Primetime TV is getting a new leading lady in the form of Dania Ramirez.
Ramirez, known for her roles in the hit Netflix series Sweet Tooth and ABC’s Once Upon a Time, is trading fantasy for drama in the form of Fox’s new show Alert: Missing Persons Unit. In it, she plays Nikki Batista, the head of the Philadelphia Police Department’s Missing Persons Unit. And she uses the heartbreaking loss of her son to guide her to find the loved ones lost in each week’s episode.
Remezcla interviewed Ramirez on the show’s set in lovely but cold Montreal, Canada. We got to talk about Alert: Missing Persons Unit, how proud she is to take on this role, and her future aspirations.
“I’m proud to be taking on this role,” Ramirez wanted us to know right off the bat. “I’m inspired by telling these real-life stories. I think people want to watch other human beings deal with real-life issues. I believe that love is universal. I believe that pain is universal. And that’s what makes me proud about this role.”
Ramirez’s character is the right detective for the job. And when she says “We get our babies back!” with such heart on the show, it amplifies her character as someone who is empathic and determined to solve any case. Even if it means jumping from a balcony into a pool or having a fast food tussle. “Nikki, she’s so multidimensional!” Ramirez said. “She’s fearless, but she’s also very caring. What drives her is her passion for wanting to find her own son, but also — she has this empathy and compassion for the families that are missing their loved ones, and I think she leads with that.”
As if losing her son and getting into tussles with suspects at fast food restaurants wasn’t drama-filled enough, Ramirez stars alongside Scott Caan (Hawaii Five-0) who plays her ex-husband Jason Grant. Together they receive the shocking revelation that their missing son is alive, which pushes them to work together in every episode. Ramirez said that their characters have many similarities despite being divorced. Their connection is shown through their fearlessness, recklessness, and “stopping at nothing to find these missing people.”
As a mom of adorable 9-year-old twins John and Gaia, Ramirez didn’t find it difficult to put herself in the mindset of Nikki Batista and find the light in traumatic experiences. “I wear my emotions on my sleeve as a person,” she explained. “I have a lot of life stuff that I can draw from. That’s a good thing because it’s brought me to where I’m at. But it also has given me an array of emotions that I can tap into and bring into the role.”
Previously we’ve seen Ramirez as the first Latina Cinderella on the ABC show Once Upon A Time, which has us wondering if another fairy tale character is in her future. Or even a superhero role. “I never say no to playing something that I can see a story behind,” Ramirez said, “I think it’s about for me; what excites me? What am I saying with this character? What message do I want to bring across? How can I connect to the masses through this one character? That’s what excites me.”
Last year Rameriez was also part of the 8-part scripted series Sisters of the Underground, a podcast about the Mirabal sisters. She shared how the production allowed her to start building a sisterhood with Eva Longoria and the importance of sharing their story in a new light. “This was a story that I definitely felt really passionate about as a Dominican woman,” she explained before going on, “I felt like the story hadn’t been told in the most authentic way possible, and I really wanted the Mirabal sisters to be reintroduced to the generation.”
Like the podcast, Ramirez’s new show Alert: Missing Persons Unit promises to be just as authentic. “This is the first show that’s been dedicated as a procedural to finding missing people.” And even though the topic is heavy, it’s an accessible show for all because of its heart. “It’ll be easy to get into, it’ll be fun, it will be dramatic, it will be action-packed, and it’s exciting to watch a show like that.”
Additionally, Alert: Missing Persons Unit starring Dania Ramirez is made all the better due to Roselyn Sánchez’s show Fantasy Island airing on the same network and night. Talk about leading ladies dominating the small screen.
Alert: Missing Persons Unit airs Mondays at 9 PM EST on Fox.