Dammit, Salvtore won't be back

 Posted by on January 27, 2010 at 2:10 pm  Actors & Crew, Season 4
Jan 272010

Sorry folks, it’s bringing me down as well. Bryan announced today at Broadway.com.

And sorry also to the spirgins, but being as he announced it very publicly, I don’t consider this the kind of spoiler we can avoid.

With the way things ended last season, I really had hopes that of all of them, it was Bryan’s character that had the most potential to return. My thinking was that with his career path, he had the most potential to show up in other capacities (commercial director, head of a small shop, client…), and that his storyline was important to continue. But I also understand that not continuing his storyline also speaks volumes.

Still, it’s bumming me out. We love you Bryan, we love you Salvatore.

(and we love you Kitty!)


  62 Responses to “Dammit, Salvtore won't be back”

  1. *sad face*

    I got my beautiful calendar yesterday, which provided a *happy face*, but this is sad news.

  2. Oh Jules, good! Get in a day or two of January–sorry for the delay.

    And I know. Considering our winner and all, this is especially sad.

  3. Much as I love the character, his wife and his story line, in a way I'm happy about this. The description of S3's last episode as "fanfic" has haunted me since I first read it, and this takes us back from that edge. The best, truest shows appear to be run by people who don't give a crap what the viewers think. Nobody wanted [someone from some other show that's a spoiler] to die, but it was right that they did.

  4. BIG THE WIRE SPOILER Yeah, but they kept [someone] alive until the end of the series.

    I'm really sad about Sal. I'm hoping they'll come up with more interesting characters, including gay ones, but Sal was so great. I'll miss him!

    btw, Lipp sisters, have you seen The Wire yet? Because it's the best show in the history of ever. Really.

  5. What can you say? He'll be greatly missed.

  6. Salvatore was a wonderful character, but they really had taken him just about as far as they could. Letting him go a little early is far better than stretching the story-line past the point of being plausible.

  7. I hope they include some gay storyline/character in the future.

  8. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

  9. Nooo! That's a bummer, but it fits logically. I'm sorry to see him go, he was one of my favorites. Hell, they're all my favorites!

  10. @6 Donny Brook BIG THE WIRE SPOILER Yeah, but they kept [someone] alive until the end of the series.

    ANOTHER BIG WIRE SPOILER… In their defense DB, it was a pretty gutsy move to wack [someone else] when they did. At the time, he was arguably one of the most popular characters on the show.

    BTW, The Wire never seemed to jump the shark.

  11. To Brian Batt (if you ever read this): I just loved your part on the show, and I thought you brought so much dignity and emotional depth to it. I'm sorry to see you go, but it does make sense for the storyline. Not everything in life has a happy ending. I'll watch for you elsewhere. All the best from a big fan.


    And ditto on all the comments about The Wire. I JUST finished watching the whole 5-season set, and I'm glad I didn't see these spoilers! I didn't even read the character profiles on HBO because I was afraid too many details about the plot would be revealed before I watched the eps. Brilliant writing and acting, and they sure didn't pull any punches! Definitely worthwhile viewing while we wait for S4 of MM.

  12. GIANT WIRE SPOILERS AND DON'T YOU DARE READ THEM UNLESS YOU'VE SEEN IT. Ditto D and *sob* I can't even say it but you know the big one from season 1. (Just did a rewatch and man, I hated Bodie & Poot then. And Stringer, ftm.)

    The Wire never jumped the shark, but it did stretch credulity with the shenanigans McNulty & Lester pulled in S5.

  13. @4; DB–nope, neither one of us has, but it is definitely on my list. My bestest friend has told me the same thing, and I believe him.

  14. Oh, I forgot to add that a bubble mailer with the words "Kisses! Roberta" written on the upper left corner arrived this afternoon. Inside was a long-sleeved white t-shirt with the MadMen logo printed on the upper right side of the front of the shirt and the AMC logo printed just below the collar of the back of the shirt. Very nice. Thank you, Roberta. 🙂

  15. #13 What in the world are you waiting for? Who cares about all those awards? The Wire never won a damn award, they're totally bogus.

    I suggest you set aside some time cuz you're gonna be hooked by episode 4.

  16. Oh yeah, The Wire is definitely one of the best shows ever on t.v. Top 2-3 shows ever. Flawed characters that you'll love.

