Emmy-winning drama Mad Men drew a record 2.7 million viewers for its low-key finale, bringing to an end its most watched and most controversial season yet.
The show, set in a 1960s New York advertising agency, enjoyed its biggest weekly audiences in season five, drawing an average 2.6 million US viewers, up 15 percent over last year.
Mad Men, starring Jon Hamm as enigmatic advertising executive Don Draper, has won four consecutive Emmy awards for best TV drama series despite a relatively small audience.
Season five, with a fist fight, hallucinations, a suicide, and an LSD trip, was both darker and more dramatic than the slow- burn storytelling that marked the show's previous years.
And after the finale, it drew mostly positive reviews.
Mike Hale at the New York Times said the finale - which closed with Draper propositioned in a bar and contemplating a reply - left fans with "smaller and more intimate questions to ponder" than the gruesome suicide of English character Lane Pryce the week before.
But the Los Angeles Times was less favorable, saying Mad Men ended "with a whimper" after a "rudderless" season.
Despite some of the critical reservations, Mad Men is expected to do well again when nominations for this year's prime- time Emmys are announced next month. REUTERS