Film & TV

What else has the Virgin River cast been in?

The Netflix series Virgin River has it all. Intriguing plot, fabulous scenery, and terrific casting. On the subject of that casting, a lot of them will get that 'hang on, what do I know them from?' reaction. It's time to answer the question.

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What else has the Virgin River cast been in?
  • The Virgin River cast features performers from a wide range of film and TV
  • Shows include Grey's Anatomy and American Horror Story. Films include a lot of Christmas TV movies.
  • Some of the Virgin River actors have careers going back a long way. One of them even appeared with Danny Kaye.
  • With new talent and plotlines, it looks like the Virgin River cast is assured of more good work going forward.

Virgin River cast: FAQs

  • Where is Virgin River shot?

    Although the setting is a remote northern California town, Virgin River is actually filmed in British Columbia, Canada, mainly in the gorgeous sounding Snug Cove, a town on Bowen Island, quite close to Vancouver. Jack's bar is about 40 miles north of Vancouver and is known in real life as the Watershed Grill.

  • What shows have the Virgin River cast been in?

    The Virgin River cast has been in a tremendous number of well-known shows, including American Horror Story, The Walking Dead, The Vampire Diaries, Tin Star, The West Wing, and Grey's Anatomy. Virgin River actors such as Colin Lawrence, Jenny Cooper, Tim Matheson, and Annette O'Toole have done some very interesting and varied work.

  • What do I know Mel Monroe of Virgin River from?

    Alexandra Breckenridge plays Mel Monroe in Virgin River, and before this, she was known for her work in many well-known TV dramas, including American Horror Story, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, This Is Us, and The Walking Dead, among many more. She's also been in several big-screen movies, including She's the Man.

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Netflix's Virgin River has been picking up fans and great reviews over its four seasons and is returning for season five, premiering this September. 

Adapted from the Virgin River novels by prolific writer Robyn Carr, the story revolves around chief protagonist Mel, a healthcare professional looking to make a fresh start in a small community in beautiful north California.

As with a great many TV small communities, the town soon reveals itself to be full of intriguing characters, with a network of complex and sometimes surprising relationships. These characters are played by a collection of great actors, some with a good deal of experience under their belts. 

We'll take a look at each of them in turn so that next time you say 'Hey! Wasn't s/he in Lesbian Vampire Killers?' you'll already know the answer.

It's no, by the way.

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Virgin River cast: All characters and actors in the Netflix series

So, let's turn to the acting ensemble from Virgin River. We'll start with the leads.

Alexandra Breckenridge as Mel Monroe

Kicking off with Alexandra Breckenridge as nurse practitioner and midwife Mel Monroe. It's of crucial importance to get the casting right for your lead character, and there's no doubt that Mel is the character around which the drama develops. 

The fact that the author is a former nurse might lead one to suspect that Mel Monroe might be a touch autobiographical, but there's nothing to document this. We can still have our suspicions, though.

In any case, the producers played a killer card in the engaging Alexandra Breckenridge. She's supremely convincing and, crucially, able to secure our sympathies as her story unfolds. 

Mel escapes tragedy and pitches up at the idyllic Virgin River on a year's contract to assist the local doctor. Her position at the hub of the community means she soon gets to know a lot of locals, and a whole lot of plot is born. But what might you know her from?

Keen-eyed viewers may have spotted her in a tiny role in Orange County, Jack Black and Mike White's follow-up to School of Rock. In 2006 she secured a sizeable role in She's the Man (a gender comedy, as the title suggests) alongside a very pre-Magic Mike Channing Tatum.

TV work

Beyond this, most of the actress' appearances have been in TV roles. This work includes some pretty big series, including a pair of 90s iconic TV staples: the still popular Buffy the Vampire Slayer and coming-of-age star factory Dawson's Creek (with all the major players going on to be major stars. All, apart from Dawson. Still stuck up his creek, probably). 

After this, you could catch her in True Blood and Coven. You might be forgiven for feeling that the young actress was carving out a niche in darker dramas, but you'd be wrong. 

Oh no, hang on, you were right. As attested to by her double dip into American Horror Story, in which she played two parts. And then there was The Walking Dead, where she popped up a fair bit as Jessie, who, like so many before and since, eventually ended up a tasty item on a zombie smorgasbord.

But variety struck when she was cast as Kevin's ex-wife Sophie in the family saga This Is Us. Work on this emotional epic took Alexandra straight to a role in Virgin River, where she still is now. 

One final thing to mention is the actress' sterling but invisible work on Family Guy, where she does the voices of celebrities, including Sarah Jessica Parker and Renee Zellweger. So, you might not recognize the face of Mel Monroe, but if her voice puts you in mind of a cartoon version of Sex and the City, you may well be on the right lines.

