‘Mad Men’ Star Jared Harris Explains Lane Pryce’s ‘F— You to the Office’

Why Lane did what he did, the way he did it

Last Updated: June 4, 2012 @ 12:55 PM

(Spoiler alert: Don't read this if you don't want to know what happened on "Mad Men" Sunday.)

"Mad Men" star Jared Harris says his character, Lane Pryce, killed himself in the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce office as a "fuck you" to his colleagues.

On Sunday's episode of the AMC series, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) ordered Pryce to resign after catching him embezzling. Pryce tried to gas himself in his new Jaguar, but it had starter trouble. So he hung himself in his office instead.

Also read: Jaguar's Mixed Emotions About 'Mad Men'

"He was angry and it was an expression of his anger," Harris said in a conference call with reporters Monday. "It was a passive aggressive act. … It was a 'fuck you' to the office, to the people who worked there, particularly to Don.

Harris said the show's creator, Matthew Weiner, told him about his character's impending death after a table read. He realized something was wrong when Weiner invited him to his office for a talk.

"He offered me incredibly expensive brandy, and I knew this wasn't going to go well," Harris said.

Pryce's failure to die in the Jaguar came despite meticulous preparation: He broke his glasses in half, carefully turned a hose from his exhaust pipe inward, and used a towel to keep any gas from escaping. That raised the question of whether Lane has considered suicide before — one Harris said was a good question to consider.

"I see Lane as being a fairly thorough man," he said.

The hanging required Harris to remain completely still, attached to an office door by a harness, with his tongue hanging out. He said he was tempted to break into song to surprise his fellow actors.

"The hardest thing for me was, I just kept wanting to break into that Monty Python song, 'Always Look On the Bright Side of Life,'" he said. "But it would have thrown them off."

Here's the tune: