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Where You've Seen The Cast Of Virgin River Before

The Netflix romance-drama "Virgin River" is one of the streaming service's most popular series; the debut of its third season on July 9, 2021, vaulted to the top of Netflix's Top 10 list for television series, and ranked 16th out of all series for 2020. Not a bad response for a Canadian-made series based on best-selling romance novels by author Robyn Carr about a nurse practitioner (played by Alexandra Breckinridge) who leaves Los Angeles for the remote titular California town in search of a new life after tragedy. While the show tugs heartstrings with its mix of sudsy romance, small town characters, and a few cliffhanger season finales, "Virgin River" also succeeds by virtue of a talented and appealing cast. 

Some of its players may be familiar, having appeared in numerous series and features in both the United States and Canada, while others may be entirely new faces to you. Here's your chance to get to know the "Virgin River" cast better and find out where you might have seen them before.

Beware: spoilers will follow.

Alexandra Breckinridge: the horror fan at the heart of Virgin River

If you've been in front of a TV in the past decade or so, chances are you've seen Alexandra Breckinridge, who plays Melinda "Mel" Monroe on "Virgin River." The Connecticut native began appearing on camera as a teenager, landing guest roles on "Freaks and Geeks," "Dawson's Creek," and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." These led to recurring roles on "True Blood" (as the ill-fated Katerina Pelham), "Life Unexpected," and "American Horror Story" as the younger version of Frances Conroy's Moira O'Hara in "Murder House" and pyrokinetic witch Kaylee in "Coven."

Breckenridge has also provided numerous voices, including impersonations of celebrities like Christina Aguilera, on "Family Guy." High profile turns as Jessie Anderson, a one-time romantic interest of Rick Grimes who suffered a grisly fate on "The Walking Dead" and as Kevin's long-suffering ex-wife, Sophie," on "This is Us" preceded her star turn on "Virgin River." If her credits have you wondering: yes, Alexandra is a diehard horror fan.

Kiwi Martin Henderson is the show's resident heartthrob

New Zealand-born actor Martin Henderson, who plays tavern owner and troubled vet Jack Sheridan on "Virgin River," enjoyed a run as a leading man in movies during the early part of the 2000s. After making his debut in Australia features and TV like the primetime soap "Shortland Street," a supporting role in John Woo's World War II drama "Windtalkers," with Nicolas Cage, led to Henderson sharing top billing with Naomi Watts in Gore Verbinski's remake of the J-horror classic "The Ring" in 2002.

After a handful of big-screen successes, including the Bollywood-meets-Jane Austen film "Bride and Prejudice," "Little Fish" with Cate Blanchett, and "Everest," his movie career cooled off due to tepid audience response of films like "Torque" and "The Strangers: Prey at Night." Henderson next shifted smoothly into TV in both Australia and the United States. The latter included recurring roles on "The Red Road" with Jason Momoa, and "Grey's Anatomy" — his second collaboration with Shonda Rimes after the short-lived medical drama "Off the Map."

Doc Mullins is Tim Matheson's latest role in a long career

Tim Matheson, who plays the curmudgeonly Vernon "Doc" Mullins, may be the most immediately identifiable actor in the "Virgin River" cast. A veteran actor who began his career as a child actor, voicing characters on "Space Ghost" and appearing in juvenile roles on series like "Leave It to Beaver," Matheson is probably best known as Otter in "National Lampoon's Animal House," and he even briefly owned the "Lampoon" from 1989 to 1991.

He's played variations on his smooth-talking "Animal House" persona over the years, most notably in "Fletch," "A Very Brady Sequel" and "Van Wilder," and even reprised the role for the short "Where are they Now? A Delta Alumni Update" and an episode of "The Goldbergs." Matheson has also earned Emmy nominations for dramatic fare, like his recurring role on "The West Wing" as vindictive Vice President John Hoynes, and he's moved successfully into directing for TV, including two episodes of "Virgin River."

Multi-hyphenate Annette O'Toole is Virgin River's mayor

The actress who plays Virgin River mayor and nuclear-strength busybody Hope McCrea is an Oscar, Golden Globe, and Emmy nominee, a talented singer and songwriter, and a critically praised actress with a long list of hits and cult favorites on her resume.

Movie fans know Annette O'Toole as Lana Lang from "Superman III" and from "48 Hrs." and the 1982 "Cat People," while TV viewers recall her as Beverly Marsh in the 1990 TV version of "It," as Martha Kent on "Smallville," and as bounty hunter Dottie Thorson on the underrated crime drama series "The Huntress," as well as numerous guest roles dating back to 1967, including "The Partridge Family" and the original "Hawaii 5-0."

With her husband, actor Michael McKean, she wrote three songs for Christopher Guest's mockumentary "A Mighty Wind," including the Oscar-nominated "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow," and provided backup vocals for his performances with Guest and Harry Shearer as the legendary Spinal Tap.

