On Mad Men, Jon Hamm brought to life one of the most iconic TV characters to debut within the past two decades. In Don Draper, he showed audiences a complicated individual, whose back story was heartbreaking but whose behavior was often damning, working as an ad man who knew how to package a product - and his persona was his own biggest sell.
Across seven seasons of Mad Men, Hamm was nominated for six Golden Globe Awards. The mesmerizing dramatic actor took home two, one after the first season, the other at its end. It was the perfect way to book-end the critically acclaimed show, and since then, Hamm has pivoted to comedy as the hilarious Richard Wayne Gary Wayne on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, featured in Oscar-nominated films and even parodied his Mad Men character on an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants. Most recently, he's been tapped for the reboot of Top Gun. He's come a long way since his first role ever, a bit part on Ally McBeal in 1997 as "Gorgeous Guy at Bar."
But while Hamm's pretty much always been cast as a dreamboat, it's the darkness to his Mad Men character that kept viewers tuning in, and we got a first glimpse of this shade of Hamm in the very first moment his character's introduced on The Division, the first TV cast Hamm ever joined and his first major role.
On The Division, Hamm plays Inspector Nate Basso, who we meet in the first episode of the second season. He shows up as C.D. DeLorenzo's new partner. C.D. is played by Tracey Needham, who many will recognize for her performance as Paige Thatcher on Life Goes On, the daughter who always seems to date the wrong kind of guy. Hamm's debut on the series comes in a car scene, where the partners are getting to know each other, and he delivers this line that wreaks of Don Draper, as if it was drenched in 1950s cologne, turning to C.D. to say, "So women might say they want a nice guy, but they definitely don't want to sleep with them." The rest of the exchange devolves into banter, and as we get to know Nate Basso more, he's revealed to be as sarcastic and cynical as our favorite aspects of Don Draper. It makes you wonder if Hamm was drawing from his earliest TV character to create his most famous one.
Hamm's success in his career almost perfectly parallels one of his co-stars on The Division, Taraji P. Henson. Both stars joined the cast in its second season, and both stars received their most recent Golden Globe awards in 2016, her for Empire and him for Mad Men. The pair remained pals after The Division wrapped, and when Hamm won his long-awaited Emmy in 2015, Henson took to Instagram to celebrate her former castmate:
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