There is no coronavirus pandemic in Virgin River, the fictional California town where the Netflix series is set. Maybe that’s part of the reason we love it so much: the idyllic romantic drama: For an all-too-brief 40 to 48 minutes, we can escape to a dreamy mountain town populated by hunky bartenders and neighbors who each other’s name.
Irresistibly comforting and re-watchable, Virgin River is a contemporary romance following nurse practitioner Melinda Monroe, who leaves Los Angeles to find a fresh start in the small town (which is supposed to be in Northern California, but was actually filmed in Vancouver).
“Virgin River” Trailer
The show’s storyline is based on the romantic book series of the same name by Robyn Carr and was brought to the small screen by executive producers Sue Tenney, Roma Roth, and Chris Perry. Have you breezed through Virgin River’s first and second seasons?
Are you about to die from anticipation after that cliffhanger ending? No worries: Virgin River Season 3 — though it has no official release date as of yet — is forecasted to come out in late November 2021. Prepare for the third season of this soapy, slow-burn, small-screen romance with this handy, comprehensive, spoiler-free guide to the cast and characters.
Alexandra Breckenridge (Mel Monroe)
Alexandra Breckenridge stars as Melinda “Mell” Monroe, a nurse practitioner and midwife who has just relocated to Virgin River from L.A. You might have spotted her on TV shows like This Is Us, The Walking Dead, American Horror Story: Murder House, and Dirt, or heard her voice on Family Guy. She’s also starred in movies like She’s the Man and Big Fat Liar.
Breckenridge is married to musician Casey Hooper. Her family, including herself, Casey, and their two kids, moved to a farm to ride out the COVID-19 pandemic.
Martin Henderson (Jack Sheridan)
You wouldn’t guess it from his perfect American accent, but Martin Henderson is actually from New Zealand. Henderson does his best American accent on Virgin River in his role as Marine Jack Sheridan, owner of the local “Jack’s Bar” and a former marine who suffers from PTSD. Henderson also plays “American” in two seasons of Grey’s Anatomy as Dr. Nathan Riggs, and as the very adorable male lead in the Bollywoodified Jane Austin movie, Bride & Prejudice.
Annette O’Toole (Hope McCrea)
Annette O’Toole plays Hope McCrea, the Mayor of Virgin River. Some of her other noteworthy small-screen credits include her role as Clark Kent’s mom in Smallville and the grownup Beverly Marsh in the It miniseries. She’s also appeared in movies like Foolin’ Around, Andre, and A Futile and Stupid Gesture.
In addition to being an actress, O’Toole is a singer-songwriter whose song “A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow” for the movie A Mighty Wind was nominated for an Oscar.
Tim Matheson (Doc Mullins)
Actor Tim Matheson portrays Vernon “Doc” Mullins, the town’s physician and husband to Hope McCrea. His other acting credits include his Emmy-nominated performance in The West Wing and the role of Eric “Otter” Stratton in Animal House. Movie-wise, Matheson also played a doctor in the movie Hart of Dixie.
Colin Lawrence (John “Preacher” Middleton)
Colin Lawrence is the man behind John “Preacher” Middleton, Jacks’ chef and Marine buddy. Outside of Virgin River, he’s probably best known for his work as Hamis “Skulls” McCall in Battlestar Galactica. His sci-fi-centric resume includes TV shows like iZombie and Riverdale, as well as movies like X2: X-Men United, Fantastic Four, and Watchmen.
Jenny Cooper (Joey Barnes)
As Melinda’s older sister, Joey Barnes, Jenny Cooper pops up in the first season more than the second. Before joining the Virgin River cast, the actress starred in Showtime’s Fast Track and Open Heart, and she appeared in TV series like 24, Law & Order True Crime, and Grey’s Anatomy. She’s also acted in movies like Godsend and Cross 3.
In addition to writing, Cooper wrote, co-produced, and starred in the comedy movie I Think I Do.
Sarah Dugdale (Lizzie)
Like Mel once was, the 19-year-old Lizzie (Connie’s niece from L.A.) is a newcomer to Virgin River who appears in season two. Before coming to Virgin River, Lizzie appeared in TV series like R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour, Supernatural, and Ice. You can catch her next year in the super-scary-sounding-to-watch-while-quarantining horror flick, There’s Someone Inside Your House.
Grayson Maxwell Gurnsey (Ricky)
Grayson Maxwell Gurnsey has a more prominent role in Virgin River’s season two as Ricky, Jack’s young employee who dreams of joining the Marines. Before appearing on Virgin River, Gurnsey starred in the shows Game On and Saints, as well as movies like The Art of Racing in the Rain.
He’s also directed short films and was a co-director in the movie Lord of the Guys.
Daniel Gillies (Mark)
Playing Mel’s first husband Mark, Daniel Gilles only appears in occasional flashbacks. Fun fact: Like her new love interest (Martin Henderson as Jack), Gilles is also from New Zealand. Outside of Virgin River, you may recognize Gilles from The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, and Saving Hope.