Ken Cosgrove

Ken Cosgrove

    Mad Men
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew Up… in Vermont. Ken was an active duty Navy seamen and first came to New York to attend Columbia University. In high school he started playing around with writing and since then hasn’t shaken the habit. He prefers to keep his writing sideline from his work colleagues, but has been known to get brave and recite poetry on occasion, especially when intoxicated.

Living… the bachelor’s life in Manhattan. Ken has buddies from work he likes to hit the town with – Pete Campbell, Paul Kinsey, and Harry Crane, to name a few. But it’s probably for the best that he doesn’t live with any of them.

Profession… accounts executive at Sterling Cooper ad agency. The life of an ad man is one Ken knows how to handle; he has perspective. Out of the younger generation of Madison Avenue “Mad Men,” he seems to be the one who best understands the importance of being good at a job, while recognizing that it’s only a job. This attitude not only benefits Ken’s private life, but also makes him well-suited to his work. As Lane Pryce tells Pete Campbell, who shares the lead accounts position with Ken, “Mr. Cosgrove has the rare gift of making [clients] feel as if they haven’t any needs.”

Interests… writing fiction. He has written two unpublished novels, and tries to get his short stories in magazines. He keeps this interest private, writing under noms de plume. He knows any success as a writer might draw the jealousy of colleagues and higher-ups, while any failure might be mocked.

Relationship Status… single, for now. Ken could be called a flirt, though not like the lascivious Harry Crane or the predatory Pete Campbell. With Pete and Harry both getting hitched, Ken might be thinking more seriously about finding someone to settle down with. He seems like he’d be a good husband, which is frankly unlike most men at Sterling Cooper.

Challenge… avoiding becoming corrupted by his work environment and colleagues. Ken shows his irrepressible optimism while Pete paints him a picture of the company’s future: “We worm our way into a few niche companies, something sexy in a good neighborhood. A pharmaceutical. Maybe if God is gracious, a car. And then? We go public, open an office in Buenos Aires and Elvis plays at Tammy’s sweet 16.” But for how long can Ken remain so sunny when surrounded by his spiritually lost co-workers?

Personality… smart, level-headed, and always looking on the bright side. Ken has an encouraging, charming demeanor, one that helps him win the approval of clients and friends alike.


Fans of him also like:

Find out how you match to him and 5500+ other characters