While binging Virgin River, as one does, if you rack your brain trying to figure out where you've seen the cast before, we're with you—so we decided to solve the mysteries once and for all.
And we learned a lot.
For instance, did you know that the show's leading lady—Alexandra Breckenridge, we're looking at you—used to be on This Is Us? Or that multiple members of the cast had stints on ABC's never-ending hit, Grey's Anatomy? OR that one cast member had a breakout cameo in the Christmastime classic, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation? (The last one seems rather fitting, considering that after dropping season 5 in September 2023, Netflix is gifting us with two extra brand-new Virgin River holiday episodes on November 30.)
Have we piqued your interest? Scroll on to see all of the cast's best pre-Virgin River roles. (Heads up: We're throwing it back to a lot of TV shows and movies in addition to Virgin River, so there may be spoilers ahead!)
Our heroine, nurse practitioner and midwife Melinda "Mel" Monroe, who moves from Los Angeles to rural Virgin River with the hope of mending her broken heart, is played by the lovely Alexandra Breckenridge. Before Alexandra was Virgin River's leading lady, she was on…
...the NBC mega-hit, This Is Us, where she played Kevin's (Justin Hartley) ex-wife (turned wife again), Sophie—who, as it turns out, was also a nurse!
Alexandra also had an arc on the zombie hit The Walking Dead as Jessie Anderson, a mother trying to navigate the world of the undead.
But perhaps our favorite rediscovery is that Alexandra starred alongside Amanda Bynes in 2006's She's the Man—as the girlfriend of Sebastian, Amanda's on-screen twin brother.
Martin Henderson plays Jack Sheridan, beloved Virgin River bar owner and one of the very first people Mel meets when she arrives. The two have an instant connection, which eventually turns into a very romantic—albeit, very tumultuous—relationship. But that's part of what makes Virgin River so fun! Before Martin played Jack...
...he had an arc on Grey's Anatomy as Dr. Nathan Riggs, a cardiothoracic surgeon who worked with April Kepner during her time in Jordan (and one of our girl Meredith's many handsome love interests).
Veteran actor Tim Matheson plays Dr. Vernon "Doc" Mullins, the doctor Mel was hired to work with...without Doc's exact approval. While this leads to a tense initial relationship, they eventually find common ground—and even become close friends.
Tim also played a doctor—Bluebell, Alabama's preferred doctor, Dr. Brick Breeland—opposite Rachel Bilson's Dr. Zoe Hart on Hart of Dixie. (If you love Virgin River and haven't yet binged Hart of Dixie, you're in for a real treat—the shows are very reminiscent of each other!)
But Tim may, in fact, be best known for his role as Vice President John Hoynes in Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing.
Annette O'Tool plays Hope McCrea, the town mayor and the woman behind Mel's semi-secret move to Virgin River. (She's convinced her ex-husband—then, later, husband again—Doc needs the help. He very much disagrees!)
But Annette was first known for her multiple roles in the Superman universe—first, as Lana Lang in Superman III, then, as Martha Kent, Clark's (Tom Welling) adoptive mom, on Smallville.
Keith MacKechnie plays B&B owner and Jack's friend and glamping business investor, Nick. But—sort-of-spoiler alert!—if you ask some fans, he may also be secretly playing the role of Mel's long-lost father, possibly to be revealed in these holiday episodes.
Keith has previously appeared in many things—The Twilight Zone, Desperate Housewives, and 7th Heaven, to name a few—but this is one of our favorites: his cameo on Gilmore Girls. He plays Dennis, a hotel guest determined to take cooking lessons from Sookie (Melissa McCarthy). Eager-to-please Sookie, of course, says yes, despite the fact that the inn recently caught on fire and there's no workable kitchen. (Classic GG!)
But perhaps Keith's most iconic cameo? His brief—yet unforgettable—appearance in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, as the delivery boy who misplaces Clark's (Chevy Chase) work bonus: a one-year membership to the Jelly of the Month Club. (Clark's subsequent meltdown is truly the definition of relatable content.)
