To mark the acclaimed drama's return, Elisabeth Moss - the indomitable Peggy Olson - spoke to journalists about what to expect from Mad Men's latest run, how she feels about the show coming to an end and whether Don (Jon Hamm) will always be the most important man in Peggy's life...
When Peggy quit the ad agency last season, were you worried that you were being written out of Mad Men?
"No, because I had spoken to [series creator] Matt Weiner - Matt called me and told me what was going to happen, so he let me know that I was not going to be leaving the show!"
But were you surprised by the fan furore over her fate?
"I was surprised and I was extremely flattered. In episode eleven when she left, there really wasn't a whole lot of chatter about it, and then when she wasn't in episode twelve and then Jared Harris made that comment in an interview [saying] that I might have left the show - that's when people sort of freaked out!
"I was so incredibly flattered - what you don't want is people not giving a s**t! You don't want people not caring that you're not there anymore, so the fact that people were really upset about it was just really flattering and surprising."
What new experiences are coming Peggy's way in season six?
"I don't think things are all settled out for her. I asked Matt, 'What is the season about for you?' and he said, 'It's about people thinking that they've changed and finding that they're back in the same situations that they were in before' - so the concept that your weaknesses will always be your weaknesses and sometimes people never change.
"We're also getting into the idea of why people are the way they are - so why do these characters have these weaknesses? Why does Don do what he does? Why does Peggy keep getting herself into these situations?
"I think that's the concept of [season six] - it's the same old weaknesses and situations, but Peggy thinks that she's going to be able to overcome them and she can't."
Peggy's had a troubled romantic life - will Don always be the most important man in her life?
"Oh God, I hope not! I hope that she finds someone - I think she wants happiness in all areas of her life. She's of that generation and is one of the first women that wants to work, and have a boyfriend, and get married, and have kids… she's one of the first women to really go for that and think that she deserves that.
"She wants all of that and the problem is that she keeps throwing herself back into her work every time that her relationship isn't going well. She's not quite as mature as young ladies are today. I think she will [find true love] - but I don't know of anything. I hope so!"
Don is regarded as the show's main character, but many think Peggy is the heart of the show...
"Well yes, obviously I think that - thank you for finally saying what we all think! (laughs) No, I think that Don is definitely the main character - he's our guy, he's number one, he's who we follow. But it is an ensemble show that allows other people to step up and have their story be heard and have their moment.
"Peggy over the years has grown to be a great yin to Don's yang - with how they play off each other, their differences and their similarities. I think that [Jon Hamm] will always remain the lead actor on the show, but you have to have other characters and other stories and the show does allow for that."
Would you like to see more of Peggy's family on Mad Men?
"Yeah, I loved her sister and her mum - I thought they were so great and I loved whenever Peggy went home and you got to see that life. You kind of saw why, in the beginning, Peggy was so stilted and so unsure of herself, because she was not getting enough love and validation at home and you could see why she wanted to get the hell outta there! I thought it was brilliant and hope we get to do more."
Do you think the child she had with Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) will surface again?
"I think she's definitely tried to repress it completely. It's like Don said… 'This never happened' - I think for her, it's done, it's over. She's put it out of her mind, she's left it in the past - it's buried. You don't necessarily think about the most tragic, horrible things that happened to you every day - but they come up in the strangest, oddest moments."
Jon Hamm and John Slattery (Roger) have both directed Mad Men episodes - is that something you'd be interested in?
"No-one's asked me to, so this is hypothetical! But I think if I was asked, I would do it, just for the experience of it. I don't know if I would be any good! I have such huge respect for a good director talking to an actor - I think it's really hard…
"It's a long life and I hope to try other things in my career. I don't think I'd ever be a writer, so producing and directing would be the only other directions I could go in. You never know. I wouldn't necessarily say no."
With the next season of Mad Men being planned as the last, how does it feel to have the end in sight?
"It's weird - you kind of go back and forth between nostalgia and sadness and feeling like it's going to be over soon - and then you've got to get up at 5am and go to work all day… then you don't feel so nostalgic anymore!
"But it's one of those things where you've just got to focus on the episode [you're filming] and try and make each one as good as possible - the fact that we might finish next year doesn't really make any difference to that."
What is the secret to Mad Men's success?
"I think that it's the writing - the writing's very good, obviously. I think it's also a lesson in not pandering to the viewers - people tend to think that audiences are just going to want the same thing that they got last year. Every time anything's a success, you're always going to get at least two copycats of it.
"But Mad Men was really adventurous, it was really risky at the time. It was a period show - nobody did period shows! Nobody knew who the actors were, nobody knew where the channel was. I think it just goes to show that if you make something that's good and you don't compromise, other people are going to think it's good, too."
Mad Men season six debuts on Sky Atlantic on Wednesday, April 10 at 10pm.