Colin Lawrence: from Galactica pilot to Jack's Grill chef

Dispensing both delicious meals and good advice at Jack's Grill is his fellow Marine, John "Preacher" Middleton, played by actor Colin Lawrence. Born in London, England, but raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Lawrence has amassed a long, impressive list of credits since making his screen debut in the 1995 TV-movie "She Stood Alone: The Tailhook Scandal." Repeat appearances on "The X-Files" and minor turns in features like the Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi thriller "The 6th Day" and "X2: X-Men United" led to recurring roles on "Stargate SG-1," "The L Word," and "Smallville."

His breakout project was undoubtedly "Battlestar Galactica," which cast him as Raptor pilot Hamish "Skulls" McCall; high-profile projects like the American version of "The Killing" and his turn as hitman Janko on "iZombie" soon followed. After a slew of recurring roles on "Supernatural," "Rogue," and as the hard-driving Coach Clayton on "Riverdale," Lawrence began his run on "Virgin River."

Benjamin Hollingsworth's Dan just can't catch a break

A graduate of Canada's esteemed National Theatre School, actor Benjamin Hollingsworth plays Dan Brady, a fellow vet whose post-service struggles have earned Jack's sympathy and Preacher's mistrust. For the Ontario native, the role and accompanying exposure comes after years of work on television and features, which began with guest roles on "Degrassi: The Next Generation" and soon included recurring turns on Ashton Kutcher's series "The Beautiful Life" and "Suits" (as Mike Ross's rival Kyle Durant), as well as a minor appearance in "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules."

In 2018, Hollingsworth landed series regular work as emergency room resident Mario Savetti on the first season of "Code Black," which preceded his recurring role on "Virgin River." Initially another recurring role, Dan was promoted to series regular for its second season. Between these assignments, Hollingsworth also co-starred in the Soska Sisters' remake of "Rabid" and guested on the short-lived NBC sci-fi series "Debris."

Lauren Hammersley's Charmaine is the character fans love to hate

One of the most discussed characters on "Virgin River" is Lauren Hammersley's Charmaine, Jack's former girlfriend and the mother of his child. According to Hammersley, fan response to Charmaine is — like the town of Virgin River itself — divided into support for and against her character, who is seen by some as a roadblock in the romantic path of Mel and Jack.

The role of Charmaine isn't the first major project for Hammersley, who began acting in commercials at the age of 12 and made her acting debut in 2002 on the Canadian series "John Doe" with Dominic Purcell. More TV followed, including a lengthy run on the Canadian comedy "Mr. D;" while working on the latter series, she took on a season-long stint on "Orphan Black" as Adele, a lawyer and half-sister to Jordan Gavaris's Felix. Her turn as Charmaine on "Virgin River" began soon after "Mr. D" ended its six-year run on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in 2018.

Jenny Cooper's Joey is Mel's no-nonsense big sister

Toronto-born actress Jenny Cooper, who plays Mel's Los Angeles-based sister Joey, got her start on Canadian TV where she starred in the popular coming of age series "Jake and the Kid" from 1995 to 1999. She soon graduated to guest roles on numerous Canadian series and Stateside programs lensed in Canada, including "The Outer Limits," "Mutant X," and "Soul Food." Hollywood came beckoning with guest appearances on "Monk" and a recurring turn on "24" as Homeland Security agent Valerie Harris.

Cooper returned to Canada to write, produce, and co-star in the independent feature "I Think I Do" in 2013, before returning to TV as the star of "Open Heart," a medical mystery about a doctor searching for her missing father. She soon returned to guest work on series like "Grey's Anatomy" and "Law & Order: True Crime" as dogged news reporter Megan Lang before joining the cast of "Virgin River" in its debut season.

For Lexa Doig's Paige, Virgin River was anything but paradise

As fans of "Virgin River" have discovered, there's a lot of tension bubbling just below the surface of the idyllic title town. Case in point: Lexa Doig's Paige Lassiter, the kind-hearted owner of a local bakery truck who also has a secret, tragic past. Paige has been on the run from her abusive husband, whom she ends up killing when he attempts to file abduction charges in regard to their son, Christopher. With the help of Preacher, Paige splits town, but trouble continues to follow in the form of her late husband's twin brother, who wants answers from Preacher.

Sci-fi and fantasy fans will know Lexa Doig from her numerous credits in that genre: she got her first big break in "TekWar," and starred in "Jason X," the tenth iteration in the "Friday the 13th" franchise before joining the cast of Gene Roddenberry's "Andromeda" as the voice and avatar of the Andromeda Ascendant's artificial intelligence. She also played Talia al Ghul on "Arrow" and freedom fighter Sonya on the Canadian sci-fi series "Continuum."

