Would Anyone Ever Rat Out Don?

 Posted by on November 16, 2010 at 8:00 pm  Season 4
Nov 162010

Lt. Donald Draper and Pvt. Richard Whitman, in Korea
At this moment on Mad Men, exactly six living people know about the Don Draper/Dick Whitman dual identity: Anna’s sister Patty and niece Stephanie (there’s no way they could get Anna’s affairs in order and contact Don at the office as “Don Draper” without having been told), Pete Campbell, Bert Cooper, Betty Hofstadt Draper Francis, and Faye Miller. Of those six, are any of them likely to give up Don’s secret to someone who could get him court-martialed?

We don’t have to worry about Stephanie; she probably likes him more for using his dead officer’s dog tags to escape Korea.

Patty? Hard to see what she’d get out of it. She’d probably just as soon not ever have to say the name “Don Draper” again.

Betty, of course, had her chance in Hands and Knees, and didn’t take it. (I’m going to guess this was about not having to explain it to the kids, or to Henry, more than anything else; Betty doesn’t deal very well with “complicated.”)

Pete had his chance on multiple occasions, and didn’t take it. So chances are, he never will, especially since Don now “owns” him financially.

Bert preferred to use the information as a means to control Don, figuring that Don was worth a lot more to him out of jail than in it. (Side note: Have we really seen the last of Bert Cooper? If so, that had to be one of the most sneeze-and-you-miss-it farewells ever. Miss Blankenship was sent out with more fanfare, for gods’ sake.)

That leaves Faye. Would Faye squeal on him?

Faye obviously has motive. Maybe she dodged a bullet getting rejected by him, but he broke her heart. He dumped her for his probably-10-years-younger secretary for seemingly no other reasons than the over-familiarity that inevitably leads Don to boredom and her desire to see him come clean — that, and having spoken to his 11-year-old daughter as if she was a 2-year-old space alien. (Though personally? Since she didn’t hate children, and seemed interested in getting to know them as people, I have a hunch that if she had put in some time with them, she’d have learned how to talk to them. I had a similar problem many years ago with a former boyfriend’s 10-year-old son, and his telling me just pretend the kid was “Rob,” a naive 22-year-old friend of his, helped me tremendously. But, ahem, digression.) Is that really Faye’s style, though, to rat him out to the authorities?

I’m assuming not. Faye strikes me as the type to get her revenge from writing some tell-all magazine article with names disguised to protect the guilty from suing, or perhaps a juicy roman à clef novel (she could be our Jacqueline Susann!), rather than by getting Don hauled off to jail. Of course, she could just tip Megan off anonymously, that would certainly make the new Draper household a festive place.

But I will wager that if Don does get found out, it’s not going to be until the series comes to an end, or until Jon Hamm decides he’s had enough, whichever comes first. If there was a court-martial trial in Don’s life, or even legal proceedings that ultimately resulted in a decision not to prosecute him, that would take over Don’s part of the entire show, at least for the duration of the story line. And Don in jail (or Canadian exile generously provided to him by his new wife) is not a viable character, unless he gets out of there really fast. So I don’t know how often they can go to the “will this be the end of Don Draper?” well again and have it make dramatic impact, unless they play with the idea of, “Well, we know he’s going to wriggle out of this, but how?”


  38 Responses to “Would Anyone Ever Rat Out Don?”

  1. “There is no terror in the gun’s bang, only the anticipation of the it”-Alfred Hitchcock. It’s more exciting the longer they keep us wondering. If Faye has organized crime connections, that could make life difficult for Don, if even if the connections are low level.

  2. Keep in mind that Faye has incomplete information. She does not know Don’s real name is Dick Whitman, at least judging from what’s been presented to the viewers. In theory, she could research and possibly find it out, but in the days before computer databases it would probably be harder to do than it would be today.

  3. re:digression

    I like that solution! I don’t hate kids either but have no clue what to do with them, being the youngest on both sides of my family.