Martin Henderson as Jack Sheridan

Born in New Zealand in 1974, Martin Henderson plays the owner of the only bar in town, so he's another character right in the middle of things, not least a burgeoning romance with Mel Monroe and the remnants of one with Charmaine Roberts. 

Years before Virgin River, his acting career down under included a spot in the Kiwi soap opera Shortland Street. Time on the Australian drama Home and Away followed before Henderson made the trip stateside in order to go for the big time. 

Windtalkers, the John Woo actioner starring Nic Cage, was his first big screen outing, and this was followed soon after by the US adaptation of the Japanese scarefest The Ring with Naomi Watts.

Other roles awaited in the motorcycle mayhem movie Torque and the hit rom-com Bride and Prejudice, starring opposite Indian megastar Aishwarya Rai. Such glories aside, you might know him best for his memorable role as Dr. Nathan Riggs in the much-loved Grey's Anatomy. Or even for his role as Britney-snogger in the Toxic video.

Annette O'Toole as Hope McCrae

Virgin River mayor Hope McCrea is played by Annette O'Toole. Now this is a face with some history. Which was meant a lot less rudely than it came out. Let's just say that O'Toole's been around a little. Did it again, didn't I? OK, this much-respected actress has got a varied and interesting body of work behind her. That's better.

Try this for starters. Annette O'Toole began her screen career at the age of 15 as a dancer on the Danny Kaye Show, which was a frankly massive deal. As big as Game of Thrones. Slightly less sex and decapitation, though. Truly gigantic shows in the heritage of US TV welcomed her, including the uber-popular westerns Gunsmoke and The Virginian, and she got to be in the show that might well have a claim to the best theme tune ever, Hawaii Five-0.

Movies followed, in the shape of Smile (satire about beauty pageants, also starring a young Melanie Griffith) and a bunch of minor roles in now largely forgotten dramas. What you may well remember her from, however, is her barnstorming turn as Tammy Wynette in the TV movie Stand By Your Man.

Following this, O'Toole was festooned with roles in more prominent films, such as 48 Hours and Cat People. Her 1983 appearance alongside Christopher Reeve and Richard Pryor in Superman iii was a high point for her. She went on to return to the world of Superman eighteen years later when she appeared in Smallville as Martha Kent.

1990s on

A pair of TV thumpers came along for her in the 1990s. She was cast as the grown-up Beverly Marsh in what for many is the definitive version of Stephen King's It and put in an Emmy-nominated performance as family matriarch Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy in The Kennedys of Massachusetts.

After this, O'Toole was in constant demand as a guest star in episodes of dramas such as Nash Bridges, Lie to Me, Grey's Anatomy, and Halt and Catch Fire. Besides her film and TV roles, the actress is also a songwriter and musician, appearing on stage alongside her husband, Michael McKeen, infamous for his spoof-metal band, Spinal Tap. So, if you recognize her face but haven't seen any TV or movies at all for the last fifty-odd years, you might have seen her singing backing vocals to one of their memorable performances of Sex Farm or Big Bottom.

Lauren Hammersley As Charmaine Roberts

Lauren Hammersley plays the role of Charmaine Roberts, who is the ex-girlfriend of Jack Sheridan. One of Hammersley's most notable screen turns was the long-running role as teacher, principal, and guidance counselor Lisa Mason in the comedy-drama Mr. D. 

She also appears in Orphan Black as a lawyer with an alcohol problem, and most recently in the mini-series Sullivan's Crossing, also based on novels by Robyn Carr.

John “Preacher” Middleton: Colin Lawrence

Jack's Bar doesn't just have Jack a load of drinkers in it. No sir. Also to be found, helping out behind the counter, is John Middleton, Jack's old Marine buddy, known as Preacher. 

If you're a TV SF fan, then you'll probably know Colin Lawrence's face from the Battlestar Galactica reboot back in 2006. He's been in many movies, but you may struggle to recognize him from such roles as a security guard in The 6th Day or his memorable work as NYPD Bridge Cop 2 in 2005's The Fantastic Four.

Slightly inconsequential roles in quite big films (how about Penthouse Restaurant Customer in 2017's 50 Shades Darker?) have been very much Lawrence's stock in trade, albeit interspersed with some fairly hefty TV work, including appearing as Benjamin Abani in The Killing and as Coach Clayton in Riverdale. 

You might also have seen him appear a couple of times in The Good Doctor. Since 2018, Lawrence has become a regular among the Evergreen residents, joining the cast for three installments in the Evergreen Yuletastic movie series.

Tim Matheson as Doc Mullins

Here's a very familiar face. Playing the irascible Doc Mullins, who Mel is there to help out, is experienced actor Tim Matheson. Doc’s a grump, but he has his good side, as his later life romance with Hope makes clear. 

In terms of screen appearances, we're spoilt for choice here. He started out way back in 1961 in a TV drama called Window on Main Street, but perhaps a lot of people will recognize him from his role in the Henry Fonda film Yours, Mine and Ours, released in 1968. 