    I worked for Comcast and when S5 came back on, HBO had "Snoop" and "Bubbles" go on a promo junket and they came to our office. I was *so* excited!! I had my picture taken with them, and Snoop looks just like her character (which from what I've read wasn't a big stretch for her to play, maybe she didn't kill people but the actress was def from the streets) and was a little disappointed to find "Bubbles" neatly dressed with a good complexion and all his teeth. LOL He was quite nice looking. I hate that I can't come up with either actors' name right now, but what the heck. I just smiled, shook his hand and said "Damn! Bubbles cleans up pretty good." LOL Bubbles, Omar, and "McNutty" were my favorites on the show, but I really loved almost every single character, good and bad.

  17. Jules, the actors names were Andre Royo and Felicia Pearson. (which is also the character Snoop's given name, had to look that one up to be sure)

    On one hand I'm sad to see Sal not returning, but on the other, it's a good sign when a tv show is willing to remove a popular character when the time is right in the story, and not just keep a character going forever because they're a fan favorite. The Wire did that almost every season (PARENTHETICAL SPOILER – the only character I wasn't too torn up about was [someone else] in season 2, and I think that was kind of the point of the character. Oh, and [X] in season 5, even though I love the shit out of [xyz], he had to go for what he did to [abc]), and it seems like Mad Men is on track to do the same.

  18. I guess the ones left behind at the British office might be out too, Ken and Paul. Sepinwall said last season that only Jon, Elisabeth, January have contracts for the show's duration.

  19. This is a huge shame. 🙁 Bryan was wonderful on the show.

  20. Actually, the same article implies that Aaron Staton and January Jones have renewed contracts for season 4. No word about Michael Gladis, though.

  21. Too bad, Salvatore was such a great character, so well played by Bryan. Best of luck to you on your future roles. Whoever casts you is getting a true gem.

  22. My first reaction to this is "WAAAAAAAH!" but, I am in complete agreement with gypsy howell (#11). Bryan, you were wonderful on the show and you should have received a nomination for Sal at some point in these past 3 seasons! (Hey, there's still the Emmys in September!) You will be greatly missed, but I know you will have continued success in all you do! Good Luck, and here's hoping that you may get an occasional guest spot back on MM, just so we can see what happened to Sal!!!

    Sadly, if Sal is gone, then Kitty is gone too! 🙁

  23. This is terrible news! I felt like they had just started exploring Sal's story this season — and now he's going to be gone? What an awful decision on Weiner's part. I am really angry!

  24. Ooh, but we get Ken back!? Cool. Ken + Peggy FTW.

  25. This is disappointing news. I’m another one who loved the character and the actor and will miss him on the show.

  26. (channeling Bert Peterson)

    "GOOD LUCK, everybody! GOOD LUCK!"

    (trashing my house)

    Really. Not. FAIR.

    I mean, I was a Wire watcher myself, and after a while, I understood. People did get whacked. It was a little like The Sopranos in that way — only more so.

    I do not entirely understand this.

    From the first episode, I felt that Bryan was essential to Mad Men's depth and breadth. I was just watching the latest episode of Big Love, and they just jumped right into a sexual relationship between one of the male characters and another man. It's good stuff.

    So I'm watching this, and I realize that it's why I'm watching: so that I can later compare how the two shows handled the same situation. Now I'm thinking I won't get that chance.

    Which BLOWS. 🙁

    Off topic: Jules, OH MY GOD! You met Snoop? I don't know whether I would have been thrilled or terrified. I found her character chilling in a way that none of the others were — because she was female.

    Anyway. A fairly fun news day gone bad, I guess.

  27. Ditto on all who praise THE WIRE. I saw all five seasons this summer. On the Sal front, I think it stinks. Bryon Batt created a great character — in my opinion, Mad Men is a SHOW and it's not life. It's about actors we like and characters we have invested in — "I Love Lucy" didn't kill off Fred Mertz. Sometimes a show is just a show, and we tune in because of the actors. I find this a little perverse, actually. Could be a red herring.


  28. # 28 – "Could be a red herring."

    It wouldn't surprise me – especially after Season Three.

    Most people thought that Matt would skim over (or skip entirely) the JFK assassination.

    And I don't know ANYONE who saw the "Peggy-Duck Nooners" coming!

    I'm betting that we will see Sal again!

  29. I can't say I'm surprised; MW has shown that he's willing to write out popular characters long before the actors or the audience grow tired of them, just because he wants to do something else. But I was kind of hoping to see Sal come back as a hotshot commercial director who a client just HAD to have, and see Roger and Don have to ki$$ his a$$ to make it happen. And see Sal come into the SCDP office all the way out, with a chorus boy on each arm! (Maybe if the show lasts until 1970…)

    I must be dense, because I read that linked article four times, plus the TV Guide story, and didn't see any reference to Aaron or January. Could someone a little less dense than I am point out the line in question? Thanks.