  4. “Since she didn’t hate children, and seemed interested in getting to know them as people…”

    I don’t remember that – when did it happen?

    I don’t think Faye would have any desire to air Don’s dirty laundry, since some of her own would likely come out in the process. Granted, hers isn’t quite as dramatic, but a woman in her position had to be careful with her image.

  5. I know it’s heresy but this plot point is the weakest part of the show. It reminds me of a writer’s loyalty to the root idea that sparked the rest of the show. But it’s a melodramatic anecdote, like Sam Spade’s story about Flitcraft; Hammett had the good sense to leave it as such.

    Writer’s Room ongoing project #1 is coming up with a way out, the way we’re doing now. It’s something to look forward to, I guess–either the ingenious working out, or the outrageous one line resolution: Bert asking Don offhandedly if there’s any other trouble that he needs to make go away.

    The way Weiner holds onto it reminds of Joe Flaherty’s Guy Caballero on SCTV–on an impulse Joe had Guy use a wheelchair that he’d didn’t really need–“for respect!” and he used it in every show as Guy, although it got to be a pain, out of a weird integrity.

    I’ve read enough about the Korean War to know about cases of stretcher bearers abandoning wounded men to be massacred. Dick’s desertion falls pretty low on the scale compared to that. The funniest resolution might be him getting called into the Reserves to make up for his lost time, churning out PR releases in an office at Fort Dix, taking orders from Corporals.

  6. I vote ‘make the new Draper household a festive place’.

    Although I think Faye is way too classy for that. I think she knows the best revenge is success. I’m hoping Don encounters her in future episodes, and she’s fabulous and successful and he can’t have her.


  7. Spike, Faye doesn’t have to know his name was Dick Whitman in order to rat him out. She does know that “Don Draper” was the name of his commanding officer whose identity he stole; they can figure out the rest. But I still don’t think she’ll do it. She’d probably rather use his story to make herself some money and maybe make him squirm a little.

    And Melissa, Sally seemed to like Faye just fine once she went to Don’s apartment with her, so she must have loosened up at least a little. I do think Faye was interested in having better interactions with Don’s kids; she just didn’t know how, because contrary to what Don believes, women don’t know that stuff instinctively. (Megan had all those cousins to practice on.)

  8. Here’s an outside-the-box idea: what if all this happens between seasons? Next season could begin with Don’s release from prison.

  9. #7 Meowser

    I remember them being more friendly to each other, but to me, “getting to know someone as a person” goes a lot deeper than that. I have friendly conversations with the postman, but it’s not because I care deeply about his hopes and dreams and all the little things that make him who he is; it just makes the day more pleasant.

  10. I think it’s odd how freaked out Don was in S1 for anyone finding out, considering how many people in California already knew. And now, he seems totally unfazed about cavalierly dumping someone who he had told about it. The math is off somehow.

    I agree that it’s a dumb plot point that they’re saddled with. A dumb soap opera plot point. 😉

  11. Meowser, this is why I love having multiple writers; I’d never have thought of this thread, and it’s very interesting.

    Donny B, the math isn’t off, IMO. It represents growth on Don’s part; an attempt to hide less. He’s *working* at being more relaxed.

    Would Faye do it? She might see it as a pseudo-altruistic meddling; “I’ll bring it out to force him to deal with it, so he knows he doesn’t have to hide anymore.” Jilted girlfriends sometimes come up with plausible ways to maintain a connection to the ex, while painting themselves as saintly. Not that I have any experience like that.

    But I think the loose cannon is Bert Cooper. Bert kept Don’s secret because it gave him power, and Bert cares about power most of all. Now he says he’s “created a monster” and is no longer a part of the company. What will he do with the power so dramatically shifted, and a sense that there’s a “monster” whose secret he knows?

  12. Wow, Deb, good point. I guess I figured that Bert wanted to wash his hands of anything to do with the company, but who knows…maybe not.

