From Time.com: The Last Days of Mad Men

From Time.com: The Last Days of Mad Men
Alex Majoli/Magnum/Time

04/11/2014 AT 04:30 PM EDT

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Don Draper is looking at his iPhone. O.k ., not exactly: star Jon Hamm is sitting in a hallway, in his trademark slicked hair and wide-striped tie, checking texts.

We're between takes for the fifth episode of the seventh and final season of the iconic AMC series. It's the modern equivalent of a 1960s cigarette break: women in done-up bouffants and men in chunky glasses perch on modernist furniture and inhale data. If Sterling Cooper and Partners were actually in business, this would make one hell of an ad pitch to Apple.

The on-set mashup of rotary phone and smartphone doesn't so much spoil the illusion of Mad Men as reveal what the show really is: a period piece, but one where the past haunts the present and the present haunts the past.

Mad Men's calendar is just about out of pages. It's wrapping up its run as the signature show of a period in which the kind of people who used to say "I don't even own a television" were now arguing whether film and novels could even compete with TV drama. In more ways than one, the end of Mad Men will be the end of an era.

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