  30. I'm surprised no one has brought up the similarities with [Sopranos spoiler].

    If not this season, I've a feeling we haven't seen the last of Sal.

  31. There's something to be said for writing out a character like Sal. Don't get me wrong, I entirely agree with the claims made in other comments that to keep him around would be edging toward the realm of melodrama and that it’s much better to have a character leave at the height of his development rather than in a slump… But… still!

    I suppose my big issue with this (entirely logical) development is that Sal is a kind of character rarely seen on television. There are few enough gay characters on shows as it is, but gay characters during the early sixties? Working in offices? So deeply closeted and isolated that they have no context (much less a support system!) to operate within? Sal doesn’t necessarily show us the start of the struggle involved with being a gay man in America, but he definitely offers us a historical perspective that I can’t recall being found anywhere else. At least I’ve seen the struggle of the detached business man, the lowly housewife, the under appreciated secretary and the feminist-before-her-time. (Not that I would be willing to give up *any* of those characters, thank you very much.) Sal’s story was very unique to “Mad Men”, and while it makes sense for Bryan to leave the show, it’ll be very sad to see him and the role go…

  32. Basketcases! Have NONE of you read the Spoiler policy? The part where it says WE DON'T SPOIL OTHER SHOWS?

    Of course you haven't. Well, I guess now I don't have to catch up with The Wire, because you've all told me exactly who dies and in which season. But I've redacted that for the benefit of future generations.

    I'm really sad about Sal, not just because I adore Bryan & his work but because I think he's important to the show. But with a new, smaller cast, I don't think we have any idea what S4 is going to be like.

  33. Deborah – I only mentioned the Wire spoiler in response to other posts which appeared here. So, I thought it was okay. Sorry. You should watch the show, however, because it is much greater than the sum of its spoilers. I actually knew about the plot, and it didn't effect my viewing.

  34. In the words of every kid ever, "Awww, maaaan."

    I'm very much going to miss Sal — and Bryan — in the coming season. Maybe they can snag young Kurt instead? I mean, Lucky Strike Jr. needs someone to hit on.

  35. As long as we're melding MM with The Wire in this post, can I just say my reaction to Sal leaving the show is "SHEEEEEEEEEEEIIIIIIIIITT"

  36. You can argue that it's "good writing" to yank out a character at his peak, but as far as I'm concerned, Sal's story had only just started. He's a complex and fascinating character, and his arc is far more interesting than most of the other characters'. There are few others whose disappearance would sadden me more.

    I didn't expect or even want MM to show Sal returning to work with Don and co. (that was never going to happen), but I was fervently hoping for an occasional scene showing us how his life was evolving in parallel.

    Aw, crap.

  37. @ #30, Meowser:

    Sorry about that. It wasn't TV Guide or the article linked above. It was part of Kristin's column from eonline:

  38. I'm okay with Sal not being back, even though he was my second favorite character. That's life, people get fired. They can't have Lucky Strike and Sal, and they need Lucky Strike more than they need Sal.

    I just need one mention of him/appearance next season, (maybe like what they did with Rachel) just so that I know they didn't kill off the character. He did look like he was in a pretty dangerous part of Central Park last time we saw him.

  39. so that bye bye birdie song was NOT for betty but for sal… and he also performed it. to his wife. who's gone too.

    truly sad!

    bye bye birdie, sal!

  40. Sorry about my spoilage, but I did post a giant, capslock warning. Won't do it again.

    Watch it anyway.

  41. Thank you Myranda #32!
    You said it much better than I could…we've been shown the frustrated pre-feminist housewife, the plucky career girl, the constrained unhappy white male executive.
    Sal's story could have been so eye-opening for a HUGE segment of the viewing public that think that gay rights are being fought so that men can parade around in jockstraps. In the same way that people watch the show and begin to realize why the feminist movement came about, this could have been an opportunity to show, in that special don't-hit-em-over-the-head-with-it way MM has, to show what really is at stake.
    I understand that characters come and go, but I think that Sal's story was just getting started. I, for one, mourn the lost storyline.

  42. As much as I hate that Bryan/Sal won't be returning, I can't help but respect Matt's artistic vision for the show. Shit happens in life. People come and go. Bad things happen to good people. The show is richer for treating things realistically.