After this, Matheson was a TV stalwart, with his face regularly seen on dramas such as The Virginian (although not sharing any episodes with Annette O'Toole) and Bonanza.

Movie roles and a big TV job

After playing a motorcycle cop opposite Clint Eastwood in Magnum Force, Matheson took on a slightly less weighty genre in the hugely popular Animal House, playing funster extraordinaire Otter opposite John Belushi, Karen Allen, and an unfeasibly young Kevin Bacon. 

A Spielberg film, no less (albeit 1941, so nothing to get too excited about) came along in 1979, then To Be or Not to Be in 1982, Fletch in 1985, then a truly vast number of film projects, most of which even he will struggle to recall. 

In 1999, though, came the role most people still know him for: Vice President John Hoynes in seminal POTUS drama The West Wing, for which he was twice nominated for Primetime Emmy awards.

Since then, he continued to rack up his screen appearances (no fewer than 192 at the time of writing), including a lengthy 70-episode stretch as another doctor - Dr Brick Breeland - in Hart of Dixie between 2011 and 2015.

If, after all these, you're still thinking you know him from somewhere, but you just don't know where, it might be in another of those incredibly popular Christmas movies. He was in 2017's Her Magical Christmas.

Daniel Gillies As Mark Monroe

Next in our Virgin River cast list is Daniel Gillies, who plays Mark Monroe, Mel's deceased husband. Luckily for Gillies, we see Mark in flashbacks (otherwise, it might not have made for the most animated performance).

Growing up in New Zealand, Gillies' first big role was as the lead in the drama Street Legal. A move to the US precipitated more screen time for the Canadian-born actor, who got himself cast in TV productions such as True Blood. Like Martin Henderson, Gillies starred in Bride and Prejudice before a role in Spiderman 2 as John Jameson (J Jonah Jameson's son).

He became very well known for his prominent role in The Vampire Diaries and spin-off series The Originals and his work as Dr. Joel Goran in Saving Hope.

Benjamin Hollingsworth as Dan Brady

Back to Jack's Bar for this next character, as Dan Brady swings into Virgin River as an ex-Marine colleague of Jack Sheridan and Preacher. Is he wanted there by his erstwhile brothers-in-arms? Not exactly unanimously. Brady's been up to bad things, and Preacher, for one, would like to see the back of him.

But where might we have seen the front of him? He was in CSI: Miami and was Dr. Mario Savetti in 47 episodes of Code Black. But perhaps you know him for his work with a certain Duchess of Sussex in Suits.

Zibby Allen as Brie Sheridan

The fabulously exotically named Zibby (short for Elizabeth) Allen plays Jack's sister, with the fabulously cheesily named Brie Sheridan. Brie dates bad seed Dan Brady. Good luck, Brie!

What's she been doing prior to Virgin River? She was a cop in Bates Motel, Cindy in The Exorcist, and Lieutenant Evans in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. She also has TV medical experience, having been in Grey's Anatomy like Martin Henderson and Annette O'Toole and in an episode of The Good Doctor, just like Colin Lawrence.

Lexa Doig as Paige

Lexa Doig stars as a Virgin River inhabitant who starts off with the name Paige but turns out to be hiding her true identity because she's escaping an abusive husband, so, just like Mel, she's come to Virgin River seeking a new start.

Doig's another actor with a lot of SF chops in her resume, including 42 episodes of Continuum and a whopping 109 Andromeda appearances. 

She's not all about the time travel and space antics, though - you may also have caught her as Sally in a succession of Aurora Teagarden mysteries, as well as in 20 episodes of The Arrangement and three episodes of Saving Hope, like Daniel Gillies. Oh, and some more SF stuff, like Earth: Final Conflict and as Dr. Carolyn Lam in Stargate: SG-1.

Jenny Cooper as Joey Barnes

Mel has a sister called Joey Barnes, who lives miles from Virgin River, way down in Los Angeles, but that doesn't stop her coming over all overbearing every chance she gets.

Cooper is yet another Grey's Anatomy alumnus and has been in a stack of other screen stuff. Maybe her first notable role was as a Homeland Security Official who crops up a few times in the life of Jack Bauer in Fox's 24. 

Like Annette O'Toole, Cooper got herself a bit of Don Johnson screen time in Nash Bridges. She was also seen as Dr. Jane Blake in 12 episodes of Open Heart and wrote and starred in the big-screen comedy I Think I Do.

Lynda Boyd as Lilly Anderson

Those who have just started watching and haven't got to Virgin River season 3, look away now. Unfortunately, the character of Lilly doesn't make it through to the end of the season, succumbing to cancer by the finale. However, she will pop up in flashbacks, so Boyd's work is not yet done.

