A TV small town is really only as good as the cast of characters who inhabit it. The small town in Netflix’s romance series Virgin River, a show about a sad nurse from Los Angeles who moves to picturesque Northern California to reinvent herself, has a vibrant community of the types of people you’d expect to find in a place like that: a mix of lovable, wacky, brooding, romantic, and, yes, even villainous (a TV small town is also only as good as its drama, after all). Over the course of three seasons, however, it’s become quite clear that while some of Virgin River’s citizens are angels to be treasured, some of them are terrible. So, to sort out the Virgin River locals we love from the real dickheads, we’ve ranked all the characters below from best to who should be banished from Virgin River forever.
Note: spoilers ahead for the events of season three.
If at the beginning of the Virgin River journey you told me that I would come to love the curmudgeonly doctor who is a secret softy above everyone else, I would’ve said, Hmm, yeah that tracks. Who doesn’t love the “set-in-his-ways old guard warming up to the out-of-town daughter figure” story line? Imagine what Doc looked like making that temporary paper nameplate he hung for Mel outside the office. It’s a very endearing image! Aside from being an empathetic ear for the town to lean on, Doc breaks all of our hearts in season three as he deals with not only the fact that he is going blind and may lose his life’s work, but also [SPOILER ALERT] that his wife Hope is on the brink of death! Is anything more gutting than watching that man weep in a hospital lobby? Doc is the best of Virgin River and he needs more hugs ASAP. Take care of this man!
He’s a hot, sensitive barkeep with a heart of gold who is battling some real demons! He is kind but flawed! He loves taking sexy baths! He also seems to have extremely strong sperm, which doesn’t matter when you’re ranking television characters, but maybe it should. Jack is not a perfect man, which makes him interesting, but he is the superhero of Virgin River (the town and the show). This is based on the following evidence: He takes care of everyone else’s problems ahead of his own, he took a gunshot to the abdomen and seems 100 percent fine three weeks later, he makes bucket hats look sexy. Virgin River (the town and the show) wouldn’t survive without him.
So many ridiculous things happen on Virgin River and I will heartily accept them all, but the one thing I will not stand for is that somehow Preacher isn’t getting laid all the time. He’s one of the hottest people around for miles, and yet people aren’t just, like, throwing themselves at this man. Have you not seen his face? AND HIS COOKING SKILLS? Like, I get it, he earnestly uses the phrase “I’m mighty proud of you,” but he also literally buried a body and took in a child for a woman he sort of had a crush on. Could you imagine? And this ex-Marine is pro-group therapy! And is into supporting his local arts community! He’s been drugged and left for dead in the woods, so who knows what his future holds, but that missed opportunity is on you, single people of Virgin River.
Mel is the most resilient person on the planet. She’s very good at her job. Her hair never looks bad. Her relationship with Jack: the steamiest. Her relationship with Doc: the sweetest. Is it wild that she, a midwife and person who has dealt with infertility issues for a long time, thinks she could be pregnant with an embryo she and her dead husband froze, even though the timing and logistics make zero sense medically speaking, and IVF is way way way more complicated than this show has decided it is? Yes. But we’ll give her time to work it out.
Justice for Muriel! She got a bad rap in season two for wanting to break up Doc and Hope, but, like, why wouldn’t she? She and Doc have so much in common! They are a great match and she knows it. In season three, even though Hope’s not around, she knows Doc and Hope are renewing their vows and is simply a kind, supportive friend to Doc. Her mean-girl knitting friends think she has ulterior motives, but she seems pretty pure of heart. Could people just give her a fucking break already?
Ricky’s grandma is the most sex-positive person in this town PLUS she keeps things interesting drama-wise by sometimes forgetting to take her diabetes medication. This woman is a treasure.
[MAJOR SPOILER ALERT] Unfortunately, Lily is dead now. But before that, she was a real pal to everyone in Virgin River, especially our girl Mel. Okay, there was that whole “secretly birthing a child” thing that really fucked up the whole town for a while, but other than that, what a sweetheart!
Tucker the Dog
Now that this dog is free from Charmaine’s clutches, Tucker’s potential is limitless. What a good boy!
Whoa, does Jack’s sister come in hot. Unbeknownst to most people, she is processing — er, not processing some pretty heavy trauma and does so by making a series of truly terrible decisions. Like, honestly, kudos to this woman for strolling into town and immediately falling for the one guy almost everyone suspects had something to do with her brother’s shooting. That’s a real skill. She’s a mess, but mostly in regards to herself, and this town could really use an attorney, so here’s hoping she sticks around.
There’s honestly, like, no children in Virgin River and it is a little alarming because (1) where are all the children?, and (2) will the town of Virgin River just die off eventually?, but also (3) WHERE ARE ALL THE CHILDREN? Anyway, the kid has been surrounded by trauma his whole little life but he just wants to learn how to play Fortnite and eat mozzarella sticks. He’s fine.
