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The 30 Best ‘Mad Men’ Episodes

From runaway lawnmowers to ‘Zou Bisou Bisou,’ we count down the greatest episodes of this groundbreaking TV drama

Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

Mad Men finally returns next week, kicking off Season Seven with a superb premiere. No other TV drama has ever produced so many brilliant episodes, with such a deep bench of American rogues, hustlers, cheats and dreamers. No other cast of characters can match the glamorously damaged crew from Sterling Cooper: the fearsome Bert Cooper, the rakish Roger Sterling, the stalwart Peggy Olson, the brazen Joan Holloway Harris, the slappable Pete Campbell. And at center stage, Don Draper, the man who sold the world.

Matthew Weiner and the End of 'Mad Men'

So while we await the new season, here's a celebration of the 30 best Mad Men episodes — ranking the greatest hits of the greatest TV drama ever. By now there are almost 80 episodes, and even the weakest ones (Don and Betty go to Rome?) have their just-taste-it moments. But these are the unforgettable peaks. ("Time Zones," the new season's premiere, would totally make the list, except it hasn't aired yet.) So let's break it down and roam those hillsides. Remember the wise words of Roger Sterling: "When God closes a door, he opens a dress." By Rob Sheffield

Michael Yarish / AMC

1. “The Suitcase” (Season 4, Episode 7)

Let's go someplace darker. Don and Peggy pull an all-nighter, from office to diner to bar to office, in a two-person episode that captures all the obsessions of Mad Men: work as drug, work as sex, work as intimacy, work as escape from life, work as refuge from death. Work is for Don what alcohol is for Homer Simpson — the cause of and solution to all life's problems. Peggy finds out she's exactly like Don, like Rosalind Russell bonding with Cary Grant in His Girl Friday. It feels like they're the only two people awake in New York tonight, the only people who'll ever truly understand each other. If I had to watch one hour of TV for the rest of my life, it would be this one. There isn't a single 30-second stretch that isn't perfect. And at the end, Peggy leaves the door open.

Best line: "That's what the money's for."—Don Draper

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