Virgin River returns to Netflix globally for a fifth season in September and November 2023 and will return for season 6. We’ve got a LOT of information about the new season, with filming having wrapped in late 2022. Here’s the lowdown on everything we know about Virgin River season 5 as of July 2023.
First debuting on Netflix back in December 2019, Virgin River has quietly been one of Netflix’s sleeper hits, with fans around the globe enjoying the romantic drama starring Alexandra Breckenridge, Martin Henderson, Colin Lawrence, and Jenny Cooper set in the quaint remote town.
Now, let’s dig into everything we know about Virgin River season 5:
For those unaware, Virgin River was given a two-season renewal order following season 3 in 2011. That means we’ve known about a fifth season for quite some time. While two-season orders aren’t new, they are rare.
That suggests that Virgin River continues to beat all the internal goals, and according to an interview with Netflix’s head of drama, the show “has some of the most attractive economics for a TV series with a very high return on investment as it costs a lot less to make than special effect-heavy productions.”
How well did Virgin River season 4 perform on Netflix?
The show has been a big hit for Netflix, even if it doesn’t capture all the headlines.
When season 4 launched, it featured in Netflix’s top 10 hourly charts for 6 weeks, picking up 304.790M hours globally between July 17th and August 28th, 2022.
With the caveat that season 4 had an extra couple of episodes, here’s how season 4 compared to season 3 over its first six weeks on the platform:
|Week in Top 10||Season 4||Season 3|
Netflix will release Virgin River season 5 in two parts:
- Part 1 (Episodes 501- 510) will release on September 7th, 2023
- Part 2 (Episodes 511- 512) will release on November 30th, 2023 (these contain Holiday episodes)
Alongside the date announcement on July 25th, Netflix released a slew of new photos for the new season, some of which we’ve included below:
As we reported in early 2022, filming on Virgin River season 5 was originally due to begin in March 2022. That was subsequently delayed to July 2022, although even those dates were subject to and ultimately did change.
The reason for the delay was unknown, but in a video post, Alexandra Breckenridge stated that she was keen on filming in the summer, saying that Vancouver isn’t that fun to film in the winter.
Filming for Virgin River season 5 took place between July 18th and November 17th, 2022.
The official Virgin River series account on Instagram confirmed that production is underway with a Zoom call of a table read for the fifth season.
The post read as follows:
“Our cast in a table read for SEASON 5.. Yes, you heard that right folks. We have now started production on SEASON 5! Also, please meet our lovely new Show-runner Patrick Sean Smith. We can’t WAIT for you to see what we have in store. Don’t forget though, Season 4 is only 2 days away. See you soon!!”
That table read featured the following cast members (suggesting they’re all signed up for the fifth season):
- Alexandra Breckenridge as Mel Monroe
- Martin Henderson as Jack Sheridan
- Annette O’Toole as Hope McCrea
- Tim Matheson as Dr. Vernon Mullins
- Benjamin Hollingsworth as Dan Brady
- Zibby Allen as Brie Sheridan
- Gwynyth Walsh as Jo Ellen
- Colin Lawrence as John ‘Preacher’ Middleton
- Sarah Dugdale as Lizzie
- Jenny Cooper as Joey Barnes
- Nicola Cavendish as Connie
- Chase Petriw as Christopher
- Kai Bradbury as Denny Cutler
- Mark Ghanime as Dr. Cameron Hayek
- Marco Grazzini as Mike Valenzuela
- Teryl Rothery as Muriel
- Steve Bacic as Vince
- Christina Jastrzembska as Lydie
- Trevor Lerner as Bert Gordon
- Lucia Walters as Julia
- Keith MacKechnie as Nick
- Emma Oliver as Young Mel
For more on where Virgin River films, check out our filming guide for the show here.
We’re told that Virgin River season 5 will have an episode budget of between $3 and $5 million per episode, meaning that season 5 could cost Netflix up to $60 million when all is said and done.
Some BTS of #VirginRiver season 5 currently filming! pic.twitter.com/KbbyGECYyw
— What’s on Netflix (@whatonnetflix) September 3, 2022
Filming was then confirmed to have wrapped on November 21st, 2022, with the official Instagram account posting a video of the cast celebrating their wrap.