Doc’s Secret Surprise Grandson
We only met this guy for like 30 seconds, but here’s what we know: He’s 19, he’s from Seattle, and that giant backpack of his is stuffed with some messy drama.
Jo Ellen is very sweet but is always getting shit on for being chatty and boring. In most parts, you’d think saying someone “has the lung capacity of a Navy SEAL” would be a compliment, but not to the VR townies. She deserves a hero edit.
Lily’s daughter Tara seems nice — she’s adopting her baby sister after all! — but she is really going to need to step up her game to be seen as a valuable member of this community. So far, mostly all she’s done is cry and kill her mother by way of taking way too long to bake enchiladas.
Connie is a person you look at and you’re like, Hmm, that lady needs a vacation. You know she’s got a good soul, but, man, is she cranky. Also, someone really needs to hand this woman a pamphlet on why abstinence-only education is a terrible idea. She’s teetering on the verge of being banished from town, but her kindness toward Christopher, Paige/Michelle, and Preacher really wins her some points.
Dang, Detective Mike came in with a ton of potential but then Brady implies that he was into some very much not aboveboard things while they were all serving in Iraq. And now he might be kind-of framing Brady for shooting Jack? Or at the very least, he’s just a bad detective. We did not order this, sir!
Why is this man so unnecessarily shady? JUST TELL JACK WHY YOU WERE AT THE BAR THE NIGHT HE GOT SHOT. Listen, I’m willing to forgive Brady for getting into bed with the local drug syndicate, for betraying Jack, and even for trying to scam Lily out of her family farm. Brady is a mixed-up dude who needs help. But what I will never forgive is that he used the line “So what’s your secret?” when first meeting Brie at a bar. Although it is endearingly cute that Brady is, like, so into The Sting and owns a DVD player, I can’t. I’m just so exhausted. Brady, please see yourself out.
You have to feel for Paige, who has been through SOME THINGS, but she’s been gone for over a season and her fugitive/murder situation is still very much wreaking havoc on the citizens of Virgin River! Especially the hot ones!!
If this ranking had been done after season two, Lizzie would easily be in the running for the bottom spot, but that Apple commercial of a heartfelt moment she has with Doc at the hospital as they cry listening to “Drift Away” earns her a reprieve from the title. I’m not proud of it, but it’s my truth! It does not, however, earn her a reprieve from still being terrible. Being a 19-year-old horndog is one thing but, wow, when it comes to Lizzie, beware the wrath of a woman cock-blocked. Go to L.A. and be free, child!
Yeah, yeah, Ricky is a Nice Boy who makes sure his grandma doesn’t die from her diabetes and brings his girlfriend chocolate cakes and is respectful of other human beings. That doesn’t change the fact that Ricky is also a weenie, and I’m sorry but we have brooding bartenders being gunned down and sinister people avenging the deaths of their identical twins, we do not have time for an 18-year-old who is worried that townspeople might find out he is having sex with his own girlfriend, okay? Join the Marines or don’t, just get out of here!!!
Why is this drug lord always in a jeff cap?
Sorry to kick a girl when she’s down — the end of season three leaves Hope on the verge of death after a car accident — but Hope seeeeewks. How Jack EVER forgave her once she read Charmaine’s letter and also told Mel that Char was pregnant before he got the chance, I’ll never understand. She has zero boundaries, constantly complains about all of her friends, and is sort of mean to her old auntie she needs to keep safe during a hurricane. Three seasons in and she has yet to perform any mayoral duties except, I guess, officiate an egg relay race? Obviously, I hope she wakes up from her medically induced coma, but it’s clear the town would survive without her.
Ooof. This guy. This guy comes to town and the FIRST thing he does is make a joke about Mel trying to hook up with him? WHO ARE YOU EVEN??? Then, like the third thing Todd does is demand that Jack give up his parental rights so that he can raise Jack and Charmaine’s twins as his own. Also he makes Charmaine give up her dog? Also why does he want to marry Charmaine — knocked up with another man’s babies — after three weeks? Charmaine? IN THIS CLIMATE? Anyway, this guy and his perpetually reserved country-club table that seats like 12 but that he only uses for two should be tossed into the titular Virgin River and never heard from again. Banish! This! Man!
You’d think over the course of three seasons they would at least attempt to make Charmaine sympathetic in some way, but no, they are really doubling down on her being a whiny dick. Remember that time when she texted Jack “911” and it was to unclog her sink so she could make dog cookies, and when Jack politely was like, “This is not an emergency,” she flipped? That’s her at a 1 compared to season three. She spent all this time trying to claw Jack away from Mel, but now she’s changed tactics in her mission to make Jack miserable and shacks up with the biggest toolbox you could imagine (see above) and pretty much tells Jack that it’s wrong for him to want custody of his own children. That’s real fucking rich, Charmaine. Honestly, banishing this woman from Virgin River would be for her own good.