The season will start with a two-hour movie written by Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner and directed by Scott Hornbacher that will air at 9 PM, AMC announced this morning. Series star Jon Hamm will direct the season’s second episode a week later as it settles into its regular 10 PM time slot. When last we left Hamm’s Don Draper and company, the firm of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce was still recovering from Lane Pryce’s suicide, Peggy Olson had joined a rival agency, Roger Sterling was all tripped out and Don was sitting on the sidelines of wife Megan’s first big break — and contemplating a proposition by two pretty young things (or was he?). Weiner, speaking to The New York Times, would not be led as to just where the story will pick up April 7. “It will advance in time, as it does… I can’t say how much or how little. We’re coming off a period in Don’s life where he’s trying to normalize, and trying to have this relationship — a real relationship with this woman that he fell in love with. She expressed her desires and that was a surprise for him. On this show, it’s a very rich, full orchestra, and we like to follow what is the next stage in these people’s lives.”
Weiner also told the NYT that the network asked for a two-hour opener following the success of last year’s kickoff, which followed protracted contract negotiations. The premiere movie “has some cliffhanger elements to it, it does propel you into the rest of the season — it does foreshadow a lot what the season is about,” Weiner said.