a wife at home and a girlfriend in the city.

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Peter eventually started an affair of his own with Howard’s wife and developed feelings for her. But later found out Howard had his wife committed to a psychiatric hospital and had her undergo electroshock therapy in a truly evil act.

2 Archie Whitman

Archie with a cigarette in a flashback in Mad Men

Throughout flashbacks in the series, the viewer got a look at Don Draper’s past life when he went by the name Dick Whitman. Many of these flashbacks showed Don’s father, Archie, to be an immoral and selfish jerk.

He showed hatred for his whole family, betrayed his fellow farmers for his own gain, and even cheated a poor traveler out of the money he promised him for his work. Though Archie’s disgraceful behavior might not redeem Don Draper, it certainly explains a lot about him.

1 Herb Rennet

joan slept with herb on mad men

When it comes to making clients happy, the executives at the firm try to go above and beyond. But in the case of Herb Rennet, his request was enough to at least give them pause. The representative of Jaguar requested a night with Joan in exchange for his company’s business.

For Herb to make such an offer is disgusting enough as he saw Joan as an object to be traded. He also didn’t seem to care how Joan obviously didn’t want to do with it which makes him all the more revolting. In the end, Joan used his disgusting proposition to build the career she deserved, but it doesn’t excuse how vile Herb Rennet was.

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