Acting roles have been plentiful for Boyd, with perhaps one of the most outstanding being that of Nora Carpenter in 2003's Deathfest sequel Final Destination 2. 

This aside, Doyle had a leading role in the TV comedy Those Damn Canadians, starred in six seasons of the drama series Republic of Doyle, shone in Tin Star opposite Tim Roth, and has appeared in a bunch of films, including She's the Man (with Alexandra Breckenridge) and On Thin Ice.

Boyd's appeared in 155 different movie and TV jobs, and she's done her, ahem, fir share of festive movies (including one set in Colin Lawrence's neck of the woods - Christmas in Evergreen). She's most recently been seen alongside fellow Virgin River actor Lauren Hammersley in Sullivan's Crossing.

Grayson Gurnsey As Ricky

One of the youngest members of the Virgin River cast, Gurnsey, has managed to put a decent amount of work under his belt. Most of it, admittedly, is smallscale TV and short film work, but those with exceptionally keen eyes may have pinpointed him on a school bus in Godzilla. 

Gurnsey's biggest role up to Virgin River was Toby Martin in 28 episodes of cringe-ocious coming-of-age comedy Game On.

Mark Ghanimé as Dr Cameron Hayek

Virgin River season four saw the introduction of this medical character, a dashing young doctor who has to work alongside Tim Matheson's sourpuss sawbones. You might know him previously from Helix, where he did a 26-episode stint as Major Sergio Balleseros, or maybe The Wedding Planners. 

If not this, maybe you've caught him in a Christmas film. Has he done one? He's done four! What on earth did Canadian actors do with their time before Christmas TV movies were a thing?

Sarah Dugdale as Lizzie Anderson

Lizzie is Lilly's daughter and was introduced in Virgin River season 2 but played a much bigger part in seasons 3 and 4, where, among other things, she strikes up a relationship with Doc's grandson Denny.

Sarah Dugdale as Lizzie might have been gaining a fair amount of attention, but that's not all she's done in her relatively short life. She also appeared in the ominously titled There's Someone Inside Your House and two episodes of the phenomenally well-loved Supernatural.

Marco Grazzini as Mike Valenzuela

OK, time for another ex-Marine, and this one, Mike, toured Afghanistan with Jack and Brady, but now he's a detective in Virgin River looking into such things as Jack's shooting and the availability of Jack's sister Brie.

You might know Grazzini as Alejandro in the TV series Kim's Convenience. He was also in an episode of Supernatural. Aside from that, guess what? Yep, Christmas TV movies, the latest one being 2022's classic of the genre Designing Christmas.

Kai Bradbury as Denny Cutler

Virgin River season three introduced the character of Denny Cutler, doc's grandson no less, who turns out to be living with Huntingdon's Disease.

Although he is part of the Supernatural gang, young actor Kai Bradbury hasn't been around long enough to rack up much in the way of previous work. You can also see him in small roles in The Boys and The Terror.

Nicola Cavendish as Connie

Connie's the owner of the General Store and bakery truck and is the aunt of Lizzie. Aside from this, she plays a leading role in Virgin River's knitting circle

If your memory stretches back to the 90s and you like films about labradors who play basketball (and who doesn't?), then you might recall her playing Principal Pepper in Air Bud. No? Then how about her role as Helen in The Romeo Section? Still nothing? OK then, how about Betty in The Christmas Secret and The Christmas Note? Now we're talking.

Stacey Farber as Tara Anderson

So, we come to the final stop on our Virgin River cast rundown. Tara Anderson is another of Lilly's daughters who appears in Virgin River season three to help look after her baby sister.

In just over 20 years of acting, Farber's put together quite an impressive body of work, including seven years as Ellie Nash in Degrassi: The Next Generation and three years as Dr. Sydney Katz in Saving Hope. In the last few years, she's been in Schitt's Creek, Superman, and Lois, and she has a starring role as Darby Spencer in the police comedy The Spencer Sisters.

Virgin River flows with talent

The Virgin River cast is a great blend of buzz and experience, with the likes of Sarah Dugdale and Kai Bradbury injecting a little youthful vim, while old hands like Annette O'Toole and Tim Matheson deliver dramatic gravitas. 

In between, we have interesting performers doing their thing: Colin Lawrence as Preacher and Jenny Cooper as Mel's older sister Joey Barnes are particularly good. 

Finally, of course, the Virgin River cast features the very definition of onscreen chemistry in the pairing of Martin Henderson and Alexandra Breckenridge, who bring the story of Mel Monroe and Jack Sheridan to such believable life.

The good news is that with fabulously well-played characters such as the electrifying Melissa Montgomery, introduced in Virgin River season four, and the always watchable Dan Brady continuing to stir up trouble, the show will continue to boast great writing, great characters, and great acting. You can bank on it.

Image Credit: John-Mark Smith at Pexels

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