  13. Oh, and about Faye getting to know Don’s kids as people: I think she’d have done it out of love for him, really made an effort to do something that didn’t come naturally to her. And strangely enough, over time she might actually have wound up with a deeper connection to them than Megan will wind up having, because she likes to figure out how people think, and why they do what they do, and would probably have had the kinds of talks with them that adults rarely had with kids then…eventually. But Don, of course, does not like waiting.

  14. I agree with Deb about Bert, he seems even more disappointed in Don than Faye is. Still, I don’t think they’re going to have Don exposed. It’s better as background noise/suspense generator. Don’s real life, non-soapy problems are far more compelling.

  15. It may happen almost accidentally. I can picture Dr. Harris being ordered to research battlefield injuries. Since it’s early days yet in Viet Nam he’s given access to Korean Conflict medical records and incident reports. He sees a familiar name but something doesn’t seem quite right…

  16. I doubt Faye would rat him out. In real life, people rarely end up taking revenge. At first you might fantasize about an intricate revenge plot , but maybe are still hoping he’ll come back, so you don’t carry it out. As time goes on, a lot of the anger and hurt has gone and so has the energy needed to carry out your revenge.

  17. Faye is largely self-interested, I can’t see her doing it unless there’s some real emotional catharsis for her. Pride, anger, jealousy could enter into it; I have a hard time seeing her do it for any other reason. The question is: come season 5, will she still be heartbroken?

    As a side note: I don’t think Faye really cared about getting to know Sally. They do nothing of note at the apartment. Sally responds with a deflated ‘oh’ when Don says they’ll have to see her again.

    Faye deals with her because it inevitably affects her relationship with Don. It’s pretty clear she has no interest in dealing with or getting to know children, that prior to Sally she made no effort to interact with any. She’s putting on a happy face.

    I don’t want to relitigate the break-up but I disagree with the ‘boredom’ notion (the entire premise, really, and its presumed insight), as well as her pushing him to come clean being the reasons for his disinterest in the relationship.

    Cooper–I wouldn’t rule it out, but I’m unsure of the liklihood. For it to happen Bert would have to decide that he does in fact want to be a part of the agency. Not impossible; ever seen a man retire, only to return to work out of restlessness? Bert could quickly tire of his Montana cattle, return and decide greater discipline needs to be exerted over Don, with his secret as leverage. But acting on the threat means no Don, therefore no agency, and any of Bert’s money invested in the company is lost. In any event, such a forceful action seems uncharacteristic of Bert, and I’m just speculating. That said Bert may value power but he isn’t ruthless.

  18. Meowser: totally agree in that Faye doesn’t need to know Don’s real name to expose him, if she chose to. It’s probably true, though, that depending on how he were to be exposed, it would be better/more easily verifiable if that knowledge were known by her. But yeah, it’s not necessary.

    Also agree with Donny Brook in #10 that Don’s actions concerning this has been somewhat inconsistent over the seasons. I can see his telling Faye, since he was sure the gig was up, but the fact that it’s now established that Anna’s sister (plausibly) and niece (confirmed) also knew doesn’t quite jibe with what’s been presented earlier, and kind of undermines the importance of The Secret.

  19. It doesn’t matter who tells or when–Dick Whitman is a charismatic con and a coward at the core. He will find a way out, even if he has to shed his own skin to do it. He did that to become Don Draper, and he can do it again.

  20. I don’t think Faye would intentionally give up this information, but maybe she is crying on Papa Miller’s shoulder about her lost love and lets the cat out of the bag. Papa Miller doesn’t like his princess being used like that and so pulls some strings. There’s a knock on the door and Don Draper is in hot water. From my mouth to the writers’ ears?

  21. I think you are all wrong.
    Don/Dick confesses because he likes his new self.
    He may do time, pay a fine, serve in Nam…anything.
    He will come clean on his own. Soon.

  22. Bert is a classic company man who will raise hell behind an oak door but who will do nothing to damage his company’s name or his own. How does he answer the question “When did you know this?”

