They say that small towns have the biggest secrets, and if the close-knit community of Virgin River, California, is any indication, "they" are absolutely right. Sure, OK, it's a fictional town with fictional drama, but anyone who's watched the first two seasons of Netflix's Virgin River and hasn't gotten completely and totally invested in the tangly love lives, work lives, and general life lives of Mel, Jack, Doc, and the rest of their neighbors, friends, and frenemies is simply lying to themselves—or keeps getting up for bathroom breaks at the worst possible times. Like all great soapy shows before it, Virgin River boasts a jam-packed cast of characters who come and go dramatically, double as their own secret twins, and may or may not be hiding secret identities. It's a lot to keep track of, so here's a crash course in who's who on the show. Make sure to study up before diving headfirst into the brand-new second season, or while you wait for the (seemingly inevitable) third season to arrive and clear up all those season two cliffhangers.
Nurse practitioner Mel leaves L.A. to move to Virgin River at the beginning of season one in hopes of leaving her painful past—including a miscarriage and the death of her husband—behind her, but soon finds herself knee-deep in a brand-new set of issues. Breckenridge has been on TV for over two decades, with recent roles on This Is Us, The Walking Dead, and American Horror Story.
As love interest to both Mel and Charmaine, Preacher's best friend, owner of Jack's Bar, and a former Marine suffering from PTSD, Jack's got more than enough to deal with—but that didn't stop the savage Virgin River showrunners from making him the victim of a horrific accident in the final minutes of season two. Henderson, a New Zealand native, previously held a long-running role as Dr. Nathan Riggs on Grey's Anatomy and, fun fact, played Britney Spears' boyfriend in the "Toxic" music video!
Mel's late husband Mark pops up in occasional flashbacks, especially as Mel continues to feel guilty about fighting with Mark in the last minutes before he died in a car accident. Gillies, another Kiwi, is likely most recognizable as Elijah Mikaelson from The Vampire Diaries and its spinoff The Originals.
Charmaine is Jack's off-and-on casual hookup and baby mama—all of which, understandably, gets in the way of Jack's burgeoning relationship with Mel, because what would a Netflix drama be without a love triangle? Hammersley is a Canadian actress and photographer whose most recent TV role was on Orphan Black.
Preacher pulls double-duty in Jack's life as both his closest friend and the chef at Jack's Bar. As essentially the heart and soul of Virgin River, Preacher has a reputation as a fierce protector of his community, which will certainly serve him well as he sorts through all the drama that lands in his lap at the end of season two. London-born Lawrence has appeared in Riverdale, iZombie, and The Killing, among many other credits.
Dr. Vernon Mullins wears many hats in Virgin River: He's the town physician, Mel's prickly boss, and Hope's on-again off-again husband. Good luck keeping up. Matheson has been in Hollywood for more than half a century, most notably with roles in Animal House and The West Wing, the latter of which earned him two Emmy noms. He's also directed a handful of episodes of Virgin River.
As the mayor of Virgin River, Hope is juggling not only the management of the town, but also her own health issues and her ongoing relationship struggles with Doc. O'Toole also has decades of onscreen experience, including a long-running role on Smallville as Clark Kent's mother Martha.
Paige isn't your average small-town baker—she's also hiding a mysterious past that might include a completely different identity. Doig is no stranger to romantic dramas based on long-running book series: She's played Sally Allison in eight of Hallmark's Aurora Teagarden movies.
Dan is one of Jack's fellow Marines who is also having trouble readjusting to civilian life, while Lizzie is another L.A. transplant who shows up in Virgin River ready to sow as much chaos as possible—as if the town didn't already have enough on its plate! Hollingsworth previously starred in CBS medical drama Code Black, and Dugdale most recently appeared in Lifetime's made-for-TV take on the "Operation Varsity Blues" college admissions scandal.
While working for Jack at his namesake bar, Ricky dreams of following in his boss' footsteps and becoming a Marine. He also quickly gets swept up in Lizzie's messiness soon after her arrival on the scene. This is Canadian actor Gurnsey's first major TV role in the U.S.; you can also spot him in The Art of Racing in the Rain.
Joey is a classic older sister to Mel: She's her biggest cheerleader, confidante, and worrier-in-chief, even though she has plenty of issues of her own to worry about. Cooper has had cameos on dozens of TV shows, including Grey's Anatomy, Bones, and Scandal.