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Meet Virgin River's wild child, Sarah Dugdale

Adding a dash of headstrong rebellion to the "Virgin River" mix is Canadian actress Sarah Dugdale, who plays Lizzie, niece of general store owner Connie and romantic interest to Grayson Gurney's Ricky. Both characters made their debut in Season 2 and became involved in a star-crossed romance that was strongly opposed by Connie. For the bilingual Dugdale (she speaks English and French), the turn on "Virgin River" was the culmination of a busy career on Canadian and American TV, which began in 2011 with "R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour."

Guest shots on "Arrow" soon followed, as did a slew of appearances as troubled teens in Lifetime Network movies like "Stolen Daughter" and "Death of a Cheerleader." More prominent guest appearances on "Supernatural" (where she ran afoul of the Harvester in Season 13's "Breakdown") and the Canadian series "Mystery 101" paved the way for her series regular work on "Virgin River."

Daniel Gillies' Mark motivated Mel's move to Virgin River

Though he has only appeared in flashbacks on (all three seasons of) "Virgin River," Mark Monroe is one of the show's most important characters. How so? His marriage to Mel, and subsequent death in an accident for which she shouldered the blame, motivated her to leave Los Angeles in search of a new life. That journey brought her to Virgin River, and essentially launched the series' primary storyline.

Actor Daniel Gillies has played the recurring role of Mark on "Virgin River" since its debut season. The actor, born in Canada to parents from New Zealand, is a familiar face to TV viewers thanks to starring roles on "The Vampire Diaries" and "The Originals," as well as the Canadian medical series "Saving Hope" and guest shots on "True Blood," "Masters of Horror," and "SEAL Team."

Gillies — who was married to actress Rachael Leigh Cook until 2021 — has also logged time in several features. These include an appearance as John Jameson — who Marvel readers know as Man-Wolf, the Stargod, and the husband of Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk — in Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 2," and "Bride and Prejudice" alongside Martin Henderson. Most recently, he enjoyed a starring role in the New Zealand thriller "Coming Home."

David Cubitt plays the heavy on Virgin River

If there's anything like a bona fide bad guy on "Virgin River," it might be Calvin, the operator of a large-scale marijuana farm on the other side of the titular river and a consistent thorn in the side of Jack — especially in his attempts to keep Brady out of hot water. Wielding both menace and a walking stick with equal skill as Calvin is Canadian actor David Cubitt, who made his screen debut in a 1987 episode of "21 Jump Street."

He was a familiar face to North American TV audiences throughout the '90s thanks to starring roles on the Canadian drama "E.N.G." and the Stateside crime series "Robbery Homicide Division," which marked his second collaboration with Michael Mann after playing sports journalist Robert Lipsyte in "Ali." TV was his primary showcase throughout the 2000s, most notably as Norman Bates' abusive father on "Bates Motel" and as a town leader on "Siren." Since joining the cast of "Virgin River," Cubitt has also juggled appearances on "Altered Carbon" and "Nancy Drew" with the action feature "American Woman."

Marco Grazzini's on the case as Mike Valenzuela

From toothpaste to TV. Actor Marco Grazzini, who plays police detective Mike Valenzuela on "Virgin River," has had a long career on television, which began in his early 20s when he appeared in a toothpaste commercial that aired on TV in the Philippines. Grazzini — who is Canadian, Italian, and Filipino — graduated to short films and TV animation, and served as the voice of the manipulative Alejandro on "Total Drama World Tour."

Guest shots on live-action series like "Nikita" soon followed, as did his breakout role as the original Vengador in "Heroes: Reborn." 

These were soon followed by appearances on "A Series of Unfortunate Events" and "Supernatural, " as well as a recurring role on the first season of the popular Canadian comedy "Kim's Convenience" as the philandering boyfriend of Shannon (Nicole Power). After a slew of romantic leads in Lifetime movies, Grazzini joined the cast of "Virgin River" as a recurring character in Season 2, before moving up to series regular the following year.

Lynda Boyd played the dearly departed Lily

A veteran actor in her native Canada and in the States, Lynda Boyd — who played the long-suffering Lily on "Virgin River" — has a list of credits that include director, writer, producer, and musical theater star. 

She began her career as a voice-over artist for American animated series and English-language dubs of Japanese anime. Live action work followed in the early '90s, with guest turns on "The X-Files," "Highlander: The Series," and "Da Vinci's Inquest," as well as feature films like "Best in Show," "I Spy," and "Final Destination 2." 

Prior to "Virgin River," Boyd was perhaps best known for her Gemini Award-nominated turn as the salty Rose Doyle on "Republic of Doyle" and as H.I.V.E. partner Phaedra Nixon on "Arrow." To the dismay of many "Virgin River" viewers, Boyd's Lily departed the series in Episode 8 of Season 3 after dying of pancreatic cancer.