Filming has wrapped on Virgin River season 5! pic.twitter.com/Uv20EzY76T
— What’s on Netflix (@whatonnetflix) November 22, 2022
The biggest news going into season 5 is that Patrick Sean Smith is replacing Sue Tenney as showrunner. Tenney is moving on to work on other projects and has yet to state why she’s moving on publicly.
Smith is notably known for working on The CW’s Supernatural, ABC Family’s Chasing Life, and most recently writing the episode Jolene on Netflix’s limited series Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings as executive producer and showrunner.
Until season 4, all seasons of Virgin River had run at around ten episodes a piece.
Season 4, however, was given an expanded 12-episode season, and we’ve now learned, thanks to a live stream from Alexandra Breckenridge, that it will once again be an expanded 12-episode fifth season.
Let’s begin with the episode titles for season 5 of Virgin River. In June 2023, we first reported on the new episode titles and what it tells us about the forthcoming season.
- Songbird (Expected to be episode 2)
- Calculated Risk (Expected to be episode 3)
- Never Gonna Be the Same (Expected to be episode 4)
- A Second Chance
- Angel’s Peak
- Father Christmas
- The More the Merrier
- From the Ashes
- Full Moon
- Heroes Rise
- Labor Day
- Trial by Fire
As for writers, here’s who will be writing episodes throughout season 5:
- Episode 501 – Written by Patrick S. Smith
- Episode 502 – Song Bird – Written by Jackson Sinder
- Episode 503 – Calculated Risk – Written by Talia Gonzalez
- Episode 504 – Never Gonna Be the Same – Written by Tesia Joy Walker
- Episode 505 – Written by Erin Cardillo & Richard Keith
- Episode 506 – Written by Thomas Ian Griffith & Mary Page Keller
- Episode 507 – Written by Talia Gonzalez and Erin Cardillo & Richard Keith
- Episode 508 – Written by John Lowe
- Episode 509 – Written by Ildiko Susany
- Episode 510 – Written by Jackson Sinder & Tesia Joy Walker
- Episode 511 – Written by Erin Cardillo & Richard Keith
- Episode 512 – Written by Erin Cardillo & Richard Keith
Thanks to production listings, we know who will be directing episodes in the fifth season of Virgin River:
- Monika Mitchell will direct episodes 1 and 2. Mitchell has previously directed episodes in season 3, including Take My Breath Away, Spare Parts, and Broken Hearts.
- Felipe Rodriguez will make his directorial debut on Virgin River for season 5 opn episodes 3 and 4. The director has worked on shows like Hudson & Rex, The Good Doctor, Blood and Water, and Ruby and the Well.
- Martin Wood has directed 15 episodes in the series so far and will be returning to direct episodes 5 and 6
- Jem Garrard will make her Virgin River debut in season 5 directing episodes 7 and 8. She has previously directed on Motherland: Fort Salem, Wynonna Earp, and Charmed.
- Andy Mikita is another returning director for season 5 direction episodes 9 and 10. Has also worked on Travelers, Motive, and Family Law.
- Gail Harvey is expected to return as a director on Virgin River, adding to her six credits thus far directing the final two episodes, 11 and 12.
In October 2022, What’s on Netflix exclusively confirmed the fact that Kandyse McClure had joined the cast for season 5 in a yet-to-be-revealed role. McClure previously starred in Netflix’s V-Wars and Battlestar Galactica.
Also joining the cast for season 5 are three new faces we confirmed in November 2022. They include:
- Susan Hogan (Legends of Tomorrow)
- Elise Gatien (Supernatural)
- Paolo Maiolo (Supernatural)
No character names have been revealed, as they’re reportedly considered spoilers.
Rounding out the cast in minor/recurring roles for season 5 includes:
- David Stuart as Reporter Ted Ford
- Audré Alleya Stephenson
- Melanie Merkosky
- Brent Fidler
- Serge Houde
- Helenna Santos
- Gabrielle Jacinto as Nurse Jill
Note: This section was written with help from the Virgin River Twitter account VRPassionate.
Firstly, let’s begin with the official synopsis for Virgin River season 5:
“Season Five of Virgin River features surprising new relationships, a shocking break-up, a difficult court trial, a heartbreaking goodbye, and a wildfire that threatens the town, bringing some people of Virgin River together while tearing others apart. Issues of motherhood push Mel to make a big decision about her future at the clinic while her pregnancy unexpectedly sparks an emotional connection to her past. To further prove himself to Mel, Jack squares off with some long-overdue confrontations–with his own demons, and of course, Charmaine. And as Doc and Hope’s respective impairments throw their identities into question, the doctor and the mayor must find solace in their community, in their young new family, and in each other.”