  43. #32 Miranda,

    My thoughts exactly. My kid (out as a lesbian since she was 16) is now a film major in college, and I had high hopes for Mad Men as part of her — um — development. I am sure her high opinion of the show will continue, with or without Sal as a recurring character.

    I'm not even sure if she shares my affection for him.

    And I wonder if here is the place to say this. I think that the younger generation of gay men and women needs the example of Salvatore Romano, needed the movie Milk. They need to know that there was a time when coming out did not mean walking into the open embrace of so many others like yourself. To this day, in so many parts of this country (hell, the world: look at Uganda!), it remains like this.

    People still come out at enormous personal risk. They put their personal and professional lives, their families, sometimes everything they know, at stake by simply declaring what they are. My kid lost nothing — in fact, she gained quite a bit. But she lived (and lives) in very fortunate circumstances.

    When my kid identifies less with Sal Romano than with other, more powerful characters on Mad Men, I wonder if the message is getting through to her. I wonder if she connects him to herself in any meaningful way.

    I know that I for one identified with Sal: when LuckyBully hit on him, when he fought back and got fired for speaking up. I absolutely identified with him. Absolutely.

    But that was not about being gay. That was about having tried to do the right thing, and discovering too late that you lack sufficient power to make the "right thing" work.

    Again: Bryan, if you're reading this, Thank you.

  44. Oh my, I will miss Sal so much. I think the character was making a statement about the plight of gays – the show will not be the same without him. Good luck Bryan. I loved they way you made a drag on a ciggie look so gauche.

  45. As the original "spoiler" I apologize, I took "we do not spoil other shows, let the House forums…." to apply to shows currently airing. Probably best to never talk about any other shows period.

  46. I too will miss Sal, but it makes sense.

    Now, for the Sal spin-off we all want! Pilot- We find out what happened in Sal's adventure in the park and more. 😉

  47. As for all The Wire spoilers, I don't think they ruin the show at all. You could know the entire plot and still be in awe through the whole thing.

    Though, Rome is my favorite show of all time. Wish it could have been given more seasons.

  48. I for one am less inclined to watch the show without Sal – in part because he is such a great character and actor, and in part because it's irresponsible storytelling to involve an audience in a character's development -especially such a specific storyline – and then just drop him for no reason – TWICE. And as others have said, right when Sal was on the verge of a story line that could've been explosive is absurd. I totally disagree that it's brave of Matt Weiner to do this – I actually think it's quite the opposite. And I don't believe it makes sense. If it made sense, they would've let go of the character after he got fired. I think they wrote themselves into a corner and couldn't figure a way out, so we, the audience, lose a beloved character.

    If characters can be so randomly and unpredictably dropped, I'll pass thanks. We get enough of unexpected passings in life itself – I don't need it in my "entertainment." I'm questioning if I'll continue tuning in. Lord knows who's next.

  49. I'll definitely miss Sal (& Bryan). But it's realistic that he can't be with the new company–since they need the money from (those assholes at) Lucky Strike. Reality hurts sometimes. And Mad Men is not light entertainment, despite those lovely occasional (& usually inappropriate) bits of humor. (My current "light" favorite is Chuck–where they didn't kill Captain Awesome!)

    However, I insist on a bit of denial. If Sal's not part of the regular cast, might we get a guest shot to see how he (& Kitty) are doing?

    At least Bryan got to share in that SAG award. And he was exposed to a new audience, beyond the folks on Broadway…

  50. This was a very poignant story arc, and it served the larger dramatic story of Mad Men: the gulf between who we are, what we do, and how we behave. It will be interesting to see if SCDP picks off any of the other creatives from their old shop. I'd love to see the return of Smith and Smitty, who were some of the most refreshing of the minor characters, maybe because they always seemed to be doing what they wanted to do. Smitty comes across as brash and cocky, and the nonchalance that Kurt showed at his coming-out doughnut party was quite a shot across the bow. Maybe they'll be able to show the others how to live from the heart.

  51. This is my very first comment that I've ever posted on here (even though I'm a long-time reader).

    I am so sad about this news. Bryan was great at portraying this amazing character. There was SO much potential meaty storyline for him play as the 60s progressed and the gay rights movement started. (ex: stonewall riots in 1969)

    We have never seen a storyline about a middle-aged man coming out of the closet. We've seen plenty of teens and 20's kids struggling with their sexuality, but never a mature man. And Sal being so deep in the closet, and taking those steps to come out, would have been groundbreaking (small or big screen).

