Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner and Terry Gross discussed the memorable end to season six, when Don finally opens up and shows his kids the brothel where he grew up:
"Usually I start [a new season] with an image in my head [of the last shot], and that was the image. The execution of that image is a totally different thing. By the time you get there — when the camera is there, the crew is there, and the actors are there — the pressure is on to actually execute it.
What we wanted to do was show that [his daughter] Sally [played by Kiernan Shipka] was both disgusted and illuminated and that she, like the rest of the world, was going to see Don. She had walked in on him with his mistress; and Megan is her friend, her stepmother. … The whole thing was already so damaged. But we set this thing up that she didn’t know who he was. They had the woman break into their house pretending to be her grandmother and Sally was fooled by it because she knows nothing about him.
It really had to do with Kiernan, the actress, interacting with Jon Hamm [who plays Don] that made it work that way. I think Jon Hamm looked at her like: “Take it or leave it, baby. This is what it is. I’m being honest with you.” And she looked at it like: “That’s gross, but oh my God that’s who you are.”
The best thing is, to me, no words: “This is where I grew up.” No words, and that’s the part that I find, as a viewer, sinks into me in any entertainment.”