Mad Men begins its final run of seven episodes on Sunday, April 5, at 10 pm Eastern on AMC. The show will air its series finale on May 17.
The beauty of Mad Men has always been in how it communicates huge emotional turning points via tiny little moments — one line of dialogue, or a physical gesture, or even just a potent image that makes the viewer feel a certain way. It's content to let lots of things stay in the subtext, to allow these swells of emotion to carry the story forward.
TV — even good TV — often over-explains itself, to the point where certain things are hammered into the audience's head. This has never been Mad Men's problem, and it's why the show felt so immediately impressive when it debuted in 2007.
I went to a recent press day for the show in Los Angeles, where I and other journalists got a chance to ask series creator Matt Weiner about some of the techniques he's used to achieve this effect. Here are my thoughts on the show, sprinkled with a few of his.