When Don Draper and Cookie Lyon Were Cops …

The Division Still - H 2015
Courtesy of Photofest

The Division Still - H 2015

The day after his long-awaited Emmy win for best actor, Jon Hamm was reminded of a career before 'Mad Men' when 'Empire's' Taraji P. Henson posted an Instagram photo of the pair playing cops on Lifetime's 'The Division' from over a decade ago. Says Hamm: "Work's work."

A version of this story first appeared in the Oct. 2 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Long before Don and Cookie, two of 2015's biggest TV stars — Empire's Taraji P. Henson and Mad Men's Jon Hamm — shared screen time on a less-celebrated drama. In an Instagram post the day after Hamm won the best actor Emmy, Henson reminded the world of when she and Hamm played San Francisco cops on the female-skewing The Division, which ran on Lifetime from 2001 to 2004: "Who remembers that!!!!!" she joked.

Turns out Hamm does, recently telling THR how the less-prestigious credit informed his decision to work on a then-nascent AMC. "They didn't do programming; they just showed old movies," he said of AMC. "But the last show that I was on with any regularity was on Lifetime, so it wasn't like I had some network bias. Work's work."

The show, created by Deborah Joy LeVine — who also created Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman – starred Bonnie Bedelia as the captain of a felony division. Henson played Inspector Raina Washington and Hamm played Inspector Nate Basso, two "police investigators trying to balance their personal lives with the demands of working some of the city's toughest streets," in the words of Lifetime's publicity department. Nancy McKeon — Jo from Facts of Life — also starred as Inspector Jinny Exstead.
Check out a shaggy-haired Hamm and Henson sporting a shorter 'do and a smile in the title sequence.