Matt Di Angelo, who plays the shunned member of the Carter family who raped sister-in-law Linda (Kellie Bright), explained that for the sake of representing rape realistically it was unlikely that Dean would ever do time for his actions, but said that did not mean that he wouldn’t still suffer some punishment.
He told Inside Soap: “At the end of the day it’s a soap, so we have to finish the story and not leave it unresolved in any way. I’m not saying he should go to prison, though – I don’t think he should, because the real-life statistics don’t reflect that.
Dean (Matt Di Angelo) has been shunned by most of the Square except mum Shirley (Linda Henry) (BBC)
“If we are trying to do a serious and real story, it would almost be an insult to all the real victims who’ve actually been through this situation. It would be like saying, ‘These criminals all go to prison,’ when they don’t.
“The vast majority of these people don’t face judicial punishment, and that’s one thing EastEnders really wanted to get across. That’s what makes it so good – everyone feels that sense of injustice.”
Matt went on: “But there are other ways for Dean to be punished, like getting physically abused by Mick, or having his financial or personal life attacked. He’s constantly being faced with that – viewers will see him being punished on a daily basis.”
Linda (Kellie Bright) was attacked by Dean (BBC)
The actor even thinks viewers may feel some sympathy for his character.
He said: “I think you should feel for him because he’s really messed up. He doesn’t even realise what he’s done yet, so he thinks that all the persecution is completely unjustified.
“He’s shocked and genuinely upset as he doesn’t understand why everyone believes these lies.”
Matt Di Angelo thinks his character Dean shouldn’t go to jail (BBC)
Matt went on: “He’s quite a level-headed guy, and that was the interesting thing about the rape storyline. It was showing that someone who you think is very normal and is your average guy can make a mistake and mess up like that.
“It doesn’t mean that he’s a panto villain – he doesn’t walk into the Vic in a cloud of smoke! He’s still a normal person and we wanted to show that those people live on and how it affects their life.
“When the time comes, I’m sure we’ll revisit the story and wrap it up.”