'Mad Men' Shocker: Even Actor's Agents Were Kept in the Dark

2012-21 REP Jared Harris Mad Men P

The gag order around the fate of Jared Harris' character Lane Pryce typifies the secrecy on Matthew Weiner's hit show.

This story first appeared in the June 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

The shocking death of Jared Harris' character in the June 3 episode of Mad Men caught many viewers off guard -- including Harris' own agents.

The veteran British actor, 50, went to unusual lengths to avoid the hubbub surrounding such stars as Sean Bean (Game of Thrones) and Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead), who tipped their characters' deaths by taking new jobs.

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"There was a pilot season that came and went that I didn't put myself up for because, obviously, if I was hired to do another show, people would know that something had happened," Harris tells THR.

Harris signed a three-year option with Mad Men studio Lionsgate after last season, but his agent Brad Schenck at Paradigm watched season five with increasing trepidation as Harris' Lane Pryce became troubled.

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"I got nervous when he forged the check," says Schenck. "I said to my wife, 'This isn't good.' "

But the secrecy worked to build buzz around the big reveal. Harris did five hours of media interviews the Monday after the episode aired.