Netflix is adapting Virgin River, Robyn Carr's Harlequin romance novel series, and the project just cast one of Meredith's former Grey's Anatomy flames. Martin Henderson, who starred as Dr. Nathan Riggs on the primetime soap, has landed an exciting lead role in the new romantic drama.
Martin Henderson will be back in familiar romantic territory in Virgin River. Netflix has announced that the actor has been cast as the "sharp-witted" Jack Sheridan. A former Marine commander, Jack moves to the eponymous town seeking refuge in a "peaceful life" following his time in the service. His goal is to get far away from war's horrors. Of course, that's where Jack will also find love, with This Is Us' Alexandra Breckenridge.
Alexandra Breckenridge will star as the love interest of Martin Henderson's Jack. She'll play Melinda "Mel" Monroe, who also moves to the remote northern California town in search of a fresh start and potentially a fresh face to ogle.
Mel's move is motivated by wanting to leave behind a "painful past" in Los Angeles. Accepting a job as a nurse practitioner, she makes a bold move to change her future by packing up for the titular town.
Mel and Jack have all the makings to be one of TV's hottest couples, assuming the new series adheres to Harlequin's tropes. Both characters sound like they are struggling with haunted pasts, so they may be able to find common ground that leads them to a lighter-hearted present that audiences can binge-watch.
Martin Henderson and Alexandra Breckenridge should have no trouble bringing their characters' potential romance to life. They have each had their share of on-screen romances in recent years. In Grey's Anatomy's twelfth season, Martin Henderson was brought on to play Meredith's love interest following Patrick Dempsey's departure and the subsequent death of Derek. His run as Dr. Nathan Riggs ended in Season 14 as things with Meredith ended up fizzling out.
Alexandra Breckenridge is also no stranger to playing television's dramatic, romantic interludes. She plays Kevin's ex-wife Sophia on NBC's tearjerker This Is Us. Having seen Breckenridge and Martin Henderson both handle romantic roles, it is safe to say their screen chemistry should be off the charts.
They were not the only new cast members announced for Virgin River. The Affair's Tim Matheson is also ready to head down the romantic river. Matheson has joined the ensemble as Doc Mullins. He is described as being a bit curmudgeonly and "set in his ways."
Doc Mullins is also said to not be too into the idea of collaborating. That feeling extends to Melinda, who's seen as an opposition to his authority. The drama is truly palatable, and the show has not even premiered yet!
Joining Tim Matheson as another lead character is Smallville actress Annette O'Toole. Soon to be seen in the second season of The Punisher, O'Toole has boarded this very different drama in the role of Virgin River's mayor, Hope McCrea. Her personality is described as being a bit "rough around the edges." However, she also loves the town, so her hometown spirit is pretty high.
The Originals' Daniel Gillies will also be featured in a potentially key role. He will star as Mel's first love, Mark, who is a surgeon at the L.A. emergency room, Mel used to work at before moving to Virgin River. Joining Gillies is another Grey's Anatomy alum. Jenny Cooper will play Mel's sister/best friend.
Riverdale's Colin Lawrence will star as John "Preacher" Middleton -- Jack's best friend, who served in the military with him. Speaking of Jack, Orphan Black's Lauren Hammersley will play hair stylist Charmaine -- Mel's competition for his affection. Siren's David Cubitt will play Calvin, the boss of a vast string of illegal pot fields that smatter Virgin River. Bates Motel's Ian Tracey will star as Calvin's lieutenant and enforcer.
Seemingly involved in non-illegal business affairs, Arrow's Lexa Doig has signed on to star as Paige, a gifted baker and entrepreneur with secrets. Rounding out the cast is Code Black' actor Benjamin Hollingsworth. He will play Dan Brady, a Marine who served under Jack's command.
Lots of interesting characters will be at play here. Considering the towering library of Harlequin novels that exist, there could be no end to Netflix's adaptations, should they choose to head that route.
Audiences tend to never tire of drama and romance. Grey's Anatomy's long run is proof of that. Martin Henderson knows from experience, and it will be fun to see him reprise that dynamic on Virgin River.
A release date for the Harlequin adaptation has not been announced yet. When Virgin River does premiere, it will do so on Netflix along with lots of other content. Many shows await viewers in the new year, and here is hoping this will be one of them.
Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.
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