Colin Lawrence plays Virgin River's John "Preacher" Middleton, a former U.S. Marine and a close friend of Jack's. (He also works at Jack's Bar and eventually becomes co-owner.) Preacher's storyline takes quite a few turns!
But before Colin became the best chef in Virgin River, he played Archie's (K.J. Apa) football coach, Coach Clayton, on Riverdale, the modern (and, yes, often wild) take on the classic Archie comic series.
Ben Hollingsworth plays Dan Brady, another veteran living in Virgin River—though one who has a bit of a harder time adjusting to civilian life than his comrades.
Before Virgin River, Ben appeared on Once Upon a Time as Quinn, a wolf who finds Ruby in the woods.
You might also recognize him from several Hallmark movies, including 2023's The Santa Summit.
Teryl Rothery stars as Muriel Saint Claire, one of the women in Hope's sewing circle. She's a former movie star and, at the start of the show, interested in Hope's off-again, on-again love, Doc.
Teryl had a two-season arc as Jean Loring, a lawyer within the Arrow universe.
Lauren Hammersley plays Charmaine Roberts, the woman Jack is dating at the start of the series. She's also the mother of his twin children—or is she...? (True fans know!)
Before she went around breaking hearts in Virgin River, Lauren played Alison's (Tatiana Maslany), er, messy lawyer on the Space/BBC America series Orphan Black.
Marco Grazzini plays Mike Valenzuela, a policeman who's both Jack's friend and the lead investigator into—once again, spoiler alert—his shooting. (Yes, things do get dangerous in Virgin River!)
But before playing Mike, Marco took on a very different role: Alejandro, Shannon's (Nicole Penney Power) world-traveling, philandering boyfriend, across multiple seasons of the Canadian comedy series Kim's Convenience (the show that helped shoot Simu Liu to stardom).
On Virgin River, Christina Jastrzembska plays Lydie, another member of Hope's sewing circle and teenage Ricky Sudder's grandmother.
But the role we'll always remember her for? That would be Bella's Gran—or who Bella thinks is her gran—in The Twilight Saga's second movie, New Moon.
Mel and Doc aren't the only medical professionals in town. There's also a newer addition, Mark Ghanimé's Dr. Cameron Hayek, who arrives in Virgin River after Doc realizes he has a (spoiler!) issue with his eyes.
Mark, however, had many fun gigs before Virgin River. Two of our favorites: His flirty role as a stranger who approaches Blake Lively's Adaline on New Year's Eve in The Age of Adaline, and...
…the role of Don Carlos, Crown Prince of Spain—here, opposite Adelaide Kane as Queen Mary—in The CW's historical romance, Reign.
Zibby Allen plays Brie Sheridan, Jack's sister, who comes to Virgin River to visit him after he gets shot.
Before VR, Zibby made appearances on two medical dramas: Grey's Anatomy, as "Nurse Zibby," and the Freddie Highmore-starrer The Good Doctor, on which she played a mom prepping her daughter for surgery.
Grayson Maxwell Gurnsey
Grayson Maxwell Gurnsey plays Ricky Sudder, Lydie's grandson and an aspiring Marine. He achieves this goal at the end of season four, which is why he didn't appear in season five, but if you're a Ricky fan, fear not! "He has this semi-important role in the books," Gurnsey told Express, adding, "I'm always happy to come back."
Before hitting Virgin River, though, Grayson had a small role in the Milo Ventimiglia tearjerker The Art of Racing in the Rain. He accidentally hits Milo's character's beloved golden retriever, the narrator of the film. Luckily—spoiler—he lives! (A crucial detail we couldn't leave you hanging without.)
Finally, Kai Bradbury plays Daniel "Denny" Cutler, a later addition and (spoiler!) Doc's grandson. He has many secrets—including an especially heartbreaking one.
But before this, he has a brief cameo on the Amazon hit The Boys, where he played Kimoko's lost brother in a flashback during season one.
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