The new season dives straight back into Mel’s pregnancy drama, as well as what happened to Brady, who was sent to jail for shooting Jack but could be innocent, as well as to Hope, who's back on the scene in the latest run.
Fans can rest assured that Alexandra Breckenridge and Martin Henderson are back as the much-loved, central couple of the series, Mel and Jack, while a number of new faces also arrive to shake things up in the latest instalment.
Fortunately, for fans who’ve already binged the entirety of season 4, Virgin River season 5 has been green-lit so we already know there are more episodes on the horizon.
"[With] everything that's been going on in the world, people more and more [are] looking for, not just that comfort, but also that feeling of hope and that feeling of community," Jinny Howe, Netflix's VP of original series, told USA Today of the season 5 renewal.
Virgin River season 4 release date
Virgin River arrived on Netflix on Wednesday 20th July.
Filming took place last year, with Martin Henderson – who plays Jack on the show – revealing on Instagram that he was "doing a little post-production work" on season 4 in November 2021.
Netflix confirmed the drama had commissioned the romantic drama for a fourth run back in May, giving fans a first look at the upcoming episodes.
Meanwhile, the streamer has also renewed the show for a fifth season, with Netflix's Vice President of Original Series, Jinny Howe, telling USA Today: "[With] everything that's been going on in the world, people more and more [are] looking for, not just that comfort, but also that feeling of hope and that feeling of community.
"All of that really came together in a way that was really organic, and I think this was more of a proof point that this is a really vital area of programming for us."
And not only that, but the official Virgin River account on Instagram shared a behind-the-scenes picture of the cast together on a video call for a table read for season 5, confirming that the season is now in production.
How many episodes are there in Virgin River season 4?
The new season of Virgin River consists of 12 hour-long episodes.
All 12 episodes landed on the streamer at once back in July 2022.
Who stars in Virgin River season 4?
It wouldn't be Virgin River if Alexandra Breckenridge and Martin Henderson didn't return as midwife Mel Monroe and bar owner Jack Sheridan so you can expect to see them in a fourth season, while you can expect Colin Lawrence (Preacher), Lauren Hammersley (Charmaine Roberts), Tim Matheson (Vernon 'Doc' Mullins), Benjamin Hollingsworth (Dan Brady), Grayson Gurnsey (Ricky) and Sarah Dugdale (Lizzie) to reprise their roles in another season.
Annette O'Toole, who plays Hope in Virgin River, was noticeably less present in season three, with the character visiting an elderly relative in another state, getting stuck there due to a hurricane and only appearing via Zoom. The show's creator Sue Tenney revealed that Hope's absence was down to O'Toole being unable to film on set due the pandemic, however a representative for O'Toole told RadioTimes.com last year that she will be back on screen for season four.
Netflix has even released first-look pics of the season showing Doc (Tim Matheson) and Hope reunited once again.
As for new characters, Reign's Mark Ghanimé has joined the show as the town's brand new doctor Cameron Hayek, who is expected to complicate the romantic situation for pregnant Mel. Meanwhile, Motherland: Fort Salem star Kai Bradbury, who was introduced as Doc's long-lost grandson Denny Cutler, will become a series regular.
"He shows up in Virgin River to forge a connection with the grandfather he just recently learned about," Virgin River teases. "But Denny comes bearing a dark secret."
Unfortunately, Lynda Boyd won't be returning to Virgin River for season four as her character Lilly dies towards the end of season three after being diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer. However, Boyd previously revealed to RadioTimes.com that producers are planning to bring Lilly back in flashbacks.
"When I did have that chat that day with those producers, they said that the plan was to bring me back in flashbacks – like Mel’s husband, her dead husband."
As for supporting characters, we'll also be seeing more of Jack's sister Brie (Zibby Allen) and Preacher's love interest Julia (played by his real-life wife Lucia Walters). Meanwhile, hopefully Lilly's daughter Tara (Stacey Farber) stops by Virgin River again and we'd love to see Nicola Cavendish (Connie), Teryl Rothery (Muriel) and Lexa Doig (Paige Lassiter) return for season four.
Virgin River season 4 trailer
Netflix released a trailer for Virgin River season 4 in early July, teasing Mel's dilemma over whether to test the baby's paternity as well as the introduction of the town's new doctor – Cameron Hayek (Mark Ghanimé).
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Jack tells Mel: "If we find out that [Mel's late husband] Mark is the father, it could change the way I feel about our baby."
In fact, if the baby is Mark's, it looks as though Mel could have a legal battle on her hands, with his sister telling Mel that their mother hired a lawyer to take custody of the two embryos she had frozen whilst Mark was still alive.
Meanwhile, season 4 may also redeem Brady, who was sent to jail for shooting Jack at the end of season 3 but could be innocent, as Preacher finds footage that works in his favour.
"I need you to see something the PI sent," Preacher says before Jack adds: "Brady didn't shoot me. We've got to get him out of there."
Virgin River season 4 plot
**WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Virgin River season 3**
Ahead of the new series, Netflix has released a synopsis, with Mel and Jack set to wrestle with the uncertainty of her pregnancy news – however, Mel is choosing to be grateful for finally becoming a mother.
"But things get complicated when a handsome doctor moves to town — one who’s looking to start a family of his own," the streamer teases.
Meanwhile, Hope is healing from the car accident she found herself in towards the end of season 3 and is suffering with psychological trauma.
However, Sue Tenney – the show's showrunner – did tell TVLine that there'll be a "very lovely, two long episodes" about Doc and Hope's vow renewal in the new season so it's not all doom and gloom.
"When we get to that point, which is a re-commitment ceremony, we definitely are going to want to see that," she added. "But we have some drama going on with both of those characters that puts that on the back-burner, but also heightens their commitment to one another."
