C.J.: St. Paul native Ian Anthony Dale stars in TNT's 'Murder in the First'

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 12, 2014 - 4:30 PM

Ian Anthony Dale moved to Los Angeles 14 years ago aiming to make a living as an actor.

It’s working out well for the St. Paul native, who headed straight for L.A. after graduating from college in Wisconsin.

He just bought a house.

“I’ve been recurring on [CBS’] ‘Hawaii Five-0’ for the last three seasons now,” said Dale, who is headed back to Hawaii to shoot soon. “I’ve got a new gig recurring on [The CW’s] ‘Heart of Dixie.’ ”

Dale was in the metro to visit family over the 4th and make the local media rounds promoting “Murder in the First,” a new 10-part TNT drama. “Takes place in San Francisco, stars the beautiful Taye Diggs & the beautiful Kathleen Robertson. They play homicide detectives who are investigating two seemingly separate homicides, but the mystery deepens when they realize both homicides have a common denominator, a Silicon Valley tech genius Erich Blunt, played by the beautiful Thomas Felton. I play the young ambitious lieutenant of the police department, their boss Jim Koto, [who] is described as someone who wakes up in the morning and says, ‘I’m going to be the mayor of San Francisco one day.’ As the season unfolds we get to see how his ambitions can cloud his judgment and get in the way of his relationships.”

Sounds like Koto may waffle between good and bad guy. Dale has tried to have both kind of roles on his résumé, a conflict that cost him the first time his talents were sought by that J.J. Abrams.

They remain on good terms. Dale is too levelheaded to call himself beautiful, but as you will no doubt notice, on my startribune.com/video, he is quite so. The video also includes an egregious rendition of the “Five-0” theme song, fully explained after the credit.

Q: You’ve been in L.A. a long time?

A: I moved to Los Angeles in 2000. I just realized that I’ve spent more time away from the Twin Cities than I have living here. It’s a little strange. There is a lot about the Twin Cities that remains a little foreign to me ’cause I left to go to Madison, Wis., for college when I was 17 and then off to Hollywood after that. I’m just slowly starting to discover all the great places to eat in this town. It’s really become a great food city. I didn’t realize there were James Beard award-winning restaurants throughout the cities. I went to the Butcher & the Boar, just awesome. Not only is the food great but the setting and the décor. The pennies on the floor at Butcher & Boar. That is so cool. I’d like to re-create that in my new house in LA. I wonder how difficult a process that is. Gives you a new reason to save your pennies. Bar La Grassa: Talk about savory and delicious every bite. Last time I was here I checked out Burch Steakhouse and Pizza.

Q: You’re planning a house with a floor full of pennies, you must be doing OK?

A: [Laughter.] I wonder how much that would cost; square footage for that.

Q: What is your definition of success as an actor?

A: I always said, “I’ll be happy if I can make a living as an actor.” I think it’s important to be realistic and have dreams and goals but it is also important to be realistic. I never said, ‘‘I want to go out to LA and become a star,’’ and I think a lot of people make that mistake. I always said, ‘I just want to be a working actor and if stardom or any of that other stuff comes with it, so be it, but that’s not my intention, not my goal. Such a small percentage of us get to say they do this for a living and make a living doing it. I feel fortunate.

Q: Have you turned down any roles that you regret?

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