We’re left with more questions than answers at the end of the premiere of John Ridley’s American Crime. Of course - we’ve only just begun. Yet, we start to realize that each main character has complicated secrets that must be uncovered in order to make sense of what’s happened. For me, as not just a viewer but also a psychologist, meeting these characters for the first time is a lot like having a first session with a new patient in therapy. There are relationships gone wrong  - similar to Russ (Timothy Hutton) and Barb (Felicity Huffman). There are things like Carter’s (Elvis...

MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 7 — Jim Cutler (Harry Hamlin) is a mad man full of envy. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t be so bent on getting rid of Don Draper. And, he wouldn’t be making unilateral decisions to be sure no one gets in his way. Contrary to what the soon-to-be-deceased Bert Cooper suggests, Cutler’s not a leader, a team player, or anything like that.  Ultimately, he wants to be the very thing he accuses Roger of when he announces the McCann merger: King.  Anyone who gets in the way of a King? Well, it’s “off with their head”, so to speak. Like a ruthless dictator,...

MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 6 — Doing it her way has never been easy for Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss). For subtle but understandable reasons to me as a psychoanalyst, Peggy needs Don and yet hates herself (and him) for it. She’s just not as self-assured as she thinks she should be. Then, again, neither is Don Draper (Jon Hamm). They share this. Especially, where love comes into the picture. Episode 5 ended with Don triumphantly flagging down a cab … the line “everybody knows you’ve been stepping on my toes” from Waylon Jennings’s song, “Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line,” playing...

MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 3 — Good relationships take trust and trust allows relationships to strengthen over time. As we’ve watched Don Draper over the years, we know he’s lied to the people in his life for complicated reasons. After suffering a series of humiliating defeats in Episode 3, it’s painfully illuminated to Don that the people who know him – from his wife Megan to his partners at SC&P – don’t trust him. Don is forced to face the reality that trust is hard to gain and easy to lose. Trust (and love) require being open to the hard work...

MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 2 — Is there any hope for love in Mad Men Season 7? Maybe between Don (Jon Hamm) and Sally (Kiernan Shipka).  But, first of all, Don needs to stop lying – and, finally, he’s beginning to come clean. Don’s lies catch up to him when Sally comes on the scene for the first time this season in Episode 2.  Sally is a lost 15 year old, with no parents she can count on – smoking with her boarding school friends, and on her way to a funeral for her roommate’s mother. She says, with typical teenage sardonic bravado,...

MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 1 — Could Sterling, Cooper, and Partners be an even worse environment for – and especially the women – as we enter Season 7, 1969? Each of the main characters seems poised for the struggle of their lives – as Mad Men’s psychologically-minded creator Matthew Weiner hints: “This season is about consequences…We don’t just throw stuff away after it has happened. There are shadows over this season that go back to the first time we met Don.” The premiere, “Time Zones,” let’s begin to check in with Joan (Christina Hendricks), Peggy (Elisabeth Moss), Don (Jon Hamm),...

  MAD MEN: Season 7 Preview — Bob Dylan’s song, “The Times They Are A-Changin’” defined the 60’s and the Cultural Revolution taking place. These times were especially momentous for women in their roles in the work place and as wives. Enter the world of Mad Men  - and we are in the culture that fueled the fires for Friedan’s 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique. The Women’s Revolution finally laid bare what Friedan called “the problem with no name.” A culture dominated by male definitions of women’s happiness: being a wife, a mother, and especially being what men want women to be. The women of Mad Men –...

MAD MEN: Season 7 Preview — Don Draper (Jon Hamm) has been running from his past through the last six seasons of Mad Men. At least, he’s tried his best – amidst flashbacks and his brother’s return. To me as a psychoanalyst, there is no doubt he’s a traumatized man. A man using various methods, mostly affairs and alcohol, to convince himself it’s possible to forget what’s happened to him, even who he really is. His steady and sad decline shows us he is wrong. The lines he quotes from Dante’s Inferno at the beginning of Season 6 reference the very type of hell...