When the lead star of a series decides to leave, it can really shake things up for a show. That’s the challenge Chesapeake Shores faced going into its fifth season after original cast member Jesse Metcalfe announced his departure last spring. Luckily, the Hallmark drama is embracing the change.
The first two episodes of the new season will address the exit in flashbacks that fill us in on what happened after the Season 4 finale, which saw Metcalfe’s moody musician, Trace Riley, proclaim his love for on-again, off-again love, Abby O’Brien (Meghan Ory). These scenes will also reveal how Trace decides to move on from the Maryland town.
But how is Abby doing? “She’s actually doing great,” Ory tells TV Insider. “One of the things about this season that I personally love so much is that Abby’s finally taking control of her life.” For one, she’s joining her loving father Mick (Treat Williams) in the family business, O’Brien Construction.
She doesn’t immediately fall into another relationship, though that could change by Episode 3 when Robert Buckley‘s charming billionaire Evan Kincaid shows up. Night and day from Trace, Evan is “a very enthusiastic, curious, excitable guy,” says Buckley. “There’s some Tony Stark to him, mostly in the bank account, but there’s a lot of playfulness to Evan, as well.”
And the bantering between the characters starts off strong — executive producer Phoef Sutton calls it a “Hepburn-Tracy” quality — and the actors were on board from the start. “The relationship between Abby and Evan is just so fun,” Ory says. “It’s kind of cantankerous and sweet at the same time.”
Chesapeake Shores, Season 5 Premiere, Sunday, August 15, 8/7c, Hallmark Channel