    I'm sad we won't get to see this with Sal. I'm really going to miss him.

  52. @ 52 Chris-Welcome to the Basket. Hope you post again, it's a great smart place to be.

  53. Welcome @chris as well!

    I'm so sorry to see Sal and Kitty leave the show as permanent characters. I'd love to see a guest shot, too. I could easily envision a moment in which Don and Roger are stumped for creative help, and go to Sal secretly for help. He could take such pleasure in throwing them out of his office. Or, perhaps Peggy needs some advice and she goes to him.

    At the very least, I'd love to see Don encounter Sal and Kitty — or Sal and a new friend — at Sardi's the way Don encountered Rachel.

  54. And I don’t believe it makes sense. If it made sense, they would’ve let go of the character after he got fired.

    Isn't that what they did? Sal didn't make any appearances after the episode where he got fired. I think that qualifies as letting the character go.

  55. He's not gone for good. I can't imagine in the MM universe that such a thing would happen this starkly.

    There's more going on here, methinks. Oh Matt Weiner, you evil genius. 🙂

  56. While I guess it makes sense that Sal would be gone for good, a good argument could be made for his returning, either to work as Art Director for SCDP, or even in a recurring role as a commercial director.

    Nobody knew or really cared why Little Lucky Strike wanted him fired, all they cared about is that he wanted it done, so it was. Don was the only one who knew Sal was gay. While his "you people" comment was unnecessarily nasty, he was quasi accepting of Sal even after he found out, and even warned him to be more careful. Not surprising, since Don knows a thing or two about living different lives and keeping huge secrets.

    I think that whatever disgust or revulsion he felt about Sal's homosexuality, his respect for Sal's talent was more important to him, so I could see him hiring him as a director for commercials for clients of the new firm, excepting Lucky Strike of course.

    *sigh* I loved Sal as a character, and Bryan as the actor whose talent breathed life into him, and I'm going to miss them both.

  57. @Andrew. My mistake.

  58. We have never seen a storyline about a middle-aged man coming out of the closet. We’ve seen plenty of teens and 20’s kids struggling with their sexuality, but never a mature man. And Sal being so deep in the closet, and taking those steps to come out, would have been groundbreaking (small or big screen).

    Well, there was In & Out, although that was kind of cartoony. And Brokeback Mountain. And, oh, Angels in America (I'm pretty sure everyone in that play/miniseries was supposed to be over 30).

    But it's true that Sal's is a particular type of story we don't see much of — a urban gay man in the early '60s in an "artistic" profession, whose closeting is so thorough he can't even admit it to himself, let alone anyone else, and who manages to "pass" with pretty much every straight person he meets. (Although I think Joan figured him out that time he kissed her in NvK.)

    Perhaps MW has a different character, or more than one — who we haven't met yet, or who has thus far presented straight — in mind for tackling gay-related issues. I'd be surprised, in fact, if we didn't encounter any other non-straight folks during the course of this series. Just like I'd be surprised if we didn't, very soon, encounter some black characters in white-collar jobs (oh please oh please).

  59. I will miss Sal, Kitty, even his unseen Mama. Still, I hold out hope that we may get some closure down the line, this year or next, as to where Sal ended up. Wouldn't it be a hoot if he signed on with a presumably by-now dried out Freddy Rumsen? Or went Hollywood? Given Bryan Batt's own love of theater, it would be nice if Sal moved to backstage Broadway doing scenery or costume design – maybe "Sal" will win a Tony??

  60. I like the idea of them running into Sal somewhere. Madison Ave is a small place, and I can't imagine Sal leaving New York. He'll probably be able to find work at another agency, or do free-lance work. The characters I'd most to see him run into would be either Don, Peggy, or Kurt.

  61. No great shock at all–Lucky Strike is $25 million of the annual revenue (out of a total of $38 million thus far) at Sterling, Cooper, Draper & Pryce. Considering that Lee Garner Jr. nearly pulled the Lucky account from SC due to the embarassment over his pass on Sal, this makes sense. I too will miss Sal, though. My three favorite Sal moments: (1) Six Month Leave when Sal loses it after Freddy wets himself (and Sal's reaction when Freddy pours his cocktail to the top of the glass; (2) The Benefactor, when Harry comes to Sal and asks him to undo the evidence of his opening of Kenny's paycheck (and Sal learns Kenny's salary and jams his pencil into the automatic sharpener; and (3) Gold Violin, the entire interplay between Ken and Sal, as well as his total ignorance of Kitty, pure brilliance.

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