    Pete is Bert Jr. (Oh gosh–THAT’s the MM spinoff–“Young Bert Cooper: MM in the Jazz Age.”

    Betty may be wondering if her children will become legally illegitimate. I can’t wait to see the look on Henry’s face if/when she tells him–or the steam coming out of his ears.

    The Cali Girls are similarly complicit.

    So Faye is the only wild card. Blackmail or revenge?

  23. You’ll most likely never see or hear about Faye ever again. Matt Weiner and his talented team of writers always bury a hundred artifacts in the ground, and they only need to dig up 6 or 7 over the years as needed. Faye’s reappearance is equal on the likelihood scale to re-visiting the plot point of “Don gives his business card to Suzanne’s epileptic brother”.

  24. @23 Brett-Characters from previous seasons often appear later in the series, such as Rachel, Midge, and Glen. I don’t expect to see Faye in season 5, but I do expect to see her in season 6. I think it’s more likely see we’ll see Faye than have fallout from Suzanne’s brother having Don’s card.

    At this point, wouldn’t Don’s card be useless, because it was the old SC card, now SC is part of a larger company. Once he was told Don no longer worked there, I don’t see him tracking Don down.

    I do agree with you that there a number of story-lines/pieces of information left unresolved, and only a few of them are ever seen again. Part of the fun of the show is trying to figure out what will come up again.

  25. #23

    I’m inclined to agree with you, and doubt we will see her again. I could see a brief reappearance, a la Rachel, considering they travel in the same buisness circles. But Faye ratting Don out would seemingly require much more from the character than a single reappearance, and I doubt it occurring for that reason.

  26. I don’t think that we have heard the last of Bert Cooper; and he and Pete Campbell will, for business reasons alone, expose Don Draper. I think both Peggy and Pete will be the rising stars. Peggy(and Don Draper) will want to take the agency in one direction and Pete in another. Peggy sees the future in consumer products, Pete will not. Pete will seek out Bert Cooper who can still open doors on Madison Avenue. Don and Betty Draper could run into tax problems in the sale of their house caused by Pete going to the IRS about Don’s identity. The IRS might bring tax fraud charges against the Drapers. Henry Francis will use his political connections to save both Betty and Don.

  27. Faye reveals Draper desertion to Ted Chaough. Via his business associate MG Frank Allen there is path to HQDA.

    Game, set, match.

  28. It wouldn’t be in Faye’s best interests to rat Don out. There would be questions about how she came to know this information, why would Don confide in her about this. This would mean admitting the affair. While the show is set at the dawn of the sexual revolution, I still think that in the corporate world of that time, Faye’s “stock” would greatly diminish if it were it to become known she slept with a client. Heck, even today women are judged much more harshly for office romances than men are. Add to this the fact Faye pretends to be married while on the job, so it would appear to her business contacts that she not only messed around with a client, but cheated on her husband. Don’s first defense to any accusation coming from Faye would likely be that she’s just a jilted ex-lover trying to hurt him.

    Her reputation could suffer greatly and she has sacrificed too much in her life for her career to allow that. She may be tempted to do get revenge upon Don, but I can’t see it progressing past the daydream stage. Once she gets past the initial hurt and bitterness, I believe Faye would be rational enough to see the real Don and how destructive he would have been for her.

  29. In real life, Faye would likely recount the incident where Don freaks out when he sees the presumed “agents” and tells her about his identity switch to someone. But it would likely be to a friend, not the Feds. Unless there is something in it for person ratting someone out–for instance, the IRS gives a percentage of any recovery to the snitch–or the crime is so egregious (eg, murder), most people don’t want to get involved.

  30. I think if somebody really wanted to make Don’s life difficult, they would not necessarily have to go to the authorities (and be asked “why did it take so long for you to tell?”)

    Someone could call the reporter from Season 4, Episode 1, and offer to give him some anonymous information. That man was already suspicious. If a story was run in the paper or in an advertising magazine, it could trash Don, even if no legal action came from it.

