Mad Men: The Best Episodes Not Set in NYC, According to IMDb

Mad Men brings fans the world of advertising in the 1960s. Audiences are captivated by the show thanks to its interesting characters and sharp writing. Furthermore, the bustling city of New York is a beautiful background for the story and often makes for interesting situations for its characters. Many characters’ most iconic scenes in Mad Men take place in NYC.

However, personalities like Don Draper and Pete Campbell sometimes enjoy a change of scenery. New York City is deeply engrained into the ethos of Mad Men. However, when the characters spend time outside of its boroughs, audiences get some of the most interesting episodes of the series.


“Out Of Town”—8.2

Don and Salvatore Romano take a short trip in “Out Of Town.” The two head south to Baltimore to meet with the heads of London Fog to secure their business. However, as it often happens with Don, he and Sal end up focusing on leisure activities.

A stewardess invites Don and Sal to dinner, and the two pose as accountants and flirt with her and her friend. The episode develops Don’s duplicitous character. Furthermore, audiences watch Don discover that Sal is gay when he has a fling with the bellhop at his hotel. Don keeping Sal’s secret shows audiences his empathy.

“The Jet Set”—8.4

In “The Jet Set,” fans get to see Don in his most unfamiliar setting yet. Instead of the dark interiors of moody wooden bars, the bright sunshine of southern California is put on display, and Don can’t help but be hypnotized by the atmosphere.

Don and Pete fly to L.A. to attend a convention. However, Don is invited to drive to Palm Springs with a strange woman Joy. He leaves Pete at their hotel and attends a private party with Joy. The episode is filled with suspense, and elaborates on Don’s impulse to escape, and mingle anonymously with others outside of his world of advertising.

“The Hobo Code”—8.4

Throughout Mad Men, audiences sporadically learn about Don’s past through flashbacks. “The Hobo Code” takes fans back to his childhood, growing up on a farm in Pennsylvania. The episode is one of the most unique of the series.

Audiences learn part of why Don is the way he is in “The Hobo Code.” His tough home life is on display amid the rural background of the farm. Some fans see Don’s father Archie as one of Mad Men‘s low-key villains thanks to flashbacks like these. Furthermore, Don’s interaction with a passing hobo reveals the birth of his wanderlust, learning the ethics of traveling on one’s own from the stranger.

“The Mountain King”—8.5

Don evades his responsibilities in “The Mountain King,” freewheeling in southern California after leaving Pete Campbell without warning. The two are visiting on a business trip, but Don reminisces on his past, leading him to visit Anna Draper.

In the episode, audiences learn that the man whose identity Don stole had a wife. Furthermore, they learn the wife, Anna, is the only person who knows about Don’s past. He seems to only truly be at peace with himself around her, and she accepts Don despite his wrongdoings.

“Field Trip”—8.6

Both Don and Betty Draper take trips out of New York in “Field Trip.” Don visits Megan in L.A., where the two get into a fight about Don’s secrecy and Megan’s struggling modeling career. Back on the east coast, Betty joins her son Bobby on a field trip to a farm.

Betty’s trip reflects Don’s when she and Bobby get into a spat. Bobby trades her sandwich for another classmate’s candy, and Betty is furious. The episode showcases the two’s poor relationships following their divorce and underscores Betty’s sensitivity to criticism, even from her kids.

“In Care Of”— 9.2

Audiences get a glimpse of Detroit, Michigan in “In Care Of.” Some fans call it one of the most heartbreaking episodes in Mad Men. Pete visits with the heads of Chevrolet in the Motor City in an attempt to get their business. However, things don’t go as planned. Bob Benson pressures Pete into trying out a car, suspecting he doesn’t know how to drive manually.

Pete gives it a try and crashes the car in front of the executives. Pete loses the account as a result. The episode may be more well known for its other plot involving Don quitting drinking and botching a pitch while detoxing. However, the moments in Detroit showcase one of Pete’s most astounding failures.

“Far Away Places” —9.2

“Far Away Places” is one of the top highest-rated episodes of Mad Men on IMDb. The episode exhibits characters in exciting plotlines, from Jane and Rodger Sterling taking LSD to Peggy’s argument with boyfriend Abe Drexler. However, when Don and Megan visit Howard Johnson’s in Plattsburg, New York, the episode gives audiences its most gripping story.

Megan and Don get into a heated confrontation in the restaurant portion of Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge. Don gets so angry he abandons Megan and drives away. Much of the rest of the episode follows Don in his search to find Megan, calling her mother from a payphone and talking to local law enforcement. The episode elaborates on Don’s thoughtlessness, which consistently follows with his regret.

“Person To Person” — 9.3

“Person To Person” is the final episode, and one of the most iconic in all of Mad Men. The story brings fans images of the American West, as it begins with Don calling Sally from a payphone in Utah on his way to California. The episode is significant, like most series finales, in that it wraps up the arcs of all the show’s characters.

Furthermore, the story provides another instance of Don leaving without notice, riddled with guilt about his life’s failings. However, after Don confesses to Peggy over the phone, and is last seen in a blanket of sunshine appearing at peace, audiences can wonder if Don will finally enter a new chapter in his life.

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About The Author

Alex Gentile (262 Articles Published)

Alex Gentile is a Senior Writer and Editor at Screen Rant. Having earned a BA in Comparative Literature & Film Studies, he has always had a passion for writing about film with a close analytic voice. However, his academic background hasn’t stopped his writing from growing to a larger spectrum, from pretentious art-house epics to addictive reality TV schlock. He has written independently and for publications, after having fine-tuned his short-form writing by creating descriptions for releases from his independent record label for more than a decade. Alex is drawn to content focused on thrills, whether it be suspense films with substance or pulp TV series with all the drama.

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