As for Brie, Netflix says she's "intent on proving the innocence of the man she loves" and finds herself in a closer relationship with Jack's detective friend Mike and "one step closer to Calvin's violent criminal web".
"Even as Preacher forges a new romantic connection, he can’t help but hold out hope for being reunited with Christopher and Paige," Netflix adds.
At the end of season 3, Brady is arrested for allegedly shooting Jack in his bar, but judging by the trailer, it's not an open-and-shut case.
In the clip, Preacher goes to Jack with a video sent by a private detective, proving that Brady – who was sent to jail – couldn't have shot him, telling him: "We've got to get him out of there."
Martin Henderson told Entertainment Weekly last year that he now knows who shot Jack. "And the fact that I know makes me feel like the audience is going to find out."
He added: "They toyed with the idea of revealing that in season 3. There were drafts where we were going to actually get a little more information, and you would find more out. But for a bunch of reasons, they decided to extend that. So that can be dragged out a little bit.
"It would be unfair to the audience to not have that result. That would feel a little tacky to string them along and then keep it a mystery. There has to be resolution, and obviously, it further complicates his relationship with Brady and it'll be nice to see some of that stuff resolved hopefully too, and maybe heal going forward."
Fingers crossed he's right and we do find out next season!
Season 4 is also likely to pick up after the massive twist in the season three finale, which saw Jack propose to Mel and Mel reveal that she's pregnant before adding that she's not 100 per cent sure if the father is Jack or her late husband Mark (Daniel Gillies).
A couple of episodes before, we saw Jack break up with Mel after the pair decided that they wanted different things, and so we can assume that Mel headed to the IVF clinic, using frozen embryos she stored away when her husband Mark was alive. In the next series, we're likely to watch the fallout of this bombshell news and eventually find out who the baby's father really is.
In fact, when recently asked about the paternity of Mel's baby, Tenney told TVLine: "You'll find out by the end of the fourth season."
Teasing the events of season 4, Henderson revealed to Entertainment Weekly that it's going to be "a tough pill to swallow" for Jack and hinted that he may not want to marry Mel after all. "I don't know exactly how he's going to feel about it. There's some other unanswered questions that have to be figured out."
As for Mel's point of view, Alexandra Breckenridge recently told TVLine that while she was sceptical of the story line at first, she came around to it. "It ties itself together, and it makes more sense to me at the end.
"While I was going through it, I was like, ‘What is Mel doing? This is a crazy thing to do!’ That goes to show that, as an actor, you have to trust in the process and in the writers to take you on the journey. That was what I learned."
Of course, there's also the matter of Jack and Charmaine's twins after Charmaine revealed that she'll try to win full custody of them when they're born. This legal dispute will pave the way for Brie to have a bigger role in the series, according to Tenney who said: "We will utilise the fact that Brie is an attorney in the show going forward."
Henderson has also revealed that the custody battle over the twins and the prospect of being the father to Mel's unborn baby is due to take a toll on Jack's mental health.
"He's struggling with demons, and there's grief there and a lot of it's unexamined. He has this caretaker effect where he feels like it's his responsibility to take care of anyone in the town that needs it," he said. "He goes out of his way and, and although that's a nice positive attribute, it's also potentially a compensatory one where he's also nursing some of his own wounds and regrets and guilt, you know, and I think, I think that's definitely at play. And, if we are lucky enough to get more seasons, it'll be nice to explore that aspect of the characters psyche."
Let's not forget about Ricky (Grayson Gurnsey) and Lizzie (Sarah Dugdale), who broke up at the end of season three after Ricky decided to enlist in the marines without telling Lizzie.
On whether the two teens could reunite, Gurnsey told TVLine: "I do hope they get back together, but on mutual terms where she has forgiven him and he has learned his lesson — not out of shame or guilt, but out of a genuine understand of her feelings.
"That was Ricky’s whole problem this season. He understood that he messed up, but he would never really take it to heart. That’s what he needs to learn if he wants to get back together with her — he needs to understand her feelings."
That being said, he added that while Ricky and Lizzie's love is genuine, it's also "puppy love".
"When it’s your first love, you might not necessarily love that person for the right reasons, but you can still learn something very valuable and become a better person from that relationship."
There's also Hope to worry about, who was hospitalised with a traumatic brain injury after getting into a car accident in the season three finale. Not to fear – Sue Tenney has teased the plot for a fourth season, saying: "We do move ahead.
"To us, it's the recovery and what she's dealing with – a traumatic brain injury," she told Entertainment Weekly. "In a hospital and going through recovery, that's not really where our show lives. But we're very committed to what the truth of something is, so we'll go to the edge of what's the best recovery for this.
"We always stick with the parameters, medically, but also we know at this point what we like to do, which are complicated emotionally drama-based stories."
Of course, Lilly (Lynda Boyd) died in season three of Virgin River, however the show's creator Sue Tenney has revealed that her death will continue to affect relationships in season four.
"It’s a death that affects everybody, and it will continue to affect everybody in [a potential fourth] season," she told TV Line. "That’s really special, to have one character that leaves a lasting imprint on the audience and on the characters at large in our show. Her death also to bring Jack and Mel back together. The death of Lilly, as deaths do, helps them hyper focus on the important stuff in life and take away the B.S."
How many seasons of Virgin River will there be?
Virgin River is definitely returning for a fourth and fifth season, with Netflix renewing the show for two more back in May.
With a lot to explore in future series – from Hope's brain injury to the paternity of Mel's child – we'll hopefully see a couple more seasons of Virgin River, especially since there are 22 books in Robyn Carr's novel series to work with.
Virgin River seasons 1-4 are available to stream on Netflix. Check out our lists of the best series on Netflix and the best movies on Netflix – or see what else is on with our TV Guide. Visit our Drama hub for all the latest news.
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