'Mad Men' fans were shocked this past Sunday during "Commissions and Fees" when a fan-favorite character made a decidedly permanent exit from the series, but equally surprised the week prior when yet another major character made what seemed to be a very surprising business decision.  Now, one is saying the other's exit was more permanent than we realize, so where should we separate truth from fiction?

Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is having something of a rough couple of weeks.  Not only did their financial officer Lane Pryce - SPOILER ALERT - hang himself in his office last Sunday, but the Sunday prior episode "The Other Woman" saw the departure of one Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) who'd been with 'Mad Men' since the very first episode.  Of course, 'Mad Men' creator Matthew Weiner wasn't intending Peggy's departure to mean Elisabeth Moss was leaving the show altogether, right?  Right?

According to Lane Pryce himself, actor Jared Harris, Elisabeth Moss's recent absence from the show in the wake of her character's resignation is a lot more permanent than we expected.  Speaking on his own character demise in an interview with The Daily, Harris said:

Actors are always ending jobs. It isn’t a big deal in that sense. Also other people had left the show that had been there since the beginning. Elisabeth [Moss] left the episode before and she’d been there since the beginning. Michael Gladis (Paul Kinsey) left in season three [though reappeared for one episode this season]… Bryan Batt. People leave and it’s just part of it. They didn’t make a giant fuss.

When questioned however if Moss' departure was in fact permanent as with the others, Harris responded, "Um... I have no idea what Matthew Weiner intends to do and even then I couldn’t tell you."  It would seem unlikely for Elisabeth Moss to have abruptly ended here role on the series, ostensibly the main lead character opposite Don Draper (Jon Hamm), so it's probable that Harris simply wasn't using his words carefully.

Either way, next week's season 5 finale "The Phantom" should provide a clearer idea of whether or not we'll see Peggy Olson in the future.

What say you?  Could Peggy really be gone, and would 'Mad Men' survive without her?  Tell us your theories in the comments below!

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