Time-travelling TV series Outlander is back for a fifth season, as Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan both reprise their roles as Claire (a 20th century surgeon) and Jamie Fraser (a Scottish soldier).
Read on for everything you need to know about the show’s cast and characters…
Caitriona Balfe plays Claire Fraser
Who is Claire Fraser? An Englishwoman and battlefield nurse during World War 2, Claire was originally married to Frank Randall in the 20th century, before accidentally time-travelling to the 18th century while holidaying in the Scottish Highlands. It’s there that she meets and eventually marries Scottish soldier Jamie Fraser. She later returns, pregnant, to the 20th century, wrongly believing Jamie died at the Battle of Culloden. She raises their daughter, Brianna, with husband Frank in America.
After 20 years pass, the recently widowed Claire (now a qualified surgeon) learns that Jamie survived the battle, and she returns to the past through the stone circle at Craigh na Dun. Reunited, she and Jamie now live at Fraser’s Ridge in pre-revolutionary North Carolina, alongside fellow settlers and their time-travelling daughter Brianna, who in season four gave birth to their grandchild, Jem.
Where have I seen Caitriona Balfe before? The actress is best known for her work on Outlander, but she recently starred in the acclaimed film Le Mans ’66 (also titled Ford vs Ferrari), and has previously starred in films like Now You See Me and Super 8.
Sam Heughan plays Jamie Fraser
Who is Jamie Fraser? A Scottish soldier, polyglot and laird-to-be, Jamie was a young man when he first met Claire. After she leaves for the 20th century, he eventually returns to Lallybroch, where he marries Laoghaire MacKenzie and becomes step-father to her daughters, including Marsali. However, the marriage is a failure.
Now living in North Carolina, Jamie has made a pact with the English redcoats in exchange for a parcel of land, which becomes Fraser’s Ridge. At the end of season four, the time comes for him to repay the Crown, and he’s told he must hunt down his beloved godfather, Murtagh, now a rebel leader of the Regulators.
Where have I seen Sam Heughan before? Heughan plays Sebastian in The Spy Who Dumped Me, alongside Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon. He’s also starred in River City, Island at War, The Wild West, Party Animals, Midsomer Murders, Rebus, and Any Human Heart.
Sophie Skelton plays Brianna MacKenzie
Who is Brianna MacKenzie? Brianna was born and raised in Boston, as her father Frank taught at Harvard. She is unaware of the existence of her birth father, 18th century Highlander Jamie Fraser, until after Frank dies in a car crash. She meets Oxford history professor Roger MacKenzie in Scotland, and they fall in love.
Brianna goes through the stone circle and travels back in time to warn Claire and Jamie of an imminent danger – and learns that Roger has followed her through the stones. The couple are hand-fast, but later argue and separate, and soon after Brianna is raped by the pirate Stephen Bonnet. Pregnant, she reunites with her parents.
At the end of season four Brianna gives birth to a baby boy, Jem, and Roger returns to her and claims Jem as his own, despite not knowing the boy’s true parentage.
Where have I seen Sophie Skelton before? The actress has previously starred in Casualty, Waterloo Road, Foyle’s War and CBBC’s So Awkward, and she also played the title role in web series Ren.
Richard Rankin plays Roger MacKenzie
Who is Roger MacKenzie? A 20th century Scottish historian and scholar, Roger falls in love with Brianna Randall and follows her into the 18th century.
Following a case of mistaken identity he’s beaten by Jamie and sold to the Mohawks, before being rescued by Jamie and Claire. After some initial hesitation he decides to return to Brianna, who has given birth to a boy, Jem.
Where have I seen Richard Rankin before? Rankin recently starred as Dr. Alex Kiernan in the BBC series Trust Me, and has appeared in Thirteen, The Last Kingdom and The Replacement, to name a few.
Duncan Lacroix plays Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser
Who is Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser? Murtagh is Jamie’s beloved godfather, and one of the few people in the past to know Claire’s time-travelling secret. In season four Jamie was shocked to find Murtagh alive after wrongly believing him dead.
Jamie later learns that Murtagh is a leader in the Regulator movement, which makes things difficult between them as Jamie has already pledged to try and keep peace in the backcountry.
Murtagh also began a secret relationship with Aunt Jocasta during season four, while Brianna was living at her house.
Where have I seen Duncan Lacroix before? The actor starred as Henry de Percy in the Netflix film Outlaw King, alongside Chris Pine and Florence Pugh. He’s also starred in Vikings and Primeval.
Maria Doyle Kennedy plays Aunt Jocasta
Who is Aunt Jocasta? Jocasta Cameron is Jamie’s maternal aunt and owner of a plantation in North Carolina. She has lost her sight but not her wits, and her three marriages have left her with land and fortune.
When Brianna arrives at her home, unmarried and pregnant, she protects her and attempts to marry her off so that the child won’t be a bastard.
Where have I seen Maria Doyle Kennedy before? The singer and actress is perhaps best known for playing Queen Catherine of Aragon in the TV series The Tudors. She’s also starred in Queer as Folk, Dexter, and Orphan Black.
David Berry plays Lord John Grey
Who is Lord John Grey? An English soldier and aristocrat, Lord John Grey was initially Jamie’s enemy and jailor, before falling in love with him. The pair are now firm friends, and John raised Jamie’s illegitimate son, William, as his own.
Where have I seen David Berry before? The Australian actor has previously starred in TV series like Home and Away and A Place to Call Home.
César Domboy plays Fergus Claudel Fraser
Who is Fergus Claudel Fraser? Born “Claudel” in a French brothel and later renamed “Fergus” by Jamie, Fergus Fraser meets both Claire and Jamie in Paris, and becomes a kind of surrogate son to both. Following the Battle of Culloden, he reunites with Jamie and reveals that a redcoat soldier cut off one of his hands.
Fergus is now married to Marsali, Jamie’s step-daughter through his unhappy marriage to Laoghaire MacKenzie.
Where have I seen César Domboy before? Asides from his work on Outlander, the French actor is probably best known for his known for roles in The Walk and The Princess of Montpensier.
Lauren Lyle plays Marsali
Who is Marsali? The high spirited eldest daughter of Laoghaire, and Jamie Fraser’s step-daughter, Marsali is married to Fergus Fraser. She’s a skilled seamstress and butcher, and in season five begins to help Claire in her surgical work.
Where have I seen Lauren Lyle before? Lyle played Chloe Demichelis in the TV series Broken, and Annie Stock in Tell It to the Bees.
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Edward Speleers plays Stephen Bonnet
Who is Stephen Bonnet? A violent pirate who raped Brianna, he is the possible birth father of her son, Jem. Although many characters believe him to have died in a prison explosion at the end of season four, in reality he’s alive and now posing as a gentleman.
Where have I seen Edward Speleers before? The British actor is probably best known for playing Jimmy Kent in Downton Abbey. He played Edward Seymour in Wolf Hall, and also starred in Alice Through The Looking Glass.
Tim Downie plays Governor William Tryon
Who is Governor William Tryon? A real-life British general officer, he was the royal governor of North Carolina (where the fictional Fraser’s Ridge is based) until 1771.
Where have I seen Tim Downie before? Downie played Kit Marlowe in Upstart Crow, Montgomery Clyde in 2014 Paddington film, and has starred in various other shows including Skins, Miranda and Doctors.
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