Allow us to ruin your morning! According to Mad Men’s Bryan Batt — who stars as Sal Romano, Sterling Cooper’s closeted art director, fired by Don after refusing to service a randy tobacco executive — he won’t return for the show’s upcoming fourth season. “I was supposed to be notified by December 31,” he tells TV Guide, “and nothing.” Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner makes it sound even more dire: “We don’t murder people on our show, but for there to be any stakes, there have to be consequences … I know how people felt about Bryan. I obviously love working with him, and he has been an indelible character since the pilot. But I felt it was an expression of the times that he couldn’t work there anymore. It’s the ultimate case of sexual harassment.”
When we spoke with him the week after Sal’s exit, Batt, responsible for some of Vulture’s greatest-ever interviews, sounded hopeful: “I really was in shock, but very quickly, Matt Weiner said to me, ‘This isn’t The Sopranos. You are not whacked in the trunk of a car.’ I’m not dead, but to tell you the truth, I don’t know what’s going to happen.” Then he put out a call to supporters: “Keep those cards and letters coming. Start that Facebook group! There’s a million ways that he can come back, especially if time passes. Don does respect his talent. He is innocent. He did nothing wrong. Of course I would love to come back. It’s a heavenly place to work.”
We understand that as long as the new Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce has the American Tobacco account, Sal is persona non grata around the office. And we totally get Weiner’s obsession with period detail. But we certainly wouldn’t mind if everyone on the show suddenly became anachronistically tolerant if it meant Batt could come back. Also, as far as we can tell, nobody ever started that Facebook group — so shame on you, readers.