    Or someone could leak the information to one of Don’s enemies (Duck, Ted C.). These men would have a business motive to out-compete their competition (Don).

    Another point: it is possible that Trudy knows something. Pete had the box in his home for awhile. He would get up at night, take it out, and look at it. One night Trudy confronted him about it and she kept saying “it isn’t yours.” Did she look in the box and did she recognize Donald Draper? It isn’t entirely clear what Trudy knows.

    Trudy obviously has some strong opinions about how Pete should manage his career, especially since the baby. Her folks seemed to think Ted C’s company offered better opportunity. Pete might not act alone, but could be influenced by his wife.

    I guess some of the people who know might be influenced by their relationships. Let’s just pretend Faye winds up having an affair with Ted C. She may wind up telling him something over time without initially intending to do it.

    Or if Betty gets a little crazy about accepting Megan as a step mom, she may get pushed to say something. To Henry or to Megan or to ???

    About the “tension” in Season 1 –Don was totally freaked out that his secret would come out; and Don’s seemingly inconsistent behavior in Season 4:

    In Season 1, Don did not know exactly what had happened to Abigail, Uncle Mac, and Adam. They were “out there somewhere”. In fact, you could argue that half of his reason for the fake life was to escape that background. He really did not want to be found by them. He had more than one reason for keeping his secret.

    I can think of at least 3 major reasons:
    1. Escaping his family and his past.
    2. Mainting his illusion of prestige with his wife, family, neighbors and colleagues.
    3. Evading the negative legal consequences of his actions.

    Reason 1 has abated. After Season 1, Don no longer really had to worry about his family trying to reclaim him. Abigail and Uncle Mac were dead, and then Adam died. Unless the writers have been hiding more people from his past, he doesn’t seem to have more family to escape.

    Reason 2 still exists, but it isn’t as scary as it was. Maintaining his illusiton of prestige may not seem quite as critical. Bert accepted him. Pete had little choice to accept him. Anna accepted him. Betty did not, but now he doesn’t have to worry about losing her anymore (already lost her). He finally opened up to Faye, who accepted him. He did not “completely lose” everyone’s respect, and he “got over” losing Betty’s. So it may seem far less scary to be honest, now. He may feel like he has less to lose.

    This could become an issue again if he grows to be terrified of Megan learning the truth. (But she may not care.)

    Reason 3: the law. This still haunts Don. We saw him FREAK out with Faye when he saw those men. The only reason I can think of for this fear abating enough for him to ditch Faye so easily is that SOOOOO many people have found out and NOT told on him, that Don may start to feel like it is never going to be pinned on him by people ‘who really know him.’ Bert didn’t tell, Pete didn’t tell, Betty didn’t tell, Anna didn’t tell, Stephanie hasn’t told and if Patty knows, she doesn’t seem to be telling. So maybe Don is starting to think that “nice people” or “loyal people” or his “friends” won’t rat him out. His own ex wife didn’t rat him out. He’s gotten away with it so long, maybe he is starting to relax and think “if it hasn’t been a problem so far, I’m probably safe unless I rock the boat and try to get a military contract.”

    I am not sure what Faye will do. I think she will disappear for awhile and not take immediate action.

    Perhaps she will spill the beans to daddy or to someone else in advertising. But my guess is she will not seek instant revenge. If she moves on, finds a new man, and never bumps into Don–she might not be motivated.

    But perhaps she will bump into Don and she will have a difficult moment. She will watch Don win some award (with beautiful Megan) get praised –or he will do a fabulous bit of work for Heinz that will make a splash. The company that lost Don will wonder how Don “stole” that account and Faye’s name will accidentally come up. It will make her blow a gasket because Don “gets away with it” while she takes a beating. Or perhaps her career will not go as well and she’ll feel bothered watching Don coasting along.

