Adam Rothenberg, who plays Dominic on AMC’s Dietland, talks about where his character’s loyalties lie after the losses he’s endured.
Q: What interested you most about the show?
A: I had never read anything like it… It was just a great read and a great story. Being an actor on the set of Dietland is one of the better experiences I’ve ever had. In terms of the world, it’s a great spin on the sidekick role. Back in the old days before we were so enlightened, you’d have the intrepid male lead and the ancillary female character who’s following them around. I thought this was a cool spin, especially because Plum is a civilian and Dominic is a cop. Usually, it’s the other way where you’d have the cop lead who is – forgive the pun here – plumbing people for information. It’s very cool and very refreshing. That’s the vibe on set. It’s just a good time.
Q: Plum and Dominic’s dynamic is definitely a complicated one. Do you think he has real feelings for her?
A: He approached the relationship as a job to do at first. I think he was being a little cute, thinking he would be charming. Everything that Plum is worried that he’s about, he’s absolutely about. I think he’s a bit gobsmacked by his feelings for her. I don’t think he saw that coming. Throughout the season, you see him wrestle with that. On many levels, she’s unlike anyone he’s come into contact with – intellectual, fascinating, vulnerable. I think he thought it would be an easy mark and now he’s done a number on himself.
Q: Dominic seems to be caught in the middle of Kitty, Plum and Stanley. How is he navigating his way through? Where do you think his loyalties lie?
A: I think he’s totally f—ked, to be honest. [Laughs] I think he had a strategy and then – like all good plans – the minute reality hits you, it’s all about improvising. He has no clue what to do. In terms of pure survival mode, I think his alignment with Kitty makes a lot of sense, but he has this nagging thing called a conscience, which is wreaking havoc in his mind. Each scenario doesn’t work well with the other scenarios. As far as I see it, there’s no bigger plan involved. He’s very much jumping to every ringing bell that’s being rung.
Q: With Kitty knowing about his suspension and resignation from the police force, is he worried about blackmail?
A: I don’t think he’s worried about blackmail. He has no means to make a living. He’s a disgraced cop and by some lucky stroke, this high power person decided to take him on. Whether she knew about it or didn’t – he wasn’t asking questions. It’s a job. He’s completely unemployable and he’s got a family to take care of. He just doesn’t have a lot of options.
Q: In Episode 8, Stanley asks Dominic to have his police reports buried “given the current climate.” What could this mean for Dominic and his moral compass?
A: Dominic doesn’t know how bad these hidden reports are, but Stanley’s not a bad guy to have on your side – depending on how bad these files are. Dominic is someone who has a lot to lose because he’s lost so much already. He’s trying to strategize, but he’s not being very good at it. I think he’s seeing where this takes him and if it keeps him afloat for a while, hoping whatever life raft comes his way deposits him in a safe place. He just knows this is not a good person to say no to.
Q: What did you personally take away from the show?
A: It’s close to my heart because it shoots at home, which I have never really gotten to do. Sorry for all these puns, but Joy [Nash] was just a joy to work with. It was wonderful to be her foil. She’s considered relatively new to this, but you’d never know it. In terms of the themes of the show, it was enlightening to see it dramatized in a way that I think we all take information in – through story. It’s been really cool because of all the jobs I’ve ever done, this is the one that has everyone in my family sitting around the table. Hearing my mother and my sister having these heated debates about it is interesting. It’s very gratifying to be a part of something that strikes such a chord.
Read an interview with Ricardo Davila, who plays Eladio.
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