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In Season 5, Episode 8 "Lady Lazarus", Don sees Megan out of the office after she resigns. Immediately the elevator door closes on her, he calls another elevator. The door opens but there is no elevator car and Don carefully looks down the shaft before giving up and going back into the office.

I've watched the next two episodes and up to this point there is no explanation for this strange incident. What is the missing elevator car meant to represent, and/or why did the writers include it?

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I suspect that this may have been a nod to the famous LA Law scene where Diana Muldaur's character, Rosalind Shays, walks into an empty elevator shaft, falling to her death. The two series have been compared to each other and have both won 4 Emmys for Outstanding Drama Series. Basically, it was probably done as an inside joke by the writers.

Beyond that, the incident played into the themes of the threat of sudden death and Don's alienation from others that are found in the season as a whole.

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