The role that launched Luca Zingaretti to fame was Commissario Salvo Montalbano in "Detective Montalbano", a series of television movies based on a fictional novel character. The character of Montalbano was written as an archetypical Sicilian: hot-tempered, clever, quick, brooding, and self-indulgent when it came to good food. Because of the acclaim he garnered with Montalbano, Zingaretti was in high-demand for all sorts of leading parts after that point. In 2002, he starred in the Holocaust biopic "Perlasca: The Courage of a Just Man", about an ordinary Italian who poses as a Spanish official to save the lives of thousands of Jewish children. Both the film and Zingaretti's performance received overwhelmingly positive reviews by audiences and critics, with lots of praise and recognition internationally. In 2005's crime drama "Alla luce del sole", Zingaretti played another do-gooder hero going against the grain, as Catholic priest Padre Puglisi, who works in a Mafia-dominated area in Palermo, determined to prevent neighborhood children from getting involved with the rampant crime. In the comedy film "Kiss Me First", Zingaretti plays the narrator and friend of two star-crossed lovers--once again, Zingaretti was the benevolent paternal figure. It was in the drama "I giorni dell'abbandono" that Zingaretti played against type, as a husband who leaves his wife, Olga, for a younger woman. Though the film focuses on Olga's emotional journey, Zingaretti's performance was given significant critical praise.