Burning Questions for Virgin River season 5
At the end of the season, Charmaine is in severe pain and scared of losing her twins and confessing to Jack and Mel that the two boys aren’t actually his.
This will definitely be one of the main and most important questions for season 5.
While speaking with Glamour Magazine, Henderson and Breckenridge confessed they know the twins’ paternity, which can easily mean the twin’s father is a current cast member.
The main “suspects” are Brady, Mike, and Dr. Cameron.
Mel and Jack, the most beloved couple in the show, will continue to have a major role in season 5. The upcoming season should follow them, focusing on their relationship, family, and new baby girl.
Alexandra Breckenridge teased a heavier season going into season 5, according to New Beauty, saying:
“I think this season has started out well and we’re getting into a few episodes soon that are pretty heavy. They’re really intense and I think that they’re some of the best episodes we’ve ever done. I never say that either! I think that there’s a high sense of drama that starts to come up this season that it’s going to leave people on the edge of their seats. At least, I hope. I’m excited to get into that.”
Virgin River’s mayor Hope will continue recovering with the help of Lizzie and, hopefully, get back to her mayoral duties and solidify her friendship with Muriel.
The episode titles reveal that a fire may rage through the town in season 5. As we reported when we talked about the episode titles, likely, a plot surrounding a fire hitting the community will likely develop over the course of several episodes.
Brie revealed her rape to Brady, and while facing her former boyfriend-rapist Don, she decided to report her sexual assault and take him to court. The new season could focus on Brie’s trial and her disclosing her assault to Jack.
We left Preacher and Paige in a cabin with Vince unconscious on the floor so we might be saying goodbye to Paige for good next season. That’s mainly because Julia, a new love interest for Preacher, has been introduced in season 4, and there’s little evidence there’s room for a love triangle.
Doc’s grandson Danny revealed to Lizzie he doesn’t want to get romantically involved with her because he has been diagnosed with Huntington’s disease. This rare disease causes the progressive breakdown (degeneration) of nerve cells in the brain.
Next season both Lizzie and Doc will have to face Denny’s illness. Lizzie, who has matured immensely during season 4, will have to decide if she wants to pursue a relationship with Danny despite his disease or if she still has feelings for Ricky, who, even though she left for the marine boot camp in San Diego, won’t probably stay away from Virgin River for too long.
One behind-the-scenes shot released in October 2022 suggests that Jack and Mel will be celebrating in one of the episodes, and another suggests we may be getting a festive episode (this is now confirmed by episode titles).
— VirginRiverFan (@VirginRiverFan1) October 3, 2022
Lots of new and returning characters
In an interview with Deadline, Netflix’s head of drama, Jinny Howe, touched on how the series will change going into the fifth season:
“I think what’s going to be interesting is to see this universe continue to grow and expand and to see new characters, other characters return. A lot of that was set up in the Season 4 finale but it’s going to be really exciting to see all of that come to a head in Season 5. And some of the soap that’s going to come out of these new complex tensions and triangles.”
More Diversity and LGBTQ Inclusion in Virgin River season 5
Finally, Breckenridge disclosed in her interview with Glamour that the new showrunner, writers, and directors will bring more LGBTQ+ stories to create more inclusivity in the show. Breckenridge has been extremely vocal about wanting more diversity in Virgin River since the beginning.
The show received a season 6 renewal at Netflix’s first-ever Upfront event on May 17th, 2023.
In the aforementioned interview with Netflix’s head of drama, Howe told Deadline that we’ll “definitely see more longevity and growth with the show,” adding:
“As long as the audience asks for it and shows up — and I think we see with Season 4 that the fandom is very strong and growing in many places as well — it feels like based on what we’re seeing with Season 4 and the anticipation for Season 5 that there is a lot more storytelling to offer us. It will be exciting to see which characters continue to break out and audiences crave more of; we’re paying very close attention, understanding that this is a really rich universe of characters and that people can’t seem to get enough, myself included. So I think as long as that continues to be the case — which we’re very hopeful for — you can rest assured that there will be more Virgin River.”
Are you looking forward to watching Virgin River season 5 on Netflix? Let us know in the comments down below.