When the news broke back in March 2021 that Jesse Metcalfe would not return to Hallmark Channel’s Chesapeake Shores for Season 5, fans were shocked. As Trace Riley, he was a central character in the series, an on-again, off-again love interest for the show’s protagonist, Abby O’Brien (played by Meghan Ory).
But Metcalfe said it was time for him to move on.
“I just felt that there wasn’t really anything else I could do with the character,” he told Entertainment Tonight during an interview.
Metcalfe appeared in the first two episodes of Season 5, but only so he could wrap up his storyline. He also made it clear to fans that his character could return.
“Trace didn’t die,” he said. “It’s not the end of the road for Trace. He could always come back to Chesapeake Shores.”
In a recent interview, Metcalfe again hinted at a return for Trace. However, he said it would be on the condition that his character ends up with Abby for good.
“I think that’s the scenario that makes the most sense,” he told The List.
As it is, fans are waiting to find out if Chesapeake Shores will return for another season. Though Hallmark has not made an official announcement about production on a sixth season, a posting on a union web page has some fans convinced filming will begin at the end of March.
A posting on the website for ACFC West, which bills itself as technical film union, lists a production start date for Chesapeake Shores Season 6 of March 28. So far, neither the network nor the stars have confirmed whether the listing is accurate.
A return for Trace Riley
Metcalfe was cast as the character Trace Riley before producers had picked an actress to play Abby O’Brien. Metcalfe, who had worked with Ory before, advocated for her, and she eventually won the part.
The show premiered in 2016, with a cast that included Diane Ladd as Abby’s grandmother, Treat Williams as her father, and Barbara Niven as her mother.
In the series, which is based on the books by Sherryl Woods, Abby O’Brien returns with her two daughters from New York City to her small coastal Maryland town following a divorce. When she runs into her old flame, Trace, the two reconnect. Their rekindled romance fueled much of the plot in the early seasons. In the Season 4 finale, the two kissed, leading fans to believe that their romance was on again.
Jesse Metcalfe focuses on new career ventures
Season 4 finished airing in September 2019. Filming on Season 5 was delayed due to COVID and didn’t get underway until the spring of 2021. When Metcalfe finally got the scripts for the new season, he decided it was time for him to bow out. Part of the problem, he said, was that the series had a new showrunner.
“Getting to know a new showrunner and create a working relationship with a new person was not necessarily something I wanted to do,” Metcalfe said. “I just felt like it was time to turn the page and start the next chapter of my career. I definitely wanted to pursue my film career with greater focus and also find the next challenge.”
Metcalfe appeared in the 2021 feature film Fortess alongside Bruce Willis and Chad Michael Murray. He also co-starred with Jessica Lowndes in Harmony From the Heart for the new network GAC Family.
There is no word yet from Hallmark as to whether Chesapeake Shores will return for a sixth season.