Amber Rose Revah Explains The Punisher’s Twisted Love Story

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Dinah (Amber Rose Revah) doesn't realize Billy (Ben Barnes) killed her partner.
Dinah (Amber Rose Revah) doesn't realize Billy (Ben Barnes) killed her partner. Netflix

One of the most surprising relationships in The Punisher was between Billy Russo and Dinah Madani. Russo, played by Ben Barnes, runs a private military company called Anvil. He meets Madani, played by Amber Rose Revah, while administering training for Homeland Security. When Madani's boss interrupts their flirting session, the two go out for drinks. Madani initially questions Russo about her investigation into Frank Castle. He manages to be suave enough to avoid revealing too much and over half the series, Madani, has no idea Russo is at the heart of the story.

The idea of someone you care about ending up being someone other than you thought is what makes this relationship so compelling, Revah told Player.One.

“A lot of the dialogue and the scenes, she’s quite tough and badass and sexually uninhibited. Then to also show she still has those same emotional tendencies that we all do, women or men, which manifests into falling for someone that she’s not able to see what he’s doing and it blinds her. I thought it was a really nice way to go with her, because everyone can relate to it -- where you choose to believe something, and especially within relationships and with love. I don't think there’s a person out there that can’t relate to that.”

Amber Rose Revah as Dinah Madani.
Amber Rose Revah as Dinah Madani. Netflix

Billy Russo revealing himself as William Rawlins’ right-hand man was one of The Punisher ’s major surprises. Rawlins, Director of Covert Operations for the CIA, is the man behind Frank Castle’s family’s murder. While Madani chases Castle at first, Rawlins is the villain Madani is actually after. To make matters worse, during the course of Madani and Russo’s relationship, Russo accuses her of using him just to further her investigation. But Russo is emotionally manipulating Madani all along. At the peak of their relationship, he kills her Homeland Security partner in a hit gone wrong. He proceeds to comfort a traumatized Dinah, washing the blood off her skin in the bathtub.

“She’s decided in her mind she’s not going to believe that, because that's the most painful possible thing. She’s very guarded as it is, and the fact that she’s let him in emotionally is a big thing. For that one person to turn around and be deceitful in the worst way possible...”

Ben Barnes as Billy Russo.
Ben Barnes as Billy Russo. Netflix

It’s a unique relationship and a dynamic we haven’t seen before in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact, all the romantic relationships in The Punisher are rather unique. For starters, Castle and Karen Page. While it’s been all platonic so far, there’s a chemistry between them that relies on pain and trauma. The two have an undeniable connection that feels even stronger than the one Page has with Daredevil . Micros’ relationship with his wife (who believes him to be dead) also shows how loss affects a family. However, Madani’s character has the opportunity to explore themes with more depth, since she’s so far removed from the comics. It also helps The Punisher is largely a standalone series.

“The fact that she’s, number one, a woman, number two, from a non-white background but she sees herself as American because she was born here. That’s what she is, and also that she’s independent. Those three things are really important to me. Because it’s not portrayed on screen enough. Women are fascinating. Women have stories. Women are whole, rounded characters. I think the industry still has a way to go with that. We have incredible women who are creating production companies and writing great stuff, and it’s really important to me to represent an interesting, independent woman.”

The Punisher is streaming now on Netflix.

The Punisher
The Punisher Binges On The Misery Of Frank Castle
The Punisher is a striking display of Frank Castle's sadness.
  • Puts character development first
  • Standalone Marvel series
  • Jon Bernthal
  • Wild action scenes
  • Moves slowly
  • Extremely violent
  • No humor
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