  31. The only one who may pose serious danger to Don might be Pete’s friend at the Department of Defense. Pete’s asked him to check on Don (as a favor) at least two times. So far, nothing has come of it. But if I were an eager young gun at the DOD, I’d be curious about all the Don Draper/Dick Whitman…hullabaloo (cough, cough)…and would probably investigate it out of curiosity.

    Furthermore, the increased exposure Don is getting may come to the attention of someone he (or Don Draper 1.0) served with in the military. True, Private Whitman didn’t have much of a military career, but he did spend time in basic training, so there’s plenty of people he would have known from that sphere. Don Draper 1.0, on the other hand, probably had a lot of military connections — especially since he was an officer who’d already served a long tour of duty and had taken advantage of the G.I. Bill. I’d bet Lt. Don Draper knew all kinds of people, any of whom might want to contact him for whatever reason. Who knows?

    I just don’t think this aspect of Don’s life is completely behind him.

  32. It seems to me like the one spot where MW maybe didn’t think things through is Stephanie and Patty. OK, Stephanie is as hippy-dippy as Anna, and is young enough to think that the Deep Dark Secret is cool and romantic. But it seems out of character for starchy Patty to be so cool with it. It also seems odd that Don would be comfortable with Anna telling Patty, or that Anna would tell Patty if Don wasn’t comfortable with it.

    It feels like the only reason MW had them know is so that Miss Blankenship could take the calls from Stephanie.

  33. I’m thinking that, assuming he and Megan do marry, he will tell her and she won’t care beyond trying to help him (a wife cannot be compelled to testify against her husband, though she CAN volunteer.) I think he will carefully feel out his options and possible consequences via his lawyer running a hypothetical case before a JAG attorney. Then he will ask his lawyer to negotiate the best deal he can, privately, before the news can break. Possibly it might never see light of print: a hefty fine (which he can afford) andconsiderable pro bono advertising work for the military who will be ramping up their recruiting efforts for that little SE Asia affair. Then, if he hasn’t already done so, a legal change of name.

    The other possible scenario is Pete, inadvertently. If he has too much to drink or otherwise slips with Trudy, I can see Trudy getting highly incensed at Don the deserter, how she’s had enough of Pete kowtowing to that man etc (without ever knowing Don took care of Pete’s financial obligation to SCDP) and she’d probably turn to daddy to “do something!”

  34. If Don Draper successfully develops an advertising campaign for the Amercian Cancer Society, his list of enemies will include Lucky Strike/American Tobacco. Billions will be at stake.

    The tobacco industry has the motive, the resources and the political connections to force the federal government to go after Don Draper. It wouldn’t take them long to figure out who Don Draper/Dick Whitman are.

    In 1966, a deserter was considered no better than a child molester in many circles. The military and Justice Department would love nothing more than a high profile desertion case against a public figure like Don. The building unpopularity of the draft will only strengthen the resolve of the Justice Department to make an example of Don Draper/Dick Whitman.

  35. Melissa, I don’t know if it’s so much Patty being “cool” with the situation so much as her being resigned to it. She apparently didn’t have much use for Real!Don! (I presume she was the sister he really “wanted,” because we haven’t heard of any other siblings of Anna’s), and she doesn’t much like DickDon either, but I don’t really see the kind of vendetta that would lead her to want to expose him and have to drag out all that (original) Draper family drama all over again, when she’d probably just as soon forget it ever happened.

  36. Faye on the phone:

    “only break one arm – his left”

    – or –

    “beat him up – not the face”

  37. Pete already ratted him out to Cooper.

    But to the feds? Presuming they actually check it out (unlike how they handled Bernie Madoff) it will be the series finale.

  38. Mr Bullitt, your point: “If Don Draper successfully develops an advertising campaign for the Amercian Cancer Society, his list of enemies will include Lucky Strike/American Tobacco. Billions will be at stake.” is an excellent one.

    Those billions will enable a lot of political influence and access.

    Governor Rockefeller’s presidential aspirations make him a campaign cash recipient… and his aid Henry Francis a potential player in notification of Draper’s desertion to HQDA.


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.