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Dominic Zamprogna offers insight into his alter ego

What do you like best about the character? “I feel like he’s always been super-loyal and I’ve always liked that about him. He’s always been trustworthy and someone who’s got your back. He’s solid. He’s kind of like the glue.”

What do you dislike about him? “I don’t know how worldly he is. I think sometimes he thinks he knows more than he actually does. His ego — he can maybe be too cocky and arrogant.”

What do you consider to be Dante’s signature storyline? “Definitely the story of where he came from, which wasn’t on camera — the fact that he was raised by a single mom, with not a lot, I think made him loyal and trustworthy and street-smart. Finding out who his father was, and then having his father shoot him, was pretty big, too [laughs]! And in recent years, the thing that has really defined him is when I left the show and he got captured and had to deal with PTSD. That defines who he is now and the places his life has gone and his decision to get back into law enforcement and to move on with a new person in his life and all that. That’s all been dictated by the trauma he’s been through, which I think has humbled him and gotten him to slow down a little bit.”

Who would Dante be most likely to turn to for advice? “Everyone is so messed up, I don’t know! Probably his mother.”

How do you imagine Dante spends his downtime? “Making sweet love to Sam!”

What life event has had the biggest impact on Dante’s evolution? “For sure, Dante getting shot by Sonny was the first major evolution. I think the second one was his life with Lulu. That was another huge chapter. It showed him what love was, and the fact that they had children together gave him the opportunity to be a father after not having one for most of his life. Then the PTSD was an evolution in itself because he had to start over. He lost Lulu and wondered, ‘What the hell is left now?’ Then he found Sam, who is this other angel in his life that he never saw coming. There are so many, I guess, when you think about it!”

Who does Dante most admire or consider a role model? “His father is a role model as far as loyalty and doing anything for family and that kind of stuff. Maybe Anna, though. She’s kind of found a way to balance his chosen field with this other kind of life, straddling the line [between following the rules and bending them]. I think the way she’s been able to do that is something he would like to emulate.”

What criminal has Dante most wanted to take down? “Who has he taken down [laughs]?! The one who got him to Port Charles was Sonny Corinthos; that’s what he was hanging his hat on. But in recent years, it would probably have to be Peter, because that took up several years of story, and he was responsible for killing Nathan.”

What era of Dante’s life would be most fun to get to play all over again? “Oh, the first six or eight months, when he first came to Port Charles, without a doubt. There was so much happening. He was investigating Sonny, meeting with Ronnie at the laundromat to discuss the case, walking in on his mom with some young dude, meeting Lulu at Jake’s. There were so many angles.”

What three words best describe Dante? “This is like an acting exercise, dude! I’d say fierce, loyal and found. A cool thing about being here so long is that when I sit here and talk to you about all the moments, it really does add up to a life. He wasn’t a man when I first got here, and now he’s a grown-ass man! He knows who he is. Things have happened over the years to humble him, to hurt him, and to create what you see now.”

What was the happiest time in Dante’s life? “When he met Lulu and was in the throes of the undercover investigation is how I would answer as an actor, because it was a stressful time in Dante’s life but so much fun to play. I think the character would say marrying Lulu and becoming a father, especially after they had a hard time conceiving. They created a family.”

How did loving and losing Lulu affect who he is today? “She was the first true love he ever had. There were girls in the neighborhood and different women over the years, but never anyone like Lulu. Losing her, like losing anything, teaches you to take things one day at a time and to always be grateful for what’s in front of you and what you have. I think it’s also allowed him to take advantage of what was in front of him with Sam. He couldn’t stop being a parent, he couldn’t stop being a human with needs who wants love and companionship. It’s not like he went out looking for it; it just happened, and it happened with someone who seems to understand a lot about what he’s going through because she’s been through it, too.”

What family member is he closest to? “His mother, for sure. I haven’t worked that much with Lisa [LoCicero, Olivia] that much lately, but it’s definitely his mother.”

Who is his most trusted co-worker? “I’d say Chase. That’s his partner; he has to trust him the most.”

If he could get a do-over for one decision he made, what would it be? “Not send Michael to jail. By far, that would be the moment. It was obviously a huge mistake [to sleep with Valerie], but he and Lulu came back from that. That didn’t ruin their lives. What he did, thinking he was doing the right thing for Michael, was life-altering. A major, major mistake.”

What character from Dante’s past would you most like to see return? “I think it would be interesting if Ronnie Dimestico made a comeback one day. He was his closest confidant years ago, so it would be interesting to see where he’d be at now … if he didn’t die [laughs]. It ended very strange with that character, and there’s a lot Dante would want to say to him. I know I just said a dead guy, but in my mind, Lulu isn’t a possibility right now and I don’t see her as from his past — that’s very fresh. So maybe I’m interpreting the question differently, but of course, I’d want to see what would happen if Lulu ever were to come back. She’s still here, in his mind. People might say, ‘Well, then, how could he move on?’ But I think she would want him to move on. If she could say, ‘Don’t wait for me,’ she would, just like he said to her. He didn’t just jump into bed with somebody; it was a big deal for him to move on. But I think he did it knowing that she would want that for him.”

What relationship of Dante’s would you like to see explored more on screen? “Dante and Sam, of course. And you could put Dante/Kristina up there, too. It’s funny because I saw something on Twitter about the Dante/Kristina relationship with a bunch of pictures and I thought, ‘That is really cool,’ because you forget about some of the moments we’ve shared over the years. They were really close, and I do remember those scenes when she was assaulted by that Kiefer guy. Those were really intense moments. It would be cool to have more sibling kind of stuff with her. But I also do want more Sam and Dante hashed out on screen. And I think we are; I think we’re doing that more now than maybe we were doing last year. I think there’s a lot there, a lot to suss out.”

Me Vs. Him

Who is better in a crisis, you or Dante? “Dante, for sure. Actually, you know what? As I get older, I’ve started to have a little more confidence in myself in moments of crisis. I can handle myself pretty well.”

What quality that you possess is the least like Dante? “I’m super-disloyal. Kidding! Hmm. That’s hard because I try to put a lot of myself into him. I feel like Dante is much cooler than Dominic is, but actually, I think I’m cooler than him now! It didn’t start out that way.”

Who has a better house, you or Dante? “Well, I haven’t seen Dante’s house in ages! I think his kitchen is in Elizabeth’s house now. The last time I was in Elizabeth’s place, I was like, ‘This is very familiar.’ So, I don’t know that Dante has a house anymore, but the place that we have right now is definitely way better than the house Dante and Lulu had. It’s awesome.”

How would you do as a cop? “I actually think I’d be a pretty good cop. That’s one thing we get frustrated with sometimes — there are moments the PCPD really lets ya down, you know? I think in real life, I’d catch a few more crumbs.”

Would you wear Dante’s wardrobe? “Yeah! I actually like it more now than I did before, which also speaks to the evolution of the character. He’s not wearing casual s–t to work anymore, he’s dressing like an actual detective has to be dressed, and I think that’s a sign of him stepping his game up and dressing like the grown-up man he is.”

Would you be as inclined as Dante to forgive someone for stabbing you? “Yes. Under those circumstances, yes. Not if they stabbed me on purpose, but otherwise, yes — especially if it was my girlfriend’s mother!”